Doctor Who always makes us viewers ponder existence, the effects of our actions and the very nature of humanity. It succeeds like no other show, and the resolution to the Orc Monk invasion gave us just that.
Why does humanity keep making the same mistakes over and over? Don’t we know our history? (answer to that is, 90% of the population know and/or care very little about history) Are we really that dumb?
After the cliffhanger last week in which Bill asked the Monks for help so the Doctor could see again, ‘The Lie of the Land‘ fast forwards six months, to a world in which the Monks have taken over and messed with people’s minds so that they think they’ve always been there. People can’t rebel if they think the Monks are a constant in their history instead of fresh invaders, right? Even those who fight this mental influence are quickly put away.
Bill is one of those people, but she keeps quiet, in the hope that the Doctor (now the face of the Monks’ propaganda) is secretly planning something, as he always does. To stay sane, Bill talks to her imaginary version of her deceased mother.
But hope comes along! And it comes in the shape of Nardole, who enlists Bill’s help to infiltrate a boat that takes supplies to the Monk’s HQ in the middle of the sea, where the Doctor is being kept. In what is probably the most heartbreaking scene I’ve seen on Doctor Who this year, Bill confronts a Doctor who states over and over again that he has, in fact, joined the Monks. The pain Pearl Mackie conveys in this scene is award-worthy, and for a second there, even I thought the Doctor was for real. What a moment.
Of course, the most heartbreaking scene is followed by the most hilarious one, when the Doctor ‘regenerates’ and reveals they’ve all tricked her to make sure she wasn’t under the influence of the Monks. They are all Resistence! Bill’s face when she finds out is a poem. I would have punched them all in the face.
The only choice now is to find out what to do, and the person who can help here is vault-locked Missy, just an excuse to enjoy Michelle Rodriguez’s presence for a few minutes. She reveals that, because Bill started it, she is the one to finish it by messing with the Database Monk filling people’s minds with fake history. Problem is, Bill might as well be brain-dead after this, so the Doctor refuses and does it himself. Weirdly enough, the Monk is strong enough to defeat him, so Bill ultimately decides to sacrifice herself. But thanks to the power of her imaginary mother, which is a memory the Monks can’t tamper with, seeing as it’s not real, Bill overpowers them. It is truly a perfectly crafted metaphor of how our deepest feelings and love are the ultimate weapon against evil beings who want to feed you with alternate facts (ahem…ring a bell?)
So, now that this arc is over…when is Simm coming back? I’m so certain that his presence will make Missy evil again.
“Now go away, or something”
-Am I the only one who thought this setting was quite reminiscent of the three-part finale from the third season, when the Master took over the Earth?
-“What abour free will? That’s your thing. You made me write a 3,000-word essay on free will.” “You never delivered that essay.” “Because the world was invaded by zombie Monks!”
-It was so obvious that the Doctor was faking it, but then he became so convincing. Bless Capaldi.
-The episode also reminded me of a movie about WWII and the Resistance.
-“It’s me! Nardie!” “No, wait, tell me something. That first time, with the Heather creature chasing us, where did we run away to?” “Australia!” “What noise should spaceship doors make?” “Shuck-shuck, obviously.”
-“Why have you got a woman locked in a vault? Because even I think that’s weird, and I’ve been attacked by a puddle.”
-“Who were you talking to?” “My… mum.” “I though your mum… died. You know, when you were… little.” “I made up a version of her.” “Hmm… well, that’s not that weird.”
-“History was saying to you, ‘look, I’ve got some examples of fascism here to look at!'”
-“It’s just a woman. The way you and Nardole have been carrying on, I thought you had some kind of monster in here!” “I do.”
-“You haven’t been to see me in six months! No one has. Not even that bald bloke who looks like an egg.”
-“What would be left of me?” “You’d be a husk. Completely and irrevocably brain-dead. You couldn’t even get on Celebrity Love Island.”
-You! Appalling Hair!”
-“Humanity is doomed to never learn from its mistakes.”
-“Why do you put up with us?” “In amongst seven billion, there’s someone like you. That’s why I put up with the rest of them.”
-Is Missy truly regretting her past actions? That last scene was superb.