Recent seasons of ‘Doctor Who’ have usually contained one full-on “scary” episode, where the monster-of-the-week vibe gets ratcheted up significantly in the fear factor – and this week’s episode seems to serve that purpose! We’ve got lots of tense moments and a mini-cliffhanger at every commercial break… so, the real question is: did “Knock Knock” live up to the hype? Read on to find out!
WARNING: Spoilers for this episode of ‘Doctor Who’ lie ahead, obviously. If you haven’t seen the episode and don’t wish for any of its content to be spoiled for you, the time to turn back is NOW!
RECAP: In last week’s episode, Nardole admonished the Doctor for going off-world and reminded him of his promise to remain on Earth. Here, then, we are given a story that takes place entirely on our own planet, and in the present day. Bill and her college friends are looking for a new place to live, but are having quite a bit of trouble finding one, on their student budgets. Enter a mysterious landlord, who offers a too-good-to-be-true spacious old home at a great price. Unsurprisingly, the six students sign their leases, no questions asked – and without reading the fine print.
Soon enough, however, odd things start to happen in the house, and Bill’s friends start disappearing – into the walls! It’s up to the Doctor, who has swung by for a visit, to help Bill figure out the mystery of the house, the sketchy landlord, and the locked-off home’s tower, before they all become the next feast for the ravenous domicile.
- This is the third consecutive week of Matt Lucas’ Nardole appearing in only one or two very short scenes. For someone who gets billing as a “main character” in the opening credits, we’re certainly not seeing very much of him, although the previews for next week’s episode, “Oxygen,” seem to indicate that this matter should be rectified soon.
- Bill calls the good Doctor “grandfather” so many times in this episode that it’s darn near impossible to miss the point here: it certainly seems like showrunner Stephen Moffat is working overtime to build the connection between Pearl Mackie’s companion and that of Susan, the first companion of the very First Doctor. As you may remember, we’ve seen Susan’s picture prominently featured on the Doctor’s desk in the opening episode of the season – and since Susan was (is) the Doctor’s grand-daughter, she would surely spend a lot of time calling him “grandfather” as well…
- It’s pretty plain that the regeneration writing is clearly on the wall for Peter Capaldi. Now, obviously we know that this is his last season portraying the good Doctor, but our clues as to how he will be going out and the next iteration of the Doctor will be coming in has been understandably vague up to this point. Between the odd pauses he takes during his conversation with Bill about regeneration and the fact that he himself says that regeneration goes hand-in-hand with being hungry pretty much while ordering take-out food, it’s clear that “the end” is on his mind – if it hasn’t started already, of course.
- The concept of wooden aliens or “bad guys” isn’t new to the franchise – but to be fair, when you’ve been telling stories for 50-plus years, truly original ideas to become to be a bit hard to come by. In 2011, the Eleventh Doctor went up against the Androzani, a race of sentient trees, in “The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe,” and back in 2005 the Ninth Doctor made a new friend in Jabe, a sentient tree of a different race, in the second episode of the revived series, “The End of the World.”
- The sub-plot saga of “the vault” continues, with establishing shots of the Doctor not only recognizing who is in the vault, but with him also opening it (counter-intuitive to the last two episodes of him “working” with Nardole to try and unlock the vault) and going in for a visit with whomever is inside. Who could it be? Initial signs seem to point towards one of the two incarnations of The Master, whom we know we will be seeing later this season – but rarely does DW and its creative team ever make things so simple. Don’t forget that bit I said earlier about keeping Susan in mind…
CLOSING THOUGHTS: A decently strong episode with a bit of a convenient “out” to keep the periphery characters safe (yes, the house and the dryads “devoured” Bill’s friends, but then conveniently “restored” them at the end of the episode), “Knock Knock” keeps the good times rolling for the Doctor and Bill, two characters that are making a strong connection. Too bad, then, that it seems to be happening just in time for Bill to get used to a new face on the good Doctor…
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Peter Capaldi as the Doctor
Bill Mackie as Pearl
Matt Lucas as Nardole
Tony Schaab rolls his eyes when he hears kids reference a screen-cap of the original NES Super Mario game as a “Minecraft Mario” – you damn kids, get off my lawn! A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Twitter or follow him on Facebook to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.