Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 7: “The Pyramid at the End of the World”

  • “I wouldn’t have voted for him. He’s orange.” Managing a jab at Trump without it actually sounding political and thereby offending people – nicely done.
  • At first, the cuts back-and-forth to the agrofuel facility are just as distracting as the cuts to Missy were last episode, though not quite as bad as it was clearer this time around that these scenes would have a point eventually. Eventually it really pays off: I like how the relevance of what’s happening comes clear gradually, and the idea that the world is going to end just because one scientist’s glasses were broken and her colleague came to work with a hangover.
  • When studying Earth for their simulations, the Monks apparently noticed that half of all blockbuster movies these days culminate in a pillar of light rising into the sky, and decided to follow the trend! All part of the plan.
  • I spent some time thinking about whether the Monks’ plan was actually clever or unnecessarily complicated – eventually, when it all comes together, I decided on the former. The presence and location of the pyramid, and the weird Doomsday Clock warning, make sense when the Monks’ ultimate goal is taken into consideration. As for the incredibly complex simulations, apparently that’s just something that these aliens do.
  • It’s certainly new, unnerving and twisted that the Monks aim to take over the world through consent motivated by love, rather than going in guns blazing like most aliens, or even a covert operation like the aliens in The Fear Saga. Though they should have given more thought to whether humanity would agree to being ruled by a race of walking corpses.
  • I liked the dynamic that the three soldiers provided. Shame they all had to die.
  • There’s so much good stuff in the last 10-15 minutes. First there’s how the Doctor figures out which lab the emergency will take place at. Then there’s that nice hopeful moment where it looks like the day is saved and the overconfident aliens have been foiled again – only for the audience to suddenly think “Oh, crap” as the Doctor finds himself facing a lock where he can’t see the numbers. And finally, this inevitably leads to an unexpected downer ending where Bill hands over the planet rather than let the Doctor die. Aside from the irrationality of love, she seems to be basing this decision on the hope that the Doctor will just save the planet like always if he lives – but worryingly, that’s the kind of thinking that got Clara killed.

This episode loses points for its slow start as we wait for the Monks to really do something, but once we’re inside the pyramid, things get a lot more interesting. As with last week, this script is trying to be clever – but this time, it’s much smoother, and the writing much more impressive. Rating: 4/5.

About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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