Spoiler-Free Synopsis of Doctor Who, Season 10, Episode 8, “The Lie of the Land”:
The monks have gone all 1984 on planet Earth, and the Doctor is helping them. It’s up to Bill to save the world, with help from Nardole and, possibly, the mysterious vault’s occupant.
This episode was fun. It seemed like the sort of thing Moffat would end a season with, but there are a few more to go. Makes you wonder how big his real finale is going to be. The performances were excellent, too. Peter Capaldi is probably the best lead the show has ever had, and it’ll be sad to see him go. His Doctor continues to be brilliant; he had a great speech about the flaws of humanity.
On the other hand, parts of the plot didn’t make a ton of sense. The biggest thing is the monks themselves. They use Fake News to keep people from complaining, but the only thing they have to complain about is Fake News. We’re told the monks have removed free will, but we don’t see any examples of that. We don’t see the monks using the resources of this planet they went to so much trouble to conquer or doing anything “evil” except spreading propaganda.
The big solution in the end didn’t really make sense, either. Bill was capable of producing a memory strong enough to block out all of the monks’ false history, something the Doctor couldn’t even do. And the transmitter didn’t burn out her brain, even though it knocked the Doctor unconscious. Earlier she was willing to shoot the Doctor, proving she wasn’t in blind awe of him anymore, and now she was willing to sacrifice herself out of platonic love for him. That would have been a fitting end to her arc, but instead she survives without a scratch or any explanation.
The Doctor doesn’t seem concerned that Bill keeps doing such extreme things out of well-intentioned loyalty to him. Despite all the logical problems, I’m excited to see where this dynamic goes. I’m also excited to learn more about the vault’s occupant being in therapy to become a better person. I love that concept so much.
If there’s a moral here, it’s something about lies coming wrapped in pretty packages. A bit on the nose considering recent events in America, but oh well.
6/10 radio headphone thingies of Truth.
Twitter: @noahspud and @CorrelationBlog