Monday, May 29, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x07: "The Pyramid At The End Of The World"

Written by Peter Harness And Steven Moffat
Directed by Daniel Neittheim

Bill (to UN Secretary-General): "I don't know the President! I wouldn't even have voted for him! He's orange!"

It was inevitable that we were going to get an episode that took a dig at the US's current president and to be honest, in an episode co-written by Peter Harness, this was the right place to do it. It was funny, to the point and felt truthful coming from Bill too.

Keeping with the politics, this episode certainly is the most polemic so far this series, making both Smile and Thin Ice's commentaries look mild but also keeping in line with Oxygen as well, politic wise as the Monks are a bigger presence in this episode when their pyramid shows up in the middle of Turmezistan as US, Chinese and Russian forces also mobilise and there's a Doomsday clock that is now every clock to contend with as well.

So far, the Monks don't seem to be messing about the place. They show the Doctor, Bill, Nardole and the military types that the world will end in a year and only they can save humanity but they need consent in order to do so. It's an interesting little twist for the usual invasion storyline and this episode plays with the idea neatly as well.

At first, everyone is resisting the idea of giving the Monks any consent and even the Doctor and Nardole band together to realise there's a group of scientists who will inadvertently release the killer virus that will doom the world and the Doctor even came close to saving the day, only for things to seriously escalate and Bill to be forced into handing over consent to the Monks due to her association with the Doctor.

I knew Bill was going to be the one who would end up signing over consent to the Monks. All of the military characters were so poorly drawn and given little of substance that it wouldn't have had the desired effect and Bill's desire to save the Doctor made her the obvious choice for that final moment and it certainly packed one hell of a punch.

This episode didn't go out of it's way to explain why the Monks wanted to take over the planet in particular, so hopefully the dystopian like world that Bill's actions have now sent the planet into will do so. That said, I am liking the Monks. They're creepy enough and it's been a while since we've had a truly memorable original threat and while a lot of Extremis feels irrelevant to a point, I am finding the pace of this three parter pretty good nonetheless. It's certainly helped to curb the mid-series lull and add a little danger into proceedings as the Doctor's regained his eyesight but now become a slave to the Monks.

As for the scientists of the episode - the ones whose actions nearly ended the world, they're a mixed bunch. Tony Gardner's Douglas is mostly nursing a hangover and comes across as a bit useless while Rachel Dennings' Erica on the other hand is a far more engaging character that even the Doctor seemed quick to offer her a TARDIS trip to boot. If Erica makes it out of the next episode alive, I'm hoping the Doctor does actually deliver on his promise to her.

- Bill's other date with Penny before being interrupted by the UN Secretary General was spliced in with the Previously On bits, which I thought was a clever move.
- The fact that Kate/Osgoods/UNIT were missing from this story seemed very odd to me. It also made me more suspicious about a certain finale rumour being true.
- Is this the longest episode title we've had on the show?
- The Doomsday Clock is very much a real thing, people. Though fortunately, not on all of our phones as of yet.
- Nardole's a cyborg but he's got human lungs. The character is growing on me. I don't love him but I certainly am starting to like him more though.
- Chronology: I'm assuming it's 2017, right?

The Pyramid At The End Of The World might have been the middle bit of this Monks trilogy but it genuinely felt like a starter (whereas the previous episode was more of a prelude) and with the world gone to hell and Bill and Nardole about to rope in help from an unexpected ally, I can't wait to see how this trilogy will conclude next week.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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