In Doctor Who 10×04, Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) lived every broke college student’s worst nightmare — and then some. She and her (very large group of) roommates couldn’t seem to find a place that was both affordable and inhabitable. But then a mysterious man just magically appeared to offer them the perfect place. If the whole situation seemed too good to be true, it’s because it obviously was. Between the strange noises, the lack of cell reception, and the nasty infestation, Bill and her housemates found themselves in the worst house ever. Lucky for Bill, though, she had the Doctor show up at just the right time to save the day. As he does.
Despite, at times, being difficult to watch (thanks to the infestation part), Doctor Who 10×04 was another wildly fun ride for the Twelfth Doctor and Bill.
That feel when you’ve clearly not learned the rules of the horror genre.
When we first met Pearl Mackie’s Bill Potts, she claimed to have seen a lot of movies. Apparently, those movies were not from the horror genre. Either that, or Bill was simply too excited about finally finding a place with big rooms to share with her housemates that she conveniently ignored all of the scary movie warning signs. Spoiler alert: Room size is not a good enough reason to live in an alien-infested death trap.
I was like, ‘what’s the catch?’
Although Bill asked what the “catch” was when she found out how cheap the rent was, she flat out refused to believe something alien was at play until it was basically staring her in the face. Or crawling all over her friends, trapping them in the very woodwork. Whichever.
Pro-tip to Bill: I’ve not only watched a lot of horror movies, but I also happen to remember that episode of Angel where Cordelia found a great apartment in Los Angeles, of all places. When the floorboards are creaking, something is about to go down.
Bonus pro-tip: When the Doctor shows up, there’s going to be trouble. If your new place happens to seem too good to be true and people have disappeared, there’s a very good chance that the “trouble” to which I refer shall revolve around said dwelling.
No, really. The house made that noise, repeatedly, and Bill asked Landlord McCreeperson if he had a cat. A cat.
Nothing weird. Nothing alien. Just an old house and a dodgy landlord…
Bill, no. Yes, “dodgy” landlords and old houses are somewhat normal for students; but not when they’re that off.
What I’m saying here is that the “catch” was aliens. Aliens with a side of a ghost feel, which then turned out to be something involving someone who ought to have died ages ago but didn’t. Not quite a ghost..but close enough.
Alien cockroachy-thingger infestation.
The Doctor came up with a bunch of names for the giant buggy…things in Doctor Who 10×04; but really, they behaved like giant roaches. But more colorful. And, oh yeah, able to swarm all over people before making them part of the house.
I really could have done without seeing that…I really could have done without seeing those things regurgitate the people. Either way, as disturbing as it all was, it was kind of cool? Right? Right.
After showing up and raising an eyebrow of contemplation, the Doctor did what the Doctor does: He saved people, defeated a weird alien threat, and found himself a good story to take back home to his mystery guest. The whole story of Doctor Who 10×04 (aside from the idea of college folks settling for awful, infested dwellings because of budget issues) was about how some guy allowed his buggy acquaintances to sort of eat people in exchange for keeping his sick daughter alive.
The creatures definitely weren’t his friends — nope, sorry, no Joe’s Apartment here — but he still got along with them well enough to get what he wanted. Important.
Plot twist! Eliza The Rotted Wood Woman wasn’t the Landlord from Not-Joe’s-Apartment‘s daughter. She was actually his mother.
Your father would’ve had better things to do than playing with insects in the garden…
But a boy will do anything to save his mom, even if it’s doing unspeakable evil to others. Lesson learned.
The Doctor was not impressed with the Landlord’s evil. Neither was his mommy, who realized she was the one in charge and, ultimately, saved lives in Doctor Who 10×04.
Random thoughts on Doctor Who 10×04.
“What’s the point in surviving if you never see anyone, if you hide yourself away from the world?” Good question, sir. I suppose that’s why you’re constantly breaking your promise to yourself re: companions.
David Suchet was so awesomely sinister. Way over-the-top, which is exactly what I want to see in an episode that, plot-wise, has a clear direction. Well, mostly clear, at least. The plot twist bit was…something.
- Kind of cool, yet disturbing and gross to watch: mother and son, all wrapped up in each other as they were taken in by the…whatever those things were. I’m still not sure why the Doctor decided they were “lice,” but ok.
Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is really hitting his stride this season. Case in point: That scene where he walked his hands across the wall (formerly a door), listening to find out what was on the other side. I’m happy he’s going out with material that “fits” him, so to speak. Keep it up, Doctor Who. Please.
Doctor Who 10×04: “Knock, Knock.” The Doctor: “Who’s there?” Me: THEY. DID. THAT.
- Meanwhile, in a horror movie, asking “who’s there” gets you killed. So, too, does investigating a strange noise. Come on, people.
- “It doesn’t sound like a species. It sounds posh, like, ‘yes, my Lord…'” She’s not wrong. Internal monologue: Wow, if Bill is this surprised about the whole “Time Lord” species thing, wait’ll she hears about regeneration…
- …and then the Doctor mentioned regeneration. Luckily, he didn’t try to explain it. Nothing to see here.
- The air quotes every time Bill said, “Time Lord,” though.
“What’s that…smell? Is that Chinese food??? I love Chinese!” Very happy to hear that the Doctor still has food as a priority, even in the worst home ever. This was also another great moment for Capaldi in general. He pulled a nice switcheroo here. The delivery started out sounding as if the question would be related to whatever dark thing was happening in the house, only to turn into bubbly Doctor food feels.
- Yes, Bill. He’s your Scottish grandfather. Totes.
- The Doctor wanted to “chill” and “put some tunes on.” Then, he tried to play like he was hip with the youths. We are too blessed.
“Just, ummm, I tend to go for girls. Usually. So…” Tell me more about the “usually.”
“Maybe I could help! I’m a doctor.” That awkward moment when the Doctor tries to play like he’s actually a (medical) doctor.
- “I’m doing my thing here.” Please don’t stop.
- Eliza’s look was just wow. Mad respect to the makeup and wardrobe departments. Hair, too. All of it.
The mystery continues.
Doctor Who 10×04 might have ended with Bill’s housing situation fixed, but the question of what Nardole and the Doctor are guarding in that box is still far from settled. Just like in the previous episode, this one ended with a scene that might have dropped some hints but certainly didn’t answer the main question. It also raised a few more questions, like: “Ok, but there’s a piano in there?” “‘Für Elise?’ Wtf?” And “omg they really just…’Pop Goes The Weasel’ after the Doctor mentioned buggy things eating kids? Really????”
On the more serious side of the box issue, though, there’s this:
We’re both prisoners. So, what do you say? Dinner?
Let that sink in: “We’re both prisoners.” Color this viewer intrigued.
Make sure to watch the next Doctor Who next Saturday, May 13 at 9/8c on BBC America.
I highly doubt we’ll get the answers so soon, but we may yet receive enough clues to put it all together.
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