Just about a week late with this, but as tonight’s episode is the first of a two-parter, I probably won’t be writing about it until next week, that sort of works out. Sort of.
This one was written by Richard Curtis, best known for such things as Blackadder, Four Weddings and a Funeral and other comedies. So how would he do with Doctor Who? Rather well, as it turns out old hand Gareth Roberts, as Mr Dull kindly reminded me.
On one level, The Lodger is a classic romantic comedy – the usual will they/won’t they kind of thing about friends Craig and Sophie, who met at work and have evenings together watching TV, eating pizza and all the usual kind of thing. But they’re just mates, sort of, as it were, and all that.
Their lives are ever so slightly disturbed when a new lodger arrives to occupy the spare room in Craig’s flat: the Doctor, in maximum bonkers not quite getting human stuff right mode.
He’s there investigating some odd time disturbance coming from the upstairs flat, which is stopping the TARDIS from materialising properly – it having stopped long enough to let him out, before disappearing with Amy. Fortunately, he’s able to keep in touch with her through a wibbly-wobbly Bluetooth earpiece thingy.
The wossname upstairs is definitely a bit odd. It keeps luring people into the house, by calling for help through the intercom on the door. And the people who go in never come out again…
The Doctor talks to Amy about the thingy and says how all he has to do is pass as a normal human, to which she replies
Have you seen you?
and suggests that he should lose the bow tie…
Then some suitably wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey things start to happen. After a football match, there’s a brief time loop thingy, where the Doctor sees everyone repeating a moment over and over.
In between building a ludicrous device in his room and talking to Amy, the Doctor talks to Sophie, trying to get her to think about why she’s staying in her boring job rather than moving on. What’s keeping her here?
After a bit more comedy where the Doctor covers for Craig in a meeting while Craig’s busy recovering from being infected by the odd creeping stain on the ceiling that seems to be related to the wossname upstairs, things get more interesting.
After Craig catches the Doctor talking to a cat about what’s going on upstairs, and decides that he needs this strange person to move out, the Doctor lets him see who he really is (cue another one of those high-speed succession of old clips).
The voice upstairs manages to lure Sophie up there, just as Amy tells the Doctor that according to the plans, the house doesn’t actually have an upstairs to be lured into.
And upstairs turns out to be a disguised alien time ship. A bit like a TARDIS only not quite as messy. With the crew all dead, the hologram emergency system is trying to find a human to act as pilot. Unfortunately, this tends not to work, as attaching a human to the control pad tends to result in the ship not moving and the human doing much the same on a permanent basis.
The resolution is a suitably silly bit of nonsense. By persuading Craig and Sophie to admit to each other that (a) they love each other and (b) that’s why they want to stay where they are, they burn out the ship’s controls, as it’s looking for people who want to be somewhere else. Err, or something like that.
Anyway, everyone rushes downstairs in time to see the top of the house disappear, revealing the camouflaged alien ship that’s been there all along, before that disappears too.
With the alien wossname force gone, the TARDIS is able to materialise. Before the Doctor can leave, Craig insists that he keeps a set of keys for the flat.
Oh, and the Crack is back, this time appearing in the flat while nobody is watching. And on the TARDIS, Amy finds her engagement ring in its box. The ring given to her by Rory, who as far as she is concerned never existed. And she remembers the Crack…
So, that was a good fun episode. Looks like it was made as an “Amy-lite” one, probably at the same time as scenes from an episode with more Amy were being made.
Tonight sees what looks like being a suitably interesting opener for the finale. There are some pictures, clips and other stuff to enjoy while you’re waiting on the BBC website:
 The Doctor plays remarkably well. Any suggestion that this is because Matt Smith’s first career choice was professional football, and it was only an injury that steered him towards acting will be ignored on grounds of being real. So there.
 Big rotating thing made of all manner of junk
 Classic rom-com moment, really
 Nice set-up for a possible return from Craig, nicely played by James Corden