Every companion has their period of thinking they can keep their TARDIS life and their normal life separate and it never works. Mainly because aliens and freaky things always end up happening in their normal life too. What never ceases to amaze (and ok, kind of irritate) me is when companions ignore obviously weird stuff in their normal life until it’s unavoidable at all, which usually coincides with people dying.
To her credit, Bill does have some reservations when a random old dude pops up from nowhere and offers to rent his massive house to her and her five new roommates. But then she sets those concerns aside and moves in anyway. Shireen, Harry, Pavel, Paul, and Felicity don’t think twice about signing the contract right away. And that very night, Pavel disappears.
The next day, the Doctor (like any good space dad/grandfather) helps Bill move. To save face in front of her new friends, she even calls him “grandfather.” Try as she might, she can’t get the Doctor to leave because he’s positive something strange is going on and of course he’s right. There’s no power, no reception, and the house creaks constantly. The Landlord is shady and appears out of nowhere. Oh and Bill and Shireen hear Paul screaming in his room and then he disappears too.
Realizing the doors and windows have sealed themselves so the occupants are effectively trapped, the claustrophobic Felicity panics. She wretches open a window and escapes outside but is then gobbled up by the grounds. The Doctor and Harry are left together while Bill and Shireen are paired up in another part of the house. They enter Pavel’s room and find him half eaten by the wall with his classical music record stuck on repeat. When the Landlord fixes it, Pavel is sucked completely into the wall and Bill and Shireen make a run for the tower. They find the secret entrance through a bookcase and in the tower meet the Landlord’s daughter… who is alive but entirely made of wood.
The culprits of all these events are revealed to be alien woodlice. The Doctor and Harry come face-to-face with the thousands of bugs and then run into the Landlord. They’d found evidence he rents the house to six young people every twenty years. The Landlord confesses this is necessary to keep his daughter, Eliza, alive via the lice. Freaked out, Harry makes a run for it and is eaten by the lice. The Doctor offers to look at Eliza.
Up in her room, everyone gathers for the Doctor’s “examination.” Sadly, right before he came in, Shireen was devoured by the bugs in front of Bill. The Doctor asks what happened to Eliza and the Landlord explains. She was ill, he found the bugs in the garden, brought them to her, and they were activated by her music box. Except Bill realizes the Landlord, despite being an old man, is only human. He can’t be Eliza’s father from decades ago. He’s actually her son.
The revelation activates the Landlord’s anger and he sends the lice towards the Doctor and Bill. But his mother understands she’s actually in charge of the bugs and calls them to her and her son. They both disappear and Bill’s friends are restored. Everyone rushes outside as the house collapses behind them. “Bang goes the deposit,” says Felicity.
His job done, the Doctor goes for his nightly shift in front of the vault. He’s even brought Mexican food. He sends Nardole away, who chides him for giving whoever is in the vault a piano. Speaking to that person, the Doctor offers some food and a story about young people being eaten by bugs to which they happily agree. He opens the vault door and enters, though we don’t see who is inside.
- Bill calling the Doctor “grandfather” was a lovely moment even if he felt more than a little insulted to be labeled so old. I have zero doubt Peter Capaldi felt delighted at the callback to the First Doctor. Like I said after the season premiere, Bill is definitely acting in the part of Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter.
- In this day and age what group of twenty or thirtysomethings think that a random old dude offering them an amazing, slightly creepy house to rent isn’t cause for concern?
- Scariest Doctor Who episode ever. Flat out.
- I’m still sticking with John Simm’s Master being in the vault. But I’m seeing some theories that it might be Jenny, the Doctor’s daughter. While I’d be thrilled to have her back on the show, I don’t think she’s the type to play a jaunty tune on the piano at the mention of a story involving the death of young people.
- One thing I am starting to think? Despite his dislike for their “captive,” Nardole might end up as that person’s co-conspirator or unwilling accomplice. I’m not overly convinced he’s got a very strong mind or wouldn’t go against the Doctor if he thought it was for the Time Lord’s own good.
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