Okay WTF? WTH? I'm still divided about this story and in the years 1989 to about 1999 or maybe later, I was of the opinion that this and CURSE OF FENRIC were about the two worst DW stories ever made, really stupid, morbid, incomprehensible, and immature with nothing of any value. Then I watched parts of GHOST LIGHT and read some more about it and FENRIC, watched all of FENRIC (in which all things were thrown in but the kitchen sink: Russian, Nazis, Vikings, vampires, the war, a curse, an ancient evil and the Doctor knowing something, a parallel universe timeline or something) and thought maybe they were not so bad.
Watching this ep recently has made me think that my original assessment was true: this is badly made rubbish. First, most fans that like this drivel try to say that not everything needs to be explained and they often quote THE PRISONER. Well, this is nothing like that allegory and even the most fantastical of PRISONER episodes had either an explanation or some allergorical reason to exist. This doesn't. It's poor storytelling at least this ep is and for DW, the best ep should be the one that sets things up.
The Doc and Ace arrive and for some reason everyone, EVERYONE accepts that they are there. Unless I was not paying attention, the Doc is mistaken for someone who goes on about Darwin's theories. Ace is looked at like Rose in TOOTH AND CLAW as being naked so RTD stole that stuff from this. It didn't help either story really.
The confined sets are...okay but I prefer the outside stuff as in BATTLEFIELD and even GREATEST SHOW. The haunted house is spooky enough but who are all these maids coming out of the walls and why? Why are they so mean and creepy? Why are the Doc and Ace putting up with their mean-ness. What's in the cellar? Well, we'll find out in the next few eps I"m sure. If Ace is so scared of haunted houses, why did she run to the basement...where two monster men are calling out "Ratkin." WHAT? Why? This really sucked to be honest. The set up is poor, with various things being shown to us and said to us without any real story. The set and music are creepy and that's fine and ONCE AGAIN, the feeling is that this could have, should have been so much better.
Oh and we find out Ace is a dysfunction mess. She once burned down a haunted house becaues she was pissed that her friend's house was firebombed because she was a foriegner or Indian or something. I once thought that the people who burned down the friend's house were the same ones that lived in the haunted house. As it turns out I think later eps show us that Ace didn't burn down the house but to have this suspicion about a heroic character...okay it makes her more human but really, what a jerk she is. To even think you could have burned down a house because something happened to a friend of your's...these types of criminals are put on trial on LAW AND ORDER and CSI every week, well, really every day. It didn't make Ace more sympathetic to me, only pathetic and loser-ish. And I was just beginning to like her some.
Once more we have SO many characters thrown at us, with so much as a name given, and they start talking on and on and on about...nothing that makes sense. McCoy says some cute things and Ace joins in, sarcastically and then there's their little spat...there's a Neanderthal man walking around who gets boffed on the head by something in the cellar.
Really I hope this gets better in ep2 but I doubt it will with such a bad start. Oh, and if some fans think that this is a thinking person's story, it's not. It's trash. No one can think anything from what is on screen. Maybe they cut a lot out of the script or the finished shooting of the script but this is not a thinking man's DW. It's barely even DW. So the arguements that this is cerebral (it's actually quite the reverse) don't apply either and the arguements that not everything has to be given to us don't apply because something has to be given for us to have a story. I'm disappointed because I th ought GHOST LIGHT was better...