Doctor Who Discussion: Pre-Emptive Chibnall Bashing, Boredom, and Cybermen in Casablanca

Knock Knock
Welcome to another Doctor Who Discussion with Jaden C. Kilmer and J.A. Prentice. This week, we’ll be reviewing Knock Knock. Join as we use our little grey cells to examine and debate the latest episode of Doctor Who, written by Mike Bartlett and guest-starring the brilliant David Suchet!
Be Warned: There are SPOILERS below the tag!


Jaden: Opening thoughts?
JA: I really liked it. It was atmospheric, Suchet was great, and Suchet was great.
Jaden: I’m assuming that was intentional emphasis and not accidental
JA: The emphasis was very intentional.
Jaden: Full disclosure, I watched this after midnight so my facts may be fuzzy but here goes
Knock Knock is the 4th episode of series 10 of Doctor Who. It has characters, dialogue, and scenes. There is a conflict and at the end, it is resolved.
JA: All of this seems to be true.
Jaden: ok good.
JA: Although it’s arguably Season 37.
Jaden: I cant count that high.
JA: Neither can I.
This is why we’re writers.
Jaden: And that does it for this discussion of Doctor Who. Join us next week!
JA: Part of me wants to actually end the discussion here for comedic value.
But the part of me that is professional, which is admittedly a very small part, knows we have to keep going.
Jaden: Also I have nothing much to add but sure, the discussion must go on.
It was aggressively uninteresting to me.
JA: Really? The creepy lice things, Suchet, the wooden daughter, the people being eaten by walls… That’s all classic Doctor Who.
Plus I’ve decided I need an anthology of the Doctor teaching at the colllege and getting involved in things by accident through the 20th century.
(Editor’s Note: Dear BBC Books/Big Finish/Titan/anyone: Do this.)
Jaden: I agree and that’s why I was uninterested.
JA: Been there done that, been done better, next please.
JA: I thought it was all done brilliantly.
We’re disagreeing again. This series is really making these discussions less one-sided
Jaden: Huh. Well as I said I watched this after midnight but damn I just didn’t care at all about anything.
Like in Thin Ice I can tell you exactly where I think it went wrong. Here I was just bored.
JA: Might be the after midnight thing.
I thought the episode actually did something truly remarkable for the new series: it was well paced.
Jaden: wat
JA: The opening build up was slow and mysterious. The end reveal didn’t feel incredibly rushed.
Jaden: The end went on forever.
And who cares if he’s the father or son? How does that change the story at all?
JA: It changes him entirely.
Jaden: I don’t really see how.is_it_worth_watching_the_immersive_audio_version_of_doctor_who__knock_knock_
JA: He’s not a grown man doing terrible things to save his daughter. He’s a child who’s never grown up and won’t let go of his mother.
Jaden: I guess that’s kind of different.
I don’t really care either way.
That’s the main thing for me.
JA: Man, this is actually a really boring discussion.
Jaden: Haha I knew it would be when I finished it. I really have no opinions on it other than “I was bored”
JA: Cool. So I’m just going to ramble about stuff.
Jaden: Go for it. I’ll interject with “that bored me” every now and then so it’s a discussion
JA: Have you noticed a lack of evil aliens so far this series?
Jaden: I have noticed no evil aliens
JA: We have evil people and dangerous monsters, but the Ship from the first episode just wanted a pilot, the Vardys just had faulty programming, the fish-thing was just an animal in chains, and the wood-creatures were just being controlled by the Landlord.
It’s an interesting change from Daleks, Cybermen, etc. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or a coincidence.
Jaden: I’d believe it being intentional
JA: I think it’s a nice sidestep of one of Doctor Who’s occasional flaws, which is the treatment of alien things as terrifying and evil. Torchwood hugely suffers from this. As did RTD’s Doctor Who in general, I think. There’s a comment he made about always staying on Earth because nobody cares about aliens dying that made me fairly uncomfortable.
Jaden: So I assume then this means you liked the student characters as well?
JA: Yes, I liked the student characters. They didn’t have a lot of screen time, but I liked them.
Although I confess I remember none of their names.
Jaden: I was about to ask you that
JA: Wait. Harry. The guy who went with the Doctor and was eaten by the wood creatures was Harry.
And Pavel was the guy with the music.
Jaden: Oh hey nice segue into one of the few things I had an opinion on
JA: Yes. Please give an actual opinion.
Jaden: The effects were awful
JA: Agree to disagree. I thought the daughter looked great. I loved the shot of the wood creature coming out of her mouth and scuttling over her face.
Jaden: She looked ok but I was referring more to the bugs
Jaden: The way it looked when they ate the students made me chuckle
JA: I liked them crawling over them, but the actual eating could have been a lot better.
Jaden: I like the strange sentences Doctor Who conversations make. “The actual eating could have been a lot better.”
OK so after consulting the internet like all great thinkers i think i can articulate a bit better why i was bored
JA: Pfft. Who consults the Internet before doing these discussions? Definitely not me. No sir. Never.
Jaden: so basically its like this episode is aiming to be an ok cliche horror movie at best
JA: I felt it was aiming for more than that. There’s something wonderfully in line with Moffat’s vision of fairy tale Doctor Who with the story of the boy and his mother and the insects.
I believe that it could have been a better story if we’d had some character development for other characters, though, which is what holds it back a little for me.
Jaden: i mean the mother thing is basically psycho
JA: I think it still works as a solid emotional core. Suchet’s performance really convinces me that this man, who seems throughout the episode to be entirely in charge, is actually nothing more than a child who couldn’t let go of his mother.
The problem is that none of the other characters had any sort of development, which I think is why the roommates came across a little flat.
In a slightly better story, I think we would have had the characters changing through their experiences, which would have given the viewer a deeper attachment to them.
Jaden: “minor characters that are flat and underdeveloped” is definitely a hallmark of okay cliche horror
JA: True.
Jaden: but yeah at best this episode would’ve been an okay, cliched horror short. Haunted house with creepy sounds and a secret. Creepy landlord hiding something. Flat minor characters dying one by one
It’s just so freaking old
JA: I think I can agree that it did lack a special something that might have set it apart.
It’s good, but it’s not more than good.
Jaden: Heyyyy middle ground hooray.
Take that American politics
JA: Next week, let’s solve Health Care.
Jaden: Good health care is like a good story. It’s universal.
JA: That was some excellent wordplay.
Jaden: *bows*
OK another concrete-ish thing for me is the Doctor felt very out of character and I dont know why
JA: I didn’t think he felt particularly out of character, but something about the dialogue felt like it might have fit better with Matt Smith.
Jaden: I was thinking Tennant. This is the second episode in a row that felt like a series 2 idea
JA: I think that’s not a coincidence. This series is being written very much as a soft reboot with very standard Doctor Who stuff.
Jaden: Not sure how to feel about that
JA: I suspect, however, that Extremis (episode 6) may set up more experimental stuff for the rest of the series.
It’s possible that after the slightly lower ratings of last series (despite it being the best lot of stories since at least McCoy’s era, IMO) led to the BBC wanting something “safer.”
Jaden: I’ll be honest I’m REALLY hoping for something that feels ambitious
I mean, is there any question over what’s in the vault at this point?
JA: That’s what I’m wondering.
Like, it seems obviously the Master.
But maybe too obviously.
Jaden: Yeah. Either it’s The Master or something out of left field
But either way it won’t really be trying too hard I think
JA: I feel like the BBC may have blown the twist with their news release/the trailer, which would otherwise have been at least a minor shock.
Alternatively, Moffat’s messing with us and it’s someone else.
Jaden: I’m hoping it’s some elaborate setup for a big twist, but so far this season has been anything but unpredictable
JA: I feel like Moffat might be easing us in for some crazy stuff. But that’s just me being optimistic.
At the end of the day (year), I’ll take a solid series, but I’d really like something bolder.
Jaden: Especially after a hiatus and fresh off seeing one of the greatest episodes ever
JA: Yeah, I liked this episode as a one off “typical Doctor Who” but I really don’t want this series to be nothing but typical Doctor Who.
Especially since I’m fairly convinced that’s what we’ll get with Chibnall.
Jaden: I have a sneaking suspicion that Chibnall is going to do longform storytelling, but slowly paced and not very flashy
Like the earth stuff of series 8
JA: Ugh.
That sounds like exactly what I don’t want.
So you’re probably right.
Jaden: Do you not want more Danny Pink? But he’s a soldier!
JA: I really don’t want Broadchurch Series 2, that’s for damn sure.
Jaden: And seeing how we’re speculating on Chibnall it sounds like we’ve exhausted our list of things to talk about for this episode
JA: I feel like we’ve exhausted our list of things to talk about for the Chibnall era. And that’s still a year away. lol
Final thoughts?
Jaden: Knock Knock stars Peter Capaldi as “The Doctor” and Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts.
That’s basically my default rating for “I was more bored than anything else” stuff
JA: Knock Knock continues in the vein of Series 10 storytelling so far. It provides a one-off, atmospheric story that feels very much like traditional Doctor Who. The Doctor and Bill’s relationship continues to work, the university setting is used to the story’s advantage, and we again see a case of a ‘monster’ that isn’t truly evil. David Suchet delivers a brilliant performance that elevates his character and the episode. However, it isn’t really bold and the characters outside of Suchet’s feel somewhat flat.
I gave it that point five just to give us more disagreement.
Jaden: Poo. Was thinking we’d break our disagreement record two weeks straight
JA: I’d love it if we spent a whole series disagreeing.
Although if we don’t see a little experimentation and Nardole doesn’t actually DO anything for much longer, my opinions will start to sound like yours. lol
Jaden: Well we started out as clones and then I was slightly more positive about Smile, and then you liked and I disliked the next two. So the trajectory is heading towards you adoring and me loathing the finale
JA: There are Mondasian Cybermen. It’s automatically a 10/10.
Jaden: Weird because I think Moroccan Cybermen make it 0/10
JA: BRB, I have to go write a Doctor Who story about Moroccan Cybermen.
Jaden: “Nightmare in Casablanca?”
JA: Ooh. It can be a crossover. “Of all the clubs in all the world, the Cybermen had to invade mine.”
Jaden: Isn’t it Gin Joints?
JA: I was going off memory and I haven’t seen the film in six years.
Jaden: Please join us next week where JA Prentice reviews Jaws and says we’re gonna need a bigger ship.
JA: Please join us next week where JA Prentice admits he has never seen Jaws.
Jaden: Please join us next week if we still have a blog once the internet finds out only half of us has seen Jaws.
Please join us next week for our discussion of Oxygen!

3 thoughts on “Doctor Who Discussion: Pre-Emptive Chibnall Bashing, Boredom, and Cybermen in Casablanca

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