Doctor Who: Lie of the Land
June 3, 2017 8:57 PM - Season 10, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Bill must convince the Doctor that humanity is in danger, when the world is gripped by an Orwellian mass delusion.

* Third and final episode of a three-part arc that began with Extremis and continued with The Pyramid at the End of the World.
* Script for this episode was written by Toby Whithouse (whose previous episodes include Before the Flood, Under the Lake, School Reunion, The Vampires Of Venice and The God Complex.)
* Six months have passed since the events of The Pyramid at the End of the World. The mind-controlled population of Earth is living an alternate history in which the Monks are humanity's benign caretakers, who have been with us throughout our evolution.
* The Doctor has been making Monk propaganda. There are also Monk statues everywhere.
* Missy plays the "Gnossienne No. 1" by Erik Satie and "The Entertainer" by Scott Joplin.
* Nardole mentions being contaminated by Raoultella planticola (This happened in The Pyramid at the End of the World) and says it laid him up for six weeks, but that he would have died if he'd been human.
* We finally get a payoff for the references to Bill's mom in previous episodes.
* Doctor Who inside joke Magpie Electricals makes an appearance, as a shop where citizens watch the Doctor's broadcasts.
* The Vault is "dimensionally transcendental" (bigger on the inside than the outside,) just like the TARDIS.
* Nardole performs a Terrovian neckpinch in this episode. He's apparently reached the level of brown tabbard in Terrovian martial arts.

Bill: "Why have you got a woman in a vault? Even I think that’s weird and I’ve been attacked by a puddle."
In return for her help defeating the Monks, Missy has some demands: "New boots, some toys like a particle accelerator, a 3D printer and a pony."
The Doctor, to Bill: "You clever, brilliant, ridiculous girl!"
Bill: "Every day, it's harder to remember what's real any more."
Missy, to The Doctor: "I'm sorry your plus-one doesn't get a happy ending."
The Doctor, to Bill: "Amongst 7 billion people on this planet, there’s one like you. That’s why I put up with the rest of them."
Missy: "I once built a gun out of leaves."
posted by zarq (24 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I for one will not miss our monk overlords. Incidentally what EXACTLY was their world domination plan? I admit I was intensely underwhelmed by them as the big bad I may have missed it. And give Missy a pony. I would honestly have preferred an entire episode of Missy and a pony.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:18 PM on June 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

If Missy once built a gun out of leaves, she could do as much mischief with a pony as with a particle accelerator or 3d printer.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:21 PM on June 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

After the lame fake out it was disappointing that it managed to go nowhere and downhill at the same time.
posted by hawthorne at 3:48 AM on June 4, 2017 [4 favorites]

Aside from anything else - and everything else was awful - why was the Doctor suddenly such a hateful wanker? I was thinking they'd done such a good job this series in (finally!) getting to grips with his character, but now he's yelling abuse at random passers-by and treating traumatising Bill to the point she tries to kill him as a bit of a jape?

A dreadful, lazy and mean-spirited episode in an otherwise really enjoyable series.
posted by sobarel at 4:21 AM on June 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am utterly sick nigh unto death of Mofatt-style "love conquers all, even if the person in question is dead and/or imaginary" wish-the-big-bad-away lazy storytelling. I can't wait for his successor to take over.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:22 AM on June 4, 2017 [8 favorites]

This was just the worst. I hold Doctor Who to a very low standard, as long as it is fun. I quite liked the first episode of this trilogy. The second one was kind of dumb. This was outright bad on just about every level.

Good on Bill for taking the shot, though. Not every companion would, and he deserved it.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:22 AM on June 4, 2017 [5 favorites]

I have to say, after a couple of fairly good, hopeful, early episodes, the show has settled-down into the same level of mediocrity we've come to expect from the (thankfully) departing showrunner. This one was horrible.

Why the hell would the Doctor allow himself to be held captive on a ship, broadcasting homilies for the monks? It served no purpose to the story. He could have just as easily retreated to the TARDIS and (probably) more effectively sussed the monks' broadcasting operation. It almost seemed the whole ship thing was an excuse for the Doctor to 1) Be a real wanker to Bill, and 2) Drive a ship into the docks.

And, yeah, what did the monks get from having all of mankind believe in their beneficence and having always been on Earth? Warm fuzzies?

Missy was, as always, wonderful, if more of a sideshow attraction and partner in the Doctor's now-required scene where he susses-out the evil-doers' plans/methods by talking fast and out-loud a lot while whipping-around the scenery like an amphetamine-soaked squirrel.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:31 AM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is this show improvised? Every scene seems like it was choreographed without a script then when they filmed they made up their lines on the spot... That would actually explain quite a few episodes.

The scene in the ship was cool, but it didn't make any sense. Same with the "Bill's brain is magic" scene.
posted by FallowKing at 7:00 AM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

But Moffat's love conquers all is very conflicted. It seems he wants us to believe that love is what threatens us (It's Bill's love of the Doctor that gives the Monks power), but love that also saves us (Bill's imaginary construction of her mother). The unfortunate message seems to be that imaginary love has the power to save while real love is extremely dangerous and blinding.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:22 AM on June 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

This episode was a disappointing conclusion and made little sense. Best to ignore it and move on to the next episode.
posted by wittgenstein at 11:16 AM on June 4, 2017 [5 favorites]

Best to ignore it and move on to the next episode

I do hope it lives up to the promise of the trailer, which gives every impression that someone's taken the Victorians-in-Space RPG Space: 1889 and added Ice Warriors. (To which my response can be summed up thus.)
posted by Major Clanger at 12:31 PM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nothing much to add, as I agree with the above points, except to say that I *did* enjoy the oblique swipes at Trump.
posted by Mogur at 3:33 PM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well, wasn't that just a series of disappointments? The first five or so minutes made for a tense and atmospheric dystopia - reminiscent of "Turn Left" though with less overt recycling than the previous two episodes - but this was immediately undercut once Nardole showed up. Then the Doctor's great speech about joining the Monks and giving up on humanity for never learning from history, capped by Bill's popping a cap in him, was just another rug-pull from Moffat. The episode's running on fumes by the time it gets to the long-awaited vault scene in which the Doctor and Missy do their best Hannibal conversation. It's a shame to have let this episode's timely political theme be washed away by a sentimental deus-ex-machina ending.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:27 PM on June 4, 2017 [3 favorites]

Nothing much to add, as I agree with the above points, except to say that I *did* enjoy the oblique swipes at Trump.

Halfway through, the Mister said, "This better not be a Tinkerbell Jesus ending." And it was, which was really disappointing, for many reasons, not the least of which being that that could have been a good ending for Bill (who I really do enjoy). OTOH, that would have shades of Clara, so I guess not, although it would be terribly interesting for Missy to save the day.

HOWEVER! The arc was redeemed for me solely for the blatant anti-Trump aspects. Right now, I'll applaud a bad story JUST for those digs, because those digs feel SO good.
posted by Ruki at 5:57 PM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think Missy's comments about how the Doctor doesn't have a monopoly on goodness is a valid point and it would be interesting to see the Doctor deal with an equal who comes up with a different solution that is also good. But yeah, this episode I could pretty much entirely do without.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:53 PM on June 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Any episode with Missy is a good episode for me.
They could have saved the universe and brought back every companion and time lord through the power of smiles if it means a few minutes of Leaf Guns.
posted by fullerine at 12:24 AM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've enjoyed this season for the most part (contrary to most people here it seems) but even I thought this episode was a real let-down.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:10 AM on June 5, 2017

Another preview clip for next week.

About five seconds in - Peter Capaldi is definitely doing his Tom Baker impression, isn't he?

He did something very similar in 'Mummy on the Orient Express' - I'm not sure if this is an in-joke, or if the implication is that Twelve sometimes expresses aspects of Four's personality.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:11 AM on June 5, 2017

Worth it for Missy playing Satie! I wish they'd been able to keep the goddamn piano in tune though, if she can build a gun out of leaves I bet she can tune a piano. *In of the extras Peter Capaldi describes his surprise at seeing the gas heaters the actors had begged for being left in shot and incorporated into the scene- as the space was so very cold. That would have de-tuned the instrument nicely, I guess.
posted by Coaticass at 1:28 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

On the other hand perhaps that adds verisimilitude. WHATEVER THAT IS.

Still wonder if they are doing the Doctor as Lear. But maybe I'm just dazzled by Capaldi's flowing silver locks (no offence to the actor, I'm sure Lear has never had such great hair!)
posted by Coaticass at 1:32 PM on June 5, 2017

I am terribly cynical about everything in the world except Doctor Who so I will say merely that I could watch Capaldi and Gomez act together for ever.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:25 PM on June 5, 2017

So glad to see I was not alone in my "but that was dumb" reaction to the episode. So very, very .. letdowny. Go away, Moffat, your stories make no sense anymore, regardless of which actual show we're watching.
posted by sldownard at 12:02 AM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, me, too. I hated hated this episode. And then I wondered if I was just in a bad mood.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:02 PM on June 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

the Monks one episode ago: We will be invited.... Power must consent. Those who hold power in this world must consent to our dominion.... We must be wanted. We must be loved. To rule through fear is inefficient.”

The Monks this episode: *institute a dystopian police state*

everything about this arc was bad
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:51 AM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

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