The Pyramid at the End of the World

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    Craig @craig

    Doctor Who - The Pyramid at the End of the World

    Co-written by Moffat and Peter Harness (who wrote the Zygon episodes last series) and once again directed by Daniel Nettheim (who helmed last week’s episode and the Zygon stories) this is an interesting horror/thriller episode as the alien invasion (telegraphed last week in Extremis) may be starting, but it’s pretty much part one of two.

    A pyramid appears overnight and every clock in the world begins counting down to the Earth’s destruction. Three opposing armies lie ready to annihilate each other. The aliens offer a deal that could save us, but also enslave us.

    MissRori @missrori

    (bounce bounce bounce) I want to jump ahead to part two already and I haven’t even seen it yet!  The forum will be hot tonight!  😀

    But, um, why didn’t anybody mention World War III was looming in the previous episodes?  I wouldn’t be worrying about moving into my own place at a time like that Bill!  🙂  And surely Nardole would have reminded the Doctor “Hey, you know about that U.S./China/Russia conflict, right?  Missy might get a little antsy…”  😉

    Poor Doctor.  He could just tell the Monks he and humanity will die free, but babies don’t die with honor.  But protecting humanity by agreeing to the plan is a shame…unless he’s got something up his sleeve they won’t see coming!  But they see everything coming.  Or do they?  😀  I must know!

    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    Oh those tricksy monks! *shakes fist at monks*

    Trump reference was a bit weird wasn’t it? Having chosen to deliberately avoid it last week. I guess that was him we saw dead all along… overdose must have changed his barnet.



    Dammit why are weeks so long?

    The tentacle-y things reminded my of the thingies from Journey To The Centre oOF The Tardis, although I’m not sure if I’m misremembering.

    I wonder if there is a sim within a sim going on.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @missrori- ah but he didn’t agree. He would rather have died. But then they would have just waited for the next crisis.  Bill had a point that wasn’t entirely sentimental.

    Frankly this would have been a good time to plug in the temporary sight restorers, I’d have thought. Was that actually an invention of the monks?

    I do see a flaw in their plan though. Last week the doctor observed that they wanted to see, specifically, what people clever enough to work out they were in a simulation would do. But here’s the thing: people in the simulation knew the best thing to do is stop providing them with information. So that source of information immediately dried up. They didn’t show the monks what they would do in the real world because they knew they weren’t in it.

    the only person who did anything different was the doctor. He called the doctor. Well that’s fine, they think the real doctor has no doctor to call. And he doesn’t. But what did he actually do? He called a time lord.

    The simulation s flawed because the biggest threats to the monks were operating in extremis when they knew they were in a simulation. They would respond differently in the real world.


    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    @miapatrick I do see a flaw in their plan though. Last week the doctor observed that they wanted to see, specifically, what people clever enough to work out they were in a simulation would do.

    Yeah, the Doctor *did* say that… But it never really tallied with what we were seeing, so I took it as just throwing a notion out there. After all, nobody is last weeks episode (including the faux-doctor) WERE clever enough to work out they were in a simulation. None of them. Effectively they were all just told it. Someone DID work it out once, thousands of years ago – and wrote it in a book. But all our lot did last episode was read said book! I mean, is that being clever? I reckon the cast of celebrity big brother could probably manage that!

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    The only bit that grated was:

    World peace resolved in one handshake. Reminds me of that (very difficult to render without being cringy) bit in ‘The Curse of Fenric’…

    (After nearly everyone has killed each other…..)

    BATES: We’re all right now. We’re fighting together now.
    VERSHININ: War, a game played by politicians. We were just pawns in the game, but the pawns are fighting together now. Eh, comrade?
    ACE: That’s it. The solution. The winning move.

    It’s a nice sentiment, though…

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @steffstaff- true, good point.

    still, one thing the monks don’t know is how people would fight them in real life. Everyone who read the book killed their selves. No one tried to fight them- because that would give them information and because, what’s the point?

    So they haven’t see anyone do anything after finding out the monks plan do anything but take themselves out of the game.

    other than call in a timelord.

    do the monks know about Missy? Does the vault keep her out of their range?

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Incedentally got a slight gnostic resonance. ‘You are corpses to us’, the simulations running with people personalities and no body. Finding freedom in death. How tangible are the monks?

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Predict all possible futures with this delightful decorative curtain…..

    deco curt


    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    @miapatrick still, one thing the monks don’t know is how people would fight them in real life. Everyone who read the book killed their selves. No one tried to fight them- because that would give them information and because, what’s the point?

    Well, nobody tried to fight them because nobody knew they were then – none of those people in the simulation who killed themselves were actually aware of what the purpose of the simulation was, or who was running it. Only the Doctor got to meet them because they knew off his legacy and popped in to say hi!

    But your right, they don’t know how people would fight them – but it turns out that was never the purpose of the simulation – the simulation was to play out all earth events until they could ascertain which point in history a apocalypse would occur that they could offer to save humanity from, at the cost of enslavement.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    When Agrofuel becomes AggroFuel…..

    the pyramid at the end of the world the fact file


    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    …something else has just occured to me… Everything that happened last week was actually kind of pointless wasn’t it? I mean, if the Sim-Doctor hadn’t emailed over all that information to the real Doctor then… Then what? Everything this week would have just happened anyway.

    Craig @craig

    Almost forgot… AFTERSHOW!

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>@steffstaff- well the book talked of a demon wanting to take over the world by creating a shadow world, so they had the gist.</p>
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>but yeah, though I suppose he was on higher alert. Could he have done something before he got tardis-napped? He was talking to Missy. Possibly the next episode will show some payoff. The monks knew he knew their plan, maybe they were hoping to just sweep in and offer to help.</p>
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>We’ll have to see I suppose. Maybe the main point of the last episode was just to tie Missy back into his story.</p>

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Things are similar but different. Instead of the Pope interrupting the date, this time it’s the UN Secretary General…..

    If there’s a third real reality, who’s going to be the new interrupter?


    Also: Monks on a plane = Most amusing…..

    Craig @craig

    @steffstaff I’m sorry but for some reason your posts went into spam. I’ve unspammed them now (so hopefully you won’t be spammed again) but it now looks like you posted the same thing several times.

    If you would like me to delete any of those posts let me know – I know how frustrating it is when posts go missing, and when they then turn up!

    Everyone – that was not @steffstaff‘s fault for the mulitiple posts. It was probably the Monks. 🙂

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Some slightly befuddled thoughts because I’ve got that jet lag feeling. I thought production on this was superb. The ‘inevitable confluence of events’ witnessed by the Monks starting with Erika’s journey to work reminded me of the last season of Sherlock – not only the filming style, zooming to specific points or clues, but the idea that with enough data you could become omnipotent.

    It’s interesting that the Doctor actually recognises the plan and his solution is sound (the countdown clock winds down) but his pride with regard to his sight proves the ultimate undoing as Bill succumbs to the temptation offered. Is she “the (wo)Man who sold the world?”

    I can’t help but think that, in recognising and desiring an emotional response we aren’t dealing with proto or disguised Cybermen. Their campaign seems directed towards the Doctor. I wonder if their claim to have killed this Doctor ‘many times’ was just in simulation or as a result of something like the Confession Dial. We look like corpses to them because, as Clara once claimed, we all look dead to a Time traveller. A Pyramid materialises out of nowhere? A very Matrix like simulation? Are they somehow Rassilon and the exiled high council?

    Probably not. Will need a thorough rewatch of this tomorrow AM I think.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @steffstaff @miapatrick

    The origin and purpose of The Veritas in the simulation is quite interesting.

    We’re told the book is thousands of years old and somehow came to be in the possession of The Vatican – locked in their library of heresy that was established by The Naughty Female Pope With The Castanets, shortly after she met the Doctor. Doesn’t that last bit send alarm bells ringing?

    So let’s assume that what SimDoctor said was true – the simulation was too accurate. The Veritas and the Library actually exist. Given what we know the text says, someone in the past, using the terminology of ‘demons’, etc. seems to accurately predict the scenario where the world is Simulated and leaves a shadow test.

    As a time traveller, you think “hey, the people who had the prescience to write The Veritas may have some information on the big bad Demon behind this” and set off into the past. Your first port of call is surely to your old friend the Pope to question if she has any clues as to the source of the text she’s about to lock in her brand new library.

    Alas, she doesn’t have a clue about the text. Or the Library. You sigh and think “oh, no – not again!” and sit down to start writing The Veritas from the Simulated recording you’ve been sent from your Simulated self. All the time urging The Pope to put her Castanets down and apply herself to the more mundane interior design requirements for a forbidding ‘Library of Blasphemy’.

    If anyone in the real world manages to translate it from the obscure combination of languages you’ve selected in the real world, they will be reassured that they are in the real world shortly before bursting into tears that they’ve spent years translating something akin to an April 1st Joke. In the intended Simulated world it would be devastating. A weapon. Ultimately a weapon designed to destabilise the simulation and introduce The Doctor to this ‘war’.

    Yep – it’s our old friend the bootstrap paradox. “Who wrote Beethoven” becomes “Who wrote The Veritas” (well, precisely)

    Not saying this is accurate by any stretch of the imagination, and we’ll see how it plays out, but it does use concepts pre-established in the show and should be familiar to viewers. Even though some of them would undoubtedly pour onto the internet claiming it doesn’t make sense. Main reason I mentioner this? The writer of Next weeks episode is the same guy as Before the Flood.

    It also occurs that the ultimate spoke in the machine of whatever the Monks plans entail is going to be Missy. Locked up in her quantum vault she does represent a huge chaotic variable that I assume the simulations haven’t been able to account for. Maybe she’ll be a hero, if only just for one day.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Is Missy the random factor?

    Can she negate 20:20 vision?


    …..Ah – @phaseshift – You beat me!

    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    @craig  I thought I was pressing a wrong button or something! Oh yes please, do delete 58097 and 58098 so I don’t sound insanely pushy! – thanks! X


    wolfweed @wolfweed

    I wonder if this strategy will be used next episode…….

    DOCTOR: …Every trap you walk into is a chance to learn about your enemies. Impossible to set a trap without making a self portrait of your own weaknesses.

    BILL: Great! Unless it kills us…

    Craig @craig

    @steffstaff I’ve done that. Unfortunately I don’t have control over what is classed as spam, it’s an anti-spam plug-in for the website. I hope that now I’ve “unspammed” you, you shouldn’t have any more problems. But if you do, please let me know.

    Anonymous @

    In the plant world Erica is another name for Heather. Just saying. Probably a red herring though.

    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    @craig I’ve done that. Unfortunately I don’t have control over what is classed as spam, it’s an anti-spam plug-in for the website. I hope that now I’ve “unspammed” you, you shouldn’t have any more problems. But if you do, please let me know.

    Ohhhhh… I know what it is then! It’s because i edited the post like 3 times in a minute because I kept spotting spelling mistakes! Lesson learned, thanks!

    Craig @craig

    @phaseshift Massive like for that last sentence.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    ‘They’re watching us…….’


    Monk: …See the days to come.   (Reminiscent of this scene from ‘Pyramids of Mars’:)

    The Tardis lands, and the doors open to show a bleak, rocky landscape with howling winds and an electrical storm.)

    DOCTOR: 1980, Sarah, if you want to get off.

    (Sarah doesn’t, and the doors close.)
    SARAH: It’s a trick!

    DOCTOR: No. That’s the world as Sutekh would leave it. A desolate planet circling a dead sun.


    Writer in joke:

    DOCTOR: Planet Earth & not a single living thing…..Dead as the Moon.

    (The Moon is actually a living dragon egg)…


    ERICA: Oh my God…..

    DOCTOR: No. I’m the Doctor. But it’s an easy mistake to make. It’s the eyebrows.


    Anonymous @

    Well, I loved it!

    I wonder about the interwebs? 🙁


    I think  if you skipped last week’s episode you might lose the point (or some of the points): the overarching Who ‘point’ of ‘without  reward’ ; the concept of Veritas (who wrote it as @phaseshift has alluded); the ongoing relationship between Penny and Bill; Missy’s ‘safety’; and Nardole’s brilliant character development which, unlike the Doctor this week (who was arrogant: “yes, I’m handsome, I saving you. AGAIN!”) was measured. And of course the punch when we see that Nardole (who we all love and accept now 😉 ) is out cold (or dead).

    I think people will comment that it’s “slow” that it’s a reminder of the Doctor’s timestreams etc. (you have it right @pedant -they were more wibbly whorly -these are straight); that themes are repetitive.

    But aren’t all themes by their very nature repetitive?

    It’s how the backdrop is formed to create new material that counts. And actually, it was good not to have Kate and Osgood -I would’ve have loved them but possibly what we needed and got was the Doctor/Bill and the Russian/ / –trio of three. A nice and uncomplicated processing -adding a layer of Kate taking over may have removed the pressure from the Doctor, a tad.


    Anonymous @

    also, allow me some latitude -I’m no writer but would people believe some of this is “exposition” again?

    I feel that I don’t have a grasp of “exposition” as others! So, teach me! I’m up for mind changing constantly 🙂

    There were mentions of the Doomsday clock and we saw the phones and watches and then we heard it said -again.

    I would assume this is to assist vision-impaired viewers (ironically, our Doctor….). The “let’s go and ask the monks for help…” coming a 2nd time could also be deemed….exposition by some….Would it be different if they hopped up and immediately arrived by the monks side and ….boom!?

    By this time the Doctor was at the lab but now it was Bill who accompanied them so I suppose it was essential to show Bill believing the Trio had a point -she represents the Doctor and therefore off she trots…. It’s that the Trio once again repeated initial arguments. I’m not opposed to the way it was written (heck, what do I know about writing a 44 min ep where every man, woman and child will shout “off with Moff’s head!”) but I’m musing….about their motivation: so the Chinese was “in fear” but the later Trio were “strategic” ? Hence the two separate “turning into corpses” incidents”.

    This is me needing a lesson in writing: I imagine Thane will have a better handle on it than I!

    Puro <confused>

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Well, all the episodes in this series have been utterly brilliant. Until, that is, we got to the Monk three-parter. Last week was, well, the Dan Brown plot; the secret book hidden in the Vatican that might lead to the end of the world. Along with Bobby Ewing walking out of the shower at the end.

    OK, bear with me, because you know how much I love this show.

    This week we have cast aside the whole simulation thing and instead we have the world teetering on the brink of WWIII, the sudden appearance of a pyramid (and why a pyramid exactly?) and the monks demanding submission for the ‘right’ reason, which turns out to be love. Now, it seems to me that this is for the sole purpose of having Bill submit the entire Earth to alien subjugation because of her love for the Doctor.

    Well….if that act had been performed by Clara, who had been with the Doctor for so long that we could accept her decision to sacrifice the Earth in order to save the Doctor, but Bill has only known the Doctor for a few weeks. Her actions just didn’t ring true for me.

    And then there was Penny. In both episodes we get a humorous date-gone-wrong episode, first with the Pope bursting in, and now with the Secretary General of the United Nations. I mean…

    Inevitably, I am comparing this multi-episode story to one like the Zygon one. Where there was a real sense of threat. Who was real? Was Clara real? Was Kate Lethbridge-Stuart real? And there were consequences. People we cared about died. I haven’felt any of that with this so far. Or the Silurian 2-parter with Matt Smith. “You have to be better than this”. The Doctor’s anger in that was palpable. And there was a sense of real consequences when the Doctor insists that both sides negotiate. There was a real sense of consequences involved. Here, the leaders of the three biggest armies shake hands. Yeah, ok…

    I just felt that they have been throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this, without any any real sense of consequences emerging.

    Or maybe it was the slightly stale cake I had with tea today didn’t agree with me. Always possible.

    Anonymous @


    I was wondering too. About this issues you mentioned which is probably why I asked those questions.

    On the issue of Bill I think that quite a bit of time has passed? I say this because of the Christmas portion in The Pilot.

    Also, if the Doctor has been to the Forge, saved her (and he lost her sight) AND she’s pretty brilliant (seen in The Pilot with her Firsts) and she was able to deal with the Vardis (veritas; vards; vashta….) I think you might believe that she would offer the planet to the Monks. Because she loves the Doctor and feels terrible guilt about his sight and her own life, subsequent to that. He’s saved her in the mansion as well. She lacks ( I believe) Clara’s confidence and there have been signs of her not finishing certain answers to questions of the Doctor: which struck me immediately in the Pilot where he says:

    “you’re not a student here. You serve chips…” (he’s very struck by her qualities) and Bill simply shakes her head and says: “am I done here?” I don’t think she can imagine a point where someone like the Doctor would take an interest.  At the end of The Pilot she’s desperate to keep her memories of the “most exciting moments of my life” but still says: “OK, do it, but give me a day, please.”

    So, in light of this, her repetition of “will it give him his sight back? Do it! ” showed her primary focus and love for him -in Thin Ice she also became very close to him. I get the impression that the adventures we saw them having were tense -every time death was right there, walking beside them. She’s seen what will happen without him….she’s an incredibly giving person, I’ve noticed. I like to think that’s why she was so eager to ensure his sight would be restored; saying loudly: “save this planet doctor” -she was giving him a head start? Maybe?

    I also hinged on the Silurian 2 parter -and that was a 2-parter I didn’t really feel convinced me. Partly the handshakes in all of 2 hours and then the “you must be better than this” was said about 7 times -you’re right, he was extremely angry but I think that was the Doctor in that regeneration. This one has turned his fury down a notch (after Series 8/9). I believe (personally) that he thought this Trio were going to ruin the world, anyway: because, likely, that’s what would happen. I saw the Doctor as thinking as if in a chess game (“this is a game” said the Monks):

    This will happen. I can prevent this but….I need to look ahead. What happens next. On every time-line on every possible future. Is it possible that:

    a) the writers didn’t want the anger of the Zygon episode re-written, as it were OR

    b) the Dr is continually re-writing the ‘numbers’ -checking (in his head) into every possible future and simply doesn’t have time for the palpable anger? It doesn’t help etc.

    I see a particular and unique growth in the Doctor having moved on from Gallifrey and the secrets that Dr 11 had to keep. Here he must solve the problem as fast as he can in the minutes he has left. In the Zygon 2 parter he was able to re-set the archive until the problem was solved (the way it needed to be) whereas in the  Silurian episodes the very quick “let’s shake hands and make the earth successful with both groups” was an impossible feat and so the story had to progress with the doctor of the Silurian species placing all the Silurians back into hibernation.

    I see where you’re coming from with the consequences “emerging” although I’ve handwaived that away with Penny knowing she wasn’t there in the first simulation and yet is there in this simulation with the Sec Gen. 😀

    But I absolutely will have to do some thinking about this episode! A lot more :).



    Anonymous @

    This is Thane. I saw the episode early this morning with 3 of my mates at my house.  The pyramid could be used @blenkinsopthebrave for those people who definitely believe the pyramids were built by  ET?

    Also, pyramids to me are often talked about by certain members of the right wing ‘denomination’ of scientologists who see this in their dollar bills (the American bills) with the ‘eye’ on the top. They see…well, a variety of things so perhaps the pyramid -what with the History the Munks have seen regarding our early vigils associated with Egyptian history and  the frank respect we have for the architecture of them could be why they’re used. Pyramids are three sided and there was a trio of people from those countries in a politically sensitive area? Also it’s the one thing everybody recognises, without a doubt?

    That’s what I think. But then I have to watch it properly -everybody was talking during it! Grrgh!


    winston @winston

    I just watched and I definately need a rewatch to catch it all. My son stopped in on the way back from fishing and “gasp” talked through some of the show till I looked at him sternly and he shut up.And he didn’t catch anything! Anyway the lab scenes with the organic eating goop were good and reminded me of The Stand and I was even getting worried that the Doctor might blow up . Lots of ups and downs and I can’t wait to watch them all together without commercials.

    I think Bill acts on pure emotion and is willing to make a deal with the devil to save the Doctor’s life. Clara, I think would have refused the deal because of her love for the Doctor. Clara would have done what the Doctor would do and that is to save the earth no matter the cost. Bill on the other hand sees only the Doctor, a father figure in her life and he is threatened and she wants to save him now and worry about the consequences later. Right or wrong who wouldn,t be tempted to give up eveything or everyone else to save someone you love,certainly the Doctor has. Of course all of this is just my opinion.

    winston @winston

    @thane15   I feel your pain. My son was very chatty tonight.

    MissRori @missrori

    (weep)  Poor, poor Doctor.  His pride went before a fall — but as in “Oxygen”, he was willing to accept the consequences.

    But Bill couldn’t, and as the AVClub review points out, she made a “never give up” decision by saving the Doctor’s life despite the terrible fate that will be revealed in next week’s episode.  That Next Time trailer…(sob)

    Missy @missy

    I haven’t seen it yet either, so i shall have some trawling to do this week.

    Haven’t read any of your posts either for obvious reasons. 🙂


    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    Another politically charged episode with meditations on rulers and ruled, with the main thought, How on Earth do the rulers get away with it? I need a second watch to try to get properly to grips with this one.

    @blenkinsopthebrave  @thane15      and why a pyramid exactly?

    I’d dearly like to think the explanation is: Pyramids have turned up before in Doctor Who, but the only other time (I think) a Monk & a pyramid have turned up together was The Daleks Masterplan. So another little nod to the First Doctor. But I agree here with the Doctor that a huge, impossible structure plonked down in a near-desert overnight made for excellent misdirection on the part of the Monks. I also took the Doctor to give us a very clear warning about misdirection, which I’ve tried to take to heart and so am now unsure of almost anything…

    @miapatrick    How tangible are the monks?

    The implication this week was that the Monks had taken their current form to deal with humans & that their `real’ appearance is different (or did I misunderstand)?

    @missrori   Bill’s decision. Love wins over fear & strategy, and wasn’t Bill’s choice the most rational one too? If the Doctor dies (and Bill presumably does not know he can regenerate), then the Monks will simply wait for/help to bring on the next catastrophe, and the Earth without the Doctor will be defenceless. A surrender with the Doctor in play is far better than a soon to be surrender with a dead Doctor as that would be hopeless.

    @thane15   I agree the three military figures were a weakspot in the episode and came across as cartoonish plus weirdly unwilling to grasp how bad an idea surrender was.

    The Doctor could have saved himself a lot of bother by not skimping on the lungs he got for Nardole. Cheap parts always lead to trouble.

    I also took the Doctor’s advice and googled `3614.’ The first item was a gene, the third, 3614 Jackson Highway, Cher’s sixth album.

    lisa @lisa

    What do Monks have to do with pyramids?  Something I remember from Native American

    history having absolutely nothing to do with this episode but thought I ‘d  mention

    “Monks Mound”  which was in the shape of 1 of the most giant pyramids on the planet.



    Still thinking about this episode.  Seemed a bit choppy ,    The pyramid is bugging me

    amongst some other stuff.

    geoffers @geoffers

    so, any classical lit people care to ponder on whether/how the monks’ brightly lit cables are inspired by the greek fates, and their loom of life? it was the first thing i thought of, since the monks use those cables to “read” the future…

    i admit, i didn’t have high hopes going in to this one, as it’s the middle of a three parter, but the pacing of the episode was just tense enough to bring home the payoff (despite the weak “peace summit” actions of the world leaders). i was pleasantly surprised by how the doctor effectively trapped himself into being his own undoing. it will be interesting to see how he proceeds, and if he uses his wild-card variable, missy, as @wolfweed and @phaseshift mentioned above…

    and poor nardole. shouldn’t/couldn’t the tardis have warned everyone about the danger, or does she just leave it to them to check outside air conditions for themselves? lol

    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    When we were with the two scientists, they showed a flashback of the broken wine bottle and broken glasses three times… Did I miss the relevenace this episode, or do we think it’s going to play into next weeks somehow… timey-wimey butterfly-effecty stuff?

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @steffstaff I took it to mean that the Broken Glasses meant Erica couldn’t read anything at that point, forcing Douglas to do the reading. However because of the drinking the previous night (as impled by the broken bottle), his sight was partially impaired and caused the misplaced decimal point. With just the one of those things happening there is bo problem, but because both did, Earth is on its way to catastrophe.

    Anonymous @

    I think in all of the mad chaos and speed, that it was very easy to miss the fantastic lines and delivery  -Penny all over again. And my personal favourite: “traps are a self portrait”.

    But ‘arrogant’ doctor could explain why he’s not palpably angry doctor -I believe he thinks they will listen and if, for  a few minutes, he can get some peace, then he’s  likely to succeed -except for poor Nardole and his, the Doctor’s own dishonesty/hiding which is a difficult situation! Maybe he really thinks “it’s easy, I can do this standing on my head, completely blind” (much like the poor assistant -hungover and a decimal point short). In the pyramid, blind, he was very desperate and pleading with the “powers” not to “make a deal.”

    But yes, on 2nd re-watch I thought it was terrific. Mum said: “awesome” and I think “not quite as good as last week” but then I’ve never seen a 3-parter before so there’s more to come. …

    I think people have thought maybe the ‘munks’ are the cybermen etc…but I don’t know about that. I think these are independent of any other alien?

    Thank you. Hope you all enjoyed it -or some of it.




    Along with Bobby Ewing walking out of the shower at the end.

    Oh for heaven’s sake. Bobby Ewing coming out of the shower meant everything that happened in however many seasons Patrick Diuffy was absent for NEVER happen.

    These weren’t dreams, they were sims, exactly has the Culture ships in Iain M Banks SF ran sims for every battle and every contact situation. (God, imagine the fun Banks (RIP) would have had if he’d thought to do a story from the POV of a simmed character. It would have been Banks meets Pratchet’s (RIP) Only You Can Save Mankind (opening scene – boy playing Space Invaders-like video game when suddenly the “invaders” surrender).) And the Doctor used the knowledge to encourage Bill, while himself apparently retreating to the Tardis to think.

    Why a pyramid

    Why a 5,000 year old pyramid where none had been before? To get the attention of the powers that be. One of whom cowered, the others attempting strategy. Bill, on the other hand, just did what she thought was the right thing.

    Also, pyramids are cool.

    As @thane15 says, much more that a few weeks has passed. At least several months. Bill has literally just discovered – in a high pressure situation – that the Doctor paid a huge toll for saving her (and she does not know about regeneration, since the Doctor swiftly changes the subject when he casually mentioned it in Smile (I think)).

    The point of this story wasn’t “who is real”. That story has been done. It was the central Capaldi-Doctor dilemma – how do you choose when all the choices are bad?

    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    Re-watched it again this morning… And thought I’d do a running commentary whilst I did!

    00:00 – Bill’s on a date with Penny and is busy telling her that her tutor is a space alien! I wonder why she’s doing that? And whether this is a first date or whether we’ve skipped forward a few weeks?

    00:37 – Now Bill’s telling Penny about the computer simulation they were trapped in last episode! What’s wrong with this girl?

    01:40 – Ahhhhhhhh! I stand corrected, Bill has actually been telling Penny this was all a dream that her tutor had told her about… Claiming Penny was in it too and in it they were apparently dating! Well, I’ve heard of worse pick-up techniques I suppose! Go Bill!

    02:29 – Donald Trump reference, contradicting what we saw in the Whitehouse last episode! Naughty continuity advisor! Slapped wrists!

    04:46 – The Doctors chillin’ like a villin’ in the Tardis, playing his guitar and seemingly having done absolutely nothing with any of the information he received from the email last episode.

    05:20 – One of our scientists just had her glasses broken by her husband.

    06:32 – The UN physically removed the Tadis from the Doctors office, put it on a plane and flew away… All whilst he was inside and all without him noticing. Stupid Doctor.

    07:45 – One of the scientists is hung-over… But the other one asks him to mix the formulas for her, because she’s broken her glasses. Stupid Scientist.

    09:38 – The Doctor establishes that the pyramid spaceship has chosen to deliberately land in an area that’s strategically surrounded by the three most powerful nations on earth…

    11:03 – The Monks come out to say hello to the Doctor, they recognise him from the simulation. They inform the Doctor they’re going to rule the world but that the world will ask them to do it.

    11:57 – All the clocks in the world reset to 11:57 (…at precisely 11 minutes and 57 seconds into the episode!!) thus establishing a countdown to destruction… in a somewhat convulated way if you ask me?

    12:51 – Hungover scientist can’t see his computer screen properly due to blurred hungover vision and types 118.9 into it instead of 11.89… Stupid scientist!

    14:40 – The Doctor gets the Russians, Chinese and Americans in a conference room together to tell them the Monks have chosen this time and this place for a reason… Theorises world war 3 might be about to break out. Doctor surprises Bill and Nardole by agreeing to the suggestion of attacking the Pyramid! …Bill begins to suspect there’s something wrong with the Doctor.

    16:06 – Bill gives The Doctor the option to tell her the truth… He chooses to continue lying to her, this will be his downfall later.

    18:07 – The three nations attack the pyramid. The Monks easily prevent the attack. We now know that we can’t fight them… We also learn that the Monks themselves seem to have no interest in violence (so far!) and indeed they let all the soldiers who attacked them live.

    20:46 – The Doctor and co all pop into pyramid to say hello. The Monks tell them that life on earth is about to be extinguished by humanity’s own hand… And they utilise some sparkily shower-curtains in order to demonstrate this.

    22:03 – The Monks confirm they based their looks on humans – who to them all look like corpses! They also say they’ll cheerfully stop the end of the world as long as the humans ask nicely!

    22:40 – The gang all take hold of the sparkily shower curtain to see what the world will look like in a years time – and are treated to some stock-footage of hurricane Katrina…

    22:54 – “Dead as a moon.” – writer earns 3 smug points for slipping in an in-joke based on one of his previous episodes.

    22:36 – The Monks establish they have no interest in taking over the world by violence, but rather they wish to rule by being ‘wanted’ and ‘loved’… Awwwww! Bless ‘em! They’re lonely! Well, having no nose will do that to you I suppose.

    24:12 – The UN embassador immediately consents to their request… And they blow him up! So much for non-violence eh? Turns out that he was only consenting out of fear, that’s not good enough for our insecure Monks.

    25:17 – Hungover scientist takes off his helmet because he needs some air! Stupid scientist.

    25:36 – Turns out the enzymes the scientists released causes bad CGI and all the plants melt.

    26:00 – Hungover scientist still doesn’t put his helmet back on, then leaves open the airlock door. Stupid scientist. I’m starting to think he’s still drunk.

    26:36 – The Americans, the Russians and the Chinese all shake hands and say they’ll be friends! Awww peace on earth! Finally!

    26:58 – Oh… It made no difference… the convoluted countdown clock is still ticking! Ah well, that’s a nice lesson for us all to learn. Peace does nothing.

    27:45 – Glasses-less scientist figures out that the enzymes are going to kill everyone in the world. So she seals the lab. Clever scientist!

    28:39 – The Doctor and the gang work out that a big scientific mistake, probably taking place in a lab somewhere, is going to destroy all life on earth… They work this out via a quick 30 second conversation about how the world *could* end…

    29:04 – The Doctor hatches a plan to use Google in order to work out where this scientific mistake could be happening.

    29:43 – Helmetless hungover scientist melts into a pile of goo. That’ll learn him!

    32:00 – The heads of the Chinese, Russian and American forces are for some reason a tad dubious that google searching the answer is going to work, so they all skip off to surrender to the Monks.

    32:20 – The Doctor is on the verge of revealing to Bill he’s blind… Then he decides not to. Again, this is going to cost him dearly later. Stupid Doctor.

    33:14 – Broken glasses scientist works out the mistake that hungover scientist made when he was inputting the numbers. She blames him for this – even though if she’d had any sense she would have gotten herself a new pair of glasses instead of handing over the ‘deadly life-destroying chemical’ duties to her clearly useless colleague. Stupid scientist.

    33:46 – Doctor works out which lab the mistake happened in, by turning off all the cameras to all labs and then seeing which one the Monks turn on again. Because of course the omnipotent Monks, capable of curing blindless from a distance and simulating the entire history of earth are actually observing things through a simple cc-tv system…. Albeit on an alieny triangular television.

    34:45 – Doctor and Nardole arrive at the lab… Doctor allows Nardole to cheerfully follow him out of the Tardis, before informing him that his lungs are human and he’ll get infected. Nardole, now presumably infected, goes back in the Tardis. The Doctor then tells him to move the Tardis somewhere else for a bit… I don’t know why.

    35:16 – As requested, the infected Nardole removes the Doctor’s only means of escape from the lab, then passes out.

    36:00 – Broken glasses scientist informs the Doctor that even though she activated the safety protocol that seals the lab and stops deadly toxins escaping into the atmosphere, an air pump will activate in thirty minutes that will… um… let the deadly toxins escape into the atmosphere. Oh and it can’t be turned off.

    37:12 – The Doctor decides to blow up the lab… And also flirt with broken-glasses scientist – who is surprisingly chipper considering she saw her colleague melt a few scenes ago. Maybe she never liked him?

    37:39 – The heads of American, Russian and Chinese forces all surrender to the needy Monks. The Monks are having none of it though, they’re only doing it for tactical reasons, not because they love them. They are all exploded.

    39:37 – Bills the only one left who can consent to the Monks now… They tell her if she does the ‘the link’ will be formed. She asks him ‘What link?’ – he doesn’t answer her… Hmmm… Must be relevant next week?

    40:25 – The Doctor has rigged an explosion to destroy the lab. Broken-Glasses scientist has already legged it off to a safe area, locking the door behind her.

    40:55 – The Doctor flirts with broken-glasses scientist through a window, she’s all smiles and laughs, she’s loving this! …I really am starting to think she never liked her mushy colleague at all.

    41:10 – Broken-glasses doctor reveals she can’t open the door she locked… just like she couldn’t stop the venting… I’m beginning to wonder whether she can do anything?

    41:20 – Oh well, even a blind doctor can open a door-code lock, everyone knows where the buttons are don’t they? They’re laid out like they are on a phone. Every single door-code lock I’ve ever seen is laid out like that… I don’t imagine this one will be any diff… Oh! Oh no! This one is on tumblers!

    41:24 – Still, the sonic-screw driver will make short thrift of that little problem… Oh! Oh no! Tumblers are the one thing it can’t handle!!

    42:00 – …better get back in the Tadis then Doctor, before you… Oh! Oh no! That’s right! You aksed Nardole to move it didn’t you? Better call him and tell him to come pick you up… Oh! Oh no! That’s right! You let him follow you out into the toxic air before reminding him about his lungs didn’t you?

    42:15 – The Doctor FINALLY reveals to Bill he’s blind… Oh if only you’d done that before Doctor, she might have insisted on coming with you and all would be well. Your pride has made you the architect of your own destruction.

    45:00 – Bill sells the entire world to the Monks, in exchange for the Doctor getting his sight back. The Monks are more than chuffed with that, because it means she’s doing it out of (intensely selfish) love! Hooray!

    45:30 – The Doctor can see! He escapes into the safe-area with broken-glasses scientist and they watch the lab explode… He doesn’t flirt with her this time, maybe he’s worked out what a moron she is… Or maybe now he can see he’s decided she’s not really his type? Who knows?

    47:00 – The Monks have won! For now!

    Craig @craig

    @pedant @blenkinsopthebrave I used almost exactly the same words to describe Extremis. I thought the episode was great, beautifully done, but my heart did sink a bit when it was “all just a dream” or “all just a sim”. There’s not much difference in terms of stories. If there is, let me know.

    But as I noted on the ‘Extremis’ thread, it did set up an alien species that can create (almost) completely believable worlds. That will be something revisited, I think, just as “The Rebel Flesh” lead to ganger Amy and a huge story arc. Will we ever know what is real from now on?

    Wallopp @wallopp

    Spotted this last night.  The Land Rover had the words Jeep Discovery written on the back. The Discovery positioned so that it shows up in full when the door is open?  An alternative reality where Jeep made the Land Rover?  35 minutes 16 seconds for those of you wanting to see it on iPlayer.  Time to pay more attention to any other brand names that show up in the series!

    Jeep Discovery


    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Got to wonder why the Doctor bothered giving Nardole human lungs at all (never mind cheap knock offs). If he’s mostly human, which bits are robotic?

    Doctor Who is set in a different universe to ours. TPATEOTW has an orange president – probably Trump. Perhaps an Oompa Loompa or the Tango man… Presumably the Monks have tried several simulations including ones with Hillary Clinton as POTUS…

    Must assume that Bill has gone on many more adventures than we’ve seen (see comics & novels)…..

    bill comic

    Anonymous @

    @craig @blenkinsopthebrave

    Oh no! It wasn’t a dream. It was a simulation: so anything could have happened and is still happening: if perchance a dream, then all would be well. But not a dream because we have (as Thane prefers to call them) “munks” -which if it was a dream then: no munks.

    Real or not real?

    I liked that. I also do have to repeat myself here, but if Moffat, in Sherlock, often shows us A and C (skipping B) then he’d doing it here too. B is:

    We know they got out of the sim/sims/simmms because they’re here in the ‘now’ which is pretty much what a sim allows you to do: be in the sim or in the now.

    I know, I appear to be babbling. But I feel I must distinguish dream from sim -somehow. 😀


    you scallywag! That was very funny (and a load of work!) and en passant the WH scene with dead president was one of the many sims they were in/could be in. They released the pawn, kraken sim and let themselves back in to RL.

    – -in case any of the interwebs are ‘talkin’ continuity’ -which is likely. I predicted and simulated it myself. 🙂

    Bring it!

    (that phrase is mine now: hands off!)

    Puro (and Thane)

    Anonymous @

    ah, I mean “hands orf” (in QLD-style)

    Anonymous @


    Yes and lest we forget that in Ep 1 Nardole told Bill not to use the loo….and people thought “no, he’s an android: cheap JOKE” when actually if he has lungs, he has a colon too.


    @pedant “the only choice is the….” Indeed. Liked that.

    So @wallopp nice catch. That was swift! (and welcome).


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