Sunday 4 June 2017

Doctor Who - The Lie Of The Land

Monk Yard

Doctor Who - The Lie Of The Land
Airdate: 3rd June 2017

Warning: More spoilers, I suppose.

Well that was a bit rubbish.

Once again you have my apologies but this week’s review will quite possibly read more like a short rant than anything else. You have been warned.

So The Lie Of the Land is the final (and hopefully concluding) part of the trilogy of Monk episodes which, to quote somebody on Twitter last night, have wasted a quarter of this year’s series. Following on from the two previous episodes, this had neither the creepy atmosphere of Extremis (reviewed here) nor the slight mystery aspect of The Pyramid At The End Of The World (reviewed here).

Instead we have a hastily cobbled together conclusion vaguely reminiscent of the climax of the finale of David Tennant’s second series, The Last Of The Timelords. Except it’s nowhere near as cool as that and ends up with a very contradictory (to common sense) solution and which ultimately involves Bill sending out thoughts about her dead mother to combat the Monks quite safely, contrary to any previous pseudo-scientific sermonising that this will erase her brain and also ignores that, if she could do something like that then, probably, so could The Doctor.

As it happens, we are left with an unbelievably unsatisfying conclusion which is one of the least interesting in the last ten years of Doctor Who. And putting in little fan references to Magpie Electronics in the background isn’t going to disguise that drop in quality. And it’s a shame because the performances from all the actors are, as usual, sterling.

The Monks, themselves, seem to be set up as an enemy which might even rival The Silence except... they’re just useless. They don’t seem to be doing very much at all and just seem content to stand around and try to look vaguely menacing. And, of course, as soon as Martha starts transmitting her signals... they just run away and take their flying space pyramid with them. Um... so much for the mystery of the space pyramid. Has anyone who watched this show over the last few weeks got any idea why we were presented with an alien race who are using a starship in the shape of a gazillion year old Egyptian pyramid? Anyone at all? You know... usually when you set up a mystery element, it’s so that a solution to that mystery can be revealed. I understand that some people just like mystery for its own sake but in a show like Doctor Who where that is set down as a key riddle which brings everyone into the story... you really should remember to try and at least explain the purpose of it once.

Also... what the heck is going on with the continuity of this show? Was there a crucial scene cut out somewhere in the series (or has the order of the episodes been changed)? It’s stated quite categorically here that The Doctor gave Bill the photos of her dead mother (the ones with the mystery reflection of him taking one of the photos which no other episode has remembered to address so far). That’s not what happened though, right? They were found and given to her by someone who dug them out of storage. If they were somehow provided specifically by The Doctor then this is the first I remember hearing about it. There’s either something missing or... this is just not good writing folks.

And as for The Master... or Missy... or whatever you want to call him/her at the moment... well. All I can say is if you really believe that stuff about her/him learning to become a good person during her exile in The Vault and turning over a new leaf then you must be completely nuts. The BBC aren’t going to throw away the useful issue of a long standing, permanent nemesis for The Doctor. Frankly, for the writers to even attempt to convince us of this here insults The Doctor’s intelligence and, I might add, the intelligence of the audience watching this.

I am starting to go into mourning for this series again. The previous series was a really solid show and had only one dud episode in it. Admittedly, it was a spectacularly bad dud episode in that season but it was the only bad one. This series, we open with three pretty strong episodes before it all goes to hell. I am so worried this show is going to get cancelled in the wake of this series. I hope not but I really wouldn’t be surprised if these are the warnings that signal the end of an era.


Oh well, the new pseudo Ice Warriors are back next week. It looks kinda interesting but, well, we’ll see. Not particularly looking forward to it, to be honest.

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