Friday, May 12, 2017

Safe European Home: An Overanalysis of "Knock Knock"

"Now that we have a black person, we're officially a Benetton ad!"
Once upon a time, in the Russel T. Davies era, Season 4, there was a plan for a Cops-style episode, where the Doctor goes on a reality show like Cops and solves a mystery while Donna watches the episode from home.  Davies, however, scrapped the episode because he felt like it was too similar in tone to "The Unicorn and the Wasp," even though the two episodes would have taken place approximately 82 years apart.  Instead, he quickly wrote "Midnight," his best episode, and put that in its place.  I tell you this story because I don't understand how Davies could see the similar tones in what sound like very dissimilar stories, and Steven Moffat (admittedly, one of my heroes) couldn't see that within three weeks he had two episodes with similar monsters with the exact same way of killing people.  In "Knock Knock," the monsters are tiny creatures that make up the very structure but can come loose to form a swarm that eats people.  Where have I heard of that before?

The two robots represent the old man

This was a pretty mediocre episode, with a lot of plot holes.  Why does he need to let the bugs eat people in order for them to keep his mother alive?  Those seem like pretty unrelated things.  As Shelley pointed out, why does the mother only restore this particular group of young people and not the hundreds of others that he's done this to?  Why do the bugs kill everyone else but for the mother they keep her alive?  Why did everyone accept the Doctor as Bill's grandfather without asking the inevitable racist question, which is easily answered by anyone with half a brain, but still would inevitably be asked in that situation?

This was an interesting to see, though, in the week before I move in with some new roommates.  Oh, and it was the week before Mother's Day.  Ew.

Is it my imagination or, when Bill claims to be the Doctor's granddaughter, it's on a day where her clothes and hair look rather Susan-ish?  They've been trying to remind us a lot of Susan this year.  Could they finally be hinting at some sort of return?

After this episode, I'm more certain than ever that the Master is in that vault, and it's probably Missy.  I mean, could that have been a more obvious hint?  It's someone whose company the Doctor enjoys who delights in the suffering of others.  That's Missy.  I know that John Simm is coming back to play the Saxon Master at some point this season, but I can't imagine Simm's Master playfully communicating with the Doctor through piano music.  I'm thinking that Simm is just back to film a flashback scene where we see his Master regenerate into Missy.  I don't want to see him steal Missy's spotlight.  He was a great Master, but his Master was very much designed to play against David Tennant's Doctor, and Missy was just made for Peter Capaldi's 12th Doctor.

That's going to have to be it for now.  I've got packing to do for my move this weekend.  Next week we have an episode from Jamie Mathieson, so that looks promising.  Until next time:




Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Unseen Tears of the Albacore: An Overanalysis of Thin Ice

"Trust me, nice clothes cover up racism"
Sorry I'm late this week.  I'm packing to move next Saturday (13th) and I was a little behind on my reviews over at Punknews. (Go check out my reviews of Conor Oberst, Kendrick Lamar, and Cayetana from this week, because I'm weirdly eclectic.)  Also, there's this show on Netflix called Girlboss that I'm already on my fourth time through watching, so I've had things to do.  So I'll probably get this out after the new episode airs in England, but before it airs in the US.  So here we go!

I liked this episode a lot, even though others thought it was was a knock off of "The Beast Below."  I admit that there are similarities.  Most notably that you could just as easily call this episode "The Beast Below" is the name wasn't already taken.  Of course, the beast in "The Beast Below" didn't eat the children.  But the biggest similarity between "Thin Ice" and "The Beast Below" is that the monster is almost a B-story to the more important story of the Doctor bonding with his new companion.  Bill had to deal head on with the darker realities of traveling with the Doctor.  It's something everyone eventually realizes about the Doctor.  But as Bill is likely to be a one-season-and-done companion, she needs to learn it faster than  the others.

I'm glad they addressed the fact of Bill's race.  They did it a little bit with  Martha's first trip into the past with "The Shakespeare Code," but the 10th Doctor seemed oblivious to her concerns.  The notoriously oblivious 12th Doctor understood it a lot better.  I know some people who found it too preachy, but I loved the moment when Bill pointed out there were more black people there than in the  history books, and the Doctor said "History, it's a whitewash."  My hope is that when they finally hire the first black Doctor they address these sorts of things.  I'm really hoping that happens next season and that despite the rumors it's not this guy:

I'm bringing fugly back.
But this guy:

Have you tried turning the Dalek off and on again?
Last week, I had a theory after I published the blog that what was in the vault was Gallifrey, since the creatures trying to destroy it in "Time of the Doctor" presumably don't know it's back yet and that confrontation is yet to happen.  But "Thin Ice" seemed to imply from the interaction with Nardole (who was thankfully in this episode very little, and only to be the big fuddy-duddy) and whatever's in the vault, that there's a single creature in that vault.  My new theory is that one of the versions of the Master we're promised to see this year, was sentenced to death by the Time Lords and the Doctor negotiated with them to put him/her under his custody.

Next week's episode (which isn't really next week because it's airing in the UK as I type this) is by a brand new writer, so who knows what it'll be like.  So until next time: