Synopsis: Bill moves into a strange house with her friends.
Review: The start of this week’s episode sees Bill and her friends search for somewhere to live. After a string of failed attempts they are approached by a mysterious figure, played by David Suchet, who offers them somewhere to live. The Doctor helps Bill move into her new house but becomes intrigued by the large tower attached to the building. He decides to stay and have a look around. In true Cabin in the Woods style Bill’s friends are picked off one by one until a final showdown with the Landlord reveals that he has been feeding the young people to some alien creatures that are keeping his mother alive. The Doctor convinces the Landlord’s mother that there is no point in surviving if you don’t do anything with your life and she and her son discorporate. Bill’s friends are released and the Doctor returns to the vault, where he has an intriguing conversation with the thing inside…
This episode combined the everyday earthiness of the RTD era with the uncanny strangeness of Steven Moffat‘s Who. There are some amazing shots at the start of the episode that give it a very horror like feel. Again the use of something mundane becoming terrifying is used to great effect with the constant creaking. There are some nice subversions of the horror genre when the strange noises that Bill’s friends hear turn out to be the Doctor investigating and also when the Doctor proclaims his love of Chinese food. David Suchet is phenomenal in this episode, from his joint affability and creepiness when first introduced to his abject sorrow at the thought of losing his mother. His interactions with Peter Capaldi‘s Doctor were so good they made me wish that an older actor was playing the Master or the Meddling Monk.
The music in this episode is well done. The score use during the Doctor’s exposition speech was very haunting and alien. There was some good characterisation of Bill in this episode when she pointed out the flaws in the Doctor’s theory. Peter Capaldi shows a more comedic side to the Doctor when he suggests that they put on some tunes which is balanced with his commanding presence in the final scene of the episode. We see some more humour in the interaction between Bill and the Doctor when she asks if he can find the address which has been very welcome this series. The Doctor’s interaction with whatever is inside the vault at the end was really interesting, with the Doctor revealing that he too is trapped on Earth. Apparently the creature inside the vault requires stories, which is a gold mine of potential for future episodes.
Overall this was a nice, fun episode that left me wanting to know even more about what is inside the Doctor’s vault.
- Incidental Music8.0