The Lie of the Land

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    ichabod @ichabod

    @glasgowboy  Why wasn’t Bill imprisoned from the start? 

    As the one who made the link, she’s supposed to have a more or less normal life and have kids, one of whom will carry on the link, as explained by — Missy?  That’s less likely in a prison than living a relatively protected life at large.

    @pedant  “In amongst seven billion, there’s someone like you.”  That is what the story was about, not the logistics of post-War reconstruction.

    Agreed; but it does give us Bill as “special”, which I thought we had got away from with the earlier episodes of S10.  So, it seems, not.  She’s now the young woman whose dead mother has been returned to her, in memory at least, by the kindness of the Doctor (not just deciding not to wipe part of her memory, but going one better in the opposite direction, to a partial restoration of memories).

    On the other hand, she has in fact shown herself to be special in terms of courage, and that’s not something the Doctor gave her.  She’s not fearless — we’ve seen her good and scared — but she she’s got grit, in a pinch.

    @miapatrick  Her importance is, in a way, quite ordinary. And it focused on her mother, not on him, there really is no such thing as an unimportant person. And there is a level of normal, devastating human grief in this conclusion, love for a parent she doesn’t know, built out of photographs gifted partly out of embarrassment at an unexpected Christmas present.

    Ah, thanks.  I’d forgotten about the Xmas present!  Memory again . . . Miss CrazyHair doesn’t really remember anything much about the monks — that human weakness again, against which the Doctor has fortified Bill with the gift of those photos.

    @thane15  Puro  This is also a PG show, if it were referenced more often then I believe the “warnings: explicit material about loss of life and mental illness” would appear before the show, it would change the timing of the programme and the limits of the 12 year old viewers would be tested. So, I do feel I agree with @nerys that it’s a frequent device used because it works 

    There is that: this isn’t the targeted audience for Children of Men, it’s DW, where even showiing a bit of gore is problematic.  They want to give the kids a scare, not horrify them into depression.  A certain amount of soft soap to glide over the rough bits is necessary for practical reasons.


    Whisht @whisht

    So – have only seen The Lie of the Land once and think it probably requires a rewatch.
    So far I’m lacking enthusiasm for this trio of stories (rather than actively disliking them). It may be however simply due to a series of small tiny elements that makes me wince or take me out of the story.
    Paper cuts if you will.
    I had problems with the Doctor’s characterisation: both his collusion, attitude to violence (including expecting Bill to shoot him??!!?) but also a line that (from memory) went something like:
    “I did save the world when I was taking pictures of her Mum – I thought I was only doing her a favour” – I guess he’s been characterised as conceited before but it just… rankled this time.

    But a smile when we saw Magpie Electronics is still around.

    And always like the “Get the band back together” line (nice @pedant ).

    Really appreciate and enjoying reading others’ thoughts both for and against.

    I agree that the Monks seem powerful and then vulnerable for no reason (eg a plane and a sub try to attack it in Pyramid at the End of the World and they are dealt with easily. Here a hulk-prison-ship holding their enemy has slipped its anchor and is bearing down on them and… nothing much).

    Anyway – what is the motivation of the Monks – why did they want to take over the World?
    They’re shown as simulation game-players with powerful real-world tools (pyramid).

    The easy thought (for me) is that they are excited game-players who enjoy meddling with a modelled (simulation) world and then taking that to a new ‘high’ by doing it to a Real World?
    Basically Grand Theft Auto players becoming Grand Theft World players – the Playstation generation (left as ‘husks’).

    But a more enjoyable (for me) thought is to reflect that they want to manage the World better than the inhabitants can (by simulating outcomes and micro-managing the World).
    Basically they’re needy project managers (needing love as lets face it, PMs never get the love or credit they deserve).

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @wolfweed- good point. In an episode in which he helps the Monks in the attempt to convince them that they’ve convinced him and he’s had a change of heart- Missy helps him, and even starts crying. Remorseful Missy is about as unlikely as willing propaganda stooge doctor.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @RorySmith- you’re right. Pearl was amazing. They all were, this was fantastically acted. I have some issues with the pacing and conclusion of these three episodes, but it is a good story done well and the dynamics playing out between the Doctor, Bill, Nardole and Missy are fantastic. Just as with the Smith area, one can always find flaws, but the point with Moffart has always been the emotional storytelling and the sense of mystery and he’s sticking with that, for his final series, and so he should.

    MissRori @missrori

    @ichabod  I think what Moffat and co. meant about Bill not being “special” was that she does not enter the story as having some great mystery surrounding her, as Amy Pond did with the crack in her bedroom, or Clara Oswald did with her multiple lives.  Bill really is “just” a cafeteria worker with little means and little really fulfilling in life, little prospects.

    But she is a kind, bright and (as it turns out) brave person and sad to say not everyone is in this world.  And she’s just different enough from everyone around her to pique the Doctor’s interest.  She is special to him from the beginning not because of circumstances or luck but because of her own qualities as a person.  It is from the kindness that they share between each other that the world was saved in this story.

    I suppose @whisht he was being a little proud upon realizing that his gift — indirectly — saved the world.  But think about it — he expected his big Time Lord brain to be enough to stop the Monks, but it wasn’t.  It wasn’t his special biology, or his wildly advanced intellect, or anything that makes him different from us pudding brains that won the day.   What he did that helped pave the way for Bill’s triumph was repay her for her kindness to him.  That’s something anyone could do — a kind, right deed.

    The Doctor does sometimes lose perspective when it comes to small things.  He focuses so much on the big picture, especially when it comes to a crisis.  But in this crisis, he realized/was reminded of how important the small things are.

    These days, a lot of popular culture is fixated on “great man” and “chosen one” narratives — only one person can save the day, and/or that person is special because the prophecy says so, or the magic power was gifted to him, or they have extraordinary lineage, etc.  There don’t seem to be as many popular stories about how people make themselves special to others, even the world, by being good and kind.  But right now on Doctor Who that’s the story being told.  Bill is special to the Doctor because she is a wonderful person.  And River loved the Doctor not because he came from a powerful race, or has an extraordinary time-space machine, but because even with all the mistakes he makes, he was and is noble and virtuous (or at least tries to be) even in the worst situations.  🙂

    Whisht @whisht

    Hi @missrori – thanks for picking up on something I said. I like your reflection on the fact this isn’t a ‘special person’ narrative because of prophecy/ lineage etc. That’s something I hadn’t thought about. And I agree that Bill is ‘special’ because she is quite simply a brilliant person – kind, intelligent and brave (and the “1 in 7 billion” could be any one of us – if we ignore the maths! 😉 ).

    Oddly his conceit seems to ring even worse in that light! He should’ve been even more proud of her.
    But maybe I’m nit-picking and maybe my memory of that line is wrong!

    Again – thanks for making me see this as not a ‘great man/ chosen one’ type of storyline as I wasn’t conscious of it like that – and you’re right!

    Nick @nick

    @glasgowboy @ichabod

    I may have misheard it, but I thought Missy said that the Monk’s werent aware that the link passed along to descendents, but thought that there control was maintained through more normal methods after the death of the original link.

    Nick @nick

    @tardigrade @ichabod

    He has shown he can summon regeneration energy to heal another in the past. This seemed to go further than that, though probably shy of actual regeneration. Conceivably it was just faked in some way anyway- he was planning for this after all. I didn’t think there was a suggestion he was actually injured – the soldiers were all smiles immediately after the reveal. In checking it’s not a test, there’s not really any point in carrying on after the trigger is pulled, so the Doctor’s acting and fake regeneration are part of a practical joke then.

    The whole scene feels wrong for that reason as several commentators has been said.Given this was supposed to be a test on Bill to determine that she wasnt infected by Monk mind control, firing the blanks should have been more than sufficient. Then the physical reaction and the intro to regeneration would be needed. Practical joke ? The Doctor made it into one, but I’m not convinced that was what actually happened.

    I’d forgotten about the hand (or I didnt see that story). That makes the blindness even stranger then (I thought it was anyway, as I don’t think it would be that technologically difficult to add a video feed to the sun glasses as well as the outline 3D model he could image). The implication might be that the Doctor kept himself blind for a reason ? (an additional hurdle he has to over come perhaps).

    It seems to me that these are two further instances, which suggests an inner instability (strange behaviour, craziness) in the Doctor, which is running through series 10. All aspects of (future) regeneration  – a pre-regeneration psychological crisis ?

    tardigrade @tardigrade


    Practical joke ? The Doctor made it into one, but I’m not convinced that was what actually happened.

    In practical terms, I think the joke was more one by the writer and targeted at the audience, not really the Doctor pranking Bill- that’s certainly how it felt to me. That may be why it feels “off” as an in-universe event.

    janetteB @janetteb

    Have finally watched the episode and thought I would jot down a few thoughts before reading through the thread as I am now three weeks behind with posts. I feel as though I need to watch at least once more to fully appreciate it especially as on first watch with the family I am usually a bit distracted by annoying RL things such as dinner. Pearl Mackie was excellent. She really carried the episode. Nardole get better and better. I like the dynamic of two companions and Bill and Nardole have a nice rapport. Interesting to see Missy looking a bit wasted, not in control or putting on a fine act. I suspect the later. The one thing the Doctor really don’t understand is evil. He wants Missy to be redeemable. Poor Doctor. I think he is in for a big disappointment.

    The monk story did seem to end with a bit of a whimper. Still they were cool villains but I doubt we will see too much more of them. Their modus operandi is rather limiting narratively. Again a lot of politics in this episode. Nice to see the story tackling the issues of the day as it used to do. I think this has been the most politically aware of S.M.s series.

    Again we see the Doctor making the grand gesture, having another tank and guitar moment.

    One of the questions for me was why the tatty coat from Missy’s execution? It seemed out of time here.

    Now off to read comments..



    janetteB @janetteb

    @isuedtobethedoctor. wonder when you last watched Genesis of the Daleks because coincidentally we watched it last night. And while it is entertaining great writing it is not.

    @thane15 I also thought the laugh was out of character. Not sure if it is meant to mean anything or just poor direction.

    Why did the Monks bother with earth? I think because it’s what they do. They want to control, to generate order on their terms, perhaps because they believe they are doing good. It is that desire that drives them. Several times in these episodes I have detected (most likely only my imagination) shades of B.5. The monks are akin to the vorlons and the Shadows who both vie for control of the younger races because they care and want to nurture them, each in their own way and it turns out that both are undesirable because neither allows for freedom of choice.

    (still on page one but it is late and will continue tomorrow.)



    MissRori @missrori

    @whisht — Glad I could be of service!  😉

    Lovely as the climax/denouement is, I really am bothered by the Doctor and Bill not feeling remorse for all the lives lost in this story, given that it was her bargain with the Monks and his serving as a propaganda mouthpiece for them that resulted in so many innocents going to their doom.  The Doctor didn’t feel he could sacrifice Bill for the greater good, and his insistence that there’s no such thing as an acceptable loss if someone can be saved has been a big part of his tenure…so where do all those poor folks fit in?

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the author of this script also did the Fisher King two-parter, where the Doctor let O’Donnell go to her doom to test the theory about the list and said it couldn’t be undone but bent over backwards to save Clara…

    Can anyone ease my mind about all this?  🙁

    Nick @nick


    On that point I can’t, although I do think the Doctor is slightly deranged (and getting more so) as we progress through series 10. A post River, pre-regeneration angst ridden 1,000 years spent in an attempt to redeem Missy.


    MissRori @missrori

    @nick That’s a depressing thought.  His story should come to an end on a note of hope, after all he’s been through… (and you forgot losing Clara and the memory lobotomy, and having no home world because he was evilly betrayed…). 🙁

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    After battling for (seemingly) hours with various internet locations (thanks for the suggestion @serahni but the geo-lock put the kibosh on that) and finally iTunes, managed to see it, and (as a good citizen consumer) paid to see the remaining episodes.

    By and large, agree with @jimthefish on this one, and even those determined to see it in a really positive light had their reservations, and agree with all those reservations so no need, I think, to re-hash them here.

    Rather, I want to offer an alternative (albeit, somewhat loopy) reading: I think you can read the episode (and perhaps all three Monk stories) through the lens of Bill’s 3,000 word essay on free will. Let’s imagine that, using the format of an allegory about an alien invasion, Bill’s essay is a reflection on the question and problem of free will.

    Will the Doctor grade it A+ or C-?

    Next week: Ice Warriors! Hurrah!

    Frobisher @frobisher

    Well, I won’t harp on too much, but I will say I am immeasurably pleased to see the Monk story end, and I look forward to better things ahead.

    Please, please, please.

    Anonymous @


    Yes, I recall mentioning to either  @missrori or @nick that Bill had an essay to write on free will.

    The essay isn’t easy but suggestive of the Moffat/Whithouse concept that without it, and under pressure from Power that Consents we are ‘lost’ to tyrannical expedience, our memories twisted and forgotten. Free will is the agency to choose the right or best choice at every juncture.

    Each day we process desires and prioritise them simulating the branches of outcomes and consequences of  decisions until we find an ethical and sound conclusion. By removing the Doctor’s free will ( as Bill did) it became: “now see your new world, Doctor” which was bleak indeed. When Power beats down free agency we live in a faked collaborative environment:  too frightened to resist, incapable of moving, and filled with ennui.

    By repeating his request for Bill’s next paper and shaking his head at Appalling Hair Girl’s fixation on the now, the immediate, he was openly implying that “yes these terrible things happened, but will we ever fully remember why they did?” What’s so interesting about the human psyche that it sometimes fails to confront the dictator? I saw this group of episodes as a parallel with our modern world and a parable about accountability -to ourselves and from our own power-based groups -often motivated by greed and self-protection clouded by sentiments like: “trust us, we’ll deliver free energy if you allow us to control your future. You’ll be safe in our hands.”

    Even there that fidgeting need we have for someone to save us doesn’t allow for the discovery of good choices for a long term payback. In order to climb fast, you sometimes have to climb slow.  🙂

    G’night (or should I say “good morning!”)


    nerys @nerys

    @nick The fact that it’s not the first time such forgetting was used as a plot device is explained plausibly, and I think far better than I could, by other posters like Puro. I find this explanation by @ichabod to be most compelling:

    There is that: this isn’t the targeted audience for Children of Men, it’s DW, where even showing a bit of gore is problematic.  They want to give the kids a scare, not horrify them into depression.  A certain amount of soft soap to glide over the rough bits is necessary for practical reasons.

    MissRori @missrori

    @thane15 I must apologize for my hemming and hawing here Puro — somehow your comment about the Doctor doing his best with what he had (regarding his position with the munks) slipped my mind-net like a magic haddock.  He had bad choices but he still had to choose, and he did the best he could.  Many good souls have done the sorts of things he did in our world, their lives on the line every day, toeing the line in the light but rebelling in the dark.  Couldn’t have been easy.  Maybe that’s why he was a little too glad to be free… 😀

    Somewhere Malcolm Tucker is smiling… 😉

    Anonymous @

    @missrori well, it was a complex set of episodes! “hemming and hawing” is part of a conversation which is great!

    @nerys I think I said quite a lot? (0ops!) The issue of the re-set button is a profound one though, isn’t it? From a technical, writer’s perspective as well as the concept of group mourning -in Synagogues; meditation classes and underground resistance papers offering solace (reducing ennui during the imprisonment of the Intelligentsia in Russia) to family discussions to desperate renewal  of a particular joy in which ‘we work out grief’ uniquely.

    I’m reminded of my father who spoke of his resistance against the Germans during World War Two. It was traumatising.  I never knew this about my father for 40 years. He shrugged and didn’t elaborate for a very long time.  No -one ever knew. Some who did were apologists, others had no words to express their feelings, some ignored the stories .  So there’s repression. Or…..during ‘space ship over Palace’ Amy and Rory were conveniently scuba diving.  🙂

    Gosh, it’s 3 am and Puro is  incoherent!

    <Puro stumbling to bed>


    Mirime @mirime

    @nerys another issue is that if everyone remembers all the attempted invasions and catastrophes the Earth in Doctor Who will move further and further away from real life which would be problematic for any story set in the present.

    Kharis @kharis

    @jimthefish Your post #58533 pretty much sums it up for me.

    Like @wolfweed I’m not feeling well today, so my addition to the discussion will be brief.

    All three episodes, but mainly the last two, had a nagging sense of unfulfilled potential.  ‘Extremis’ I truly enjoyed; it had intrigue, humor, and even had some concepts to contemplate, but it it still had that nagging sensation of unfulfilled potential that shadowed all three.

    First of all, the monks were too generic, and I think the theme would have been reinforced more viscerally if they had not made them creepy looking, but attractive.  It’s Doctor Who, so I expect more depth and more originality.

    Second, too many holes in the story to accommodate very generic and predictable actions and characters.  The whole time one could see the potential to convey some very important and thought-provoking themes, but the writers kept choosing to go with the ol’ surprise & cliffhanger, run, shoot, run shoot, bad guy with lightning hands instead.  This kind of action doesn’t end up being exciting anymore, it ends up being very boring to most modern audiences who are oversaturated with this lazy style.

    Last, the whole using his regeneration scene?  What on earth was that for?  If Doctor Who is going to end up being this gimmicky then it has taken a turn towards mediocrity. My suggestion would be to Turn Left.  (;

    On a positive note, Bill, Nardole, Missy and the Doctor did great, despite the poor storyline.  They are talented group with very good chemistry with one another.  It’s going to be hard to replace any of them.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Puro, running with my idea about the three Monk episodes viewed as a visualization of Bill’s 3,000 word essay, I think that captures my problems with the whole Monk storyline.

    If you imagine three undergraduates sitting down in the coffee shop talking over how they might approach doing an essay on free will, and they come up with the idea of a collaborative essay, built around the structure of an allegorical approach involving an alien invasion. Each one will write a different part of the essay. But when they reconvene and look at the resulting collaborative essay, even they realise that there are inconsistencies, and narrative questions that have no easy answers, and that while they have tried really hard to address the philosophical questions of free will, the structure they have used–the allegory of an alien invasion–hasn’t really worked out the way they thought it might.

    That is sort of how I responded to the Monk three-parter.

    Brewski @brewski

    I think I’m going to join the ranks of “not my favorite”. I didn’t hate it, and some of it was quite good. But a lot of it was just odd and jarring.

    I am with @jimthefish on this one: Trying to stitch otherwise stand-alone episodes into a story arc is problematic and in all likelihood will show its scars at the joins: or sew it would seam.

    So now I feel like going full-on bonkers so I can alleviate the jarring sense of unevenness:

    The Doctor IS behaving erratically. Bordering on a bit of madness. The cackling on the prow of the ship, for instance. Why? We saw why! Or rather, we’ve caught glimpses of it.

    The Doctor did more than just go blind at the end of Oxygen. Or rather, that’s not what happened to him at all!

    He died! And then regenerated.  And he has been Doctor 13 since then! But in his post-regenerative madness he doesn’t even realize it himself. He only catches glimpse of reality, like re-imagining his regeneration as a prank to pull on Bill.

    The big reveal at the end of the series will be that he is already the next Doctor, and he (and we) will see his new look for the first time when his mind goes back to normal.  And of course a flashback to the regen.

    Thus the events of the Monks Trilogy are only partly reality. Made fuzzy and somewhat surreal by his warped perspective.


    Constance @constance

    Writing here for the first time but I had to sign in (after years of lurking), because I was wondering if anyone else got a weird sense that the “test” on Bill was really a kind of punishment for not doing what the Doctor ordered. The Doctor was telling her not to consent over and over again but she did it anyway, to save his life. So what does he do? He puts her in a situation where she has to kill him anyway.So maybe a punishment or maybe a test – but a test of whether she would let him die if it really, really came to it.

    This interpretation doesn’t show the Doctor in the greatest light but it just felt so overtly cruel and pointed that I thought there must be something else to it. It would kind of mirror some of the stuff with Clara where they became so co-dependent at one point that they were willing to do anything and everything for each other. And his relationship with Amy just before that was very intensive as well, so maybe he just doesn’t want that level of commitment from anyone right now.

    My alternative theory is that he’s spent a lot of time with Missy, and maybe something of him is rubbing on to her and she’s changing, but maybe some of her is rubbing on to him as well. Gazing into the abyss and all that.

    My theorising isn’t usually particularly bonkers but just felt like putting that out there for consideration!

    MissRori @missrori

    @mirime  This is a good point.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember watching the show in the here and now, but the Doctor and his companions have dealt with tons of traumatic situations and invasions like this in varying points of Earth’s timeline since the early days.  The main difference, I think, is that the aftermath is given a little more thought these days, following on from the pondering of these issues in many of the books, audios, etc. in the Wilderness Years.  But the setting does have to remain recognizably our own, with the shorthand waving away of long-term consequences that implies.

    I think that’s a big difference between the original and contemporary series — that grounding of its world in our present day reality for the purposes of accessibility.  I know that since it launched, there have been a lot of complaints that all of the principal companions are present-day humans, that way too many stories are set on Earth or human outposts rather than exotic new worlds (and I think that is a drawback of the Capaldi era — especially with all the suggestions of more amazing adventures happening offscreen in Series 8-9), etc.  Captain Jack Harkness and Nardole are the only companions of the revival who aren’t from present-day Earth IIRC, and they’re secondary ones.  And there’s never been a companion from a past era when there were several of those in the show’s early years.  But if the Doctor — a time-and-space-travelling humanoid — were traveling with a companion from the past (which was the original concept for Martha — she would have been from 1913 — and teased with Victorian!Clara), what would ground the show to the here and now for the families watching it?  Trying more “exotic” companions and such is probably best left to stuff like the Big Finish audio plays, which seem aimed primarily at adults.  🙂

    @kharis I agree there was a lot of unfulfilled potential in this stretch of stories.  They really would have been better as standalones.  And yes, the Monks could have been more creatively realized — making them beautiful would have been a big step in that direction; it is pretty rare to see a beautiful villainous race in Who.

    Nick @nick


    The same idea, about Missy rubbing off on the Doctor has crossed my mind as well.

    Nick @nick


    That is an appealing theory. Certainly something is going on in his head, which is outside “normal” for him. One potential argument against this theory is that the incipient strangeness in his bevaviour has been there from at least Thin Ice (and is increasing).

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Welcome. And a great post.

    it just felt so overtly cruel

    Yes, I agree. Which leads me on to @brewski:

    A brilliant theory! Which would explain a lot about the downright weirdness of the Doctor at the moment.

    MissRori @missrori

    @constance The idea of the Doctor being affected by Missy is interesting, though his brooding, fear, manic moods,etc. go at least as far back as “Listen”.  And of course, he has been through a lot of heartache and psychological trauma…and here, six months of putting on a facade to the Monks and the public, claiming to be one thing while being another and screaming with rage on the inside, would be wearying…and he’s gone through blindness…poor guy is a bundle of neuroses. (Sniff). Just wearing thin to his bones…

    Brewski @brewski

    @blenkinsopthebrave Thanks!  Nothing like an insane explanation to explain insane behavior. :p

    @nick Good point!  I guess it doesn’t have to have occurred at the end of Oxygen.  Could be at any point in the series.  May have something to do with the tatty jacket and its strange reappearance?


    Nick @nick


    It was explained that he had just come straight from Dellora (last year’s special) and (probably just after) the end of the 24 year long goodbye with River, before she goes to the Library (I’m not sure Death is quite the right word). That must have been a low point emotionally. An extended period of mourning can be inferred, giving rise to his appearance. Taking on the 1,000 year attempt to redeem Missy at that point, can’t have helped at all.

    DOCTORWHO ISGR8 @doctorwhoisgr8

    Hi, am new to this forum and forums in general, i mainly stick to Youtube. I really liked Lie of the Land when i rewatched it, the concept was a good one, i liked the Truth Monks, yet i believed they were too easily defeated , the episodes would have worked better as a 4 parter, with this storyline taking place over 2 episodes, would have appreciated more action scenes and a better ending too.

    Kharis @kharis

    @thane15  Enjoy everything you’re saying about free will and @constance and @missrori I like your theories, it helps justify some of the scenes that annoyed me.  (:

    Yes, I do feel making this particular villain attractive would have certainly helped with the overall theme, a showing of more resistance from humanity would have also given the message more power.

    Brewski @brewski

    @nick I guess I’m thinking that we can’t take anything we’ve heard this season to be completely accurate.  But rather smeared through the Doctor’s hazy perspective.

    The repeated notions of reality not being reality and things remembered not being what they really were lends some weight to this.

    For instance, for all we know, Bill knows all about regeneration because she witnessed it.  The reality we’ve been seeing is the Doctor’s distorted one.

    Nick @nick


    Absolutely agree with you there. We can take nothing for granted.

    lisa @lisa


    Totally agree with you about testing Bill and also that something seems a bit ‘off’ with the Doctor.

    That’s what I was getting at when I  posted earlier about the Doctor calling out to the  ‘appalling

    hair girl’ !   Really?  Just doesn’t seem a Doctor-ish  thing to say and in fact  even maybe a bit Missy-ishy ?

    I tell which bit it is that bugs me

    With all those simulations that the Monks ran over millennia  emphasized in the first 2 episodes

    was there  ever  once  a  simulated situation like the one with Bill using  her Mum’s memories?

    So it just popped up ?     This  can work in Doctor Who but for me not this story this time.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @missrori  I think what Moffat and co. meant about Bill not being “special” was that she does not enter the story as having some great mystery surrounding her, as Amy Pond did with the crack in her bedroom, or Clara Oswald did with her multiple lives.

    Yes, you’re right — and thanks for that post, it’s really right on the mark (especially that Chosen One thing, which regularly drives me crackers).

    @nick  It seems to me that these are two further instances, which suggests an inner instability (strange behaviour, craziness) in the Doctor, which is running through series 10. All aspects of (future) regeneration – a pre-regeneration psychological crisis ?

    Oy!  I hope not.  They did such a thorough job on that in S8 (post-regen shattering); best not do it over again.

    @tardigrade  . . . I think the joke was more one by the writer and targeted at the audience, not really the Doctor pranking Bill- that’s certainly how it felt to me. That may be why it feels “off” as an in-universe event.

    Yes, I think that’s it.

    @thane15  Puro  By removing the Doctor’s free will ( as Bill did) it became: “now see your new world, Doctor” which was bleak indeed. When Power beats down free agency we live in a faked collaborative environment: too frightened to resist, incapable of moving, and filled with ennui.

    Hmm, yes — the outcome hinged on the *lack* of any effective resistance to the monks, so that their security was crap because they feared no opposition.  That opposition required an outsider (Bill) used to relying on strong real-world memories in crises, and the support of another outsider (Nardole), to get going.

    I saw this group of episodes as a parallel with our modern world and a parable about accountability

    Very much so.  Certainly Trump is a natural monk: “Everybody has to love me, no matter how much I take from them to please my rich pals.”

    @nerys  Thanks; I think we tend to forget those strict limitations on DW content because here we treat it as an adult show with adult meanings, and forgetting that it’s not just also a show for kids, but meant to be a show for kids.

    @brewski  And he has been Doctor 13 since then! But in his post-regenerative madness he doesn’t even realize it himself.

    Also all of the post from @constance — Well up there on the bonkers-scale.  I really enjoyed this episode — it was brisk and funny and surprising and I wanted it to be longer (I didn’t realize that it actually is a little short).  It also isn’t the bolder, more thoughtful ending that we needed, I think, to round off the monk story, so we’re tying ourselves in (very creative and interesting) knots to try to make better sense of it.  Something failed here, some steadiness of vision, and it’s shaken people up.

    And I’m feeling very fretful about that shabby, faded coat.  I thought it made a clear statement at first that he’s been neglecting his appearance the way people in a long mourning process sometimes do (and goodness knows he’s entitled to be a bit down, what with all the acceptance of loss that’s been stuffed down his throat lately).  We saw it first, after all, in the set-up scenes with Missy being “executed” when she taunted him about Clara’s fate.

    But — now?  Why now?  He looked positively spiffy in Thin Ice, and wears his normal dark coat in “back home” scenes at the university, so — ?  I really like Puro’s free will idea; but I’m feeling baffled and discombobulated now.

    In the middle of the night

    Miss Clavell turned on the light.

    “Something is not right!” she said.

    This quote (or more probably misquote) from “Madeleine” should not be running through my mind.  For the love of pudding, bring on the Ice Warriors soonest!


    nerys @nerys

    @mirime I have long felt that your explanation of why the forgetting happens is why it’s done. If people didn’t forget, then the world in which Doctor Who is set would be vastly different from the one we know. Which wouldn’t be an altogether bad thing, but it would be harder to relate to.

    @thane15 Puro, thank you for that reflection on repression. I actually think we see many signs of that in Doctor Who, with the humans and with the Doctor. But it’s not always spelled out, which leaves a lot to our imagination. I like that, even if I’m not always satisfied by the execution of that idea.

    Going back to other posters’ observations about children watching this show: I’m reminded of a Star Trek episode I watched as a child. At the beginning of this particular episode, a female crew member got turned into a sort of chalky rock cube, which the villain picked up and crushed into dust in his fist. I asked someone in my family, probably my older sister, “Does that mean she’s dead?” “Yup, she’s dead! She got crushed to death!” That horrified me. Maybe it seemed worse to me because she was female, and it wasn’t the sort of cartoonish fate that often befell the doomed red-shirted security officers. I can’t tell you how long I agonized over her fate, mulling it over in my mind and wondering what it would have felt like. And that was without it being explicitly spelled out in the dialogue. I think it would have been even worse, had the violence been more graphic and explicit.

    So yes, I agree that it’s wise to use restraint, bearing in mind that children are watching.

    MissRori @missrori

    @nerys @ichabod I agree that there was only so far this episode could go and still be family-friendly.  Many critics and viewers wanted the Doctor to have either truly sided with the Monks or have been brainwashed, from my understanding, and have the episode just deal with that.

    If he’d been sincere he no longer could be seen as a hero at all, though — him just giving up on everything and becoming Big Brother wouldn’t ring true, not after all that’s come before.  He could come back to right, but it would have to be dealt with over a loooong time, longer than this show can afford.  (This is one reason Gallifrey was eventually saved — it was too big a sin to not be a cloud over future actions.)

    So that left brainwashing or faking it, and Bill finding a way to break his brainwashing could have been compelling…but how could she do it?  Perhaps Moffat and co. found that prospect too grim as well?  Perhaps they just bit off more than they could chew.

    I also think being family-friendly rules out the ideas that 12 is going crazy and/or evil as the regeneration looms.  I don’t think his behavior has changed all that much; his manic, broody, rude, etc. moods have always been there.  It’s more that extreme circumstances of late are affecting him.  He’s still doing his best to be good.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    That Star Trek episode was from series 2. It was called “By any other Name”. I would have been 15 when I saw it, and that act, of the young woman being reduced to a cube of chalk and then crushed in his hand, had a huge impact on me. I was devastated. I watched it again only recently, and, 50 years later, I was still devastated. Even now, I cannot find the words to express how appalling the destruction of a human life seemed to me in that scene.

    And yet, unlike you, I am not sure it would have been worse had the violence been more graphic and realistic. For me, it was the act of turning her into a cube of chalk, which, thinking back with the benefit of a language of reasoning that I am sure I lacked back then, robbed her of any agency. That, for me, made her subsequent death so appalling.

    So, am I saying that the makers of TV shows for children have a respnsibility to those children? Well, yes, I suppose I am. And that is why I feel rather uneasy about the Doctor manipulating Bill into shooting him and and then having the Doctor laugh about it back at Bill. That just didn’t seem right. At all.

    Nick @nick


    I agree it does seem to be a bit strange to do this after the prolonged uncertainty in series 8, but I think there’s little doubt somethings gone wrong. Whether its extreme grief, Missy, a hidden regeneration or something else, I think there’s too much accumulated evidence of strange, non-Doctorish behaviour to ignore.


    I agree not evil. Crazy. I think that’s possible, but I hope that the actual cause will turn out to be something unexpected.

    tardigrade @tardigrade


    And that is why I feel rather uneasy about the Doctor manipulating Bill into shooting him and and then the Doctor laugh about it back at Bill. That just didn’t seem right. At all.

    I wonder whether the Doctor’s feigned regen might have been intended in part to soften this a little for the audience, in order to show that he wasn’t going to be killed, even if shot. Those new to the series may not be aware of regeneration, so it also serves as an introduction. I’ll certainly agree that it doesn’t sit comfortably though.

    nerys @nerys

    @blenkinsopthebrave You make some very good points. I was younger, only nine years old at the time, so I guess that’s why I’m thinking that episode was so difficult for me. I suppose I thought she could be rescued somehow. Reconstituted, or some such thing. That was not to be, and I found that very hard to accept. My older sister sort of laughed it off, so I supposed that older children and adults didn’t find it so horrifying. As your experience demonstrates, I was wrong about that! Like Doctor Who, Star Trek was geared toward a young audience, though adults watched, as well. That’s a difficult balance to maintain.

    Anonymous @

    @nerys @blenkinsopthebrave

    Ah, yes, the Girl to Chalk idea: or turn around and your  wife will be stone. It is quite cruel. And actually….. monkish.

    The allegory about collaborative essays made a  lot of sense Mr Blenkinsop, thank you.

    @brewski -was that your most bonkerist-bonkerested idea? Whoa! Tripping. I like it.

    I also thought the cackling was nuts and I mentioned (aeons ago) “valeyard” and now I’m thinking something worse.

    What if he’s not the Doctor? Not any Doctor? What if he’s another Master (ahem)? What if the Doctor is somewhere else -in another vault?

    Oh shiiiit.

    The cackling really bothered me? It might explain his nuttiness and also his comment to Missy in front of Bill: “here’s the only other TL” And he’s taken on the appearance of the Doctor by some voo-doo means? This idea is coming to me because of you @brewski, you naughty and devilish person you! 🙂

    But I like it. It does make sense when you watch 7 episodes back to back and start to wonder. Of course I could be confirming my own bias: but yes the “I’ll never see anything ever again” statement is a firm reminder. I recall commenting (I think, your Honour) about how it was a neurological problem and not something fixed by simple regen. After all, no regen for his eyes and plenty of fake regen for Bill and the monks to see. And I think the fakery was for the monks who are watching  (and an allusion to pretty much everything that’s turning to chalk fakery around us).

    But we know there’s more. We know there’s Gallifrey (unless and fairly, the Doctor doesn’t want to go all Gallifrey =Doom= lonely prophet on Bill).

    I did like Bill’s creaky: “why have you got a woman locked in a vault?”

    Very bluebeard. Or ….something worse……:(

    <gleeful Puro>

    Anonymous @

    Hmmm, back in Oxygen, was it, or Extremis, he drew a skull on the black board -a Skull.

    Where have we seen skulls (ok other than Hell Sent -my little combination of both of those terrific episodes) in modern Who but with the Master>>>> ??

    And the Doctor: “I like you Bill, you smile when you don’t understand something.”

    Nardole: “what are you teaching her?”

    Doctor: “everything”

    Oh reaaaaally?? huh huhn. And why is that “doctor”?

    Yep, this is driving me nuts.

    He’s the just the Doctor not something else…. but @brewski could well be spot on  -he’s regenerated already. It explains the “I can do anything better than you {sing along now}  I don’t need eye sight” etc…

    I need a calm tea. All my ideas are shattering my happy little, simple universe. I like that. I like it simple! 🙂


    Missy @missy

    Now I have seen it twice, I can honestly say that I really liked it. Peter was almost manic (that smile made me shudder) and Pearl played her part admirably. As for Missy, I wouldn’t trust those tears for a second – she is planning something, and hopefully the Doctor won’t be taken in.

    Now to your posts. This is likely to take a while. *grins, makes a coffee and makes self comfortable*


    Missy @missy

    @wolfweed: Well, I’m glad someone said, you beat me to it. Steven Moffat didn’t write the script, Toby Whithouse did! All right he had to approve of it, but it wasn’t his work.  Not that it matters because, as I’ve already said, I really enjoyed this episode.

    @thane15:  That laugh! *shudder* It had the same affect on me as the smile he gives in the TV talks.

    @serahni: No good taking her to another planet, she was a ‘blood link.”

    @cathannabel: Me too, *sniff* I thought it was a lovely idea, and all because the Doctor was being kind (Like Family of Blood, without the fury)

    @tardigrade: Thank you for that, but I waited and watched on channel two.


    I don’t know whether you are real, or a troll, but whatever you are I get the strong impression that you didn’t like this episode – can’t think why? All I can say to that is, stop watching Doctor Who and  stop blaming Steven Moffat.

    *shakes head and rolls eyes*


    p.s. I watched the After show, talk about giving the game away for next week.

    Anonymous @

    @missy yes indeed.

    regarding -spoilers, but it was mentioned way up thread to be careful of that 🙂

    It can happen. As long as everyone else leaves spoilers in the Spoilers section, we be good (mostly!)

    I enjoyed it too -more than Pyramid. But then I actually find it hard to prioritise my ‘likes’ -the reasoning for preference could be “last week was a rough time” or “I was annoyed about something” so I just attempt some distance and look for the clever bits which I happen to enjoy.

    @ichabod -the coat, yes, exactly. He was wearing it during the ‘storm/cage/prison ship’ ?

    And WHY? Arf. Something smells a wee bit off!



    Anonymous @


    Your idea, three weeks ago about 2 doctors, 2 masters is very interesting in light of bonkerising upthread by @brewski and (ahem) my idiot idea that the Doctor’s not entirely ……himself….


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