It’s late, I know. And ACTUALLY late, not just in the same week, but not as timely as I’d like late. NEVER MIND. Let’s cast our minds back a week and a bit to what was at the time MAYBE my new fav episode of the series. But now it has definitely settled down just a tad behind Thin Ice, and the DELIGHTFUL Oxygen, which will have its own post VERY SHORTLY. Onwards!
- If there’s one thing I have fond memories of, it’s looking for accommodation at uni. DEAR GOD IT IS THE WORST. Thus there was massive sympathy during the opening section.
- WHY WOULD YOU TRUST POIROT? I mean, yes, he’s Poirot, but also he’s some dude who turns up outside your estate agent’s to be SLIGHTLY CREEPY. But also, students.
- I like we get Bill hesitating, as though she senses a glimmer of BAD PLAN in agreeing to lease a creaky old house from scary Poirot. I WOULD TOO.
- OLD WORLDE MUSIC, by which I mean a record player. I wonder if any parents had to explain what that was to their kids.
- Mike Bartlett is new to writing for Doctor Who. But he wrote Doctor Foster, which I watched AT LEAST twenty minutes of and didn’t hate; my boredom threshold for non-genre telly is not great alas. BUT ALSO King Charles III which is currently on the iPlayer and which I think is a STUPENDOUS work. Very recced.
- Bill looks absurdly cute this ep, with that outfit and her up-do. It is lovely. Not as good at 19th cent garb obv, but still.
- Also cute is the Doctor helping her move her stuff. HOW FAR WE’VE COME SINCE SEASON ONE. He wouldn’t even stay for a meal then. And the Doctor being lovely as Twelve is mostly Clara’s fault, let us not forget. I do love how earned the easy relationship between the Doctor and Bill feels.
- Also, the exposition this ep for NEW VIEWERS was delightful. This TARDIS scene where it’s all Time Lords and giant collars is MARVELLOUS. And the Doctor’s awkwardness re regeneration is a little bit heart-wrenching. WHY MUST YOU LEAVE, CAPALDI?
- ”I’m a Time Lord… my people, my species.” AHA. Okay, so there is a small, tiny little contretemp in Who fandom re Time Lords. Species? Or title? I’ve always ascribed to the species answer as that’s obviously what it is on the telly, but PSEUDOCANONICAL SOURCES OF DUBIOUS MERIT have attempted to contradict this CLEAR FACTOID. Anyway, telly is right, and telly wins, and I get FAN POINTS OF IMAGINARY VALUE for being right about a made-up thing.
- “Sleep’s for tortoises.” MEH. TALONS REF. I don’t like Talons.
- “He’s just my…Grandad.” ALL OF THIS IS DELIGHTFUL. And between this and the Susan photo on the desk I am full of RIDIC FAN THEORIES. EVERYTHING ABOUT THE DOCTOR HERE IS PERFECT.
- I learned from somewhere this week that Harry in the house was meant to be Harry Sullivan’s grandson. I WISH THIS WAS EXPLICIT. It would be the loveliest. But even so, it is still VERY LOVELY. Harry is great; don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
- Awkward Scottish boy flirting amuses me; I have met that guy. I mean, not *that* guy. But guys like that.
- Tower! Ah, I do love all the Gothic window dressing this ep.
- A part of the reason I find this ep quite so creepy is I live in a creaky house, that has a not insignificant amount of wood about. I am sitting next to the window in my study RIGHT NOW, and it is all wood panels below the window.
- “Landline? What is this, Scotland?” OH I WILL MISS THE SCOTTISH AGENDA. I can’t call anyone from the room I now sit in cause the mobile signal is dodgy. But the Internets are EXCELLENT.
- Some nice noise ramping up before they discover the Doctor. It’s SUFFICIENTLY OBV that we’re meant to be tense that I was TOTALLY FINE at this bit cause I knew it’d be a NICE THING WE FOUND and not a scare. This exposition on the house’s age is smashing, and I wondered if it was a house lost in time or frozen in time or some shit like that; the truth in that aspect of things is slightly more mundane, but it’s nicely atmospheric and sort of misdirection that also fits the truth.
- “Didn’t hear you come in.” Another EXCELLENT bit of misdirection; Poirot is very quiet and almost mysteriously appears and disappears NOT UNLIKE A GHOST. So I did wonder about that too. But no, he’s just WORRYINGLY SOFT-FOOTED.
- “How do you get into the tower?” “You DON’T.” That really is beautiful little moment; the genial if weird landlord becomes all steel and scariness.
- Also his constant references to the contract made me think it might be more than it was, but also if you’re routinely committing a mass murder, you probably like it all done neatly and in a certain way. At least that’s what telly’s taught me.
- “Who’s the Prime Minister?” THAT WAS JUST GREAT TOO. It’s very Doctorishly clever while fitting in with suspicions raised so far that the house is out of time AND there’s a Harriet Jones mention, rah!
- Now I don’t want to be a nerd about this, but we get four PMs mentioned. Three real: Thatcher, Wilson, and Heath. HOWEVER, there was an unnamed female PM in Terror of the Zygons from 1975 – four years before Thatcher became PM and smack dab in the middle of Wilson’s very short tenure as premier. So when was Wilson PM? Or was Zygons still slightly in the future? IN THE SAME AREA, we had “Jeremy” as PM in 1973’s Green Death, which was in the middle of HEATH’S Premiership, and Jeremy was a reference to Jeremy Thorpe, Leader of the Liberals at the time(IE HILARIOUS POLITICAL JOKE IN SEVENTIES BRITAIN OK?) OR, and this is much more likely, no-one cares and this is ridiculously trivial. BUT IT BOTHERS ME.
- Joke argh noises turning to real argh noises VERY SCARY DO NOT WANT. But also do want. Such is the conundrum of watching horror.
- I like the symmetry of discovery: Bill and her companion go up to the tower and find stuff out; the Doctor and companion descend to the cellar and find stuff out.
- The door not being a door but SEALED and the windows being NOT WINDOWS ANYMORE is actual nightmare I’ve had. I blame The Matrix.
- The claustrophobic leaping through the window lass is my favourite. UNJUST that she gets caught after EPIC LEAP and SENSIBLE CALLING FOR HELP.
- The face half-consumed by the wood is delightful nightmare fuel. THE EYES MOVE. But they are white. CAN HE SEE? IS HE AWARE? We don’t know, but either answer really isn’t nice.
- I am ALMOST DISAPPOINTMENT we didn’t actually get dryads.
- There is a bit where Capaldi spins around after the insects come out of the wall and it is just SUCH a Hartnell expression on his face. This being Capaldi, I don’t doubt it’s deliberate. It was Most Yayful.
- The reveal of the SECRET IN THE TOWER is super: the problem with this sort of thing is you can either keep it vague and mysterious, which I find essentially unsatisfying, or you can really stick the landing on THE REVEAL, and make everything meh with an uninteresting explanation. The explanation here is fine, I don’t object, but what SELLS IT is the truly fantastic make-up work done on Eliza. It’s thrillingly unnerving.
- So another human villain. Interesting to compare one’s reaction between last week’s also human villain, and this week’s.
- The Doctor and Bill piecing together the story together utilising their very different perspectives and making Bill look clever without requiring the Doctor to be stupid is smashing too. I like that we have a child taking care of their parent, rather than the other way round, which is the more regular way of things. And partic love that she kills her son in order to save everyone. There’s a DELIGHTFUL amount of social pressure put on mothers that they must SACRIFICE ALL for their children (whereas fathers who do the bare minimum get praise for how great they are, whatev). So I find it most satisfying to have a mother kill her son for the greater good. It’s dark and twisted and Gothic, course, but very good telly.
- COMPLETELY FINE that the housemates are returned at the end. I didn’t expect them to come back, so it was extra yay for me, BUT ALSO if they had all died, too dark, man. Way too dark for Bill and what how we’ve seen her react to death so far. It would do weird stuff to her character.
- “You don’t have to go to outer space to find monsters. There’re plenty of things that want to kill you right here on Earth.” STOP GIVING NARDOLE GOOD LINES THAT MAKE ME NOT DISLIKE HIM.
- And the Vault! The most enticing scene yet, and such a clear indication that the Master is in there that I VERY MUCH WANT IT TO BE A BLUFF.
- In conclusion, that was super. Eight out of ten Gothic houses doomed to disintegrate.
2 thoughts on “Doctor Who – Knock, Knock”
OH GOD what if the oddness of the PM list is because the Mondas theory is right, and Mondas didn’t have the exact same PMs as Earth?
Re: ASB (Awkward Scottish Boy) How tall is PC? Because ASB positively TOWERED over him and I felt he must be close to 7 feet tall. That’s a lot of Awkward.
Re: Leaping Lass… sorta glad and sorta disappointed she didn’t call the police FROM THE GIANT POLICE BOX AT THE GATE because crap signal, right? Or was that only inside the house? Like the dead not coming back would hurt Bill’s character; if LL had noticed the TARDIS: complications.