Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 8: “The Lie of the Land”

  • The Doctor’s evil grin before the opening credits is pretty scary, but his soothing broadcast where a bunch of walking mummies are portrayed as eternal friends and mentors of humanity is just…bizarre.
  • Memory police? Rewriting history to make people believe things have always been as they are? The parallels to Nineteen Eighty-Four are not subtle.
  • With the Monks having taken over the world – and many other worlds beforehand, according to Missy – there’s really no explanation of just what they’re doing with that power. They don’t seem to do much besides build pointless computer simulations and stand around looking intimidating.
  • Throughout the scene where the Doctor convinces Bill he really has allied with the Monks, I was refusing to take him at face value – that’s something you can’t do with the Doctor in these situations, especially Twelve. But then when Bill shoots him and it turns out it was indeed a secret test, the complete tone change with everybody laughing just felt silly – and how could they have predicted every detail, like Bill going so far as to shoot the Doctor? Unless they hacked into one of the Monks’s super simulations? It felt like that episode of The Simpsons where everyone in Springfield concocts an elaborate scheme, involving a wrongful arrest and court case, to teach Homer and Bart a lesson about being con artists. (“So everybody was in on this?” “WILLIE WASN’T!”)
  • I guess the BBC doesn’t have the budget to actually show the Doctor’s boat colliding with the dock.
  • I still like you, Missy. I find I’m able to appreciate you more when you’re not appearing in scenes that pop up randomly in-between the main narrative.
  • It can’t be a good sign that when Missy indicated Bill would have to die or become a vegetable to defeat the Monks, I didn’t care all that much. Bill’s not a bad character, but I just don’t like her as much as other companions.
  • And of course the Doctor tries any option but the inevitable one to keep Bill safe, and of course Bill circumvents him and tries to sacrifice herself anyway. Companions, eh?
  • So ultimately the Monks are foiled by…the power of love? And this must be a bit weird for the world’s population. “Hey, why is this big-haired woman I’ve never seen before popping into my head…oh my God, I suddenly realise that the Monks are lying to us all!”
  • And once their hold on the populace is broken, the Monks immediately give up and go away. Wow, I can really understand how these guys have conquered thousands of planets already – such resilience!

After a strong middle part, the trilogy of the Monks rounds off with a weak and almost laughable conclusion. For all the clever writing in the last episode, the Monks were definitely not worth a three-episode story – in fact, they’re probably among the worst Doctor Who villains since the show was revived. I’m also waiting to see if this story will have any actual consequences for the rest of the season because nothing’s apparent right now.  Rating: 2.5/5.

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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1 Response to Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 8: “The Lie of the Land”

  1. Burrunjor says:

    I also thought this was a pretty poor episode. Why did the Monks flee from ordinary people when they are advanced enough to vaporise people with their hands?

    Also the power of love ending was a source of major cringe. As was the pointless boat bit.

    Poor Capaldi. Not a single great season in 3 years.


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