Saturday, May 6, 2017

Knock Knock, Doctor Who's There?

OoooOOOohh. Haven't had a haunted house story in a while.

Bill's wardrobe never ceases to confuse me. Horizontal pastel stripes and overalls? The more I see of it, the more I'm convinced she's out of her own time stream, and she's supposed to be from the Eighties. Her soundtrack motif is growing on me, though; it's cute and simple.

The Doctor brought up Regeneration, and I think he's getting her ready for his. The next Doctor has already been cast, in case you haven't heard: it's the gobby one from Love, Actually. The 'bo'ol' one that picks up Americans with his accent. I'm not sure about that choice.

The basic premise of the episode starts off simply enough: a group of students, Bill included, are looking for a cheap house and find a giant old mansion at a suspiciously cheap rate.  In the stinger, one student is... affected by the house, and more follow shortly. After helping Bill move in, the Doctor notices something off about the house and stays to investigate. Upon meeting the landlord, the Doctor noticeably interposes himself between the landlord and the students, perhaps telegraphing the climax of the episode.
There's a draft.
Bill continues to shine. I really like the way they're writing her character; she's not smug or overly clever, but she thinks very logically, and they show it off in her actions, instead of her words or by having other people tell us how good she is. This is very important, as one of the reasons a lot of people were unfortunately turned off to Clara (pre-timeline crisis) was that she was quite smug, and everyone around her was telling us how important she was, as opposed to her just showing it.

I would ask Bill not to sit on the TARDIS console anymore, though. Butt-dialing a TARDIS sounds incredibly dangerous.

The guest cast is serviceable, even if (in the immortal words of Supergirl's Cat Grant) they "look like the attractive yet non-threatening, racially diverse cast of a CW show." with two varieties of Asian (one of them a woman) and a Russian. No one else really stands out, aside from the sinister Landlord.

The "monster" of the week is quite well done, also. Excellent make-up work, if not the first time we've seen someone made of her... materials.

Finally, it doubles as a torch. 
Nazghul Nardole makes a brief appearance near the end of the episode. It seems his only real function is to say a few snarky lines, chastise the Doctor, and walk off-screen, as it's all he's been doing recently. He could have been removed entirely from the scene and it would have suffered none for it. Capaldi has proven previously that he can carry an entire episode on his own, let alone one scene per episode. Nardole just feels unnecessary so far.

So, the vault in the university basement. We know there's someone in there now, someone who can play the piano and likes scary stories, if not Mexican food. Someone who considers themselves a prisoner. I have two theories on this:
  • Theory one is that Twelve is making good on Ten's promise, and has caught Missy and is holding her. 
  • Theory two is that, pursuant to the rumours of John Simm's Master returning, that he's holding him as a contingency plan against her return.

This wasn't a bad episode, overall, but neither was it a stand-out. The pacing is weird; my timer says the episode is 44 minutes, but it feels like it hits its peak very quickly and is maybe half that in length. Ironically, for a show about time travel, it feels much shorter than it really is. While there's a few key elements in the over-arching mystery of the vault in the University basement, there's not much that happens during this episode, and if you had to skip one so far, this would be the one. Expect my opinion on this to change next week, as the trailer shows that the annoying bald one goes with them on their next adventure and will likely have more screen time.

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