DOCTOR WHO “The Unicorn and the Wasp”: Why Didn’t The Mirror Crack from Side to Side?

This week’s episode was probably a lot more fun for Agatha Christie fans than for everyone else–the Indian housekeeper! The secondary villain, revealed to have a working class accent! The retired military man with a secret!–but fun is a welcome diversion in the middle of a Who season full of mayhem and death. The denouement didn’t quite live up to the rest of the episode–they rarely do in Christie adaptations, as the classic Christie reveal where the detective walks the characters and the audience through everyone’s motives and actions is a typical telling rather than showing that works better on the page than on the screen. But the episode helps to highlight why Donna Noble has been such a delight: she’s relatable. A little irked to be relegated to the “plucky girl” role? Get in line. Chowing down on snacks as though the reveal is a soap opera? We’d do that too. Offering up salt as something salty? That only makes sense! Any episode with our buddy Donna and Poisoned Charades (“How is ‘Harvey Wallbanger’ one word?!?”) is going to be a hoot.

In that spirit of fun, can we find all of the Christie titles writer Gareth Roberts included in the dialogue? I’m sure we’re missing some–please add to the list!

Murder at the Vicarage (misspoken by the Doctor at the edge of the Silent Pool as “Murder at the Vicar’s Rage…needs a little work.”), Cards on the Table, Appointment with Death, N or M, Crooked House, Death Comes As the End, Dead Man’s Folly, Cat Among the Pigeons, Endless Night, Secret Adversary, and Sparkling Cyanide

Do references to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (which Lady Edison is reading), The Body in the Library (Professor Peach! Ha!), The Moving Finger (seen from each accused character’s viewpoint), and The Man in the Brown Suit (the Doctor, of course!) count?

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5 thoughts on “DOCTOR WHO “The Unicorn and the Wasp”: Why Didn’t The Mirror Crack from Side to Side?

  1. I went to wikipedia because the only two novel names I was able to pick out was Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None. I wanted to make sure I was right that I heard them!

    They say these were other ones mentioned: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans, They Do It With Mirrors, Nemesis, Taken at the Flood, and Death in the Clouds.

  2. When Professor Peach is about to be murdered in the library, he begins, “Why didn’t they ask — Heavens!” as he sees his killer.

  3. Robin, you are a genius–I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to figure out where the Evans reference was. Since I’d already slapped my forehead several times realizing i’d missed Nemesis and They Do It with Mirrors, you can imagine how attractive I was looking–bald and bruised.

    I think I got fooled because Taken at the Flood was renamed for US distribution. And upon rewatch, I think the Doctor actually says “the moving finger” as he…moves his finger. Is there a reference to Death in the Clouds beyond the book the Doctor shows Donna at the end? This really is too much fun.

    And I freakin’ love Donna, too–don’t hurt Donna at the end of the season!

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