Saturday, June 3, 2017

Doctor Who--"The Lie of the Land"

      Color me disappointed. With the strong start of The Monks Trilogy, I was expecting a big payoff. Last week, I made excuses for the bridging episode's uneventful pacing under he assumption all would make sense in the slam, bang finale. “The Lie of the Land” is the finale, but it ends, not with a bang, but a whimper. You know things are bad when the best episode of a multipart storyline was h simulation that never really happened.
      “The Lie of the Land” picks up six months after the end of the previous episode. The Monks have brainwashed the people of Earth to believe they have always benevolently ruled over them. Anyone who remembers the truth is hunted down by secret police. The Doctor is under house arrest on a ship at sea. Bill is laying in hopes the Doctor can defeat the Monks. She keeps her sanity by keeping her late mother in mind. Nardole locates hr, and the two sneak unto the ship where the doctor is being held.
      Those Whovians who were excited to catch a glimpse of the Doctor regenerating from the trailer, prepare to be disappointed. The regeneration does not happen. It instead part of a ruse carried out by the Doctor and Nardole as a test of Bill's loyalty. The Doctor pretends he is on the Monk's side. Bill is so distraught at the discovery, she shoots him. With blanks, of course. I did not expect the regeneration to occur before at least the series finale cliffhanger or Christmas special, so to take it that far was a cheap stunt. The fact Bill pulled the trigger is enough to prove she is not working with the Monks.
     Missy is finally tied into the story when our heroes sneak into the university to consult her in the vault. She has encountered the Monks before. She knows they broadcast the mind waves of the person who invited them—in this case, Bill—via statues all over the world. Kill Bill and save the world. Probably provoke a copyright infringement suit from Quentin Tarantino, to. The Doctor refuses to murder Bill or even allow her to sacrifice herself Instead, he plans to sneak into the pyramid o broadcast his own mind.
   Well, that does not work, so Bill broadcasts her own mind over the doctor's protests she will not survive. Bill goes for it, anyway. She projects pure love for her mother. That is enough to snap everyone out of their subservient trance. They rebel against the Monks. The Monks subsequently destroy all evidence of their existence on Earth and flee. No one has any memories of them now. What about all the people they killed? Plot hole, I guess. Anyway, the power of love saves the day.
     We never find out who the monks really are. It was established in the previous episode the robed corpses were not their true appearance. Hiding their true appearance implies we would recognize them in their true form. There is an expectation of a big reveal, but it never happens. There is still a chance the Monks may return later for a reveal, but I hope not at this point. Their potential as villains fizzled out when their only goal was to become bureaucrats. The only thing they received or ruling Earth was the brainwashed gratitude of humanity. I need more menace in my world conquering aliens.
    I am backing off my earlier prediction the monks are from Mondas. The Monasian Cybermen are in the series finale, but I hope they are part of a plot unrelated to the monks. Missy will revert to the Master in the series finale, so he probably has something to do with them. Since Missy says she has dealt with the Monks before, I hope that does not reinforce a connection between the Monks and the Mondasian Cybermen.
     After this episode, I now suspect something is special about Bill. Whatever it is might explain why she was drawn to the Doctor's advanced theoretical physics lectures.
    It must be obvious by now I did not like “The Lie of the Land” all that much. It felt like a letdown after all the build up. The Monks turned out to be duds as villains. Lord have mercy, they are defeated by the power of love like some Care bears villain! The one thing I enjoyed was Pearl Mackie as Bill. She is a fantastic companion, and I hope she sticks around for at least another series. But pretty much everything else fell flat.
     Rating: ** (out of 5)

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