Tuesday, June 06, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x08: "The Lie Of The Land"

Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Wayne Che-Yip

The Doctor (to Bill): "Regeneration a little bit too much?"

Understatement of the century there, Doctor. We know you're about to do that for real in six months at Christmas like your predecessor did, so having a fake out here, even if it was designed to see whether or not Bill was under the influence of the Monks was just one of the most head desk inducing moments the show has produced.

It's moments like this that actually cheapen the wonder behind regeneration and while it made for a good trailer moment, ultimately resulted in a moment that both was insulting to audience intelligence and generally just aggravating to bits.

While it was nice to know quickly in the story that the Doctor wasn't actually under the Monks 1984 esque influence, the show could've found a less patronising way of conveying that information. Bill's reaction to being tested by the Doctor and Nardole on the other hand was delightfully on point in an otherwise disappointing conclusion to this trilogy.

Yup, the Monks thanks to Bill have managed to take over the world and they're like the best and most benevolent leaders ever and if you say otherwise, then fake news and all that jazz. Of course, like every other creature that's invaded the planet they can be defeated and this is where Missy was made use of for this episode.

Taking on a Hannibal Lecter type role in her glass cage, Missy was quick to get the Doctor and Bill to work out that the latter dying or being reduced to a vegetative state was the best way to get the Monks to leave the planet (their influence would be broken, people would be woke, etc) and of course, the Doctor was determined to find another way. Bill on the other hand had her own ideas on the matter.

Given that Bill herself was the one who gave the Monks the power to throw the world into it's current dystopian like state, it made sense that she was the one to take it away from them too. Unfortunately for all the good intention the show had, resolving the plot through Bill's false memory of her mother was just unbelievably bad this time around. The show has done the trope too many times and here, it just felt like too swift a resolution for an arc that perhaps didn't need to be three episodes long in retrospect.

As for the Missy bits of the episode, I would've liked for her to have been in the thick of things but at least her scenes lit up the affair. I don't for one second believe that she wants to turn over a new leaf but I am loving the more sombre and reflective performance Michelle Gomez is giving this series and I'm definitely going to miss her the most from this era as well. That said though, I'm waiting for Missy to escape from that Vault because I definitely believe she can but for some reason she's buying her time before doing so.

- Some of the images we saw in the Monks glass ranged from the likes of the Spice Girls to the USA's current president. The Planet Earth style opening from the Doctor was a nice touch.
- Bill did some narration in this episode too and there some clear echoes of both Last Of The Time Lords and Turn Left.
- How many body parts has Nardole actually lost or has replaced? And when she wasn't threatening to beat the shit out of him, Bill also called him Nardy.
- Wayne Che Yip has previously directed the Class episodes Detained and The Metaphysical Engine, Or What Quill Did.
- The ratings for this episode really did suffer under the Britain's Got Talent finale.
- Chronology: Six months from the events of The Pyramid At The End Of The World.

Truth be told, the idea behind the Monks was good but with the lack of explanation for their motives and being expanded into three episodes probably wasn't the smartest move. The Lie Of The Land isn't as bad as some have said, but it's undeniably an unsatisfying way of concluding what should've been a compelling story though. Some nice emotional bits but this should've been so much better though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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