Bill is back to her normal life, but she soon finds out that, somehow, once you’ve befriended the Doctor, even your normal life becomes dangerous and alien. Knock Knock was a really great, self-contained story, let’s take a closer look!
Bill is moving in with some friends and they’ve found the perfect house – so what if it’s strangely cheap to rent, and the landlord is a little creepy?
The wind blows, the floorboards creak, and the Doctor thinks something is very wrong. What lurks in the strange tower at the heart of the building – and why can’t they find any way to enter it?
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
“That house is clearly haunted, I mean just look at it!”
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) – A perfectly normal university staff member… Who once travelled in time and space… and is an alien. Other than that, normal.
Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) – After some “fun” times in the TARDIS, going to the future and the past, Bill is settling back into her normal life… because that always goes well!
The Landlord (David Suchet) – Creepy man who leads children to his gingerbread house in order to eat them… or something close to that, anyway…
Eliza (Mariah Gale) – Wooden woman who is oblivious to the bizarre life she leads… somehow.
“I am the Landlord, and you. will. obey. me!”
Once Bill, the five students and The Doctor begin to stay the night the episode soon drips in atmosphere. Cliché creepy house atmosphere, but it still works. The students slowly being killed (seemingly) by the house itself was well done as well, and added to the tension.
The overall storyline, which sees Eliza being ill long ago, and The Landlord (as he presumably wasn’t called back then) as a child brings his mother a gift that turns out to be alien termites that turn her mother into wood in order to keep her alive. Landlord then begins to feed tenants to the alien termites (who the Doctor names Dryads) every 20 years in order to keep them, and therefore his mother, alive. It’s a strange one, but it really worked in the reveal, especially Mr. Landlord breaking down and acting like a spoiled child, showing how growing up isolated in the house with his mother has lead him to never actually grow up. Eliza soon realises what horrible things she has unwittingly done and kills herself and her son in order to end it. It’s a bizarre and tragic tale that was fun to see unfold.
For a bunch of 20 something actors and actresses, the students could have been cringey and take the story down a few pegs, but thankfully they were all good, played their roles well, and didn’t bring any scenes down.
Awww. How touching….
So the five students, all of whom have either been devoured by alien termites or absorbed into the walls, are (somehow) restored to life at the end. A little bit of a cop out, but whatever. What I don’t get is as they run out of the house and see it collapse, they complain that they’ll have to find somewhere else to live now, not even in a jokey way… I can only assume they don’t have any memory of what happened to them? Otherwise it really cut away all the danger and tension we just watched for 40 odd minutes…
Although the spooky old house made me think of the 7th Doctor classic “Ghostlight”, it actually doesn’t have anything else to do with it. Likewise the 11th Doctor story “Hide” is similarly a riff on the old haunted house theme, but not much else is actually a continuity reference.
The mysterious Vault is once again featured at the end of the episode, it has been a running theme throughout the series so far…
“Ha! What a funny series this “The Thick of it” is… Good lead actor, too…”
A really good story in the end. Atmospheric, a good sci-fi plot and some great acting from the leads and David Suchet (unsurprisingly, from what I hear), and even the student cast was good enough. A highly recommended stand-alone episode!