TV Review – ‘The Lie of the Land’ (Doctor Who)

Hello everyone! 🙂

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

I wanted to salvage something from seeing what is called ‘The Monks Trilogy’ in the final episode, ‘The Lie of the Land’, by Toby Whithouse. And do you know what? Thank goodness I did, because I really enjoyed watching ‘The Lie of the Land’, as it is a fitting end to this trilogy of stories in Series 10!

Toby Whithouse has written episodes of ‘Doctor Who’ before in the new series including ‘School Reunion’; ‘The Vampires of Venice’; ‘The God Complex’; ‘A Town Called Mercy’ and most recently ‘Under The Lake’/’Before The Flood’. I’m very impressed with the writing of this episode, as I felt pretty engaged with the Doctor, Bill and Nardole.

The story takes place in a dystopian reality on Earth where the evil zombie-like Monks have taken over the world, following the events of ‘The Pyramid at the End of the World’. The Monks have been ruling the Earth for six months, but everyone is made to think that they’ve always been there.

There is one person on Earth who knows that the Monk’s reality of Earth isn’t correct and that is Bill Potts. Bill tries to keep holding to the memories she had before the Monks ruled the Earth. She’s soon reunited with Nardole. The two work together as a team and they search for the Doctor again.

It seems that the Doctor has been working with the Monks in their broadcasts of fake news to everyone in the world about the good deeds they did in Earth’s history. Bill and Nardole soon find the Doctor aboard a ship at sea. It was shocking when the Doctor seemed to betray Bill and Nardole.

It was even more shocking when Bill actually shot the Doctor with a gun after betraying her. I thought the Doctor was going to regenerate at that point. But it turns out that it was all a trick by the Doctor and he wasn’t really working for the Monks and was testing Bill. Phew, that was a huge relief!

I’m really impressed with the performances of the cast in this episode. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie stand out as the Doctor and Bill in this episode and Matt Lucas is growing on me as Nardole. I found how well done the episode was enhancing Bill’s character and her journey to save the Doctor.

This episode also features another guest appearance of Michelle Gomes as Missy. Missy has been locked in the Doctor’s vault all this time since Series 10 began (but I knew that since seeing ‘Extremis’). Missy gets to have a role in helping the Doctor with solving how to defeat those Monks.

It transpires that Bill is the lynchpin to the whole business with the Monks’ ruling the Earth, since she asked the Monks for help in the previous episode. In order to defeat the Monks, they have to stop the newsfeed of fake news broadcast to the world in their pyramid. The cost is the end of Bill’s life.

The Doctor won’t allow it and attempts to take it upon himself to let the Monks drain his mind whilst stopping the broadcast of fake news. But it’s not enough and soon Bill makes the sacrifice to have the Monks drain her mind instead. It seems to be hopeless by this point, but Bill could get out of this.

As you can tell from my review, I’ve really enjoyed ‘The Lie of the Land’. I was able to follow the story and appreciate the performances of the cast. I wish my enjoyment of ‘The Monks Trilogy’ could have be appreciated in the previous two episodes, as I found them a muddle and struggle to enjoy.

Next week’s episode is called ‘Empress of Mars’ by Mark Gatiss.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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5 thoughts on “TV Review – ‘The Lie of the Land’ (Doctor Who)

  1. Hi Simon.

    Thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed my review on this episode.

    Yeah I can see why the climax of this episode and the trilogy altogether didn’t live up to people’s expectations. To be honest with you, I don’t mind that so much. I’m actually glad Bill got a stronger character role in this episode, since she started to dwindle a bit in the previous installments. I like that she took the Doctor’s place and got to self-sacrifice herself in that moment when it seemed like she was going to die. I know it’s a bit of a leap of faith when she thinks of her mother to fight back against the Monks, but it seemed to work for me.

    My problem with ‘The Monks Trilogy’ altogether is that it’s rather all over the place in the previous two episodes compared to the third one. Also it’s not exactly written by one writer. It’s by three writers who had to work together to make this trilogy come about. If it was just Steven Moffat writing this trilogy, I would have accepted it as a three-parter and it would have been ‘consistent’ (?!). Instead I feel these three episodes are rather standalone and consider them to be three separate stories linked by this Monk theme, even if though the arc is frustratingly muddled in places.

    I would have been happy with a three-part standalone story trilogy in the style of ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ with the Doctor, Bill and Nardole visiting three different worlds on a special quest or trapped in a separate universe or something. If they had to do the Monks trilogy, perhaps it’d be better to not set it all on Earth and have it set on different planets where they were invading and taking over and the Doctor, Bill and Nardole had to stop their endevaours and find it a challenge to do so in each story.

    Anyway, that’s enough from me.

    I hope the next episode ‘Empress of Mars’ will be a welcome relief from ‘The Monks Trilogy’ we’ve had.

    Thanks again, Simon.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

  2. Hi Tony.

    Thanks for dropping a line. I’m pleased you enjoyed this episode as well as me. I’m curious about why people rate this episode poorly since I’ve read on Wikipedia that critcs say it’s the weakest episode of the series so far. Somehow I can’t see that, as I really enjoyed the episode when I watched it.

    Looking forward to seeing ‘Empress of Mars’ later on today. I hope it’ll be a promising one.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

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