Monday, May 08, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x04: "Knock Knock"

Written by Mike Bartlett
Directed by Bill Anderson

The Doctor: "Right you lot. Back to the estate agents. Better luck next time."

So far this series we've had space oil puddles, killer robots with emojis and a creature under the Thames but for something truly a little sinister, what about a hungry house that eats people? Oh, right, previously done about four series go with The Doctor's Wife but it's given another go with this spooky enough installment though.

When Bill isn't spending her days travelling with the Doctor in time and space, she's doing what every other student is doing and looking for somewhere to live. The opening scene sees Bill and her mate Shireen along with Harry, Pavel, Paul and Felicity all looking for the perfect place while the cute estate agent is showing them dump after dump.

Then steps in a rather odd looking Landlord, played by Poirot himself, David Suchet and all of a sudden, Bill and her new mates have all the answers to their prayers. They get to live in a lovely but creaky house and the rent is dirt cheap. Surely, they wouldn't be any kind of catch, right?

Of course there would be one and the episode didn't waste too much time in showing it as Pavel found himself being eaten by the wall and Bill's attempts of keeping the Doctor seperate from her housemates ended up with everyone trapped in the house and being picked off one by one by a group of woodlice like creatures named Dryads at the behest of Suchet's creepy Landlord.

Unlike last week where the death of a child stuck, while this episode did kill off Bill's housemates one by one  - Pavel, then Paul, then Felicity, then Shireen and finally Harry, by the end of the episode all of the above were brought back to life. That part is something we've seen a lot within Steven Moffat's era but it doesn't detract from the episode as such.

Another thing we've seen is the relationship between the Landlord and the rather wooden Eliza (Mariah Gale giving a more livelier performance though). At first we're meant to believe they're father and daughter but it's soon revealed that it's a mother/son dynamic the episode is working with and it's a pretty twisted one too.

The Landlord's determination to keep his mother alive at any cost ranged from being rather heartbreaking to utterly demented, given his willingness to murder innocent people in order to do it. I definitely think so far that Suchet has probably been the best utilised guest actor of the series and he certainly played a blinder in here with his scenes with Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie.

However while the episode might have reneged on the student deaths, both the Landlord, his mother and the house all came crumbling down, which means both Bill and her mates are back to square one looking for digs. Better luck next time, kids.

Outside of the main plot though, we got another brief Nardole moment where the Doctor gave him the night off so he could have takeaway with the prisoner in the Vault. At this rate, can we all just assume the prisoner is the Master/Missy and be happy that the next episode or two will have them break out of the Vault? Other than that, I'm still enjoying the mystery though.

- Harry (Colin Ryan) is actually the grandson of Harry Sullivan but the scene was cut from the episode itself, which seems odd considering the latter has been referenced in last series Zygon two parter.
- Did Bill lose all her belongings at the end? I loved the bit where she was talking to her mother's photo and letting Paul know she was gay when he tried to ask her out.
- There is a binaural version of this episode currently available on the BBC site.
- Were Little Mix sponsoring this episode because we got a lot of their music here? Don't worry, Bill, I kind of like them too.
- I'm thinking the mystery is less about who is in the Vault and more about why they're being kept in there to be honest.
- Chronology: Currently 2017 for this episode.

Knock Knock was creepy and atmospheric with some engaging guest characters and a lovely performance from David Suchet. While the resolution slightly lets things down a bit, it's still a strong one and I wouldn't be opposed to having Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett come back for another one.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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