Recap: Doctor Who S24 E2 "Paradise Towers"
Maddy: No cause for panic? Two of my next-door neighbours have just disappeared down the waste disposal chute!
The Doctor and Mel decide to go and visit a famous housing project (because it has a nice pool), but it turns out that all of the fit adults left years before to fight a war. The block has devolved into a bizarre sort of anarchy, inhabited by color-themed all-female youth gangs called "Kangs" who use crazy terminology, rampaging janitor robots, cannibalistic old women, rule-obsessed security guys led by a guy who looks suspiciously like Adolf Hitler
, a lone quixotic draft-dodger, and the disembodied mind of the block's Ax-Crazy
- Affably Evil: Tilda and Tabby are so courteous and welcoming to passers-by, until they break out a knife to butcher the guest with, and then dinner's on to cook. It's a creepy affability, however.
- After the End: Implied; the inhabitants of Paradise Towers refer to some kind of massive war happening which forced them to take refuge in Paradise Towers, and it's pretty clear that they've been forgotten about and abandoned by the outside world.
- The Apunkalypse: the Kangs are a G-rated version
- Ax-Crazy: Kroagnon
- Bad Boss: The Chief Caretaker secretly arranges for some of his own men to be fed to his 'pet' in the basement. And that's before he's possessed by Kroagnon and starts wiping them all out.
- Badass Bandolier: Pex wears one. It doesn't help.
- Big Damn Heroes: Subverted by Pex, who has a habit of showing up and trying to save the day (usually with a fair bit of property damage involved) even when there's no danger whatsoever. He successfully manages to pull the trope off later in the story, just in time to save Mel from Tilda.
- Bland-Name Product: Fizzade
- Book Ends: The Doctor begins and ends the serial politely doffing his hat to what appears to be some kind of disused water pipe.
Melanie: No, Doctor.
The Doctor: Well, you never can tell.
- Bothering by the Book / Talking Your Way Out: How the Doctor escapes from the Caretakers
- Breaking Speech: The Doctor gives one in the Regulation 13 Appendix 2 Final Conversation with the Chief Caretaker.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: the Kangs. (The colors are those of the three main British political parties.)
- Possibly a subversion, given that, although they are certainly color coded, there is no actual difference between the three groups of Kangs.
- Dawson Casting: the Kangs are definitely meant to be younger than the actresses playing them.
- Enemy Mine: All the warring factions have to pull together against the threat of Kroagnon.
- Evil Old Folks: Tilda and Tabby, certainly. It is suggested that not all the Rezzies are quite as bad, however:
Maddy: [When the Kangs object to an alliance] I know that we residents have not always been as neighbourly as we might have been, but some have been worse than others. And the worst have gone... down the waste disposal chute.
- Fanservice: Averted — despite eventually getting her swim, we never see Mel below her shoulders while she's in the pool.
- Future Slang
- Grand Theft Me: Kroagnon on the Chief Caretaker
- Great Offscreen War: The backstory of Paradise Towers suggests that the current occupants are refugees from a massive war, mainly the elderly and the children, who were housed in Paradise Towers as a refuge while the able-bodied were sent off to fight, and the Caretakers are the maintenance / security team based there to take care of things until the war ended. It's heavily implied that they've been completely forgotten about by the outside world over the years.
- Heel-Face Turn: The Deputy Chief Caretaker and the surviving Rezzies throw their lot in with the Doctor and the Kangs when Kroagnon shows up and starts killing everyone. The ending suggests that everyone's going to try and work together from now on.
- Hypocrite: The Deputy Chief Caretaker is clearly not as familiar with the rules as he should or claims to be.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Tilda and Tabby lure in the unsuspecting for this purpose.
- Large Ham: the Chief Caretaker, especially after Kroagnon possesses him.
- Richard Briers was a fine actor, but his performance in this story has been described as a 'career-low'. According to the Other Wiki, an article in the Radio Times pulled no punches on the matter.
- Lawful Stupid: the Caretakers
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: the people who imprisoned Kroagnon in the basement apparently with all he needed to take control of the Cleaners and possess a new body
- Lost Technology: A downplayed example; one of the ways the Doctor gets the Red Kangs on his side is by showing them how to use a soft drink vending machine that's been in their base of operations all the time without them realising what it is or what it can do.
- Mad Artist: Kroagnon
- Malevolent Architecture: Kroagnon was on the point of turning Paradise Towers into this when his clients caught him at it and imprisoned him. His previous project Miracle City did end up like this. It was a miracle anyone got out alive.
- Miles Gloriosus: Pex
- Mistaken for Special Guest: the Doctor is initially mistaken for the Great Architect
- Mood Whiplash: The Chief Caretaker initially hails the Doctor, believing him to be the Great Architect, with an awed, admiring speech about how the Great Architect will fix the place up, Set Right What Once Went Wrong and generally make everything better for everyone. Then:
Deputy Chief Caretaker: So what do we do with him now then, Chief?
Chief Caretaker: Kill him.
- My Rule Fu Is Stronger than Yours: How the Doctor escapes the Caretakers.
- Never Speak Ill Of The Unalive: The Kangs.
- Ominous Multiple Screens: The Caretakers headquarters has one of these.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: the Chief Caretaker, in an unfortunate real-life example. According to the Radio Times:
"there’s no escaping the fact that the Chief Caretaker, the key baddie in Paradise Towers, is just Richard Briers in a silly cap, silly moustache, putting on a silly voice."
- Percussive Maintenance: Pex gets the elevator working again by simply kicking it.
- Psycho Lesbian: According to Word of God (and the novelization), both Tabby and Tilda.
- Punch Clock Villain: Apart from the Chief, the Caretakers are pretty much just the building's maintenance / security force who, with the devolving of Paradise Towers into chaos, have gone a bit weird and over-fixated on their rulebooks.
- Putting on the Reich: the Caretakers, and especially the Chief
- Redemption Equals Death: Pex
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Upon being confronted with the Kroagnon-possessed Chief Caretaker and his ranting about how the corridors of Paradise Towers are polluted with 'living flesh', it takes the Deputy Chief Caretaker less than a minute to decide that it'd probably be a better idea to run away and throw his lot in with the Doctor.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Kroagnon was stripped of his body and imprisoned in the basement by the former residents of Paradise Towers after they discovered he was planning to turn the entire building into a Death Trap for the residents.
- The idea of a massive housing project being so ill-designed that it turns its residents into warring tribes had previously appeared in the J.G. Ballard novel High Rise.
- Kroagnon seems suspiciously like a semi-anagramatic villainous parody of Howard Roarke from The Fountainhead.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial
Chief Caretaker: Careless chat about the robotic self-activating Mechapodic Mark 7Z Cleaners having got out of control is not going to help anyone! And may needlessly upset other Caretakers.
- Strange Salute: the Kang's elaborate "how do you do" ritual, which looks like a Shout-Out to the video to Adam and the Ants' "Prince Charming". And the Caretakers' salute, which is the British playground "put your finger under your nose like a moustache to allude to Adolf Hitler" gesture.
- Teenage Wasteland
- Too Dumb to Live: You would think that, having battled through a dilapidated tower block crawling with murderous cannibals, fascistic caretakers, teenage street-gangs, mechanised death robots and something malevolent lurking in the basement, Mel might be a tad more reluctant to get into her bathers and go for a swim in the Paradise Towers swimming pool without being a little more suspicious that there might be something nasty lurking in there as well. True enough, she gets attacked by a cleaning robot.
- Whole Plot Reference: acknowleged inspiration from the novel High Rise by JG Ballard.