Sunday, 4 June 2017
The Lie of the Land - Review
A great first half to last night's episode - the concluding part of the Monks trilogy - but I was left a bit disappointed with the latter section. Not for the first time this series I was looking at the clock and wondering how things would be tied up with so little time left to go. The resolution to the invasion seemed a bit too easy. The Monks never did reveal why they had invaded, and the fact there only seemed to be three or four of them made the logic for their plans even murkier. The Pyramid spaceship seemed to have been left pretty much undefended, especially the crucial central chamber from where the memory manipulation was being generated. And, as she was crucial to their plans, you would have thought that the Monks would have been keeping a closer eye on Bill. The Doctor wasn't very well guarded either.
It all started off promisingly enough, with shades of Last of the Time Lords as the populace is enslaved, overlooked by massive statues of their oppressor. Not only that, but the Doctor seemed to be in agreement with the invaders, helping to peddle their propaganda. I have to admit that the Monks seeding themselves throughout history was slightly reminiscent of the Silents, though this was fake memory rather than forgotten memory.
Bill is suing memories of her mother to keep her own memories alive, and she's soon reunited with Nardole. Together they set out to rescue the Doctor - except he doesn't appear to want to be saved. His behaviour finally drove Bill to grab a gun and shoot him - leading to that apparent regeneration glimpsed in the series trailer. Of course it was all a ruse, to make sure Bill was free of Monkish influence. Things picked up with the visit to Missy in the Vault. It's a great pity that we couldn't have seen her earlier in the series, with the Doctor seeking her advice on other matters, like Clarice Starling visiting Hannibal Lector. Seems Missy is going cold-turkey on being evil. We know that she will be travelling in the TARDIS as a companion later in the series, but presumably this change of hearts won't last long.
As I said, once the action moved to London, it all seemed a bit rushed - with the Monks plan looking very shaky. Earlier, Missy had claimed that the Monks had lost planets in the past when they lost the person who was the focus for their power. Again , this just showed up the illogicality of their scheme. It also seems very odd that the Doctor has never come across them before, if they have ruled planets for thousands of years.
Taking the trio of episodes as a whole, there was definitely a problem with structure and pacing. The first part was certainly the strongest of the three.