Saturday, May 27, 2017

Doctor Who--"The Pyramid at the End of the World"

    “The Pyramid at the End of the World” is the second part of what has been unofficially dubbed The Monk Trilogy. Normally, it would mean the episode is a bridge from the first to final part with a lot of set up. But considering the unique aspect of part one "Extremis" as a simulation introducing the villains, the really is not the case. At this point, I wonder if The Monk Trilogy is material for a two part episode stretched into three. More along that line of thought in a moment.
    The pyramid in question appears overnight in the middle of a stand off between the American, Russian, and Chinese military. The UN Secretary General Brings the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole to the site. Because of the presumably alien threat, the doctor is placed in charge of Earth's defense. He believes whoever is in the pyramid is daring the three major powers to attack it. The Doctor uncharacteristically suggests they do just that. The attack fails before it can even begin.
    The occupants are the Monks, of course. Something terrible is about to happen to Earth in a symbolic three minutes to midnight. The monks can stop it by taking over the planet, but they must be sincerely invited. The doctor does not support the idea. The Secretary General surrenders anyway, but dies because he is no sincere. The military commanders on the ground from the United State, Russia, and China call a truce and surrender with the same results. .
     Intersecting with this part of the story is what appears to be a b-plot about two scientists in England. One is brilliant, but can barely see because hr glasses were accidentally broken by her hangover suffering colleague. It is not the only error he makes. Placing a decimal in the wrong place creates a bacteria which has the power to wipe out humanity. So the pyramid is actually a red herring. The deadly bacteria is the real problem.
      You will forgive me if I find it a little too convenient the doctor not only figures out the pyramid is a red herring, but surmises the bacteria angle, and tricks the Monks into revealing which lab's CCTV feed the monks are tapping into in a matter f minutes and is there to stop the bacteria from getting out. Everything had to be guessed perfectly in order to that to happen.
   The Doctor plans to blow up the lab to sterilize the bacteria. He becomes stuck behind a locked door with a combination lock The scientist, who is safely on the other side, reveals the combination, but the doctor's blindness finally causes an insurmountable problem. Nardole has been knocked out of commission as well, so h cannot help. Over the phone, the Doctor reveals to bill he is blind and cannot free himself because he cannot see the lock. Bill decides to make a deal with the Monks to surrender if they give the doctor hi sight back. The Monks sense she is sincere, so the deal is done. But at what price?
   The Monks reveal they choose to appear as corpse, so we still do not know what they look like. The word “silence” is dropped in several time, but eventually revealing them as the Silence would be a bit too obvious. Those speculating on Sutehk the Destroyer returning have even less to hang their hats on. The pyramid was a distraction meant to symbolize mystery or fear. I still think the Monks are the inhabitants of Mondasian Cybermen. It makes sense they would hide their true form and it is doubtful a bacteria that wipes out all humanity would affect Cybermen. They were featured in the series trailer, too.
    There is a Donald Trump joke dropped in. The Secretary General, referring to the Doctor's emergency room as President of Earth, asks Bill where the president is. She is unaware such an arrangement is made under dire circumstances, so she assume he means Trump. She replies she does not know the president. She would not even vote for him. He is...orange. I have been following Pearl Mackie on Twitter for a few weeks now. She is a strong supporter of the labor party in the June 7th election and frequently lambasts the Tories. She will also mock trump from time to time. I assume she enjoyed the line of dialogue.
    After all the time spent on Missy and the Doctor asking her for help in the previews episode, it was disappointing not to see her in “The Pyramid at the End of the World.” Judging by the trailer, she features prominently in the finale, so perhaps it will all make sense. It appears right now this could have been a two part episode considering the amount of material presented and the slow pacing. We shall see.
    I obviously have nitpicks about “The Pyramid at the End of the World.” I already mentioned the truth about the bacteria threat was uncovered way too easily. Its reckless for bill to make a deal with the Monks to surrender earth in exchange for returning the doctor's sight. She is banking on the restored doctor defeating the monks. The monks probably would have eventually found someone who would sincerely surrender, so at least this way the Doctor survives. I am hoping for a big payoff in the finale of The Monk Trilogy.
     Rating: *** (out of 5)

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