Sunday 28 May 2017

Doctor Who - The Pyramid At The End Of The World

Uniformed Consent

Doctor Who - The Pyramid At The End Of The World
Airdate: 27th May 2017

Warning: Some spoilers, I guess.

My apologies in advance but this is bound to be a fairly short review because, quite frankly, I have nothing much to say about this one. The story follows on from last week’s ‘virtual reality’ episode with what is being presented to us as... well... the ‘real invasion’ this time. Whether it is or it isn’t... and there’s certainly evidence to suggest the latter but with absolutely no conviction on my part to believe that the writers would use the same, hackneyed old cop out two weeks running... I’ve kind of given up caring, to be honest.

This one is a much better episode than last week’s tale but doesn’t really give us anything new. We have a parallel scene of Bill’s first date with Bill telling her potential new girlfriend about the alternate reality version where they were interrupted by ‘the pope in the lounge’ in the previous installment. This time, they’re interrupted by UNIT and a high government official coming for Bill to get them to The Doctor.

And so the still blind Doctor, Bill and Nardole go to investigate a gazillions old pyramid which has appeared overnight in another country. And we have the alien race from last week promise to save the earth from destruction if we consent to let them rule the planet from now on... giving the Earth a doomsday clock countdown as we simultaneously, cross-cut with our hero's shenanigans, witness the events in a scientific laboratory leading up to the destruction of all life on Earth. Another catch is that, if you represent your species and give your consent and it’s not pure consent and love for the aliens, you get crumbled to dust.

The Doctor warns against humanity giving consent, locates the problem and leaves Bill with the various high up representatives in the pyramid while he goes to sort out the problem. However, with all the representatives giving consent and dying one by one, it comes down to just Bill and the aliens while The Doctor fixes things but, he is about to die in the process because of his blindness in a certain situation. So Bill gives her consent, The Doctor’s eyesight is ‘magically restored’ and Earth is 'given' the aliens...

And it all just feels like Doctor Who procedural filler to leave us waiting for the next part of the story, next week. Whether it’s a three or four parter is anybody’s guess. The episode wasn’t terrible though and it had some nice scenes in it but, at the same time, it’s not what I’d want from a quality show like Doctor Who and, after the previous brilliant series and a good, strong, opening three episodes, these last four have really brought the quality of the brilliant Capaldi’s last season down.

A couple of observations... if you’ve got some kind of spaceship and it looks and scans like a gazillions of years old pyramid, is it not reasonable to assume that it might be another TARDIS? And who else has a TARDIS? Well, The Master is in the vault but, you know, there are other incarnations of her/him out there. Like the John Simm one who we know will be returning at some point. Is John Simm going to regenerate into somebody else before he becomes Missy? And get trapped in the vault with his other incarnation? And then maybe escape from the vault 'as Bill' back before the first episode of this series and then we have Bill regenerating into Missy and not into The Doctor’s grand-daughter as I first suspected.

I don’t know and I don’t really care anymore when the writing gets this mediocre, to be honest. It seems like The Doctor’s moment of self sacrifice which could only be reversed with the consent to conquer, was all a set up by the aliens anyway so... I don’t want to second guess anything at this stage. As usual for this series, the chemistry between The Doctor and Bill is good, even when they’re not on screen together... such as when they are talking by phone and Bill comes to realise that The Doctor’s sacrifice to save her a couple of episodes prior to this resulted in his permanent (ish) blindness. A moving moment and the spring board Bill needs to hand over the Earth to save The Doctor. Except... yeah... not sure she’s had that long of a relationship with our titular timelord yet to actually make that call but, there you have it. After all, it’s clear that The Doctor has already saved the Earth... he’s just ‘accidentally’ (maybe... we don’t know what his end game is yet) put himself in a place where he will die unless ‘pure consent’ is given. Perhaps he knows that the only way pure consent could be given is to put himself in that very situation... who knows? However, I suspect I’m over-thinking things here and overcompensating for the fact that the story seems fairly dull and simple for the series.

Well, like I said, a short review with nothing much to add. Hopefully I’ll be a little more appreciative of this week’s episode when I look back on it in context of next week’s, hopefully conclusive, installment. Or maybe not. Time, as people who believe in the concept of such a fragile construct might say... will tell.

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