Doctor Who Review: “The Lie of the Land”

“The plot this week feels like they were making it up as they were going along.”

“If they did, they were browsing TV tropes at the time.”

–conversation, my house, last night

Title: “The Lie of the Land”

Cast and Crew

Director: Wayne Yip
Writer: Toby Whitehouse

Peter Capaldi as The Doctor
Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts
Matt Lucas as Nardole
Michelle Gomez as Missy
Emma Handy Hastings as Mother
Beatrice Curnew as Group Commander
Stewart Wright as Alan
Solomon Israel as The Commander
James Hill as Giant Monk
Rosie Jane as Bill’s Mum

Premise

The world believes the monks have been running it since humanity’s beginning. People who know or suspect the truth are found guilty of memory-crime.

And the Doctor appears to have joined the Monks….

High Points

While not entirely original, the episode’s mind-control reflects in obvious ways on propaganda, fake news (real fake news, not any report, however legitimate, that reflects poorly on an overly-sensitive government), and the truth by repeated assertion that enables so many powerful people of dubious character.

The cheesy solution carries a little more weight than the previous times it was used, because they built gradually to it in past episodes.

Low Points

The fact that one person could make the decision on behalf of humanity?
The fact that Bill assumes it must be the actual Doctor broadcasting from that ship, and never raises the possibility that it could be the sort of VR creation which she knows the Monks can create?
The limited resources, beyond super-brainwashing, of a species able to travel across the vast distances of space and conquer worlds (and make a VR duplicate of human history)?
The pointlessness of their conquest?

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The mind-warping, teaser-friendly sequence turns out to be an elaborate ruse. The hero must turn to his arch-enemy for help. The hero has to decide between saving the world or an innocent he loves(ish?). The all-powerful enemies of humankind, fortunately, have an exploitable weakness. Pure love conquers all.

Story: 3/6

Effects: 5/6

Acting: 5/6 The acting remains strong, and we see more of Michelle Gomez’s Missy in this episode.

Emotional Response: 3/6

Production: 5/6

Overall: 3/6 The Monks arc has been the weakest point of an otherwise strong season. “The Lie of the Land” is the weakest episode of the Monks arc.

In total, “The Lie of the Land” receives 26/42

4 replies on “Doctor Who Review: “The Lie of the Land””

  1. zocalo says:

    I actually thought it was (just) slightly stronger than last week’s episode, albeit mostly down to having fewer contrivances for the sake of the plot and less utter stupidity on behalf of some of the characters; mostly it was just the lack of originality and the manner of the resolution. As with last week, more interaction between the writers and a more critical review of the scripts might have improved things immensely – the ideas were good, the execution was not.

    The low points are dead-on though, except maybe the one about Bill not thinking about the VR suite – I think it’s pretty clear by now that she has almost no imagination at all and it would actually have been out of character for that to occur – she’d just trust Nardole and his device. I’m assuming that’s deliberate and is going to have a pay off at some point – probably with the rather large price tag of “regeneration” attached.

  2. Kiersten says:

    There were so many plotholes.
    I was sorely disappointed.

    High points for me were Missy (especially on the Piano)

    And seriously, WHY were they invading earth?!?!??

    • JD DeLuzio says:

      It’s especially disappointing given how strong the season has been until now.

      • Kiersten says:

        OMG! Yes!
        Exactly!

        There really was no point to it, that I could see..
        except to give the Doctor his eyesight back
        (see what I did there?? LOL)
        And for that matter, they could have left that out completely too.

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