Saturday, June 10, 2017

Doctor Who Is NEW!: The Lie of the Land

Hi there! Tonight is another new episode of Doctor Who as the Doctor and Bill go to Mars and meet the Ice Warriors. And some Victorian era soldiers too? 

How very H. G. Wells. 

But before we can move forward, we must reflect back to last week's episode. 

The story on that after the break.





The Lie of the Land
by Toby Whithouse

The Monks have ruled the Earth for millions of years, guiding human development.

Except, no, they haven't. Bill Potts and a few others are aware of the truth: the Monks have only been present on Earth for six months. Admitting that gets your butt tossed into prison for "memory crimes".

Well, the Doctor must be on the case, getting ready to apply a swift kick to Monks' backsides and off earth.

About that....

The Doctor is appearing on television praising the Monks' guidance and benevolence.

Bill's holding to the truth by imagining she's talking to her long-dead mother, based on pictures the Doctor gave her. It's weird but it works.

Nardole shows up (Yay! Not dead! Also not mindwarped by the Monks). Bill and Nardole go on a mission with a commando team to an old ship where the Doctor is being held captive.

OK, about that...


Doctor tells Bill he is cooperating with the Monks, willingly. Well, why not? Humanity was doomed without  guidance. Might as well be the Monks. Could be worse; it could've been the Daleks. 

So this is about all Bill can take. she grabs a gun from a commando and (Bang! Bang!) shoots the Doctor, who starts regenerating

Now, about that. 

The Doctor stops and tells Bill the entire scenario was a test by Nardole, the Doctor and the team, to make sure Bill was not under the influence of the Monks.

So Bill is not under the influence of the Monks. She IS under the influence of being ticked off at the Doctor for messing with her like that. 

But we ain't got time for that. The Doctor needs to talk to someone who is almost as smart as he is.

After quietly and calmly bringing the ship to shore... No, I mean the exact opposite of 'quietly and calmly". Nothing scarier than hearing this Doctor laugh maniacally.

Where was I?

So it's back to the University and the mysterious vault the Doctor and Nardole have been guarding. And inside, we find...

OK, it's Missy. No, that shouldn't be a surprise. We were told two weeks ago Missy was in there. But c'mon, it's Moffat! Since when has he followed a straight line? You hear, "Missy's in the vault" but you're thinking there's a catch right?

So, hello, Missy. 

The Moff tricked me by not tricking me.

Missy has encountered the Monks before and she knows how to stop them. The person who gives consent serves as a psychic link to the numerous Monk statues that are all over the Earth that send out their mind controlling broadcast. Missy defeated the Monks by killing the psychic link.   

The Doctor is not having any of that! No one's going take Bill's life if he has anything to say about it. And he thinks he does.  

The Doctor, Bill, Nardole, and the commandos infiltrate the Monks' pyramid in London . The Doctor's going to plug his brain into the psychic transmission. The Monks have other ideas and the Doctor is overpowered.  

Over the Doctor's protests, Bill plugs herself in but seems to be heading for defeat and death. But then the Monks' broadcast is replaced with images of Bill's mother. 

Bill never knew her mother so she's made up an imaginary version of her mother to talk to. It's made up; it's not real. But Bill's love for her mother is real. 

People of Earth, wake up! People don't remember the Monks. 

Meanwhile, the Monks hi-tail it off Earth as fast as that pyramid can carry them. 

The day is saved! The end. 

OK, about that...

We have one last scene in the vault with the Doctor and Missy.  Missy expresses remorse for those she has killed.

NOW... the end.  

The Lie of the Land concludes the Monk trilogy and is the weakest episode of the three. Maybe even the season? 

The episode starts off strong. Bill's fear and paranoia of living under the Monks rule is palpable. Everything is wound up so tight and the pressure is building. 

Then the Doctor fakes a regeneration. (Why? Does Bill know what a regeneration looks like? Does she know what a regeneration is? If not, why the light show? Knowing the doctor, because it looked cool.)  

And it all unwinds from there.  

In the two episodes prior, The Monks stealth and planning made them formidable adversaries. The Monks are now just ugly mind controlling alien monsters.  Compared to the first half's tight plotting, the second half is more nebulous. The Doctor sticks his head into a plot device. It doesn't work. The Bill hooks up to the plot device and it works thanks to the healing power of love. Or something.  

The third act of a trilogy is always the toughest.

Let me just say that Pearl Mackie is a gift to this show; her portrayal of Bill is nuanced and complex, unfolding week after week. 

Matt Lucas as Nardole continues to delight with a persona that is goofball and badass in his own singular style. 

And Peter Capaldi's Doctor gets to do what he doesn't usually: grin. 




And laugh maniacally.

The Lie of the Land is not a bad story; it just succumbs to same problems of a lot of 3rd acts of trilogies. 

"All that complex stuff you did in parts 1 and 2? We ain't got time for that for part 3. We got a plot that needs finishing off." 

I will be watching with the family tonight as the Doctor and Bill travel to Mars. What is the secret of... "the Empress of Mars"? We'll find out tonight.

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.  

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