Bill's friend Shireen comes over and brings four people with her so that they can all rent a house together. They check with a realtor and look at various houses. They don't have much luck, and a landlord takes them to an older house to look at. The landlord warns that the tower is unsafe, and Bill wonders why it's going so cheap. The others are happy with it and the landlord is eager to have them sign. They do so and Shireen glances at Bill. After a moment, she signs as well.
That night, one of the boys, Pavel, comes in and notices that the floor squeaks. Impressed, he goes to his new room and puts on a record. He goes out and hears the floor squeak in the hallway, but no one there. When he goes back to his room, he sees something and screams. After a moment, the screams die off and the door slams shut.
The next day, Billy boxes up her things and texts the Doctor. The TARDIS materializes a few seconds later and the Doctor steps out with the boxes of her things. He explains that he's a Time Lord but he ran away, and ducks her questions. They materialize outside the old house and Bill tries to keep the Doctor from going inside. The Doctor looks at the house and wonders how they can afford it, and Bill says that it's a bit drafty. He checks the wind and then insists on helping Bill take her things in.
Inside, Bill nervously tells Shireen that the Doctor is her granddad, and overrides his objections. The other three come down and Bill tries to get the Doctor to leave. He reluctantly goes, and Paul helps Bill take her things up to her room. They hear the record playing in Pavel's room, and go on to Bill's room. Paul suggests that they have a party, and Bill agrees before sending him along. As she puts up a photo of her mother, the wall creaks ominously. Bill insists to herself that the house isn't scary and continues putting her things away.
That night, everyone is down in the sitting room and Felicity is trying to get wifi reception without success. The third boy, Harry, says that he heard footsteps in the room above, They hear a noise from the kitchen and Harry tells Paul to take a look. Bill goes to take a look and the others follow, and they discover the noise is coming from behind a door. Bill opens it and finds the Doctor, and he says that there's no central heating but lots of wood. He's brought an oil-burning heater and says that there is no washing machine and the power sockets aren't modern-day. The Doctor smells their Chinese takeout, and Bill whispers to him that there's no mystery. He points out that the trees were moving as if in a wind but there was no wind, and suggests to all of them that they should find another house. They point out that it's the best place for the money and go to call the Landlord.
The Landlord is standing in the hallway and he points out that they're all there except for Pavel. Bill reluctantly introduces the Doctor, and the Landlord says that he has a daughter but she's under his protection. They point out the issues and ask if he has a cat, The Landlord insists that he has no cats and there are no pets allowed, and says that he'll deal with the other issues the next day. He dismisses the creaks as typical for an old house, and abruptly says that they can't get into the tower when Harry asks about it. As the Landlord goes, he asks the Doctor if he's going to stay there. The Doctor says that he is, and Bill says that he isn't. When the Landlord turns to go, the Doctor asks him who the Prime Minister is. The Landlord avoids answering, and suggests that the Doctor leave while he keeps an eye on Bill and her friends. He taps a tuning fork on the wall, listens, smiles, and then leaves. When Shireen goes after him to tell him that there's no washing machine, she discovers that the Landlord has disappeared.
The noise starts up again, and the Doctor slaps a hand on the wood paneling to stop it. Bill suggests that he sleep outside, but the Doctor insists on staying and Shireen agrees. He takes Bill's phone and turns on the music, and Bill asks him out into the hallway to talk. She insists that there's nothing weird going on and tells the Doctor it's the bit of her life he isn't in. The Doctor agrees but suggests that she check on Pavel since he hasn't been seen in a day. Bill realizes that the Doctor isn't leaving, and they go up to their room as the noise starts again.
As they go to their rooms, Paul tells Bill to call him if she needs help. She tells him that she goes for girls, and Paul is happy that he never had a chance. As he goes into his room, the floor creaks and Shireen jumps. Paul insists on stepping on the creaky floorboards, and once he's goes in and Bill wonders why Shireen put Paul next to her. She wonders if he Shireen fancies Paul, as Paul starts screaming and they realize he's not joking. Shireen tries the door and discovers that it's locked.
Bill knocks on the door and after a second, someone knocks back. Shireen knocks and knocks echo throughout the house. The door to Pauls' room shakes and other doors slam shut, and Bill leads Shireen out as the door slams shut behind them.
The Doctor is examining a door out when Felicity and Harry find him. He tells them that the door won't open, and Harry and Felicity confirm that it won't open. However, it's not locked, and the Doctor points out that it's completely sealed. The shutters close by themselves and the Doctor confirms that they're sealed as well. Felicity panics and runs into the kitchen, and the shutters slam shut as they look. She struggles with them and manages to get out as the Doctor and Harry run in.
Outside, Felicity looks at the shutters slamming and tries to call the police. She backs up against something and screams.
The Doctor and Harry hear Felicity's screams, and the Doctor taps on the shutters.
Bill and Shireen go into Pavel's room and find the record player playing repeatedly. Pavel is dead, embedded most of the way into the wall. Pavel's eyes twitch, and the Landlord comes in and says that he heard there was a problem. He says that the music repeated is a cruelty and lifts the arm. The wall pulls Pavel out of sight, and the Landlord says that Pavel has mercy at least and he's preserved in the fabric of the house. He tells them that they must all pay their dues except for him, because he is their Landlord and is the exception. The Landlord taps the tuning fork and places it on the wall, and says that it's time to pay.
Bill and Shireen run, and Bill leads her friend to the tower. The hallway is a dead-end, but Bill finds a hidden switch and opens, revealing stairs going up.
The Doctor suggests that something has gotten into the fabric of the house. He pushes on a cupboard door, telling the house to wake up, and the wood splits open so that a bug can crawl out. The Doctor figures that it's an alien and chases after it in fascination. Harry point out that more bugs are crawling out, and the Doctor tells him to run. He leads him to an elevator and they go down, and then move into the cellar.
Bill and Shireen reach the tower and find a women's bedroom. The shutters are sealed, and a woman calls to them from behind a screen.
The Doctor and Harry pass a painting of a woman. A bug--a dryad--crawls over it. Meanwhile, the two men find six boxes. One of them contains a contract with six signatures, dated 1997. The Doctor finds photos of the former occupants, showing them panicking. There's a photo of the dryads, and Harry finds more contracts. There's one every 20 years. They hear something coming and go out to see the Landlord. The Doctor asks where the other occupants are, and the Landlord says that they're in the house: literally. The old man explains that his daughter Eliza was dying and nothing could be done, and looks at the painting of her. He says that the dryads saved her, and insists that she must survive.
Harry tries to run up the stairs and the wood closes on Harry's foot. The Landlord taps the tuning fork and the dryads emerge and consume him. The Doctor asks if Bill is okay, and the Landlord tells him to be concerned for himself since he has less matte because he's older. As the dryads advance on the Doctor, he tells the Landlord that he might be able to help.
Eliza--petrified--0 emerges from behind the screen and says that she hasn't had visitors in such a long time. She introduces herself to Bill and Shireen,, and a dryad crawls out of her mouth and onto her face. A dryad crawls in through the door and Shireen steps on it. She dismisses it as a cockroach, but more dryads crawl out of the floor and consume her. Eliza glows with energy, and tells Bill that they have to survive.
The Landlord and the Doctor arrive, and the Landlord says that the Doctor might be able to make Eliza well. The Doctor tells Bill what's going on, and the Landlord tells him to administer his physical treatment. Eliza admits that the doctors gave up on her, but the Landlord found the dryads and brought them to Eliza. Bill says that Pavel's record was playing, and the Doctor realizes that high-pitched noises control the dryads. He opens Eliza's music box and the dryads emerge from the floor. The Doctor figures that when the Landlord opened the music box, the bugs moved in to preserve her.
The dryads advance on Bill, who crawls up on a dresser. He closes the music box and the dryads retreat back into the wood. Bill wonders why the Landlord would have brought the dryads to Eliza, and the Doctor says that insects are fascinating. She then asks how the Landlord is still alive 70 years later. The Doctor scans the Landlord with the sonic and asks Eliza if she remembers the past. Eliza insists that her father knows what's best, and the Doctor tells her that the Landlord isn't her father. He explains that the doctors sent her real father outside of her horse. The Landlord is Eliza's son, now 70 years old. The boy brought the dryads to his mother.
The Landlord begs Eliza to forgive him, and the Doctor says that when the boy saw what the dryads could do, he understand that he had to protect and tame them to keep her alive. The Landlord asks what the Doctor would do to save the one who brought him into the world, and the Doctor says nothing. Eliza realizes that her son lied to her, killing children, and the Landlord insists that he did it so that they could be together, happy. He insists that they have to keep their existence a secret, and tells the Doctor that he has brought nothing but misery and confusion. He taps the tuning fork on the wood and the dryads emerge.
The Doctor admits to Bill that he doesn't have a plan. He then tells Eliza that people have died and will continue to die unless she stops it. When she wonders how, the Doctor tells her that she's the parent and in charge. Eliza takes control of the dryads, which ignore the Landlord's commands. He tells her to take them and live, and the Doctor asks her what the point is if she has to hide herself away from the world. Eliza opens the shutters and sees the fireworks in the nearby park.
Eliza says that she remembers and turns to her son. She tells him to leave his sight and go see the world, and the Landlord tells her that he doesn't want to. he turns to kill the Doctor and Bill, but Eliza grabs his arm and says that it has to end because it's their time. She hugs him and the bugs consume them both.... as Eliza thanks the Doctor.
As the Doctor and Bill prepare to go, the bugs restore Shireen based on Eliza's last command. They run downstairs and find the others. Everyone gets out and they watch as the house collapses. The Doctor tells them that it's time to get back to the estate agent.
Later, the Doctor returns to the Vault with Mexican takeout. Nardole is aware that the Doctor has been on an adventure, and the Doctor tells him to take the rest of the night over. Nardole warns that the prisoner has been restless, and the Doctor orders him to go. A piano starts playing inside the vault. and Nardole is surprised that the Doctor has been a piano inside. The Doctor dismisses him and then calls through the vault, pointing out that they're both prisoners and offers the occupant food. He offers to tell the occupant a story, and when he mentions that lots of young people get eaten, the occupant plays a cheerful note on the piano as the Doctor opens the door.
Written by Gadfly on May 7, 2017