Doctor Who: Have some rent.

KT likes the occasional evening of pizza, booze, telly.

DOCTOR WHO:  5.11 “The Lodger”

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the Doctor isn’t actually human.  This is not one of those episodes.

When the TARDIS starts acting up, the Doctor is stranded in present-day Britain with only his wits and his sonic screwdriver.  Comedy ensues in a story that would easily be wish-fulfillment for the Who fans who’d love for the Doctor to show up on our doorsteps.

This specific doorstep, however, belongs to Craig, an average bloke with an office job, a roommate, and a crush on the pretty girl at work.  Only, his last roommate has moved out, and when he advertises, the Doctor shows up promptly with a paper bag full of rent money.

Fortunately for the Doctor, he does have a little earpiece that lets him talk to Amy:  he coaches her on the TARDIS controls and she coaches him on acting like a normal guy.  He does try, too — he plays football (the World Cup kind, naturally) with Craig and his friends, and he impresses Craig with his cooking.  But as you’d expect, the Doctor trips over all manner of euphemisms and social cues.   Sometimes it gets a little cringe-inducing, but mostly the hilarity continues to ensue. And while it’s a different Doctor and a different flatmate, the some parts of the episode feel a little like getting a glimpse of that period during “Blink” when the Doctor and Martha were marooned in 1968 for a few months.

Meanwhile, the second floor apartment above Craig’s place is attracting a lot of attention from people who are overly willing to help a stranger and insufficiently cautious of their own safety.  If this were CSI, we’d discover a serial killer, but this is Doctor Who, so we actually find a disabled spaceship disguising itself as the upstairs apartment looking for a suitable pilot.  The moment that Amy announces she’s found plans showing that Craig’s is a one-story building is a well-delivered reveal, and one I definitely didn’t see coming.

The aspect of the mysterious second floor that I wasn’t satisfied with was the dark spot on Craig’s ceiling that kept growing and growing.  We eventually learned that it was caused by people burning up upstairs because they couldn’t pilot the spaceship.  In which case, that’s a real chemical reaction of some kind, right?  And even if the second story is an illusion, the spot wouldn’t be, right?  So why does it disappear?  It’s hardly an important point, and I’m sure a spot of technobabble would clear it right up, but I’m a fan of solutions that require a minimum of that sort of hand-waving.

Anyway, that’s my biggest quibble with the episode, which in general was a good one.  Lots of funny, quotable lines, and a good performance out of Matt Smith.  Amy doesn’t get a lot to do, being stuck in the TARDIS, but she gets more screen time here than she did in “The Hungry Earth,” at least.

These thirteen-episode seasons fly by so quickly — I’m always amazed that the end is here so soon.  Next weekend is part one of the big finale, so grab the popcorn and make sure there’s room to dive behind the sofa if things get too scary!


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