“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