So after last week episode of Thin Ice, which critics and fans seemed to love. What kind of episode would we get this week? Well, last week's episode was a solid 9/10 for me personally, although I had my grumbles about having another adventure set in Victorian era London. The episode I found myself watching along with millions of other fans of the show, was for me the best of 4 so far. What could of easily of been just a monster of the week episode turned into something with heart and some scene stealing from David Suchet (hey kids! it's TV's Hercule Poirot) as the landlord.
The Tardis is used for another purpose this week as Bill (Pearl Mackie) moves into a house where lightning seems to be part of the fixture. So we find the Tardis and The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) running a removal service for Bill. I must admit I laughed and said to myself "that’s original," and that’s amazing for a show which has been more or less on the go for 50 years, and that is why the show works. Always moving forward and always borrowing things from the past. The nod to the classic series is clear with Bill calling the doctor "grandfather." Could this be foreshadowing something? There have been lots of callbacks to the first Doctor, in particular, this season and with media reports saying we might indeed see him back played by the sublime David Bradley (An Adventure In Time In Space, Harry Potter series, Game of Thrones,The Strain) who knows?
So this episode is about Bill and her friends moving into a house which starts to come alive and consume its housemates. But while it could have easily been left it at that. It's actually about a scared boy who will do anything to keep his mother alive. While all that might sound plain or even rather wooden coming from me, I can't write about the dialog or the plot too much and do it justice, that’s simply because David Suchet and Peter Capaldi perform a master class in front of Pearl and the other younger cast members, with what is a straightforward script that could have been borrowed from a few shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Grimm, but they add the Doctor Who twist and then add the heart of the story.
If you have made it this far, then you know am singing David and Peters' performance as my high point of this episode and I have to give props to the sound department for making some very creepy sounds, and the show its self for making what is a kids show, creepy for us adults as well. The housemates all do well with the scenes they have including Bill. But I have to say, Harry who was rumored to be named after the fourth Doctor's companion Harry Sullivan, stood out because of his brief interaction with the Doctor, and for not asking dumb teen scripted sentences.
My low point. Well if you have been reading my reviews it won't surprise you to learn its Matt Lucas getting less time to shine. But now he had rocked up twice briefly and it's to moan and not in a nice way, there is a touch of aggression in it to me. But this is me nit-picking as I know he is being saved for something down the line.
So as we move onto episode 5 which looks like zombies in space. This episode has really raised the Who bar. What could have been Doctor Who vs Groot people, turned into an episode that made me and my partner almost well up. This episode is the first of this season to get full marks because of the two great actors raising the game. I hope to see more of this level because we all look forward to Doctor Who and we waited a long time for Peter to get a really good script where everything comes together.
By Graham Leslie