Deciding that the best way to a pirate’s heart is through their hoard, the Doctor and Yaz hop back into the TARDIS and go looking for where the vessel went down, arriving in its final hours to find her captain, Ji-Hun, forcing the crew to abandon ship at the behest of… Marsissus. His past self, that is. For a moment it looked like we might get some ‘City of Death’-style antics with the same villain in two time periods, but the Doctor chooses not to stick around.
Their next stop is the sea bed, where the flower of the sea is conspicuous by its absence, leading Jodie Whittaker to deliver line-of-the-episode “No ship, Sherlock!” What is here, though, is a hungry leviathan summoned by the Sea Devils, and the TARDIS soon gets chomped and dragged off to their lair.
Dan, meanwhile, has teamed up with Ying Ki, son of the man cut down by Madam Ching, and together they sneak aboard her ship to find that she’s sailing it solo. They’re immediately captured, of course, and Ching reveals that she’s seeking treasure because her crew have been taken hostage by a rival fleet, including her two young sons.
Ching’s ship is an expansive set, and while we only ever see above decks it’s an impressive accomplishment. It is a shame that the lack of a busy pirate crew (a decision doubtlessly influenced by safety concerns when filming in the pandemic) means the actors do feel a bit swamped by their surroundings. Dan and a reluctant Ying Ki agree to serve as shipmates, though, which is just as well, as Marsissus’ megalodon soon makes its presence known… briefly.
A mighty sea battle is not to be, as a single volley of cannon fire seems to drive the creature away (even though it spits the shots right back out again). Instead, the beast turns tail and returns to Marsissus – who now has the Doctor and Yaz prisoner in his undersea base, along with Ji-Hun in stasis – and the Sea Devil Supreme announces that his pet has finally located the keystone, an object ‘of infinite power’ that was used to seal him away in the first place.
Next, we get another of those moments that suggest another chunk of script was excised. One minute the Doctor’s fiddling with the controls that will make the augmented flower of the sea return to the surface – the next, she, Yaz and a miraculously freed Ji-Hun are fleeing the ship, swinging from ropes to reunite with Madam Ching and the others. We didn’t see them escape from Marsissus, we just have to presume that they did because, well, here they are. There’s no running down corridors this week.