Sunday, 21 May 2017
Extremis - The Review
It's actually been a while since Steven Moffat served up a twisty-turny storyline. Last night we were treated to two seemingly unconnected plot lines, and one of these turned out to have been entirely a computer simulation. Everything that we saw from the point the Doctor got an e-mail took place in an elaborate Matrix-style domain which the Monks have created in which to test out their invasion plans, Kraal style.
Of course we don't know this until the conclusion. Up until then, it was a doom-laden affair, and you wondered how they could possibly wrap it up with less than 10 minutes to go. The Veritas has been driving everyone who reads it to commit suicide. A young priest shoots himself soon after e-mailing a transcription to CERN, and the team there are all set to blow themselves up. That's because the book lets you know that the world isn't real. You think of a string of numbers, and the sequence is there, printed over the page. Everyone thinks of those same numbers, because they are all part of the computer program.
There was a bit of humour early on - with Bill's disastrous date with Penny. Clara had some bad dates with Danny Pink, but nothing so laugh-out-loud funny as the sudden appearance of the Pope in Bill's flat and Penny's priceless reaction.
Matt Lucas had a lot more to do as Nardole this week. In the other plot-line, where the Doctor was tasked with executing Missy, he turned up posing as a priest - sent by River Song from that last night on Darillium.
Initially we thought that it was the Doctor who was to lose his life, but instead he was there to kill his old foe / best friend. Quite why this was happening remains unanswered. Hopefully all will be explained later in the series. That it is Missy who has been in the Vault all this time is, to say the least, a disappointment. I think we were all hoping for some big new revelation, perhaps the return of an old character from the Classic era of the series. Moffat could still throw a curve ball, and it isn't Missy in there at all, but we know that the Doctor has been inside recently.
The Monks make for a great new alien race. There's a hint of the Silents about them, as well as the Pyroville Sibyl. They have mummified features. Quite why an advanced alien species would look like this remains to be seen. Indeed, we know they want to invade the Earth, and we have seen how they have prepared for this, but why they should do so, we will have to wait for. They will be featuring in the next two episodes, forming a sort of three-parter.
A strong start to what looks to be an intriguing set of episodes.