The tenth Season/Series of 2005+ DOCTOR WHO continued last week with Thin Ice. The hugely enjoyable tale felt a tad less inventive, focused, and consistent than the two episodes which preceded it. When weighed on the whole, however, its strengths outshone its weaknesses, and the adventure emerged as another solid entry in a run of S10 stories which has felt remarkably well-considered and self-assured to date.
Not surprisingly, the powerhouse teaming of Peter Capaldi’s ‘Doctor’ and Pearl Mackie’s ‘Bill’ resulted in Thin Ice’s most memorable moments - scenes which may (arguably) be considered among the more powerful exchanges yet seen in DOCTOR WHO on the whole. In particular, the moment in which Bill calls out the Doctor for his presumed indifference to death is both potently conceived and strongly executed. As I noted in a post on our Thin Ice boards, Capaldi's blend of emotional paralysis and egotistical dismissiveness - while saying so little - somehow manages to be chilling, touching, and inspiring all at once. This exchange alone may well encapsulate, and single-handedly justify, Capaldi’s tenure as the Doctor.
Will the quality streak continue with Knock Knock this weekend?
The official synopsis of the episode describes it thusly…
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?
Thin Ice helmer Bill Anderson returns to direct this tale as well - which at the very least would appear(?) to be a plus.
Knock Knock will represent Mike Bartlett’s first-ever DOCTOR WHO script - I can’t help but wonder how it would feel to be an incoming writer on this particular show. Not only does one have to contend with 50+ years of dense in-universe mythology and history, one must also squeeze themselves into the specific tones and confines of the existing showrunner, while also being hawked over by legions of nitpicking fans and orbiting press. What a tough, fascinating, exhausting, and amazing experience such a juggling act must be...
[a gallery of Knock Knock promo images]
The awesome David Suchet - whose diverse resume ranges from the exceedingly crappy WING COMMANDER movie to Hercule Poirot - appears as ‘the Landlord’ in this week’s episode...
...looking like a genetic splicing of Derek Jacobi and John Colicos.
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