Everybody thinks of
Written by newcomer to the show Mike Bartlett (creator/writer of British medical drama
This is the first episode (there’ve only been three previous, in fairness) that shows Bill having friends outside of the Doctor or a girl who became a puddle, and it’s nice to see that dynamic, where she doesn’t really feel all that part of the group, but everybody immediately thinks she’s cool because the Doctor is her “grandfather” (nice joke where the Doctor keeps trying to protest that he doesn’t look old enough to be her grandpa). I loved her friendship with Shireen (Mandeep Dhillon), and how Paul (Ben Presley) clearly has the hots for Bill but is immediately okay with her not liking men, and actually relieved he can stop hitting on her.
And in these funnier moments, we start to piece together the creepiness of the situation. Veteran actor David Suchet (who many will know as playing Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot for a number of years–and who actually narrated a series of M.R. James ghost stories on audiobook) does a lovely job playing the Landlord as both helpful and creepy, and then once the reveal happens, he seems suitably frantic at the idea of losing the petrified Eliza (Mariah Gale).
The episode plays as a Gothic horror/haunted house story for a good portion of the run time, and each time one of the roommates is taken, and the house seals itself off, the direction from Bill Anderson properly ratchets up the tension. Splitting up the people is another good touch, and common to a horror movie. Once we learn what the episode is really about–that the Landlord is controlling alien cockroaches that engulf people in the wood of the house–it starts to feel like a Guillermo del Toro movie, and even Eliza herself, as a wooden lady, feels like something that could happen in a del Toro dark fantasy film.
But that’s when my issues with the episode start to arise. The problem with any time
That said, I still think this episode was effective, and even if the ending wussed out, it managed for the most part to be a good representation of a variety of horror that the BBC does so well.
BUT, we simply must also talk about the final scene of the episode, clearly shot at a different time than the rest (look at Peter Capaldi’s hair). Last week I speculated briefly that one of the possibilities for who or what is in the vault is the Master (likely even the John Simm variant), and after this week it seems like they’re purposely pointing us in that direction, with the implication that whoever is inside would only want to listen to the Doctor’s story if it involved people dying. Also, the Doctor going in the vault at all is problematic, and I’m sure it’ll lead to badness for him.
Next week, we’re keeping it scary with the Jamie Mathieson-written “Oxygen” in which in deep space, air is a commodity and people become frozen space zombies. Looking forward to this one quite a bit!
Let me know your thoughts on “Knock Knock,” the thing in the vault, and anything