Friday, 2 June 2017

Articles Welcome to Issue 48 - Torchwood - The Blood Line

Issue 48 – The Blood Line

Contents Guide

Articles
Cover, Editor Note and Contents
Episode Breakdown: The Blood Line

Who Reviews
Revenge of the Cybermen
Planet of the Daleks
Pyramid at the End of the World
Oxygen
Extremis
Knock Knock
42
Crimson Horror

Connections
Dalziel and Pascoe

Fans Fiction
Mitchell: Part 4

TW Reviews
Corpse Day

Locations
Fragments & Exit Wounds
(late entry)

Editor Note

It has been a long journey with regards to the Episode Breakdowns. Three years in fact, and it’s nice in a way to see them at an end. They are by far the longest articles in any Issue, and take anything up to 12 hours to complete. From transcripts broken down, action added, and the entire article shortened from 20 pages down to between 7 – 10, that does take a fair bit of commitment, so it’s no wonder I tend to leave it till the last possible moment – minutes in fact before the impending deadline. I do from time to time tell myself that I MUST start these earlier, and for a good few times I have but, life tends to get in the way, and while you take a break to enjoy a few weeks of blissful freedom, it soon catches up with you, and before you know it, it’s back around again, and panic, Panic, PANIC!

We have new ideas for the next issues, although it may take some time to put them into action, so perhaps the next few will be more reviews and hopefully some great interviews.

Moving house can certainly take its toll on your creativity and it’s taking me a fair bit of time to get back in my stride. Eight weeks in and I’m still nowhere near finishing the painting or stripping of wallpaper, and it doesn’t help that nobody can mind the Weevil while I do this. We’ve had a few offers of help now and then, but when it comes down to it, Gwen would much rather watch Rhys’ socks dry than come and touch up the glossing. And I did offer her as much beer as she could drink!

This month sees a lot of Who reviews from Jeff and Tony, with The Doctor providing the final instalment of locations from Series 2 of Torchwood. Mitchell is back for Part 4, and Jack has a visit from an old friend.

If you like what we do, then please, please comment below our articles, we’d love to hear from you. And even if there are things in the articles you don’t agree with, I know you’re sure to apply the fingers to the keyboard and post up a few comments.

Some of our articles, 42, Crimson Horror, and The Doctor’s Season 2 Torchwood locations, are running late.
We’re also experiencing a technical hitch with our front cover, but all will be updated as soon as possible. So not wishing to delay the launch any longer…

Welcome to Issue 48 – The Blood Line


~Jack~

Who Reviews Revenge of the Cybermen by Tony J Fyler


Revenge of the Cybermen

Tony Fyler digs out a golden oldie.


What can you say about Revenge of the Cybermen? In the age of million-strong CG Cyber-armies marching in unison across any vista you choose to name, the image of Revenge’s handful of redesigned (no, really, they made them look like that) 70s Cybermen, stooping to get through airlock doors and frankly prannying about in Wookey Hole almost makes you want to ruffle Revenge’s hair and send it out to play with a biscuit.

But that’s retrospect for you. At the time, Revenge of the Cybermen was a relatively big deal – it would set the seal on Tom Baker’s first season as the Doctor, with his inherited companions and largely inherited format. More importantly, it would be one last opportunity to impress on the audience how different this Doctor was from the suave Jon Pertwee incarnation. And oh yes – it would bring back the Cybermen for the first time in five years, giving the logic-driven cyborgs their first outing since the show went into colour.

The title made no bones about what we could expect. In a rare move for Cyber-stories, it put the Cybermen right up there to make you tune in and keep you watching – in exactly the same faintly cynical way that almost evvvvvery Dalek story has ever done. If you have a major star monster, almost the whole point of using them was to shout about it and get people to watch – especially in the pre-video days when if you missed it on its single transmission, that was it, you’d missed it (weep for us old fogeys, my Who-children).

What followed was sadly all faintly familiar from the black and white days. Mysterious plague in a base under siege - oh look, there’s a Cybermat. Not that the title left any room for suspense in any case, but if it had, that was that element blown. Then there’s the overly complicated plot. The Cybermen have a real bee in their handle-headed bonnets about Voga, the planet of gold, because gold in the chest unit suffocates them, and people had used Voga’s gold to invent the fabulously camp-sounding glitter gun, and so almost wiped them out in a great war. So…logically…the thing to do before embarking on a grand second campaign is to blow the bejeesus out of Voga before you start.

So, erm, why poison the crew of the space station that orbits Voga? Ah, well you have to do that so you can have three humans left to carry bombs down a shaft made by the exographer-turned-traitor Kellman, and blow the planet to bits. Naturally.

Except of course Kellman, like all good traitors, is actually working for a power-hungry faction among the Cybermen’s enemies, the Vogans, who aim to get the Cybermen all nice and comfy on the space station – and then blow them out of the sky forever with a big rocket. Despite the Cybermen having a spaceship of their own, to which they could simply return when they saw the rocket coming, and handily naff off, avoiding the impact.
It’s important to realise that a) this was a Gerry Davis script, and it probably wasn’t the one he had in mind – it has since come to light that he’d pitched a Cyber-origin story, somewhere between Genesis of the Daleks and Big Finish’s Spare Parts, and b) the production team themselves weren’t particularly happy with the result. But with a budget blown on outside filming for the Sontaran Experiment and the realisation that the Invasion’s Cyber-suits would never pass muster in the age of colour, meaning a need to make new ones, the team were stuck with having to base a story largely on The Ark In Space’s set, and that was that.

Revenge was essentially a Second Doctor story that needed maybe one or two more edits if it had any hope of making sense. It never got them.
But once you accept that the story’s going to make very little sense – once you’ve learned to love Revenge of the Cybermen and stop worrying – its riches do appear, glittering like the planet of gold itself (Yes, yes, I’m aware that Voga never actually glittered and looked like the inhospitable lump of rock that is Wookey Hole, but you get the idea).

In the first place, Revenge of the Cybermen marks a definite shift in the Cybermen’s portrayal on screen. After their first deeply odd but distinctly humanoid vocal performance in The Tenth Planet, they had always been voiced by some seriously modulated machine-noise. Revenge is the first time since The Tenth Planet that you could recognise the human in their speech. This led, naturally (however contentiously) to Cybermen who could show emotion. The Cyber Leader in Revenge (which is also the first instance of marking the Leader out with black handles) sounds positively cruel and gloating when he tells Sarah-Jane that she will have “a closer view” of the impact when the station crashes into Voga in Episode four. It might seem naff in context, but these two things would go on to define the Cybermen through to the end of the Classic era (as the Fifth Doctor comments in Earthshock, the Leader he encounters sounds positively flippant. And you could understand him when he was.)

The double-agent betraying the Cybermen plot would also go on to be lifted practically wholesale for Attack of the Cybermen, with Lytton taking the place of Kellman, the Cryons taking the place of the Vogans, and the Cybermen, for *cough, cough* scientific reasons, still intent on blowing up a planet (albeit in the second outing, their adopted home world, Telos). The whole ‘Cybermen defeated by gold’ thing that now seems such a fundamental part of their make-up was only brought in in Revenge of the Cybermen, Davis writing in an Achilles heel that would go on to become so much a part of their inevitable defeat that, by the time Ace was killing them, Dennis the Menace style with a catapult and some gold coins in Silver Nemesis, it became an almost pantomime weakness. Not so in Revenge though, where for reasons that continue to make no sense, the Vogans don’t appear to have any gold-based weapons that would be effective against the Cybermen, and the Doctor and Harry ultimately fail to get gold dust into the Cyber chest-units and instead have to leg it.

But despite these important steps in Cyber development – humanoid voices, traces of emotion, gold, the black-handled Leader – perhaps the ultimate legacy of Revenge of the Cybermen isn’t to do with their development at all. Watch it again, and see Tom Baker fly in his interpretation of the Doctor. In terms of a barnstorming first season, it’s been a hard one to beat, lining up old returning enemies alongside some new classic foes, but Baker in Revenge is positively masterful – and occasionally scary. Watch him prepare to deliberately infect Kellman with the ‘plague’ to get information and you remember that this is your Doctor, technically torturing a man, there on screen. We’re not in safe Jon Pertwee territory anymore, boys and girls. Hear him rant to the Cyber Leader about how the Cybermen “have no home planet, no influence, nothing! You’re just a pathetic bunch of tin soldiers skulking around the galaxy in the remains of an ancient spaceship,” and you hear an alien disdain that certainly hadn’t been part of the character’s make-up since before we’d learned he was actually an alien. Watch the scene in the caves where he roars “HARRY SULLIVAN IS AN IMBECILE!” before falling immediately unconscious, and once you’ve stopped laughing, try imagining that coming out of any other Doctor’s mouth. It’s a moment of delicious Bakerness that no-one before him would ever have attempted. Watch him in the caves, declaring that his idea is better than that of his fellow walking bombs. When challenged as to what his idea actually is, his response sets the Modus Operandi not only for this Doctor, but for many to come – “That’s the trouble with ideas – they only happen a bit at a time.” The “Thing In Progress” is born right there in Revenge of the Cybemen.

Ultimately, Revenge of the Cybermen is frequently overlooked, and often suffers by comparison to stories that no-one has seen in their entirety for decades thanks to the wiping of episodes in the sixties (meaning people make up the visuals for themselves and blow themselves away). But on rewatching, it adds substantively to our understanding of what the character of the Doctor is allowed to be, with Baker in fantastic form, and, despite being utterly typical of the sixties Cyber-stories that preceded it, and consigning them to on-screen absence for another eight years, it lays the groundwork for the evolution of the Cybermen throughout the 80s, acting as a blueprint for the Cybermen that a whole generation remember as a favourite Doctor Who monster. 

Who Reviews Planet of the Daleks by Tony J Fyler


Planet of the Daleks

Tony Fyler goes Dalek-hunting.


There are writers who, when you turn to their Doctor Who work, have a series of ‘tells,’ marks that the work belongs to them. The six episodes before Planet of the Daleks, by Malcolm Hulke, had described the arc of a tense, slightly terse and sweaty political thriller, with a key theme that things that looked like monsters did not necessarily behave like monsters, and things that were human were not necessarily magnanimous good guys – a theme familiar from his script for The Silurians.

Planet of the Daleks, the second six episodes of what was at least in theory a continuing story, was put into the hands of Terry Nation, the Daleks’ storytelling Davros, and from the moment you understand that, you can pretty much play Nation Bingo with the story. You’re going to get a story with a good bit of faffing about in a jungle, some creepy plants, some equally creepy Somethings following the companion, who turn out not to be creepy after all, some Thal good guys, and the Daleks up to something horrible and nefarious. In essence, it’s the same plot as The Dead Planet. Change jungles to quarries and lose the Thals and you can pick up the idea in Death To The Daleks. Take it on a little further and it’s not a million miles from Genesis of the Daleks – Nation was something of what could be called a plot ecologist, in that he believed in recycling as much as possible.

What’s interesting is that if you ask most people who haven’t seen it recently, they’d naturally assume that Planet of the Daleks was a reasonably straightforward four-parter. It feels linear enough to be that short (short in Jon Pertwee terms, in any case), and the main highlights make for a great four-parter. The fact that it’s actually a six-parter means there’s plenty of time for faffing about in jungles, creepy plants, equally creepy Somethings following the companion, Thal good guys and the Daleks doing something horrible and nefarious. If that sounds flippant, it’s missed its mark – if you’re ever forced to wonder what it is about Jo Grant that makes her such a key companion, there are a number of stories and scenes out there to remind you. Take a chunk of The Daemons where she offers her life in place of the Doctor’s. Throw in a little Curse of Peladon where she talks to King Peladon and helps Alpha Centauri. Maybe, just maybe, a smidgen of The Three Doctors – ‘and we are all together, goo goo ca choo?’ – but for sustained, relatively grown-up Jo bravery and heroism, you’re looking at Episode 1 of Planet of the Daleks. Her Doctor in a kind of coma, she goes outside onto a strange planet in search of anyone that could help him, narrating into the log all the way, noting only helpful, effective things that might be of some use when the log is played back. Jo might have been originally forced on the Doctor as a kind of glorified tea-girl, but by the time she gets to Planet of the Daleks, she’s grown very much into her role as citizen of a wider universe, and a wider struggle of good versus evil, and she knows how to be useful and effective without losing her head.

The Thals too are pretty effective in this story – a long way on from the original bunch of pacifists the First Doctor met, they’re still good citizens of the universe, and this time out they’re played by a handful of actors that include some Who stalwarts, such as Bernard ‘I’m a Time Lord, ask me how’ Horsfall, and Prentis ‘Where’ve I seen him before’ Hancock, so they deliver the drama and the character conflict required to keep the story moving at a good pace, even when they’re actually delivering chunks of exposition or traipsing through the jungle (yes, there’s quite a lot of that).

Besides a powerhouse performance from Katy Manning in her penultimate story as Jo, and some solid ‘good Thal’ action to push the story along, Jon Pertwee is on better form here than in the previous story – he takes more active control of the situation as soon as he’s up and about, and he’s both interrogator and adventurer, trying to find out exactly what’s going on on Spiridon, the ‘nastiest pile of garbage in the ninth system.’

The Daleks in Planet of the Daleks are delivered in a classically escalating way – they’re first revealed by spray can (yes, really – you’ve kind of got to see that one to believe it), and there’s a moment when that happens where your heart sinks, and you think maybe this is going to actually be Embarrassment of the Daleks. But no. From that unpromising beginning, they quickly start trundling through the jungle, destroying the Thal spaceship, and generally behaving in their usual bully-boy way - but all that is a mere whetting of the appetite for later scenes in which whole armies of deep-frozen Daleks are seen on screen. Yyyyyes, technically in retrospect they look like toys shot from a distance, but in their day, those scenes would have been the stuff of playground games for weeks on end.

In fact, despite all the other great things in the story – Jo and the Third Doctor both on top form, the return of the Thals in a way we hadn’t really seen them since that first Dalek story, invisible creepy-things which turn out to be helpful local slaves, the Spiridons, a more-than-usually well-rendered indoor jungle, Dudley Simpson’s nerve-jangling music, and the Doctor’s brief tutorial on the nature of courage and his further warning about not glamourizing the business of war, this really is the Planet of the DALEKS – it’s their finest, fullest Pertwee hour – in Day, they’re all good and fine, but they’re used relatively sparingly because there weren’t that many of them about. In Death, while it was a fascinating concept to see them without firepower, and how they adapt to that situation, they look a bit silly being beaten to death by mud-coloured Exxilons.

But in Planet of the Daleks, they are everywhere when they get going – screens full of them, planning, gliding, doing complicated things, flying up shafts on anti-grav discs (take that, Remembrance of the Daleks!), and of course, filling the screen en masse in all their terrifying, army of ultimate destruction potential.

It’s weird to think of Frontier In Space and Planet of the Daleks as actually having anything to do with each other: the tone is so massively different, the Doctor’s energy level is different – restrained in Frontier, active in Planet – and perhaps most bizarrely of all, there’s little mention of the events of Frontier in Planet of the Daleks once the Doctor recovers from the head wound he got at the end of the previous story; it’s all about the here and the now. But that’s probably just as well because with armies of deep-frozen Daleks at the heart of Spiridon, it pretty much needs to be a self-contained story. The varieties of Dalek action here make it beyond all question the Dalekfest fans had been waiting for since Evil of the Daleks in the Troughton era, and despite the wonder that would be Genesis, it would be a long wait before the screen was ever quite so full of the pepperpots of doom again, and longer still – arguably until the end of 2005! - before there were so many of them being used to such good effect.

Jo Grant at her finest, a cast of Thals being brave and noble, creepy plants, invisible allies, a top-form Pertwee performance, barreling the action along and giving at least two of his Doctor’s best vignettes, plus more Daleks than your eyeballs know what to do with. That’s why Planet of the Daleks is a story to go back and revisit today.

Who Reviews The Pyramid at the End of the World


Doctor Who:

The Pyramid at the End of the World

By Jeffrey Zyra


“Bill, what have you done?”



By Peter Harness and
Steven Moffat

“The Pyramid at the End of the World” is the second part of three of the story that features The Monks and their attempt to take over the world.  This story was co-written by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat and it more or less sets up what will happen in the next story “The Lie of the Land” which will be written by Toby Whitehouse and is the conclusion of this three part story.  Like what I wrote last week I really cannot grade this story until I see all three parts but so far I liked “Extremis” a lot better than “The Pyramid at the End of the World”.

While “Extremis” gave us the setup for this story and introduced us to the new threat of the Monks we see in “The Pyramid at the End of the World” the power of the Monks and how they plan on taking over the world.  The way they planned on doing it I thought was pretty clever.  They wanted someone to ask for the Monks help and in exchange for their help the Monks would get the world.  But the person asking for help had to be sincere and really mean it.  Which we found out from the first four really weren’t and were just doing it as a sense of duty. But the problem lies with Bill who really meant it.  Since The Doctor had already foiled the Monks plan by destroying the bacteria it would cost him his life as he was still blind.  Letting Bill know this and the fact that she loves The Doctor as a friend she asked the Monks for the Doctor to get his eye sight back in exchange for the Earth.  While The Doctor is saved the Earth now belongs to the Monks.  Thus setting up the next episode and have us all guessing some more about how The Doctor is going to save the day yet again. 

“The Pyramid at the End of the World” didn’t really offer up anything that we haven’t seen before in Doctor Who except we got a different spin with the Monks being the protagonist.  We had the usual stupid military method that has been done for ever on Doctor Who and yet again we see them fail and fall flat on their faces.  We see the companion do something incredibly stupid to turn the tide for the bad guys which is nothing we haven’t seen before and of course we have some scenarios that are a lot simpler to resolve but yet are made more complicated by the writing which is a staple of Steven Moffat’s writing.  For instance why would a facility that specializes in harmful bacteria have a ventilation system that would release the bacteria into the atmosphere without a proper filter system or at least an incinerator to burn the air before it is released?  In the real world it would be but I guess for the sake of the story it can get a pass.

One thing I am glad that is finally resolved is the Doctor being blind.  I really did not like how long they kept the storyline going but seeing how it was resolved made sense in a way but I just did not care for the blind Doctor all that much and thought it went on a tad too long.  The thing is you knew it would be a stupid decision by the companion to help get his sight back.

“The Pyramid at the End of the World” isn’t the best story of this new series it is the weakest but in all honesty it isn’t all that bad as Steven Moffat has written worse stories than this one.  In any other series this would be one of the better stories but in a series with so many really strong stories this one just falls a tad short.



Who Reviews Oxygen by Jeffrey Zyra


Doctor Who:

Oxygen

By

Jeffrey Zyra


“Tell me a joke before you leave.”


Written by Jamie Mathieson

Space Zombies! I’m not a big fan of zombie movies or even zombie television shows so when I saw the trailer for Oxygen I was a bit hesitant if I would like this particular story at all.  Well once I finished watching “Oxygen” that was not the case at all.  I really enjoyed it but not necessarily for the zombies; luckily, they were not featured much, but for the overall message and what happened at the end.  

Here we have a story about corporate greed as they deem that their workers are useless and cost them money.  In fact to help the cost production they make their workers’ pay for their oxygen.  Not only that but the corporation also has it that it is more cost efficient to have the spacesuits kill their occupants and do the work themselves without having to pay for the oxygen at all.  This is pretty evil and not at all surprising as big companies are always looking for a way to cut costs and to incorporate this type of scenario into a Doctor Who story is pretty brilliant and works really well in this format.

What I really liked is how vulnerable The Doctor is even before he loses his eye sight while saving Bill from suffocating in space.  He loses his sonic screwdriver early on and has to resort to using his wits to get out of the situation he is in and to save all the people that are left.   I really like it when the writer eliminates the sonic screwdriver from the story as I feel it is used too much and often is used as the solution to the problem.  But so far in this new series it has been used in limited capacity and that The Doctor has to use his brain just like he did in the Classic Series. 

Now with him losing his eyesight and having to depend on others is something new and different that will be explored in more than in just this episode as it appears he will still be blind in the next story “Extremis”.  With him losing his eye sight I’m wondering if this has something to do with his upcoming regeneration.  They have been saying his regeneration is not traditional and I wonder if something triggers it to repair his eyes.  We have seen in the series trailer two scenes in which we see him in the regeneration yellow light.  But of course this could be nothing at all but a red herring and I’m looking into things that are not there.  But that is the fun thing about being a Doctor Who fan and the way we speculate about the show. 

I have to say that Nardole didn’t grate on my nerves in “Oxygen”.  In fact he was pretty good and we sort of learn a little bit more about him.  We find out he was left in charge to make sure that The Doctor guards the vault and to not leave Earth.  We learn more about why as The Doctor made an oath and it appears it might have been a future version of The Doctor or perhaps that was just The Doctor being silly and rebellious to Nardole.  Anyway it will be all revealed in time and it will most likely not be what we expect. 

Five stories in and I’m still loving The Doctor and Bill relationship.  It reminds me of The Doctor and Ace at the end of the Classic Series.  It is really good pairing and the chemistry between Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie is brilliant.  Plus the writing so far this series has been perfect also as that has helped in in the development in their relationship.  Let’s hope Moffat doesn’t screw it up later in the series. 

So far five stories in and the writing has been really good.  Series 9 I did not watch all the stories a second time.  I think I can count on one hand how many stories from the last series I have watched twice.  So far with series 10 I have watched the stories more than once and I really have been enjoying series 10 so far and Oxygen keeps that going as it was a really good story that also ends on a cliffhanger. Lots of good elements for Oxygen but the one thing that I could have done without is the suits being a bit too smart and the explanation of Bill not dying was a bit erratic and not really explained all that well.  So her air was low and not enough for a lethal dose but what about the other crew whose air was that low?  Guess they did not have the main character shield working. In all a really good episode that has kept the wave of good stories going.

Grade B+  

Who Reviews Extremis by Jeffrey Zyra



Doctor Who:

Extremis

By Jeffrey Zyra



“Doctor, will you read the Veritas?”


Written by Steven Moffat


Extremis is the first part of a three part story that is penned by Steven Moffat while the next two episodes will have different writers along with Steven Moffat.  I have to admit that I had to watch Extremis a couple of times to figure out what was going on as it was a typical Steven Moffat story with a lot of stuff going on.  In fact that is one of the reasons to watch it again as there was a lot going on that you definitely didn’t pick everything up on first viewing.  You might not get everything on the second viewing either but anyway Extremis was a better story than anything that Steven Moffat wrote for last season.

With Extremis I don’t really hate it nor do I really like it as it is the first part of three but if this was a standalone story that was leading into a story that came later on in the series then yes this was a really good story.  But I cannot really rate it until I see all three parts but from what I saw with Extremis I liked for the most part.  It was pretty entertaining and did open up possible scenarios that haven’t been done in Who before. For example the whole world inside a computer program with the simulants start killing each other when they figure out that they are just a simulation.  It has been done before in science fiction shows but not so sure it has been done in Doctor Who before.

I really liked the Missy storyline.  In that storyline we finally get to see who is in the vault.  For once it was not an over dramatic reveal or saved for the end of the series.  I really liked how we found out with The Doctor having to make a promise to watch over Missy’s body for 1000 years.  Plus, it was also clever if pretty predictable of a way for him to save Missy from death also.  Rewiring the machine of execution was predictable but really that was probably the right choice Steven Moffat could make in that scenario.  It also raises some questions too. Will the Doctor in the next two parts of this story free Missy from the vault to help with the impending invasion from The Monks?  Or will she just be in there giving him advice and not have much of a presence?  I’m sure we will find out in time but I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends escaping at some point. 

It will be interesting to see what happens from Extremis and how the next two stories will tie into it.  I really liked The Monks and how they are planning on taking over the Earth from the simulations but did they have to run it for over 2000 years?  I’m hopeful that we can get a new reoccurring villain from this story as that is something that the show needs.  So far, this story has started off pretty well and Extremis was one of the better Moffat stories and let’s just hope that the next two stories will be just as good. 

Who Reviews Knock Knock by Jeffrey Zyra


Doctor Who:

Knock Knock

By Jeffrey Zyra

“This is the part of my life you’re not a part of.”

Written by Mike Bartlett

“Knock Knock” is mainly about Bill and her friends looking to rent a house while at university. They were not having any luck until an older man offered them a house for rent that was cheap and had enough bedrooms to accommodate everyone. But of course if it’s too good to be true it genuinely is as The Doctor who is helping Bill move in is instantly alerted to something not right about the house.  The Doctor senses something alien and as usual he is correct as the whole house seems to be alive and it’s alive and infested with alien bugs.  The creepy thing is the house won’t let you leave and it seems to open up the walls and sucks you in. 

Haunted houses have been a Doctor Who go to for many years mostly in the new series with stories like “Blink” and “Hide” and “Ghost Light” from the classic series.  “Knock Knock” is the latest entry in the haunted house Doctor Who style story and this story was pretty creepy.  I really liked the creepiness of the story as it added to the paranoia feel the story was already conveying.  “Knock Knock” was just a perfectly executed story that was scary but the ending was a bit sad and I wasn’t expecting that and that added to the quirkiness of the story also.

David Suchet plays the landlord who seems to be hiding a secret that lives in the tower of the house.  At first we are to believe that he is protecting his daughter but what The Doctor discovers is the woman that is made entirely of wood is his mother.  What is sad about this story is that The Landlord is keeping his mother alive for over 70 years using the alien bugs and killing the college kids that he rented the house to.  As The Doctor said a son would do anything for his mother and The Landlord sure did take it to the extreme.  What was also bitter sweet was the realization on his mother’s face when she found out what he did and then decided to end it all by killing her son and herself while freeing Bill’s friends.  That moment was pretty sad especially seeing The Landlord crying that he didn’t want to go.

I really enjoyed the performance by David Suchet as The Landlord.  I’ve been a fan of his ever since I saw him on Agatha Christie’s Poirot and was really excited that he would be in an episode of Doctor Who.  He really shined as The Landlord as he played him creepy and also very emotional when he was confronted by The Doctor about what he did to keep his mother alive.  A really great performance from a really great actor and it was good to finally see what David Suchet could do in Doctor Who.

So far we have been getting more inklings as to who or what may be in the vault.  This time we actually see The Doctor go into the vault with some takeout and we also find out that he put a piano in there also.  I’m guessing at some point we are going to find out that it is one of the incarnations of The Master.  But then again maybe it will be someone entirely different but I’m still going with The Master but not sure which one it could be.

“Knock Knock” was a really good and scary story that was a much need change of pace from what we have had in the past couple of seasons.  It still disappoints me that they didn’t go in this direction sooner than staying so long with the Clara show.  You really get to see what Peter Capaldi can really do with some contemporary stories for once instead of heavily arc driven ones.  “Knock Knock” is another great Series 10 story and one that will stand the test of time.
Grade A –