Recap: Big Finish Doctor Who 043 Doctor Who And The Pirates
Properly titled "Doctor Who And The Pirates or
The Lass That Lost A Sailor".
One of the most well-loved Big Finish Doctor Who
episodes, and certainly one of the Sixth Doctor's most popular episodes ever made. The (intentionally awkward) title is a parody of both "Doctor Who And The Silurians"
and H.M.S. Pinafore or The Lass That Loved A Sailor
Sally, a history student, is having a hard time, and the last
thing she wants today is for her favourite tutor, Dr. Evelyn Smythe, to turn up and tell her a long, rambling story about pirates.
But Dr. Smythe won't be dissuaded. In fact, she even invites her friend and travelling companion, the Doctor, into Sally's apartment so they can take turns
with the pirate story. Evelyn insists the whole story is true, even though Sally points out that it's a transparent Self-Insert Fic
set in a mess of pirate cliches.
As the story goes on, though, Sally starts to see some uncomfortable similarities to her own life. In particular, to a very recent, very painful, very personal loss... someone very dear to her was killed in a car crash. Sally was driving. And she doesn't think she can go on.
The pirate story starts getting darker, too, so the Doctor decides that the only way to cheer them all up is... to turn it into a musical!
A Gilbert and Sullivan
one, to be exact.
The story deals with a pirate captain named Red Jasper, who's after a map leading to a treasure. A cabin boy named James London (Jem for short) turns out to be the son of the only man who knew its location. Evelyn and Jem are captured by Red Jasper, and despite Evelyn's best efforts to bluff her way out (posing as "Evil Evelyn, the Pirate Queen"), Jem is tortured and brutally murdered. Evelyn blamed herself for his death, and asked the Doctor to take her home after the adventure was over. When she got home, she found Sally's suicide note in the mail. She asked the Doctor to take her back in time so they could talk Sally out of it.
Although Sally isn't sure what to make of the story in the end, Evelyn manages to explain to her that real life doesn't have a happily ever after — just good days and bad days. And that as long as one person cares, life is worth living.
This episode is directly followed by "Real Time"
- Anachronism Stew
- Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: The Doctor and Merryweather have a song about this.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Captain Swann isn't evil so much as spoiled and useless.
- As You Know
- Axe Crazy: Red Jasper
- Batman Gambit: The Doctor lets Merryweather challenge him to a rum drinking contest, followed by a plank walking contest. Merryweather, lacking the Doctor's Time Lord constitution, gets drunk off his face and falls right off the plank.
- Boarding Party
- Break the Cutie: Evelyn suffers due to the subject matter in this story, despite making it Lighter and Softer.
- Buried Treasure
- Canon Discontinuity: The Doctor, In-Universe, wonders to himself if Hecate is in continuity.
- Cliffhanger: After a few hints and hums from the Doctor, episode 2 ends with the following exchange...
Doctor: Why, you could almost say I was the very model of a Gallifreyan buccaneer. [song cue begins to play]
Evelyn: Oh no! You are going to sing!
- And then he gleefully sings it as soon as the next episode starts.
- Continuity Nod: The Doctor credits Mel's exercise regime for his excellent physical form.
- Continuity Porn: The Doctor's "buccaneer" song namedrops Daleks, Quarks, Cybermen, Mavic Chen, Tobias Vaughn, Autons, Axons, Monoids, Vampires, Voords, Hecate, Manussa, Dulkis, Skonnos, and Tigella.
- Credits Gag: The final credit theme is rewritten as a Gilbert & Sullivan pirate tune.
- The Dragon: Merryweather
- Dark Reprise: The song Pirate Queen first shows up when Evelyn and Red Jasper are singing about the virtues about being a Pirate Queen and King, respectively. The dark reprise occurs not 5 minutes later when Jasper sings it again, celebrating his complete authority after cutting out the tongue of one of his crew and pushing the Doctor off the plank.
- Drinking Contest
- Driven to Suicide
- The Drunken Sailor
- Duel to the Death
- Either/Or Title
- Eyepatch of Power: Red Jasper.
- Also more than likely, One-Eyed Trent.
- Flashback Within a Flashback
- Framing Device: The Doctor and Evelyn tell Sally a story.
- Giver of Lame Names: Evelyn names all the new pirates with the same idea. John Johnson, Bill Billson, Thom Thomson.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Red Jasper.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor versus Bill Oddie's Long John Silver expy Red Jasper.
- Hard Gay: Mr. Mate. Supposedly.
- Hook Hand: Evelyn inintially claims Red Jasper has two hooks for hands. When Sally points out that he would not be able to fire a pistol, Evelyn admits she was embellishing, but it is not clear if Jasper has one hook or none.
- I'm A Historian Not An Impressionist
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Played with — Evelyn invents some treasure for the Sea Eagle to be carrying, so it'd sound more like a pirate story.
- Innocent Innuendo:
Captain Swann: "I should be doing all the stroking."
- In the Back
- Karma Houdini: Capt. Swann.
- Red Jasper, who gets off much easier than other Doctor Who villains who commit equivalent crimes.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall
- Lighter and Softer: In-Universe, Evelyn starts making the story "more fun" once she realizes it's actually a pretty dark tale.
- Memento MacGuffin / Orphan's Plot Trinket: Jem's compass.
- Mobile Shrubbery / Trojan Horse: The Doctor and Evelyn hide in barrels, hoping to get taken aboard Red Jasper's ship as booty. It doesn't work.
- Mood Whiplash: An light-hearted romp set during the golden age of piracy gets pretty damn dark before the eventual dawn.
- Musical Episode: And all acquit themselves very well!
- Musicalis Interruptus
- The Mutiny
- Newer Than They Think: All the Pirate Tropes get lampshaded and pointed out by Sally, who blames most of it on Treasure Island.
- Obviously Evil: Evelyn is trying to make sure Red Jasper is considered the bad guy by giving him every Red Right Hand she can think a pirate should have.
- Patter Song: "I Am the Very Model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer"
- Pepper Sneeze
- Pyrrhic Victory
- Pirate Booty
- Pirate Girl: The Doctor claims Evelyn is "Evil Evelyn, the Pirate Queen". The masquerade works... briefly.
- Record Needle Scratch
- Self-Insert Fic: Sally accuses Evelyn of this.
- Shaggy Dog Story
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."
- Shout-Out: See also Giver of Lame Names: among those names are Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.
- Sissy Villain: Captain Swann.
- Something Only They Would Say
- Spot of Tea: Evelyn insists on making multiple cups of tea for Sally.
- Survivor Guilt
- Talking to Himself:
Sally: "Hey that's the same man!"
- Talk Like a Pirate
- Tarzan Was The Doctor: Actually a lie, and he gets called out on it.
- Time Skip: Justified seeing as it's a story being told.
- Treasure Map
- Unreliable Narrator: Evelyn. The Doctor as well.
- Note Red Jasper changes from "Horrible coat" to "Stylish outfit" in between the two.
- Upper-Class Twit: Captain Swann
- Walk the Plank
- Would Hit a Girl: Red Jasper.