‘Doctor Who’ Regeneration Review: ‘Knock Knock’ Reminds Us Haunted Houses Are Bad

News & Culture Writer

BBC America

The Doctor Who Regeneration Review is a weekly column cataloging all the times Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor nearly regenerates, or dies, in the latest episode of BBC America’s popular science fiction show. Since this is the Scottish “cross” character’s final season — a fact the showrunners have enjoyed teasing in the promos — we decided to tease back. Most items are serious, some silly, and all measured with the Doctor’s 💕.

Doctor Who‘s many years on television are rife full of monsters. Seeing as how the program concerns a time-traveling alien whose T.A.R.D.I.S. can take him from one end of the universe to the other, he’s bound to run into classic villains like the Daleks and the Cybermen, or the more recent creations like the Weeping Angels and the Vashta Nerada. Outgoing showrunner Steven Moffat‘s tenure has been especially fruitful when it comes to producing new horrors, and the episode “Knock Knock” is no different.

Written by first-time Doctor Who writer Mike Bartlett, the fourth episode of the new season sees Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) attempting to rejoin life on earth after her first trips off-world and into the past. This means fully integrating herself into the college student lifestyle and shacking up with a bunch of new roommates in the most affordable flat possible. Unfortunately for them, their best option is a rather cold and creepy-looking house run by an unnamed landlord (David Suchet). One by one Bill’s friends are literally consumed by the house while the Doctor races to figure out what’s happening, and why.

“Knock Knock” and its new monster ultimately feel like similarly horror-centric Doctor Who episodes of old. Not that this is a problem, per se, though the story surprisingly offers Mackie little to do. It does, however, present an Agatha Christie’s Poirot reunion of sorts for Capaldi and Suchet. (They appeared together in the “Wasps’ Nest” episode from the popular British series about the mystery writer’s most famous character, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.) Suchet’s landlord figure, and his story, also offers viewers one of the more intriguing entries of the season.

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