BIG FAT SPOILERS – SERIOUSLY
Seems to be a theme in this series, doesn’t it?
That and malfunctioning tech.
We’ve had murderous/loving sentient oil, killer emojibots and the nano swarm chomping people to the bone, fish things eating people and now bizarre extra-dimensional woodlice absorbing people into the woodwork for later consumption… It’s all pointing to The Master’s last appearance, isn’t it? You know, when he ate an entire hotdog van (or at least it’s contents, including the people) and then had to watch him scarf an entire roast turkey in about 8 seconds.
We know The Master is coming back, but is this foreshadowing as subtle as it thinks it is?
Moreover, the number of clues about the Susan/Grandfather relationship has reached slap in the face with a wet fish levels. To whit:
“The Doctor. He’s my Grandad.”
“Oh, come on. Father at least.”
I’m almost certain that Susan is going to turn up. Unless I’m being fed a line. Which is more than possible.
But how does “Knock Knock” stand up as an individual episode? Well. It was good.
I believe this is known as damning it with feint praise but despite being well made, well acted and having the required amount of fun, it never really wowed. The action didn’t really have peaks and troughs, it was just sort of… there. Sure, there was some tension and one or two decent scares – which I will readily admit where enhanced but the subtle yet sumptuous binaural sound – but it bimbled along without much in the way of urgency or drama, despite all the running around and screaming. The problem, I think is that once you had seen the victim half absorbed into the wall, there was nowhere else to go. You knew what would happen to the other tenants and quelle surprise, it did.
I was half expecting this to be the next ‘Blink’, but it fell a bit short of that. Again, I can’t stress enough that it is actually a good episode. Just unremarkable. A bit like 42 in Tennant’s run as the Doctor. Lot’s or running about and weirdness but… so what?
It didn’t help that the ending restored all the recent victims. It seemed like a colossal waste of time with any emotional punch it might have had evaporating as we watched.
Naturally, there were a lot of similar stories in the Who canon and elsewhere. Knock Knock shares DNA with Psycho (although there’s a neat twist there) Black Orchid (Davison) and The Unicorn and The Wasp (Tennant), The Xmas episode withe the human trees (Smith), Horror of Fang Rock (Baker, T) but most obviously Ghostlight (McCoy). Fang Rock is famous for being the story where no one but the Doctor and the companion survive. I thought this was going to happen here for a moment but where they were quite happy to kill of a cheeky child last week, half a dozen obnoxious teens got resurrected.
Bills Housemates were largely forgettable, Bill was wonderful again and her dismissal and mocking of the Time Lords is probably another pointer toward things as yet unseen. It’s annoying that after some rocky seasons, Capaldi is finally beginning to seem relaxed as the Doctor. His personality has mostly been at odds with his scripts but, rather too late, the two are meshing beautifully. If the quality of this season continues, it will be genuinely sad to see him go. I’m just hoping the season doesn’t revert to the dreaded w*bbly-w*bbly t*mey-w*mey bullshit again.
But stand out performance is David Suchet as The Landlord who, naturally, harbours a very particular secret and an almost carnal love of wood panelling. Measured and deeply creepy.
If you get a chance, check out the binaural version on iPlayer. Plug in your headphones and marvel at the 3-D sound. Atmospheric as all hell. Shame it can’t be transmitted live but there was, oddly enough, a marked improvement in sound quality with this episode. Crystal clear.
Knock Knock is a mixed bag. Nothing is bad and I did enjoy it but it’s probably the beigest episode of Doctor Who ever.
And then there was that enormous takeaway he brought back for what-lurks-in-the-vault. We’re back to hunger again, aren’t we…