The past few years I’ve noticed a formula to the kind of episodes we’re treated to – there always seems to be one haunted house story, (Hide) and one zombies in spacesuits episode (Silence in the Library) so it was no surprise that Doctor Who S10E04 revisited the location for one thousand and one Scooby-Doo adventures.
What was surprising about “Knock Knock” was the ruthless efficiency with which it set up the story… in under two minutes we, Bill Potts and our Red Shirts were unsafely ensconced with the spooky halls of the Blink-like haunted house, and there we stayed for almost the duration.
Granted, if Better Call Saul or The Leftovers had set up so much information at such breakneck speed, I’d be howling blue-bloody-murder, but this is showrunner Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who S10E04, it’s 2017 and it’s… ya know – for kids.
Since this post is mainly about the above video, instead of a traditional review, I’ll quickly run through the episode…
After Bill, her slightly annoying mate Shireen and four newbies get suckered into moving into David Suchet’s 1930’s mansion…
it’s not long before things start coming out of the woodwork – and for once, I’m not dealing with metaphor. Look!
Alien Lice that The Doctor instinctively nicknames Dryads (and are straight out of The Mummy) are eating the new flatmates.
As the newbies are picked off one-by-one, it turns out that every twenty years, the septuagenarian has been luring kids to stay in his mansion with cheap rent, then feeding those the yoof-speaking kidz of the day (2017 millennials, 1997 Britpoppers, 1977 punks and 1957 daddio’s) to the roach horde to save his dying daughter.
Only she wasn’t his daughter, she was his mother, the roaches had been keeping her alive since the 1940’s and she was made of wood.
Knock Knock was a well-crafted story, even if it relied on the over-used DW trope of someone utilising an “evil” act in the name of love to keep a loved one from dying. David Suchet was equal parts odd and creepy and the practical effects were great.
The wooden daughter looked brilliant, as did the guy trapped in the wood (above) It’s a shame the same cannot be said for the digital FX.
The most wooden thing about this episode which I would have called “Knock on Wood” was Shireen and her colleague’s acting skills.
One thing we must not forget as couchpotato adults, TV geeks, story analysists and what-not. Doctor Who is a kids’ show. It airs at 7pm on a Saturday on the BBC and, for fifty something years, one of its main aims is to send kids running behind sofas.
If I was six years old, this episode would have successfully scared the bejeezus outta me! As it was, Doctor Who S10E04 just had me screaming “I want my mummy!” – No, not that kind of mummy, silly!
But what was outstanding was how tight those opening scenes were. 10/10 for their non-profligacy, 7/10 for the rest of episode.
Doctor Who returns next week with outer space some zombies in spacesuits!