The Lie of the Land

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    Craig @craig

    The Lie of the Land - Doctor Who

    This is written by Toby Whithouse, who’s now written seven episodes of Who including last series’ “Under the Lake / Before The Flood” double bill. It’s directed by Wayne Yip, who has graduated (apologies for the pun) to Who from “Class” after directing two of the best epsiodes of “Class” – “Detained” and “What Quill Did”.

    Last week Bill consented to the Monks invading Earth. She is now on her own, trying to survive in a world ruled by the Monks. The Doctor is in prison and seems to be working with them, helping them flood the airwaves with propaganda and fake news. Bill and Nardole set off on a dangerous mission to rescue him.

    As that summary suggests this is quite a bleak episode with only a few lighter moments. I don’t think it’s one of Toby Whithouse’s best – for me it’s more “A Town Called Mercy” than “The God Complex” or “School Reunion”. However, there’s still quite a lot to appreciate, especially Pearl Mackie, who is once again great as Bill.

    pıtırcapaldi @pitircapaldi

    Toby Whithouse usually wrote bleak episode but ı hope this episode is more exciting than other Toby’s episode.ı look forward to this episode.What will do Bill and Nardole without the doctor-of course the doctor will help them indirectly(I think 🙂 )


    MissRori @missrori

    (phew)  My mind has been preoccupied by all these cliffhangers lately.  I’m ready for a little closure!  😉


    Hmmm. That was fun, but the central story wasn’t the main event.

    Can’t see Missy becoming good….

    Also, posting this over on the sofa was entirely coincidental.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Just noticed that bbc iplayer now expects you to sign in. Am assuming it is a way of telling the difference between someone with a tv licence and someone without. Is this a way of stopping naughty viewers in other countries, like, oh…Canada, for instance, with a vpn from viewing?

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    (Warning: Spoilers for this episode) First Thoughts:

    Favourite line : ‘His son is serving 10 Years in a labour camp for possession of a box of comics.’

    The Seine test proved to be not enough…

    The Doctor has just manipulated Bill into shooting him and all he can say is: ‘I could do with a strepsil.’

    Bill: ‘I’m gonna beat the sh…’

    Missy: ‘I once built a gun out of leaves…’

    Visions of Missy pushing a wee girl into a volcano…

    A version of guid…

    That Gallifeyan musical theme returns…

    A myth broadcaster = (Fake News Central)

    Defeat of the baddies is reminiscent of Rings of Akhaten’s ‘Clara’s leaf’…

    Ignorant Miss Appalling Hair….

    Missy’s redemption?!?

    lie of the land fact file

    We learnt nothing about the Monks really. Maybe it’s not a bad thing?! Maintains their mystique @ least…

    At least it wasn’t all a Bobby Ewing in the shower…..

    P.S. – The Fan Show is great this week…

    Craig @craig

    The Aftershow as mentioned by @wolfweed is great.

    Warning – does contain spoilers about future foes.

    iusedtobethedoctorrs99 @iusedtobethedoctor

    from a lifelong fan of Doctor who, this has to be one of the WORST episodes ive ever seen, utter garbage moffat, come on get real, that was dire, throw in a fake regeneration and a bit of missy, that does not justify an episode, the best thing about the 2 episodes leading upto this one, was the monks, and they were not even in the episode!!!  no creepy voices etc

    i cannot say how dissapointed i am with this episode, nothing to do with the acting, badly written, badly directed, garbage storyline, dissapointing end, you name it, this episode has the word FAIL writtin all over it


    im sick to the bones after watching this utter garbabge

    iusedtobethedoctorrs99 @iusedtobethedoctor

    this episode has me on a downer now, i fear peter capaldies exit from doctor who is going to be rubbish, you cant just throw in the master/missy/dalek etc and expect it to be great just because there in the episode, what happened to the thinking behind the episodes, like genesis of the daleks, where did it all go wrong, that was utter rubbish, im sooooooooooooo angry, it was crap, one of the worst episodes ive ever seen, and what makes it worse, is that it was built up over 2, and then sunk in 45 minutes of drivel, crap moffat, utter crap, goodbye, cannot wait till you get off doctor who

    Nick @nick

    I’ve just watched all three parts of this story back to back. Whilst I’m not sure that was a good thing to do, – I’m sure I misssed a few things – but I have to sat the Moff, Whitehouse and Harkness have between them managed to write one of the finer pieces of Who.

    The only downer was watching the final episode and then putting on the news.




    Capitalisation is your friend.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Hi folks – missed a couple of episodes with you all, so will have to catch up! Has the painting and ship thread diappeared? I certainly spotted the ship this episode (Doctor’s fake prison ship – couldn’t really miss it) but was there a painting? I guess there was a painting of a monk in Bill’s apartment?

    This is turning out to be my favourite Capaldi season. His Doctor’s frock coats are gorgeous, his insouciance is charming, and his relationship with Bill is funny, warm, genuine and totally believable.

    It helps that Pearl Mackie is a very, very good actor. I must say that I prefer her to Clara.

    Heh – I suspect “fake news central” is a sly insider’s dig at the BBC, as well as, of course, a comment on the Trump era (humanity not learning from its previous mistakes re dictators, as per the Doctor and Bill’s closing conversation).

    I’ve very much enjoyed the story thread developing over several episodes, and, well, who doesn’t love a zombie monk.

    i think there are deliberate echoes in this, Moffat’s final season, of his “glory” moments past, from his writers’ team. For instance, the Doctor tied up and begging Bill not to fry her brain by merging with zombie monk central strongly recalled, for me, David Tenant’s Doctor in the same position, at River’s death scene in Silence in the Library/  Forest of the Dead. And of course, a nod here also to Moffat’s most iconic original “monster” – the Weeping Angels.

    Capaldi and Gomez are mesmerising to watch together. Her version of the Master is just delicious. And of course, Missy’s weepy remorse scene is an act – pul-ea-ase. Is the Doctor actually falling for it, though?

    Some cheesy elements to be sure – Bill’s image of her Mum as the love-saves-the-day sub-routine and Missy’s enclosure somewhat resembling Hannbal Lecter’s.

    Still, overall, I’d say this was a lovely little gem of an episode, myself. I did gasp when I saw the regeneration energy just in case they were pulling a shocker, and smart one Bill – did you notice she shot him in both hearts? No flies on her.

    Even Nardole didn’t irritate me too much this week. Although, his dating history is ever more ridiculous.

    Oh and (edit) I forgot to add, that for those still playing the spot the Who/ Sherlock cross-ver references – there was the Vitruvian Man (which appears in Sherlock’s The Sign of Three) with the monk’s face superimposed on it. For those of us still hoping S4 of Sherlock was an altered reality (thanks to TD-12 etc.) this could be taken as another little hint, given the altered reality theme of this Who episode.

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    I enjoyed this week’s episode, but there’s one thing that’s niggling me. Missy made it very clear what needed to happen for the Monks to be defeated, and that’s what added suspense to the climax of the episode: The possibility that Bill might not come out of it alive, or even worse come out of it as an empty husk of a human. And yet immediately after defeating the Monks we see that she’s absolutely fine. Are we expected to believe that just because of using a pure unaffected memory that she’d survive it easily, considering that CapDoc has clearly been out for a while after his attempt? Because I don’t buy it, it reeks of hurrying to a Happily Ever After finish.

    The rest of the episode was good though, nice to see that they tied up the loose ends from the previous episode (Bill betraying CapDoc’s decision and why Nardole survived the contamination).

    Anonymous @


    Hmm. Looking over all your previous posts you were very “whee-hay!! This was AWESOME. Fantastic” and then you go the other way “this is shit….Moffat…..leave.”

    Maybe, watch it again. Read some intelligent posts and possibly think again? You seem to react purely out of anger…I don’t think we need that here, do we? Still you have your wish, Moffat’s off to greener waters 🙂 He’ll be happy.  But remember all the amazing stuff he did all the way back 12 years ago…. Maybe with Chibnall you’ll be happier!




    Moffat’s off to greener waters

    That’s pollution for you.

    Anonymous @


    Indeed. Algae.


    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Posting his might prove to be totally inappropriate if it turns out people have been shot in London tonight…..

    I’ll post it now though, while I’m unaware of exactly what’s what…..

    Anonymous @

    the most appropriate thing said on the BBC during this time of insensibility is “people hear and see things that turn out often not to be the case.” But awful things have happened; no doubt.

    But, that’s the Lie of the Land -in episode and in truth, in London.

    Worrying. But our Aus news are non-specific and on ‘repeat mode.’

    I recall stating after Extremis that this would be an ‘essay’ on the concept of ‘truth’, ‘lies’ and a possibility of Orwellian comparisons. I’ve seen only 15 minutes but the colour palette is interesting and it seems very bleak. Those who are upset that it lacks the lightness of the earlier 5 episodes are probably right: but overall balance is the thing, and it seems to be the case that Moffat throws buckets of balance. But more than one member will complain this episode “is dreadful.”

    Bring it! I doubt we’ll agree.

    Puro and Thane

    nerys @nerys

    So much misdirection in this episode. Or was it? We thought we were seeing a regeneration, only to find that it was an illusion. Then we thought we lost Bill, but her created memories of her mother saved the day. The only genuinely tragic figure was Missy, who now seems lost in her remorse. Or is she?

    Anonymous @


    Yeah, true.

    I actually loved it. I was thinking of the Bonkers theories that were mentioned -by our wonderful theorists here and possibly how the crazed interwebs will react.

    So, I predict things will be written: 🙂

    1. Oh no, the pyramid wasn’t a tardis or something else, even better

    2. The ‘link’ wasn’t a link to another species or to the cyberfolk =lazy writing

    3. The Sim doctor didn’t come out of the vault =lazy writing

    4. We hardly saw Missy =boring

    5. The repeated voice of Bill is exactly like the eye patches worn to defeat the Silence = Moffat is plagiarising his work =lazy.

    6. The fake news is waaaay too political = Moffat should go. Wait…..he is.

    7. The upside down pyramid is a Dan Brown copy and illuminati voo-doo , (actually isn’t that the Louvre?) =not funny because we all love Dan.

    8. Simulation should have meant layers and layers of stories which we didn’t see! [YES, we did says Puro] -Moffat’s let us down again. Oh boy, Moffat must…..g++++++

    9. The three parter was wussy and hyped up -boring.

    10. Oh come on, Bill’s Mum? So, what, ‘love’ saves us?! Oh, no that’s unrealistic! Love doesn’t solve anything, even in sci-fi [erm, yes, Buffy Season 5 and Who’s season 5 Mat Smith’s era penned BY Moffat] so Moffat’s gotta go.

    11. Bill’s mum should be related to Martha. Not clever enough with her being a ‘normal mum’

    12. I thought there’d be a propa regen! It was fake-out!

    13. Why weren’t all the Doctors involved! That would have been more fun and thus equal the hype. 🙁

    *the above are my predictions: not my opinions!*

    @bendubz11 Yep, the issue of Bill coming back all ‘sorted’ was, I think, foreshadowed from the first 20 mins of the very first Season 10 episode? Her mother being KEY. Blood and memory being the key. Far stronger than the independent mind of the Doctor (which the monks had modelled). What they didn’t know was the strength of the connection between Bill and her dead mum: the link there was independent of Bill? And thus she was able to recover swiftly. Also, having timetravelled, like others, she has the ability to recover -from canon, that is.

    I’m sure there’ll be 100s of “this dude writes lazy” stuff. But for what it’s worth, it was ALL there. Bill, near the end says “we can band together learn, fight dictatorships” and the Doctor says “doing this, and people not remembering is annoying”. Nice and subtle but I suspect people will be frothing at the mouth chucking tomatoes at their screen so will’ve switched off by then.

    Good episode. Didn’t go the way I thought. Which was actually very good 😀

    Bring it for the next episode.

    Puro <waiting for sloppy vegetables flying my way>


    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @nerys  So much misdirection in this episode.

    Yes, that was crucial last week too, and the Doctor even discussed it. On the other hand, we finally got into the Vault and there was no surprise at all that Missy was in there, and she does appear to be alone.

    @wolfweed   We learnt nothing about the Monks really. 

    Including the point of their invading the Earth? But we did learn that Missy is familiar with them. Her (apparent?) remorse at her past misdeeds can’t last, surely. And the Monks departed awfully easily. So, to follow on the above point, Are the Monks playing a longer game? And will Missy assist them later?

    Overall, I thought the episode contained an effective portrayal of another dystopian world, with the highlight a stellar performance from Pearl Mackie. One jarring note for me came with the response to Bill shooting' the Doctor.  I suppose we can't expect much of the Doctor in these sorts of circumstances, and if Clara had been there, I suspect she'd have passed the Doctor one of her cards for him to read out stating something along the lines of "I  regret profoundly the enormous emotional cost of the experience I have put you through. But I do hope you understand why I had to do it."  Here was an utterly gut-wrenching experience for Bill, but we switched after theshooting’ to jokey music, applause all around from smiling guards as well as the Doctor and Nardole, who clearly are very much enjoying matters.


    Serahni @serahni

    @blenkinsopthebrave  I’m not sure but if anyone is in need of a site that doesn’t require login and, thus, might allow sneaky access, our Australian broadcasts are online.

    I didn’t mind this three-parter.  Good aliens, another foiled plot to take over the world.  The idea of them having the means to create an artificial reality has me a bit worried since it smacks too much of ‘it was all just a dream’, so hopefully we’ve seen the last of them and this little story arc can stand on its own.

    There was one thing that really bothered me though and the only thing that’s stopping me from outright claiming it made the whole plot kind of stupid is that I’m not entirely certain where the TARDIS was for those 6 months.  I need to rewatch it.  However, if Bill was the key to everything, it bothered me a lot that nobody seemed to raise the possibility of “well, let’s just take her some place else until everything wears off”.  Anyone able to elaborate why, I have to assume I missed something otherwise it seems daft to me.

    Anonymous @

    1 thing, did anyone think the Doctor’s “mwahhahah” laugh flying over London was a bit….off?

    The super close-up of teeth? Almost valeyard-ish? But then not?

    Just seemed ‘wrong’ somehow.


    Serahni @serahni


    “Missy’s weepy remorse scene is an act – pul-ea-ase. Is the Doctor actually falling for it, though?”

    I’m interested to see where this Missy stuff is going, (obviously!), especially since I can’t shake this feeling that the Doctor’s promise to “guard this body for 1000 years” was somehow a reference to himself.  I did wonder if he managed to use the device to kill Missy to somehow transfer something of himself to her, since she had just asked him to teach her to be good.  Is this remorse a reaction to a foreign empathy that’s been grafted onto her personality?  And, if he has done this, and Missy is somehow “turning into the Doctor”, would that still count as an execution?  Has he killed her metaphorically?  Just a bonkers theory for now, but I’m very eager to see how this plays out.

    I tend to agree with you though, I don’t think long-term redemption is quite Missy’s cup of tea.

    tardigrade @tardigrade

    I wasn’t a fan at all of the previous episode, and while this wasn’t one of the greatest episodes of all time, there was more to enjoy here and fewer niggles, at least for me, so I enjoyed this more.

    My favourite line: “Your future is taken care of”. On the surface it’s reassuring, but also very literal in that it also means that any self-determination is also gone. A real 1984 vibe just in that one line.

    A few thoughts – positive, negative and observational:

    * Obviously not a lot of resolution of any issues left open in the opening two episodes of this 3-parter. And no wins for any bonkerising. A fairly straightforward plot really, which may have actually worked in its favour.
    * Did the Doctor really waste regeneration energy on what was essentially a practical joke by that point? Bill seemingly doesn’t know about TL regeneration, so wouldn’t know what that was about anyway. So really not for her, but instead a fake-out for fans. The Doctor was so far out of character though, that this was still pretty much expected.
    * I liked the idea of the Monk statues being critical to their control- statues of “loved” leaders being a common feature of real societies, past and present, that repress individual thinking.
    * In the previous episode, the Monks demonstrated basically god-like powers. Now they leave the door to the pyramid open and are vulnerable to a small group with small arms and walkmen (where did they find those? 🙂 ). Not much menace at all left in them.
    * If the Monks didn’t trust the Doctor completely (and why would they- they can run a few simulations to see how that would turn out), then I would have thought that they would have been watching him closely- he seems to have gone rogue and caught them completely off-guard.
    * I’d have liked to have had some explanation of what the Monks gained by being in control- simply having control isn’t an end it itself.
    * The resolution was simplistic in some ways, but worked reasonably well- possibly saved by the expected self-sacrifice by Bill. I’m usually not a fan of the “power of love” as a resolution, and not sure of the logic of Bill’s “memory” of her mother being pure- it’s purity comes from it being purely a false memory maybe?
    * I don’t see “fake news” as a particularly contemporary or political reference- that particular phrasing is perhaps contemporary, but it was a big theme in 1984 (written in 1948), and obviously during WW2 and earlier. It’s used more in the 1984 sense than its more contemporary sense here.
    * Missy seems to be pretty beaten down, and resigned to staying in the vault at least semi-voluntarily. She didn’t even have an interest in sparring with Bill, who comes in calling her “some woman”. And Missy seemingly feeling remorse for her past actions- that’s new. I say “seemingly”- a reversal could come very quickly one feels 🙂
    * Why does the Doctor refer to Missy as “the other last of the Time Lords”, with the others returned, even if laying low?
    * Clearly a number of derivative elements from various sources (1984, Star Wars, Star Trek)- I know that the 1984 themes are so well embedded in the culture that to avoid comparison is impossible, and that in some cases they’re obviously meant to be winking references- Nardole’s neck pinch for example – but a few overtly meta references go a long way. They inherently take the watcher out of immersion and flag what you’re watching as a work of fiction.
    * Again, memory was used as a theme- something that’s been done many times now under Moffat.

    @thane15 I understand the fun in your post. I think there’s truth in there though – it’s fair to say that this one wasn’t going to win over those who aren’t Moffat fans.

    tardigrade @tardigrade


    I’m not sure but if anyone is in need of a site that doesn’t require login and, thus, might allow sneaky access, our Australian broadcasts are online.

    This will be geoblocked also methinks- though won’t require a login.

    I’m not entirely certain where the TARDIS was for those 6 months

    With Nardole it would seem, at least until he tracked down the Doctor. The Doctor might have kept it out of sight then- it would be a giveaway that he wasn’t loyal to the Monks. Not sure why they came in on the ship though, rather than the Tardis – that would seem to be pretty slow and liable to set off alarm bells and ruin the element of surprise.

    Serahni @serahni

    @tardigrade  Makes sense but I don’t think that accounts for why the Doctor didn’t even address the possibility of just taking Bill off-world after he’d spoken to Missy.  If breaking the connection was the key, wouldn’t that have happened if she was on, you know, another planet?  Or just in the TARDIS itself?

    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @serahni From memory, I think the Doctor does explain that simply breaking the link isn’t ideal, since it will take time for the Monks influence to fade away. I would have thought they might also be in a position to establish a new link- they’d surely then be a in a better position to find someone who feels trust/dependence/love for them than they were originally, though perhaps when people are already under their influence, that wouldn’t work- it wouldn’t be “pure”.

    Serahni @serahni

    @tardigrade  Again, that makes sense but maybe not enough for me to quite forgive them for not considering it, at least.  lol  Either way, the episode was enjoyable enough, though perhaps not the best of the series to date.  This three-parter has invented an interesting villain, I just hope we don’t see a misuse of it later down the track.  Every writer knows that everything-was-a-dream is a really, really weak premise!

    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @serahni The method of breaking the link that was considered was the “Missy method”- expedient and without concern for the person embodying the link. I can see why you would think a broader set of tools, other than Missy’s blunt instrument, might have been considered.

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    Here in the depths of rural Norfolk internet connection is a bit wibbly.  So will seize the moment just to say that on reflection I don’t read Bill’s invocation of her mother as a ‘love saves the day’ thing.  Those memories were created by the Doctor, they’re real because he was there when the photo was taken, but they aren’t part of ‘history’, part of Bill’s official story even.  They’re therefore safe from Monkish interference, unlike everything else.   It’s that rather than the love thing that enables her to win and survive intact.   Having said that, I was sobbing like a babby during the whole thing (and mum-in-law doesnt grasp the whole Nobody Speaks During Who thing so was burbling about cups of tea so I may have missed a nuance or two)…


    Missy @missy


    Just had a quick squizz at the posts. (avoiding spoilers) It sounds as if not many of you liked it. I shall find out tonight.


    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @missy FWIW I thought this was probably the best of the 3 parts, but of course make up your own mind- I know some thought it the weakest. You can of course watch on iView (link earlier in this thread) if you want to watch on Sunday morning in Oz and not be stranded in spoiler purgatory.

    Nick @nick


    1 thing, did anyone think the Doctor’s “mwahhahah” laugh flying over London was a bit….off?

    The super close-up of teeth? Almost valeyard-ish? But then not?

    Just seemed ‘wrong’ somehow.

    PC was riffing on the old fashioned pantomime super-villain (and what a good one he made). If you add the way he “tested” Bill earlier (the psuedo-regeneration) it seems to be a deliberate attempt to suggest some incipient pre-regeneration madness. I also highlight the Doctor’s monologue about the seconds ticking away to Death as support for the idea that PC’s Doctor is aware that his end is nearing and that it is having an effect on him.

    Guarding the vault for 1000 years (and we don’t know for how long that’s been going on, but the inference is he’s quite away through it) and that the Missy’s “execution” happened just after River went to her “death” at the Library suggests to me that he has spent quire a while brooding on the past as well as being relatively inactive.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Plenty of potential plot holes this week too. Let’s try & address some…(even though I’ve not really slept!)

    @serahni On the not using the TARDIS (where was it all episode?), @tardigrade‘s explanations would cover this. Using it as a taxi = breaks the Monks’ trust. Using it to take Bill into Space to break the link, as also explained = Not ideal. The other thing is that the Doctor declared previously that he doesn’t take the TARDIS into battle (though he’s a bit inconsistent about that!)…..


    @tardigrade  Why does the Doctor refer to Missy as “the other last of the Time Lords”, with the others returned, even if laying low?

    A ‘very guid’ point – & one which I can’t really begin to answer – Perhaps he’s killed them all again(!)


    Why didn’t they just smash the statues? Same thing as before – Breaking the link is not ideal…A lot of statues to smash – Plan would probably fail before completion, even if you had enough hammers…

    Where did they get the Walkmans from? Maybe from the Walkman Museum?(Ha!)

    Why was the CGI so bad? Budget, my dears…. Budget…..


    Also for your delectation: A revelation about the actress who plays Bill’s Ma:  Where have we seen Bill’s mum before? (No spoilery comments @ the time of linking)

    And talking of 1984, the TV Peter Cushing version was recently rediscovered & is well worth a watch… 1984

    Nick @nick


    Did the Doctor really waste regeneration energy on what was essentially a practical joke by that point? Bill seemingly doesn’t know about TL regeneration, so wouldn’t know what that was about anyway. So really not for her, but instead a fake-out for fans. The Doctor was so far out of character though, that this was still pretty much expected.

    Hi there. I’m by no means a Moff fan, but overall the three parts (I watched back to back for the first time) worked as one extended story. The whole outshone each individual episode and the overall conception was very good. However, there were lots of holes in the plot and inconsistencies between the episodes (especially in the treatment of the Monks). That suggests the overall story needed a longer gestation. These sort of things are problematic for me.

    i picked out your regeneration point as I agree with you this did seem an over-reaction. The whole testing scheme (and the way Bill/Nardo’s suicide mission was set up previously) seemed over the top. Obviously it could have been written in a different way. Whilst it was a fake out (as you call it) I think the intention was something more than that. When the shots were fired, the Doctor’s immediate physical reaction (the facial impression, staggering backwards) suggests something more than blanks were fired. In context the beginning of the regeneration worked. Is it possible to speculate that live ammunition and not blanks were actually fired ?  I also thought the immediate reaction afterwards (and Nardo’s seeming acceptance) was slightly strange as well. It didn’t seem right to me.

    I expect to see something more made out of this scene in the future, perhaps by a direct reference, but perhaps also continued strange behaviour (not that the Doctor hasnt already acted in an expected way already in series 10). If not then your criticism will not only be validated but doubled in my opinion.

    Nick @nick


    Also for your delectation: A revelation about the actress who plays Bill’s Ma:  Where have we seen Bill’s mum before? (No spoilery comments @ the time of linking)

    Well done. I also wonder whether that might end up being a spoiler of sorts. I had previously wondered whether there might be a deeper link between Bill and the Doctor along those lines (I can’t particular remember why I had that idea while watching one of the earlier episodes), but had rejected the idea as too implausible even for the Moff.

    MissRori @missrori

    Hoo boy, my feelings are mixed about this one…

    On the one hand, I liked it more than “The Pyramid at the End of the World” but it was no “Extremis”.  The acting was great — I understand why Mackie’s getting the lion’s share of praise, but Capaldi was amazing.  This is Twelve’s equivalent to Four’s “The Invasion of Time”.  I felt like things were actually happening in this story, while “Pyramid” did feel like the arc was in a holding pattern until the cliffhanger.  And the uplifting note at the end of this dark arc was good to end on.

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s awkward that after the Doctor ended up suffering for not being completely honest with Bill about his blindness in the previous episode, his dishonesty was vital to paving the path for her (ultimately) to save the day in this story?  In other circumstances, it would just be fiendishly clever — the liar hoodwinking the liars.

    @countscarlioni, The revelation that the Doctor was just testing her took things in waaaay too light a direction for what had just happened.  Similarly, the wrap-up between Bill and the Doctor had some lovely dialogue without getting sappy, but after all they came through, shouldn’t there have been more talk about his not being honest with her about his blindness, how tough he and the other allies were on her psychologically with the test of character, and how she resorted to lethal force very quickly?   (Though I’m not surprised he isn’t too bothered by that last one.  He forgave Clara pretty easily for attempting murder-suicide, after all, for far less noble reasons.)

    For that matter, they sure aren’t concerned about all the people imprisoned and executed during the six months of Monks!  Keep in mind, tons of families will be wondering where loved ones are…with no memories of what happened.  That’s horrifying to contemplate, and I’m surprised Moffat and co. didn’t catch that.  (“In the Forest of the Night” had similar issues with how much damage the temporary forested world would have really wreaked on humanity.)  Why not use a “year that never was” solution instead?

    I am not offended by “power of love”-related endings myself, and I loved the Doctor’s kind, small act having a gigantic impact.  It’s a wonderful rejoinder to the doom and gloom of every step one takes being closer to the grave and every mistake coming back to nip one in the butt that was stressed in the last episode.   That said, the image of Bill’s mum reminded me way too much of old Jacksons/Michael Jackson videos and pin-up posters!  😀

    @thane15, about the Doctor being a bit too gleeful returning to the mainland, well, they (and he) don’t call him a madman with a box for nothing!  I thought it rather Fourth Doctor-ish myself, a sort of “I’m back!” moment.  😀

    @tardigrade I appreciated the straightforwardness of this episode too.  Leave the misdirection to the advertising!  😉 And yeah, there was no reason at all that the Monks shouldn’t have been keeping a really close eye on the Doctor — and his associates for that matter — just because he said he’d be good.  Wouldn’t their propaganda mouthpiece suddenly escaping at least raise some alarm bells?  And how exactly did the Doctor break everyone else’s brainwashing on the ship?  Wouldn’t they have noticed that?

    Yes, chalk me up as underwhelmed by the Monks in the end.  I didn’t expect a huge reveal about them being another race or anything — they were powerful enough on their own, and I was excited to finally see an original threat that the Twelfth Doctor couldn’t defeat in just one (or two in the case of the Fisher King) episodes.  That was the problem.  After the previous two episodes and the early stretch of this — what with their preparing for every contingency, getting everybody exactly where they wanted them,  and so forth — they suddenly seemed to make a lot of mistakes here.  And like you, I never did get a clear idea of what enslaving humanity was meant to achieve for them.  It didn’t make them more powerful; they had no plans to use them as an army, workforce, etc.  And given that one reason Bill made the best of two bad choices in the cliffhanger of “Pyramid” was the suggestion they would just keep trying to enslave humanity and the Doctor surviving would make a big difference there, why did they just run away as soon as Bill broke their power?

    Although it was neat to see the episode go in such a different direction than the one set up in the opening third — Bill fighting not only the Monks but a brainwashed Doctor (since he would never have joined of his own accord) — there was also potential for a great episode in that too.   I would have loved it if the Doctor really were brainwashed, but into believing a false future.  Basically, it would have convinced him that humanity would never survive and thrive, for better or worse, across the universe; he’d forget all his experiences that prove otherwise.  Bill could have reminded him of the emojibots and Chasm Forge.   And then Bill shooting him and causing a partial regeneration would have broken the Monks’ hold — restoring him to his factory settings as it were!  😉

    Still, we can only make do with what we have, eh?  🙂  There was lots to like about this one.

    Anonymous @

    @cathannabel @tardigrade

    Oh gosh! sorry, the funny-ish ness of the post was to describe what I could imagine the inter-webs saying: and that’s fine but on the “love is the thing” -I see it as part of the coherent humane outcome -the intersection of faith and reason (as I explained in The Pyramid Episode)? But at the same time I think I it worked because this was independent of Bill’s liveable reality -ah yes, just re-reading this to @bendubz11 I said (poorly!):

    “the link was independent of Bill”

    and thus worked outside of the Monk’s usable memories. ** I noticed twice in Pyramid and in this episode, Bill saying “it’s amazing, it’s working” which became one of Moff’s ideas in show: as soon as it’s amazing, something else goes to hell 🙂

    But yes, I enjoyed it. First time ever no Doctor Who was watched by Thane this evening who is heavily into a Made For Netflix show which he won’t leave alone (we have a mandatory maximum viewing period but it’s on DVR).

    In all honesty, I think he misses S8 and 9 too much -loved Extremis, loved Oxygen and……”very much enjoyed the others” but….PC remains his Doctor (in 2013 it was Smith: things change)

    ** I guess we could conceive of the Monks knowing all those threads: playing with them thru time …

    @tardigrade OK, yeah, with the “fake news not being used as a contemporary reference“.

    I guess I sort of did see it that way -from Extremis on?  In the Zygon 2-parter we had two groups attempting peace on earth but with a rebellious Zygon Split. Here, we move up to tyranny/dictatorship involving “memory crimes” = internment. We live with rinse and repeat cycles of nonsensical news exploiting vulnerable people. Hell, the monks are already here!

    I found Turn Left more powerful. I’m surprised I’m comparing it to this but then it hits me again, and again: Puro: this ISN’T the main story, the ‘event’ or side-step made by the monks is Moffat’s too. He’s good at distraction. Missy is the bracket which frames the series. @pedant you alluded to that last night.

    That’s when I know that this isn’t the Zygon 2-parter or Turn Left. This was a gently paced (at times) three-er with risk vs reward; fantasy versus reality; and psychology/sensitivity of a vulnerable mind (or indeed a strong one) versus critical thinking. Each of these sides of the coin also translate into how we view Missy.  What’s her risk and reward? What’s her reality? And is she vulnerable (penitent) or just extremely sneaky?

    Interesting that this so-called redeemed Missy dovetails so well with the ‘love’ of the monks.

    As to why come? They wanted somewhere in the galaxy to live? Missy had defeated them once. They needed a HQ?  🙂


    Indeed. But then was it “all a dream?” If people died then it wasn’t a dream. Perhaps the dead were re-written to Die Another Day way. In which case, “appalling hair girl” was the other story: Don’t forget. But we do. Every day we forget a little more. That’s the truly scary shit behind the story.

    Kindest, Puro.

    MissRori @missrori

    @nick  I agree, this three-parter needed some more time in development (and we already know that “Pyramid” wasn’t able to get that due to Moffat’s mother’s illness/death).  I see it as a delicious, rich soup course followed by a steak that needed some more time on the grill followed by a dessert that didn’t completely satisfy but gave a nice sugar rush.  😉

    I still wonder if this weren’t originally intended as the season finale, especially with the teases of first the Doctor and later Bill’s deaths, before it became clear Capaldi wouldn’t stay on for another season and they realized they’d need to go bigger.  This is the first mid-season 3-parter the show’s done, after all.  Perhaps they should have been rethought as three standalone episodes with different villains in each one.  “Pyramid” could have been a great standalone adventure, while “Lie of the Land” could have opened “cold” with a mystery to figure out along with Bill.  Or, perhaps it could have been a 2-parter with the Missy thread of “Extremis”  intertwined with the Doctor trying to figure out what might destroy the world in “Pyramid”, with the Doctor’s desperate choice to save Missy no matter the cost paralleling Bill’s desperate choice to save the Doctor no matter the cost, and then just moving straight to “The Lie of the Land”.

    Which reminds me — the Doctor told Missy in “Extremis” that he needed her help, so why didn’t he ask what she knew about the Monks between that and “Pyramid”?  Would have saved the poor idiot a lot of trouble!

    Anonymous @


    I’m surprised that Moffat and co. didn’t catch that”

    In story they did. You bet: when Bill sits down and says “history, awesome” and Appalling Hair Girl knows nought? The Doctor says very carefully, and with pensive expression: it’s annoying.

    Moffat’s Doctor said: “it’s annoying”

    and I think that’s what this TL would say. But we infer from his actions not always his words. His “please, no, please Bill, no! Don’t” was his attempt at action, his startled terror and then later, as he got up and walked away from the left-over statue, he reminded Bill of an essay: and what was its title?

    That’s the thing Moffat and co. showed us.


    Nick @nick


    For that matter, they sure aren’t concerned about all the people imprisoned and executed during the six months of Monks!  Keep in mind, tons of families will be wondering where loved ones are…with no memories of what happened.  That’s horrifying to contemplate, and I’m surprised Moffat and co. didn’t catch that.  (“In the Forest of the Night” had similar issues with how much damage the temporary forested world would have really wreaked on humanity.)  Why not use a “year that never was” solution instead?

    This is the main reason why I have always thought this sort of large scale end of the world story shouldn’t be done on Earth. Ultimately there is always some sort of narrative cop-out by the writer, because to accommodate the real political effect of something like this actually happening would result in too great a change going forward imo. I don’t think everybody forgetting missing people and the events is any better a solution than the magic reset button.

    Nick @nick


    As to why come? They wanted somewhere in the galaxy to live? Missy had defeated them once. They needed a HQ?

    Unless this gets explained in a future episode, I’d suggest an alternative reason. We saw in Pyramid part, that the Monks requires true/pure consent to take charge. As such it isnt an invasion, even if they act like they have while consolidating power. I would suggest making them a sort of parasite living off the energy generated by the collective mind link via the multiple statue base stations a more plausible explanation of their motive.

    Anonymous @


    have always thought this sort of large scale end of the world story shouldn’t be done on Earth. Ultimately there is always some sort of narrative cop-out by the writer

    Uh huhn, but if it’s a cop-out then basically the whole 3 -parter was a failure? Sorry, wasn’t entirely sure if you meant that. OK, that’s interesting!  But it was referenced by dialogue, in story, by the Doctor then I would think, maybe, it’s not a cop-out? Exactly?

    Oh yes, of course. The needing to be loved to take over and take the planet. Thank you! Yes, I’d forgotten that.



    wolfweed @wolfweed

    The other plot hole that came up was this:

    Why did the monks imprison the Doctor & not Bill?

    I’m not sure I have an acceptable answer for this in my current wabbit state…

    Presumably they thought that without the Doctor, Bill would never discover the truth of her being the source. Their simulations & prophetic shower curtains didn’t count on Nardole & the Resistance having – well, resisted

    Sh*tty sims & shower curtains…..!!!

    Perhaps they also didn’t count on the Doctor’s revealing  chat with Missy…?

    Sloppy sims & shower curtains!



    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade @pedant

    oops! Yes, the walkmen. I would think walkmen are pretty easy to source -from the Tardis before the actual arrival in the pyramid? Maybe you’d use the ship/thing to arrive at the London pyramid because at the point the monks still think the Doctor’s on their side. Also, if he’s got a ‘gang’ (re: Alan) they just might have a few sneaky walkmen lying around.  I think the Walkman’s makin’ a groovy come back. I have about three myself….:D

    And a boom-box.

    Ah, different show. 😉



    Anonymous @


    Can you put the mother in The Vault for a spin? 🙂

    OK, no that won’t track. I’ve been watching far too much telly. And I’m silly-tired!


    Long may the conversation continue!


    Nick @nick

    @thane15 (Puro)

    I guess it depends (IMO) on whether you are into Sci-fi in a major way or not. The closest AG Who has been to sci-fi (as opposed to sci-fantasy) was Turn Left. That story showed the large scale consequences of the various RTD era end of the world scale stories had on the UK in particular. The economic and social damage was very considerable. RTD indicated that internment and death camps were in existence in an authoritarian run society. A bleak dark place. The Dalek Invasion of Earth was another notable example (the 1970’s series Survivor is another good example).

    As a writer/production team if you aren’t willing to show the way the earth and human society is altered by a multiple large scale alien invasion (over 10 year period in the case of AG Who), with many deaths and damage to infrastructure then why bother writing that story line ?

    If you’re going to use that sort of idea. without the natural consequences, then as a writer you are forced to use some sort of idea where whilst the Doctor is saving the day, somehow a reset button is hit or we otherwise forget all about what happened. This is unbelievable in my opinion. You can use it once, but surely not on multiple occasions. You loose credibility within the overall fictional universe your series occupies. I think that is a cop out by the writer and production team. For me, AG Who lost this vein of sci-fi credibility years ago. Therefore I ignore the ludicrous endings and concentrate on the good things.

    MissRori @missrori

    Also…isn’t the Doctor culpable for many, if not all, of the people imprisoned and/or executed by the Monks, given that he was broadcasting propaganda on their behalf encouraging them to be turned in for dissension, albeit as part of his cover?  And shouldn’t Bill have called him out on that?  (I saw this brought up at Tumblr from a major fan of the show as it is right now.)  Perhaps Missy was right after all about acceptable losses…   🙁

    The poster pointed out that they could have revealed everyone was actually safe, thanks to the Doctor’s allies busting people out of the camps, etc., but they didn’t…

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    People (dafties) on twitter are blaming Steven Moffat for this script. He didn’t write it! (He outlined the gist)…

    Also, if there are any serious plot holes in any of the stories, the script/story editors should get the blame. Although Moffat does rewrites, scripts are passed on to these editors to eliminate such problems and to tie stories together satisfactorily…

    blame moff

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