Saturday, May 6, 2017

Doctor Who--"Knock Knock"

      It is amazing how a stellar ending can change my opinion on an episode. As I watched the first 3/4ths of “Knock Knock,” I joked it was Doctor Who on Valium. I can appreciate a slow build up of tension when there actually is a slow build up of tension and not a lot of plodding around waiting for something—anything—to happen. I still consider the glacial story pacing in the beginning a detriment, but the but the end was quite redeeming.
      Bill and five of her friends are looking for a new place to live. They decide to rent an old house for cheap based on the recommendation of the landlord. The doctor helps Bill move, but becomes wary of the house's odd creaking noises. For good reason, too. Once everyone I inside, the doors become sealed and alien insects crawl out the walls to devour victims. The landlord says he needs their lives to keep his daughter Eliza alive. Mercy, mercy...it takes a long time to reach this point.
      When we do reach this point, Eliza is revealed to be completely made of wood. The special effects are fantastic. Eliza's appearance is incredibly creepy. The creepiness factor is ramped up because she is a soft spoken, tragic figure. She is also not the landlord's daughter, but his mother. He has been luring people to the house to keep her alive for decades out of guilt over infecting her with the alien insects as a child. Eliza takes control of the insects and uses them to consume both herself and her son while simultaneously restoring Bill' friends. Everyone escapes before the house collapses on itself.
    Whoever or whatever is in the vault plays the piano and has a fairly good relationship with the Doctor as they dine together at the end.
      It feels odd there are no references t the sonic screwdriver being useless against wood considering Eliza was made entirely out of wood. T is also odd the landlord is never named. His actually relationship with Eliza is said to be lost with time. Leaving these two points blank seem like peculiar omissions, but since I am only lukewarm on the episode in general, I will resist piling on.
      So I am down on the slow pacing in the beginning of “Knock Knock.” emphasizing bill's relationships with her friends was an effort to humanize her a bit. The move was probably necessary since since she hit the ground running as a companion. But I already liked her, so I really did not need it. The story could have ramped up much faster. But I was impressed with the special effects fr the insect swarms and Eliza. They do not completely save “Knock knock,' but they are neat to see.
      Rating: ** (out of)

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