Giant Termites Trying To Get On the Property Ladder
Back in 1961 one of the greatest episodes ever of The Twilight Zone aired. It's a Good Life starred a very young Bill Mumy as a six-year-old boy with the power to wish pretty much anything into (or out of) existence. He has an entire town in rural Ohio under his control, with the terrified adults doing anything they can to keep him happy and prevent him from "wishing them to the cornfield". It easily ranks among the top five episodes ever, and was (poorly) adapted as a segment in Twilight Zone: The Movie.
Although fundamentally different, today's episode of Doctor Who made me think of that story. So let's talk about that.
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
Written by Mark Gatiss (The Unquiet Dead and The Idiot's Lantern), this is a straight-up horror piece. The Doctor receives a distress call on his psychic paper from a little boy who begs to be saved from the monsters, so of course off he goes (along with Amy and Rory) to the rescue. The child in question is eight years old and terrified of everything. (The Doctor points out that his is called pantophobia, then stresses that doesn't mean a fear of pants but rather a fear of everything, and then concedes that by definition that includes pants.)
Early on in the story, both Amy and Rory are somehow transported into a creepy dark old mansion, populated by human-sized creepy dolls. As the Doctor tries to figure out what terrible thing is hiding in the boy's closet, more people get sucked into the scary house. At one point Amy herself gets turned into a grotesque peg doll.
What I am saying is, this story is just nightmare fuel from start to finish. Ultimately it turns out that it is the little boy himself who is doing this, sending away everything that scares him into the dollhouse locked in his cupboard. He is actually an alien Tenza, a creature that instinctively uses perception filters in order to weave itself into the lives of host parents in order to be raised in safety. It is the insecurity of his family life that had spurred him into a spiral of fear, and in the end it is the unconditional love of his adoptive human father that saves everyone.
I will readily admit that I have a soft spot for good dad stories, so this one hits me right in the feels. After eight consecutive episodes that were all tightly bound to the season story arc, it was nice to have a standalone story. There's a bit of foreshadowing at the end with a reference to the Doctor's death at Lake Silencio, but other than that this is a totally freestanding tale. I liked it a lot.f
Tomorrow: the shortest cast list since The Edge of Destruction in 1964.
Companion(s): Amy Pond, Rory Williams
Episode(s): Night Terrors
Steps Walked: 7,511 today, 3,168,401 total
Distance Walked: 4.08 miles today, 1,654.55 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 100 today, 5,364 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 929 total
How Many Times has Rory Died?: 4
How Many Times has Amy Died?: 2
Is Anything Cool?: Using the sonic screwdriver to animate a bunch of toys is pretty cool
Weight: 249.98 lbs (five day moving average), net change -57.32 lbs