If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Bill is moving in with some friends and they’ve found the perfect house rented by the Landlord. The wind blows, the floorboards creek and the Doctor thinks something is very wrong. (IMDB)
Writer: Bill Anderson
Director: Mike Bartlett
Running Time: 45mins
This episode had a little bit of everything going on and was all the better for it. The episode here was centered around a creepy old house that Bill and her new friends moved into. Bill and her friends were a little desperate so when this house that was too good to be true came along, Bill suspected that something wrong may be going on but she ultimately went along with the rest of them. What didn’t help was their creepy landlord (David Suchet) mysteriously popping up everywhere and forbidding them to enter the tower part of the house (which was obviously going to play into the story later on).
Most of the episode kind of played like a standard horror movie with the house making weird noises and acting erratically but everyone simply dismissed it. Being a Doctor Who episode, there was definitely something more going on and the Doctor noticed exactly that while helping Bill move in with the Tardis. What came from this were the many interactions in the episode between the Doctor and Bill’s much younger friends. Their age gap was fairly evident here but seeing him try to relate to them was hilarious to watch, especially when Bill kept insisting that he was her grandpa.
Things really got interesting when the true nature of the house was revealed. The house was alive, more specifically the wood, and was eating all of Bill’s friends and had been eating other unsuspecting young adults for a long time. Being the Doctor, instead of being scared, he was fascinated by everything as he hadn’t experienced something like this before, being quite the contrast with the other students who were all acting as one normally would under the circumstances. In the grand scheme of the episode, Bill’s friends provided some funny moments with the Doctor but there wasn’t much to them as they were just there to be eaten.
Later on, we learn why everything was happening which was a little disappointing for me. Some sort of space fleas (their origin was never explained) were living within the wood of the house and becoming it and their purpose was to take the energy of the people they consumed to help preserve what we think to be the landlord’s daughter Eliza (Mariah Gale) who was living in the tower. Over time, she had become petrified and looking mostly wooden. She was unaware of what was going on, convinced that it was necessary for her survival.
We also learned the true nature of their relationship, where the landlord was actually Eliza’s son and not her father. He was obsessed with keeping her alive at all costs, even if it meant killing all those people. When Eliza learned the truth, she was upset but regardless, the landlord wanted it to remain their secret. This was all very sad as Eliza nor the landlord never got to experience the world so in the end, they were consumed by the fleas and so was the house and also releasing Bill’s friends.
Back at the vault, Nardole was there watching but the Doctor gave him the night off. The Doctor was going to take care of it. Whatever was inside the vault, it was playing a piano. The Doctor offered it food and then went inside.
Overall, this was another good episode that as mentioned, had a little bit of everything with horror, comedy, drama along with the usual science-fiction. It excelled at all of these, providing a compelling root story to tie all of these together with great moments between the Doctor, Bill, and her friends. It’s definitely nice to see an episode succeed with a good story, writing, and performances without having to use too much fanfare.