The Pyramid at the End of the World

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    Anonymous @

    erm, excuse me, and forgive me, but who is Bobby Ewing ? And what was the ‘shower moment’?

    I’ll live it down if he’s an extremely impt political figure! 🙁


    Craig @craig

    @Thane15 I think I may have brought it up first. He’s not important so no worries.

    Dallas was a big, huge, massive show in the Eighties. Bobby Ewing was one of the major characters. They killed him off at the end of one of the seasons.

    There was then a whole season (20 or so episodes) where Bobby was dead. I believe that viewing figures slumped. I can’t remember exactly whether it was at the end of the season, or the start of the next season, but they had a scene where his wife woke up and Bobby walked out of the shower – the whole season, let me stress this, THE WHOLE SEASON, was a dream.



    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.

    I was thinking about this and it sort of makes sense. Sort of. Almost nothing genetically modified – whether via gene editing or selective breeding – would last very long in the wild. They are not selected to. No dog, no cat, no wheat, no cow, no maize, no apples, no bananas, no spuds – nothing that we see in our shops – would survive long. So it is – sort of – feasible that something that is lethal in a closed environment might be less so in the fresh Yorkshire air. After all, it’s Yorkshire and Yorkies are always telling us how brilliant Yorkshire is (sorry….mind wandered….). Unless stupid scientist misplaces a decimal. Sort of.

    Like I said. Sort of.


    @craig @blenkinsopthebrave @thane15

    A dream exists solely in the mind of a dreamer. When you wake it is gone. A sim is souped-up AI video game that, when we wake up, is still very much there. And being AI it is smarted enough to send a warning.  This was spelled out by the Doctor encouraging Bill to go after Penny.

    The closest you can get to it being a dream is in the sense of a prophetic dream (or dream vision, if you prefer). And if you have a problem with prophetic dreams, then kiss goodbye to close to 100% of fantasy.



    Anonymous @


    Thank you. Golly! I thought the name “Ewing” caused an itch! My mother watched every episode.

    I didn’t catch the show -in the 80s I was between 11 and 21 and Dallas wasn’t something I was allowed to watch -much later I simply missed it -lots to do and only 4 channels to watch then!

    Ah, I get the “it was a dream” -yes, a whole season would be, well, badly handled 🙂


    Craig @craig

    @thane15 @pedant @blenkinsopthebrave

    I’m off to enjoy the sunshine now, in our alternate AI reality, but for your pleasure

    Anonymous @


    LOL. The husband, who never watched much telly in the ‘8os (motor cycling thru South America) but when I asked about Dallas and Ewing said exactly this: “yeah? Bobby, dark haired handsome -in an-80’s way? but at the end the whole thing was a distraction.

    How did you miss this?”

    So, yep, pretty impt telly history 🙂

    Anonymous @

    well, I spoilt 5 mins looking at a Auz video maker called ‘Joffs…whoever’ who devotes his entire time to saying why Dr Who sux -naturally, PC, Amy, Clara and Moffat are all to blame and “bring back RTD”.

    Sad to be an Aussie.

    What venom this guy had -and his adoring fans spitting the same stuff out.

    Right: MUST not visit youtube EVER 🙁

    Mirime @mirime

    @pedant I suspect cats would do OK without us overall – obviously plenty of individuals wouldn’t – and the next generation would all be feral.



    OMG!!! MY EYES!!! MY EYES!!!!


    Farm cats might – and within a few generations they would be indistinguishable from the African Wildcats they are descended from. Bengals might because they are only 2 generatiosn removed from the Asian Leopard Cats they were bred from.

    But your average domestic moggie and fancy breeds? They would be very quickly ‘selected out’. The population would plummet; most would go; some would make the cut (just as the odd strand of modern wheat might survive as the creeping red fescue reasserts itself).

    But at the microbial level, one hypothesis for the end of the Black Death (and the – comparatively – lesser impact of later plagues) is that the strand of plague mutated into one that *does not wipe out its host*. ‘Cos, in terms of natural selection, leaving yourself with no hosts will select you for extinction. That wouldn’t do us a whole bunch of good (hence the multiple “sort ofs” above)…

    Some sobering stuff:


    MissRori @missrori

    Looking elsewhere, this episode looks likely to go down as the “Kill the Moon” of Series 10 in the fandom — a seriously contrived storyline with a lot of bad science, and then Bill Potts had to go and do that thing.  Yeah, she’s plummeting in the companion popularity polls already.

    (sigh)  I think the intent with her choice was akin to the Doctor’s choices in “Extremis”.  Knowing she has a chance to save the Doctor and humanity in one fell swoop, she takes it, saving every life she can.

    In practice though, it doesn’t work as well.  It’s not “Without hope, without witness, without reward.”  She’s saving him because she doesn’t want to lose him and figures that he’ll “repay” her by saving her and all the rest of the people she’s just condemned to slavery — in fact, she demands she repay her — “You better save my planet.”  She expects to gain things for this.  And when you look at how similar situations were treated in other episodes — River Song in “The Wedding of River Song” with the Eleventh Doctor, the Twelfth Doctor himself in “Hell Bent” with Clara — well, she’s being just as selfish.

    If Me can condemn the broken, mad Doctor for risking the universe “because you miss her”, sane Bill must face condemnation next week.  Instead, the trailers are suggesting the poor Doctor will get the short end of the straw again in terms of how he’s treated by the narrative.

    Yay for our plucky heroine!  She better really redeem herself next week and make the in extremis choice when the time comes.

    pıtırcapaldi @pitircapaldi

    why ? really why ? who will wait one week for new episode ?!!

    but new episode is approving very exciting because ı love missy hence ı don’t wait new episode 🙁

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    So, in the refreshing morning air wafting off the Pacfic coast of Canada, do I think my initial response was a bit harsh? Umm…nope.

    Bobby Ewing. Obviously there is a big difference between “it was all a dream” and “it was all a simulation” and the latter is a cool idea (actually, the former can be a cool idea if done well). But my intent in mentioning Bobby Ewing was to make the point that it wasn’t done well. Why? Because as we entered the second episode it was dropped like a hot potato. Think about it. At the end of the ‘extremis’ we got a ‘next week’ clip (safe to talk about it now as we have seen the subsequent episode) and in that clip we saw that the Monks were still there. But…when we got to said episode, the whole simulation idea had been jettisoned. The only reference to it was the scene between Bill and Penny (the repeat comic relief scene of the date-gone-wrong). The more I think about the more I feel that they could have done ‘The Pyramid…’ with a completely different set of aliens. In a sense it felt like two different stories that were blended late in the day.

    Of course, there might be some gigantic payoff next week, but I suspect that the Monks might not go down in Who history as particularly memorable.

    Some good ideas above on ‘why a pyramid?’ But personally I am still trying to work that one out. When the pilots emerge, and then the submarine sailors emerge, I was immediately reminded of the WW11 fighter pilots emerging from the spaceship at the end of ‘Close Encounters…’ not sure if it was intentional but that bit I sort of liked, as it seemed an example of a sort of shared sci-fi language that we all tend to have these days.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    A lot of people saying the Monks look like the Pyroviles. Methinks they look more like Starving Weeping Angels…

    What if they’re quantum unlocked Angels? Maybe they are the mid-stage between Angels & Time Lords?


    So Bill’s stats – looks like she’s 26 years old, 167.6lbs… I can’t read the rest….. (maybe the 6s are 5s? -anyone got a microscope?)

    stats  Hmmm… That’s 11 or 12 stone… doesn’t seem right…


    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @wolfweed Doesn’t that say ‘Male’?  So not Bill’s stats.   I can’t read the numbers anyway…

    @blenkinsopthebrave  Yes, I was unsettled by the way the whole sim thing was dropped.  Am reserving judgement till we see the next ep, because overall I did love Veritas and if I loved this slightly less there was plenty to enjoy and at least like a great deal.

    Anyone identified any Bowie refs in this one?  I haven’t yet but am still pondering.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @cathannabel  You’re right – It’s the wrong picture. It’s from Extremis (couldn’t find a grab of the right pic).

    I was reading stats off of the tv (also very small) whilst watching TPATEOTW though…

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @cathannabel  What I mean top say is that the pic is just there to demonstrate which stats I’m on about (& that I’m not just randomly listing off a lady’s statistics…!)

    I honestly didn’t expect anyone to begin to attempt to read it. You must have a big screen!

    Sorry for the confusion…..

    Arbutus @arbutus

    Okay. This completely exceeded my expectations. Plenty of suspense, just enough plot twists, and the ending wasn’t what I expected at all. Brilliant.

    I’m looking forward to reading all of your thoughts on what we saw and what might be coming next!  🙂



    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @wolfweed Well I did big it up to about 300%…. But no way is Bill 11-12 stone – the numbers must be off one way or another.  I would not want to speculate about her weight either, but she’s only a wee lassie.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @cathannabel  My true blunder was mixing up height & weight in the listing. It’s 3 times more clear on iplayer…

    (See @ 5 minutes 47 seconds)

    Gender: Female

    Age: 26

    Height: 176.6cm

    Weight: 130.2lbs

    Heart rate: 79 (bpm?)

    Temperature: 37.6 (degrees c?)


    (Means she’s just over 9 stone & nearly 5ft8)

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @wolfweed OK that sounds entirely plausible!

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Sorry – Another mistake… It should be:

    Height: 167.6cm (5ft5)

    Arbutus @arbutus

    Random replies to some of your excellent comments:

    @miapatrick     I imagine the sight restorers are either in his office or in the TARDIS, probably not in his pocket.

    @wolfweed  To be fair, it wasn’t world peace, only a temporary agreement between three people. It’s hard to imagine it would have survived for long. The Fenric situation was similar.

    @phaseshift   I like your thoughts about the Veritas.

    @thane15    Good point about Bill being much less self-confident than Clara.

    @countscarlioni   I can only imagine that the three military leaders saw it as a temporary surrender, and couldn’t conceive of the aliens being too powerful to be overthrown. I suppose a certain kind of military mind might not be able imagine ultimate defeat! And this:  Cheap parts always lead to trouble.  Ha!

    @geoffers    Nice thought about the Loom of Life.

    @winston   If he didn’t catch anything, what the heck was there to talk about?  🙂  I thought of The Stand, too. Best of Stephen King in my view, for the absolutely devastating opening chapters detailing the escape of the virus and its unstoppable march over the world.)

    @pedant   It was the central Capaldi-Doctor dilemma – how do you choose when all the choices are bad?     Agreed, I think this is very key to the current incarnation.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @thane15    I agree that the “without reward” etc. is fairly key. I wonder if it will apply to Missy.

    On the subject of exposition, I don’t think that the decision to ask for help would be considered exposition, it’s still an action as far as I can see. Exposition sets up action, but action can also set up action (if that makes sense!). The mistake the trio made, in my view, was not realizing that there could be other reasons than fear that might render their surrender “impure”. My mistake was in thinking, “No way will they ever get anyone to surrender to their dominion out of love”, because I was thinking that the love had to be directed toward the aliens. I didn’t consider that the surrender might be out of love for someone else, as happened with Bill.

    I can’t believe these aliens are Cybermen, as their rules of engagement seem diametrically opposed. The Cybermen never needed an invitation!

    I was never a Dallas watcher, but in those days you couldn’t pick up a newspaper in these parts without reading about the show. It was UGE.  🙂

    Arbutus @arbutus

    I liked the soundtrack. On my next watch, I’ll be paying closer attention to it because the bits I noticed were very effective.

    In the relationship between this episode and “Extremis”, it seems to me that because of those events, the Doctor, before we meet the aliens or even hear about the pyramid, is familiar with the level of the threat. He knows what these guys are capable of. Also, I think there is a lot to be taken from the theme, rather than the events. Truth. Without hope, without witness, and so on. Goodness “in extremis”. I’m getting those quotes wrong, but you get the idea. I think the whole world is about to be “in extremis”. As some have said, I’m holding off on a complete point of view until I see what is to come.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    OK, I must admit that I share a lot of @blenkinshopthebrave’s reservations about this ep. I liked Extremis and the issues that it played with — and the ideas of political consent, the choosing of leaders wholly unsuited to our personal interests was great too. The Monks strategy was basically Project Fear, the political cosh of choice from indyref to Brexit to Trump. So that was interesting.

    It’s possibly because I’ve come to expect a bit better from Peter Harness — I’m happy to go on record as really liking Kill The Moon as well as his excellent Zygon two-parter — but this didn’t really hit the mark for me. The science was bad and this gung-ho attack-dog Doctor seemed to me to be terribly out of character (more so than when intent on blowing up the colony in Smile). The overall impression I got was (rather like Death in Heaven) of a not wholly convincing pastiche of an RTD story.

    The basic problem for is again The Monks. I said last week I found them a truly underwhelming villain. I don’t think the make-up is particularly good. They’re terribly static, even to the barely moving mouth, their motivations are very sketchily drawn. To me they’re Vervoids, they’re Sycorax, they’re Teriliptils. They’re strictly third-division monsters.

    Another issue for me is that I just didn’t feel the peril and the threat represented by the Monks. The humans experiencing their own future via the sim-feed is a nice idea but it has the effect of keeping the viewer out of the loop and it makes the surrender feel a bit quick and easy to me. A few missiles and that’s it? Instant and unconditional surrender. It felt to me like a decidedly unearned moment, which I think reminded me of RTD and especially Torchwood.

    Of course, the point of the episode is not really the world-in-peril stuff but the character beats between the Doctor and Bill. The Doctor’s lie, Bills sacrificing the entire world to save him. These are interesting and I’m hoping these will pay off in the finale of this trilogy. I’m guessing that, as mentioned above, Missy being in the vault is going to mean she’s unaffected by the Monks’ brainwashing and that she’s going to save the day — I wonder if this might constituted a permanent change in her character? Is she going to ‘turn guid’. Is this why we’re getting Sim’s Master back, to have an evil Master back in the mix with the current incumbent being a bit more ambivalent. The idea of Missy as an anti-Valeyard is an interesting one. It also looks like we’ll see the start of a ‘slow regeneration’ next week (unless the whole thing is going to be end being some kind of sim trickery). Perhaps that’s going to be the only way to shake the Doctor out of his brainwashing.

    I think I’m mostly irritated by this episode because it feels like dealing with under-achieving students. You know they could be doing so much better than this. Given this subject matter, Harness could have given us a much more biting and acerbic political allegory. And Moffat could have made us feel the pain and the sacrifice involved in the drama here so much more.

    I’m pinning my hopes on the third part pulling some serious rabbits out of hats. I’m hoping we’ll get some greater clues about the Monks — I truly do hope that they are something like proto-Cybermen, and I also like @wolfweed‘s idea of them being some kind of halfway house between Time Lords and Weeping Angels. But I suspect they’re just going to remain crap, back-of-the-fag-packet also-ran aliens. I’m also hopeful that the simulation concept developed last week is going to come into play in a greater way — maybe not next week but in the remaining episodes of the series.

    Mirime @mirime

    But your average domestic moggie and fancy breeds? They would be very quickly ‘selected out’.

    @pedant, many individuals would, and of course many domestic cats are spayed/neutered so it wouldn’t matter from a gene pool point of view. But I’ve certainly had cats that were fantastic hunters (unfortunately for the smaller creatures in our local wildlife) and it’s not unknown for domestic moggies too turn feral.

    @missrori I didn’t see it as Bill acting selfishly. I thought it was that she felt partly responsible for the Doctors blindness.

    Also wouldn’t the creatures just pick another moment of imminent destruction? The Doctor would have been dead so who would have stopped them?

    Or if not then, the next bunch of aliens who like the look of the Earth as it appears to be a popular target.

    @jimthefish I didn’t think the Doctor was that gung go. I saw it more as ‘it won’t work but you might as well try’, give the military types something to do. Not had a second watch yet though.

    Mirime @mirime

    @jimthefish I thought the barely moving mouths added to their creepiness. They’re not human, they’ve just taken on that shape. They’re quite possibly not even speaking out loud.

    As for the quick surrender, if you believed the end of the world was imminent and the aliens weren’t the cause but could prevent it (even at a cost) how many missiles would you throw at them after your first attempt had been swatted aside fairly effortlessly?

    AlexWho @alexwho

    Good follow-up to Extremis. The season is really picking up steam since Oxygen and its going to be hard waiting till next week for the Monks trilogy to conclude.

    Next week its looks like its going to be a 1984 type world with the Monks given consent to rule humanity. And of course that clip of the Doctor re-generating is from The Lie of the Land so we’ll see how that plays out. Perhaps its the simulation Doctor?

    I’d like to have an answer to what the Monks true appearance is. They said mankind looks like corpses to them so hopefully we see what they are.


    MissRori @missrori

    @mirime  Oh, I agree that Bill felt some (unneeded) guilt over the Doctor’s blindness.  And yes, there’s some sense to figuring he was the last best hope for Earth, though the last line and the Next Time trailer suggest she’ll be disappointed.

    But that brings up a big problem with the Monks — because they’re so powerful and all-seeing, the Doctor, much less humanity, couldn’t have won the day in any scenario they picked in the end.  It’s clear they were capable of pulling strings here and there if need be, able to pinpoint what everybody would do, aware of their flaws.  All they had to do was play into that.  The Doctor came very very close to outwitting them but still.  The story is supposed to be one of how ordinary mistakes and flaws that all of us display from time to time can end in tragedy, but the overall inevitability of the heroes’ failure (especially for people like me who knew this was part two of three), and the fact that so many characters besides the Doctor screwed up so badly (i.e. the badly designed lab), makes the Doctor and friends come off as lambs to the slaughter.

    “The Zygon Invasion” handled this sort of lead-up to an all-is-lost scenario more gracefully.  It didn’t try blaming the Doctor for the bulk of things, even though he made some mistakes — the big one being that he didn’t notice anything strange about “Clara’s” behavior, perhaps blinded by love and trust.  The villains were extremely clever, but not all-powerful, and they had an understandable, even sympathetic, motivation.  It was a strong lead-in to an even better second half, with my favorite Series 9 villain bar none in Bonnie the Zygon.

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Well just finished my second viewing and i really cant shake the feeling theres something we’re all missing but for the life of me I can’t put my finger on what it is. For one why did the doctor seem to be reluctant to initially get involved and secondly why was Nardole so happy even perhaps eager for the Doctor to be involved. Given his apparent previous reluctance for the doctor to leave his charge of the vault I cant quite believe his sudden acceptance of the doctor to get involved.and without the risk of spoilers i cant help but think of  the way Martha reset the time line.

    MissRori @missrori

    Yeah, I really would not be surprised to have an ending like that of “Last of the Time Lords” or “Wedding of River Song” (especially the latter, given all the conceptual beats it’s nicking) next week, or another offbeat reveal that allows the show to get away with a world-gone-mad and crazy!Doctor for a week.  The fallout from a situation like the one set up in “Lie of the Land” will logically take a long time to clean up afterward, but the back four episodes of the season don’t seem concerned with it.

    And yeah, Nardole didn’t bring up the Vault once in this one, much less the Doctor.  And they never did explain why three of the world’s superpowers were in a military stalemate in Turmezistan, which one would think would at least be a passing concern for the guys, or maybe Bill’s friends.

    Who’s zoomin’ who here?  😉

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Very funny running commentary!

    But in its defence, when you think about every episode of Who from 1963 on, they would all look silly with a running commentary; because, well, in a sense they are silly, but in a wonderful way. Just like “Wind in the Willows” or “Wallace and Gromit” are silly in a wonderful way. Whereas a movie like “Plan 9 from Outer Space”, for example, is silly in a really bad way.

    ichabod @ichabod

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

    Yes!  I think so.  I think the monks ran their sim Doctor to the point where they defeated him — only first he got the word out to RealDoc, so “Damn!  Run the simulation on, let’s see what in informed sim Doc will do when we do the invasion part of this simulation, and figure out how to stop him later on in the process.”  This would explain why the Tardis — a sim Tardis — couldn’t protect or revitalize Nardole, and why the “world leaders” buckle so easily — although they *could* have made the UN guy’s quick cave more striking if they’d specified that he’s Japanese, and sees the ruins of Hiroshima times 1000 in the world-ends future.

    @countscarlioni  On Bill’s decision: 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.

    Yes!  And there’s that undercurrent as well, I think, of personal remorse for being the indirect cause of the Doctor’s blindness.  I think that remorse, and Bill’s growing affection for her alien tutor, is what the monk reads as “love”.  The monks don’t really seem to have a very accurate idea of “love”, but if they’ve been studying North Korea, there it is — our “Dear, dear Leader, we love him so much” including, presumably, all of the gov’t officials who support Dear Leader — that is, those with “power”.

    I think “power” to the monks is freedom to make effective choices, so their idea of “love” is just what the Doctor says it is: “Love is — slavery.”  Well, he should know: he was recently shown increasingly enslaved (and perverted from his natural, chosen course) by one hell of an obsessive love for his former companion.

    @thane15  Hope you all enjoyed it -or some of it

    Loved it — the pace, the rush, the cleverness — and what looked to me like a quite deliberate contrast, between the brief, almost casual presentation of the “world leaders” vs. the detailed and loving detailed character of Erica the lab person.  Moffat (in my imagination): “You don’t like recognizing/representing all kinds of people in DW?  As *your* ideas of whole categories of people including those ‘like us’ are cardboard cut-outs to begin with, up yours, and meet Erica, whom the Doctor has no hesitation in quickly sounding out for, maybe, companion status.”

    Gotta love it, truly.

    @pedant  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.

    Thank you!  They do keep wittering on about this like idiots on reddit; so annoying.  DW fans are supposed to be smart fans, not foggy-brained dolts.  I am disillusioned; or maybe just spoiled rotten by this lot, here . . .

    but 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?

    Yes, but I think it’s also about “blindness” — the different ways in which people can be “blind”, and why.  Bill’s step-mum is blind to Bill’s sexual orientation.  The Doctor is blind to how costly his dealings with the Master/Missy are, and not just costly to himself.  The monks are blind to this “love” that they think they’re looking for.  The eyesight of both lab techs are impaired.  And even very smart people can mistake a simulation for reality.  Look well, o wolves.

    And it is also still about who’s real and who isn’t, if indeed everybody real is still stuck in an extended simulation run by the monks (if they themselves aren’t part of the simulation, and somebody else is running that).

    @steppstaff  2:29: Orange President.  A clue that this story is a further advanced stage of the simulated world of “Veritas”; the monks have tweaked the simulation to reflect changes in our reality.  But good laughs!


    wolfweed @wolfweed

    (Insomnia again…)      Go 28 minutes into the ep &…..

    Here’s most of the dialogue cut from the episode (but not the Amazon version) because of the Manchester attack:

    Followed by the line:

    DOCTOR: Plague. Terrorists discriminate.

    Anonymous @


    I’m doing my best to view this set of three as completely ‘finished’ as we see it: if say like @jimthefish they’re “also ran aliens” I’m thinking that despite their evident corpse look -they could well be just that, independent of anyone else.

    Are they successful at this?

    I think so. They’ve created simulations for centuries (or more), they’ve exercised caution in their dealings with people, they haven’t “deleted” anyone (see cybermen) and they understand us, far more than some of us understand ourselves.

    @ichabod @arbutus @mirime

    Yes, I think so too. It was successful to me: the important issues being the bathetic fall of the Doctor here. His steaming along at a mile a minute, changing, can’t quite get a fix on him-doctor could be very appropriate to a man stuck in a university for a very long time, eager for adventures, eager to “blow something up” and then so annoyed that these world leaders want to give up their planet without any real knowledge of what they’re going to lose: they’re showing all their cards which are false. Pretty much what is happening politically and socially everywhere at the moment.

    These are the important elements to me: whether the scary monsters are scary enough -perhaps not so, imo?

    However, their fluidity, their corpse-like heads and the almost uncanny precision with which they speak which doesn’t match the way their mouths are moving: that’s significant. This is entirely how we can measure our own pollies these days and yet this group offer “love” and “consent to power” –that’s the theme, whether or not the sims are successful, played out or fully explained.  And of course @ichabod “blindness” as you suggest -an ongoing and connected theme from The Pilot. Also, fear -of course Bill is fearful of losing the Doctor -she’s still living at home (no successful jaunts to Real Estate Agents); she has one tutor who is constantly teaching her: her life is full. Without it and compromised by her guilt she gives in and gives up -a motto the Doctor hasn’t tutored her in as yet. She’s not acting out of cowardice but out of love -for her life, for earth and for the Doctor which, to me, is all the “the feels” one needs.

    But then I’m no sci-fi expert and my science is….iffy 🙂


    Anonymous @


    thank you for that explanation, btw, re: exposition. Appreciated. Off for a re-watch and some attention to the score -which, initially I ignored, so intent was I to figure out all the themes and character beats. :)\


    PS: as always wonderful to see articulate debate even if there’s some who don’t like it all that much and others who do! Brilliant.

    tardigrade @tardigrade

    Another challenging episode for me to comment on. In the end, I enjoyed some elements of the episode, but there were a awful lot of misses in there too and I’m afraid I can’t rate the plot much above a shambles.

    @jimthefish made some good points and @blenkinsopthebrave hit some of my issues here:

    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.

    The Monks show up, apparently intent on earning credit (“love”) for averting a disaster, then apparently do their best to conceal what the disaster actually is. So, they hope to get credit, in advance, for averting a disaster that, as far as anyone might have known, was purely their own invention.

    They deliberate make themselves appear like corpses, essentially make threats and refuse to accept capitulations to those threats, which is surely the best they could ever hope for, unless those in power (in this case very limited power) are loving enough in accepting their “help”, in what is essentially a protection racket. If they’ve been studying humanity extensively in their simulations, they show a remarkably slight grasp of human psychology.

    Bill then acts out of “love”- well not out of self-interest anyway, but the interest of someone else. But surely possibly also out of guilt, since she may feel some responsibility for the Doctor being blind. And she’s also probably angry with the Doctor for not telling her his secret and possibly screwing things up completely. And seemingly panicked. The Monks then decide that she, of all the people there, is “pure” in her motives (which is odd at best), her love is for them (which it clearly isn’t), that she is in a position of power (which she isn’t), and represents the Doctor (which she doesn’t, since he is clearly saying that he doesn’t consent). If any of this makes much sense, then I’m failing to see it.

    Then there’s the behaviour in the biolab. Apparently, as long as you go through two separate doors labelled “airlock”, then you’re magically decontaminated. So you’re free to just run back and forth into the contaminated area. Which is fairly moot, as apparently your biolab also vents air to the atmosphere, and you can’t even stop that (I would have though cutting the power would work for a start- and if the response to that is that doors might open in that case, then that is not the way that failsafes should be in any vaguely sensibly designed biolab).

    If you’re the Doctor and Nardole, and travelling in a time machine, and hence able to take whatever time you need to prepare, regardless, you simply just jump straight out of the Tardis into a biohazard that threatens all life on the planet, assuming that you’re immune, which seems to be 50% right.
    Then, faced with a situation in which he *really* needed his sight, the Doctor doesn’t use the device he’s been carrying around specifically for use in emergencies, which he previously showed willingness to use, seemingly out of little more than curiosity.

    And then the Doctor’s sight is restored remotely, using essentially godlike powers. I’ll avoid using that three-letter acronym, to avoid raising hackles, and just settle for the innuendo in calling it “godlike”.

    Even the concept of the Monks predicting the events playing out as they did through their simulation is undermined by having random events (glasses breaking, slipped decimal place) critical to the event. These are butterfly effect stuff, inherently chaotic and unpredictable. I’ll accept though, based on my above comments, that the lab was an accident waiting to happen.

    And the Doctor weirdly is flirting with the criminally negligent lab technician.

    I haven’t covered all my issues and I hate being so negative on an episode, but I’m really struggling to find much positive to comment on. I can only hope that part 3 rescues something from a disappointing setup.

    Whisht @whisht

    ah – back in front of a PC and sober*.

    Really enjoying reading the differing views on these episodes as I think I share the concerns of “huh?” at times. But when re-watching an episode I simply ignore those bits I had an issue with or see them differently and overall like the episode!

    All I’ll wonder for now is – how do the Monks give Doctor his sight back, appear in cockpits etc?
    Surely only in a simulation?

    As someone already mentioned (sorry – forget who!) people must consent through ‘love’ as “only then can the link be formed”.
    Link to what/whom…?

    I assume the consent must be blind love.

    Anonymous @


    If they’ve been studying humanity extensively in their simulations, they show a remarkably slight grasp of human psychology.

    And yet they were successful.

    Humans are notorious at failing to learn from history and often can’t form cohesive and successful alliances. They work with ‘strategy’ thinking the ‘other side’ knows nought.  Dan Sperber’s and Hugo Mercier’s latest book on The Enigma of Reason plots this problem out.

    I think these munks aren’t too stupid, myself.

    Even the concept of the Monks predicting the events playing out as they did through their simulation is undermined by having random events (glasses breaking, slipped decimal place) critical to the event. 

    They watched every stream to see which event would cause the catastrophe foreshadowed by the Doctor, meditating, actually stating in story: “you are dying already, events: a billion billion events” cause this. He had to find the right  (or doomsday) event which, using Doctor-ish power he was clever enough to locate. The random events caused doomsday since the munks modelled these events, repeatedly. Had this event not been successful, they would have found another. To me it’s perfectly conceivable.


    blind love

    indeed 🙂

    I assume (and it’s merely that as we’re told that ‘to assume makes an ass….etc’) that the monks are inserting themselves into aircraft, fixing the Doctor’s sight by playing with the “decorative light curtain” -they are everywhere and no-where (OK, that’s a bit LSD even for me, ahem) but I would think that as the Doctor said “they’ve been performing sims since you  lot slopped out of the water” so….yes, they are part-way to owning the planet or “bringing it” but need “love” to connect or  “make a link”. They are part of the sim as well as creating simulations. Hence, they can be in the aircraft or on the submarine.


    Ooh, harsh! “A shambles” 🙂


    Thane and Puro

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    The more I read your comments and ponder the more I think the events of TPatEotW (oh, that’s too cumbersome, let’s just call it Pyramid, OK?) are another simulation.  The monks playing with ideas – multiple scenarios, from WWIII to plague to terrorism, perhaps seeing how the leaders react and then changing accordingly, so they abandon the WWIII scenario when it’s clear the three world powers are prepared to work together, and so on.  If that’s so, then what are the constants?  That’s what I can’t quite get a hold of at the moment.  Are the Monks a constant, i.e. is that their real form or are they a front for something else?   Something else that will become apparent once they’ve had their consent …. (BTW we don’t watch the Next Time… on Who so there are probably clues we haven’t picked up)

    Anonymous @


    OK, so before going barmy and making others barmy -and I can’t believe I’m going to use words like ‘encode’ and ‘premise’ so @pedant gird your loins and don’t panic: I’m not running a sim based on Derrida.


    Words and phrases which Moffat uses are often encoded simply: he is expecting us to interpret his meanings. With a set of premises that are (sometimes) sound we should end up with a connection to the dialogue which shows we understand where the plot and story is going. Words like “love and consent with power” can  be used to indicate a meaning that is narrower or looser than the sense linguistically encoded.

    In the sim, this is how we see -or indeed re-interpret the world around us. I think the ‘patchy’ and quick takes from one scene to another bear this out -the episode doesn’t fit seamlessly in the fabric of the character’s ordinary verbal exchanges: whether we think we’re in the (the several, the one) simulation or in RL.  So there may be fallacies in the story which, in themselves are required to be fallacious and possibly intuitive -which with Moffat is oftentimes used.

    I’d recommend both the Sperber book above and Apperly, I. A., and S. A. Butterfill. 2009. Do humans have two systems to track beliefs and belief-like states? in Psychological Review, 116(4): 953-970.

    The munk’s powers are visually seen or ‘acted’. We may believe them to be entirely unlikely, unbelievable or impossible. Yet in no way does this make the story a ‘failure’  -we’re not sure in which world we live. Our individual RL world when viewed by outsiders could look remarkably like something fallacious, foolish or insensible, even. Again, this is possibly one of the points Moffat’s attempting to make: in Sherlock, episode 3 (the recent series) and again within this unusual -and pretty ground breaking trio of episodes.



    Anonymous @

    @cathannabel -yes, exactly! The constants. And are there constants in our own world? From one person to another constants seem to change.


    tardigrade @tardigrade


    But when re-watching an episode I simply ignore those bits I had an issue with or see them differently and overall like the episode!

    I’d usually be the same- I think this one might be a bit too dense with issues for me to rewatch.


    And yet they were successful.

    Successful at earning “love”- no. Successful at gaining anything like genuine consent- no. Successful at fooling themselves that they have- apparently. Successful at some deeper plan that will come out- maybe.

    Ooh, harsh! “A shambles” 🙂

    Strictly I said “not much above a shambles”- admittedly that distinction is slight though. I think I’ll decline to comment further on this episode. I’m acutely aware this is a fan site, not really a platform for critique. I’ll continue to read comments though and am interested in the theories that have been posited. I hope the writers live up to the inventiveness of the commenters.



    I’m acutely aware this is a fan site, not really a platform for critique.

    Very drole.

    geoffers @geoffers


    And then the Doctor’s sight is restored remotely, using essentially godlike powers. I’ll avoid using that three-letter acronym, to avoid raising hackles, and just settle for the innuendo in calling it “godlike”.

    that scene would have made more sense, had they simply used the light from the pyramid to bathe the doctor in a healing glow… or some such effect. maybe they didn’t have the extra cgi budget?

    Anonymous @


    not at all! Of course we can dislike/love/confirm/hate any episode. A fan site is one where true and proper critique happens. I offered a journal article I thought would be interesting

    As for “shambles” I did have an actual smiley face?  🙂

    When I said “harsh” it really was in the spirit of creative discussion -and without naming names via ‘@’ many people -arbutus, jim, Ichabod, miapatrick, pedant, mirime, phaseshift  etc have all been involved in ‘critiquing the episode.’

    If what are you are saying is true, ie “it’s not a platform for critique,” with due respect, that’s a little rude because it suggests that no one of us has provided critique with sound reason being allied with premise.

    In an earlier response, I said exactly this: “what I love about this site is that we articulate disagreements and still enjoy the show!”

    So, no, I think we are on a platform of critique: for years now we’ve analysed and looked at mythology;  the nature of psychotherapy; the purpose of the raven;  the nature of artful Greek tragedy and comedy; we’ve assessed syllogisms and inductive reasoning.

    If that’s not critique, I’m not sure what is!

    If you’re disappointed with the episode, that’s perfectly fine!  Please don’t decline to discuss further. I recall just last week I said “Love your discussion” and I did and still do. I think when some people use an emoticon, it can appear sarcastic -not my intent at all, ever.

    Back to “were they were successful, these munks?”  Absolutely! They don’t know “love” but their modelling and ‘threading’ has brung ’em to this point in time. To me, that’s an invasion that’s happened: “they’re already here” -so they appear to have won. I believe they’ll fail in the end but so far, good job for the munks 🙂


    Puro and Thane

    Anonymous @


    Also when I said “absolutely” -this is strictly my opinion. I can see that some viewers would view the munks invasion as unsuccessful. I saw it from their own immediate, but flawed perspective: they came, they conquered.

    It’s not unlikely that, in the end, they’ll fail. At least I hope so! And I hope the circuitous route we’re on is worth it!


    Steffstaff @steffstaff

    Oh don’t get me wrong @blenkinsopthebrave  my commentary was written and delivered with tongue firmly in cheek and with a true sense of love for every silly plot-hole going!

    Wouldn’t watch Doctor Who if I didn’t love it. Wouldn’t have posted a commentary on any forum other that this one.


    wolfweed @wolfweed

    This episode was filmed at an old leper colony. It’s filled with interesting art. Well worth a Google image search if you can be arsed…  sanatorio de abona an abandoned leper village

    Anonymous @


    I think you’re yoda! You were on every timeline analysing and providing a glimpse of every scene! Or yoda in this sim, at least.  😀

    Now that’s reminded me of something else: in The Pilot (I think) the Dr speaks of how our lives are a series of instant pictures: one tiny event after another. We see Bill about to knock on the Dr’s door, we see her bumping into Heather. And the Dr says: “a whole building containing every moment of your life, every photo of you filled with cutting toe-nails.”

    This episode and Extremis is linked to The Pilot and the Dr’s lecture quite well, imho.

    Thank you,  Thane.

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