Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who Series 10 Episode 8: The Lie of the Land…
Directed by: Wayne Yip
Written by: Toby Whithouse
Missy – “Awkward”
At the close of The Pyramid at the End of the World, Bill made the ultimate decision to save the Doctor by giving consent to the Zombie Monks, who were residing within a “new” ancient Pyramid. What consent grants the Monks, or what it will bring to the people of Earth is unknown, but here in part three of this Doctor Who invasion story, The Lie of the Land, we will soon find out.
Written by Toby Whithouse (Being Human), The Lie of the Land begins with us already six months into the occupation of the planet Earth, though this isn’t how the residents of the planet see it. Numerous statues across the globe honour the robed saviours of the planet, who have been with us humans every step of the way through history, the same Monks who have rescued human civilisation on many occasions from the Daleks through to Weeping Angels; society has become docile and willing to obey and believe this has always been the way. Those that speak the real truth, however, pointing out that the Monks have been on the planet for a mere six months, are either executed or sent to offshore prison ships.
It’s on one of these such ships that the Monks’ mouthpiece – The Doctor – speaks their corrupted truths to the world, keeping the population of the planet watching each other, making sure history is twisted towards the wants of the Monks. When his location is found after six months, both Bill and Nardole make their move to try to free him from the bonds of the Monks, but what they find on board the ship leads Bill to make a brutal decision.
Toby Whithouse delivers something rather memorable within this episode, something he’ll be remembered – within Doctor Who lore – for a long-time. His manoeuvring and pushing of his players within this tale, which lead to rather shocking decisions, is strong stuff for a television show on an early Saturday evening. Following on from the previous weeks’ episodes, you really do feel as though all is lost for the Doctor and Companions as you watch the episode unfurl in front of you. It comes to something when, in truth, the only sane voice seems to be coming from Missy (just).
There are some excellent small moments too that need to be mentioned; from Missy playing Gnossienne No. 1 (Lent) when the Doctor enters the vault, the fantastic bone-like shields the Monks use in an emergency and of course the television shop, all of these added an extra cherry to Toby Whithouse’s cake.
The cast are put through their paces when it comes to The Lie of the Land, and the odd moments of humour allowed to break through the bleak, grey world are extremely welcome. There are moments between Capaldi and Mackie that were almost heart-breaking and Lucas’ addition to this episode made sure that it didn’t stray too far into the dark.
My only grumble comes at the end, though this may not actually be a grumble for this could be linked into something I motioned towards way back in my Pilot review. Bill seems to be able control powers that not only floor the Doctor, but can knock him unconscious! Is this possible, or is there something else behind this rather excellent (ex)chip-serving student?
Even with that minor (possible) gripe, this was still an excellent closer to what has been a fantastic three-part invasion story. We need more like this in the future thank you.