Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Sunday Doctor Who Review


I will be discussing my thoughts and feelings of the Doctor Who episode "Knock Knock" after the cut. I will not worry about spoiling the plot, so read at your own risk.


Doctor Who: "Knock Knock" - Bill finds some new housemates, and the group find an amazing huge house with giant rooms to move into - but the Doctor becomes concerned when he helps Bill move.

My initial thoughts after watching this - a genuinely scary episode with hide-behind-the-sofa moments and some real horror. The use of sound was important, and I heard there is a version of the episode meant to be listened to with headphones to get the full effect. I probably won't seek that out, myself.

We meet some new folks, including a guy who is really into Bill, only to learn she's not into guys. Oops. Paul was wonderfully tall, and I liked the actor. The housemates were understandably unnerved by the place fairly quickly, but still thought it was a lark until it got really scary. It's pretty clear that the house takes its victims on the first night - as none of the others had completely moved in from the evidence the Doctor and Harry find later.

Speaking of the moment the Doctor and Harry find evidence that others had been taken, it seemed clear - mixed with Bill and Shireen's strange conversation with the Landlord - that it takes the house 20 years to absorb people and use up all their energy. Later the Landlord talks about the Doctor having less energy because of his age. So, six young people can keep the house doing its thing for 20 years. I wonder who the very first victims were? I'm guessing the doctors... and anyone else who came to investigate.

I hope we meet the housemates again at some point. They were a fun group with individual quirks - not easy to accomplish in an hour-long episode. I did find it more than a little unnerving that none of the housemates checked on Pavel at all. Yes, even if he likes his brooding silences, the fact that the music was skipping would be enough to make me do a quick look, even if I didn't say anything to him.

The Landlord was nicely sinister and terrifying throughout the episode - right up until his true nature was revealed and he reverted back into the child he never quite grew out of being. I was impressed with the way the change was portrayed. Excellent acting, like a child who had been naughty being found out and throwing an almost tantrum. Watching the episode a second time, you can see how he gives hints that he's still a child mentally all throughout - that something is a bit off about him. Very nicely done.

The appearance of the woman in the tower was spoiled by trailers, which really irritates me. I avoid spoilers as much as possible, but I had seen her face before thanks to whatever moron put together trailers that give away half the plots of the shows some times. Seriously - I'm beginning to think that avoiding all trailers and publicity materials is the only way to enjoy the show.

Once again, Bill shows her intelligence. She's wary about the house at first, and later figures out the twist in the Landlord's relationship. She also leads Shireen to safety most of the time - right up until Shireen stomps on a dryad, oops.

The relationship between Bill and the Doctor is also fascinating. Why on earth would Bill lie and tell everyone he's her grandfather? What's the point? Is it really so embarrassing to say, "He's been tutoring me and agreed to help me move"? I suppose it must be, but it still seems strange to me. Of course, the whole "grandfather" thing harkens back to Susan, whose photo is on the Doctor's desk. That makes it feel like some sort of tie-in that will have significance later. I half hope it doesn't, because I can only imagine the fannish rage at just about any way that turns out.

I also enjoyed the bit with Bill telling the Doctor that this is the part of her life that he's not in, and him ignoring her completely because he's well aware something's wrong. This comment is also why the housemates couldn't permanently die. It would have been far too much for her to lose them - the part of her life that isn't strange - with the Doctor involved. Fortunately, the "20 years to absorb their energy" nicely explains how Eliza can restore them. Not only are they not quite dead yet, but she's in complete control of the dryads.

The ending to the story is just a bit abrupt, and the Doctor's reaction is a little huffy. "Back to the estate agents" indeed. All of Bill's life is inside that collapsed heap - as well as the other students' belongings AND evidence of the murders of another 18 young people in the past. You'd think the Doctor would have some tiny bit of sympathy - even pretended - for all that.

Plenty of people have said plenty of things about the final scene with the Doctor and the vault - but now that I know he visits whatever is in there and brings it food, I'm not even going to guess because I'll be wrong. It's obvious what we're supposed to think, based on the music. I'll just say it's the Valeyard and leave it at that, since I know I'll be wrong anyway.

TL;DR summary - a nicely frightening episode with an abrupt ending and charming new characters.