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< 10.7 - The Pyramid at the End of the World
10.9 - Empress of Mars >

10.8 - The Lie of the Land

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10
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Average Rating
6.4
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59
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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 12/14/17 6:13 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Lie of the Land is a flawed episode, but it's even more flawed because it comes at the end of a trilogy. After two parts of mysteries and questions, this is the episode where we should get answers...but we don't. From why the Monks ventured out to the Stars, where they come from, why they spent thousands of years studying Earth history and setting up simulations...why they required consent powered by love to take over...all these are among the questions that won't be satisfactorily answered in this episode. It's tough to think of an alien whose motives were so vague. Even if the monster's motives were just to be evil, that's more than we get from this episode.

In addition, you see one of the biggest emotional betrayals by a Doctor of a companion that the series has shown. Unlike with the Seventh Doctor and Ace, the explanation for the Doctor pushing Bill this far is weak. And unlike in Kill the Moon, there are no consequences for the Doctor as a result of this. The ending is a cop out and been done before in the Moffat era about a dozen times.

What does work about the episode? Missy returns and has the best moments in the show. Bill has a few good moments in the midst of the carnage.

Otherwise, this episode's a shallow a disappointing end to what began as an interesting trilogy.
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Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 7/2/17 6:23 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Find it hard to believe this receives the accolade for worst of series 10. Is it trite and cliche? Yes. Does it work? Yes, in my opinion.

The third part of this 'monk' trilogy is essentially a paint by numbers dystopia done on the cheap. A really effective pre-titles sequence sets the scene, for what is a laughably middle class and quite lovely, functional and fun take on an alien occupied globe. Naturally, it doesn't hold a candle to History of Fear - unfortunately it doesn't even hold a candle to the series three finale.

Broadly, criticism holds. With such a short run time, there's very little opportunity to actually get a strong feel for the society in question, furthermore it severely limits the mechanics of the plot. Spoilers ahead: Nardole provides the Doctor's whereabouts, Bill and Nardole find the Doctor before all three break into the Monks' pyramid (set repetition again!) and blow up their 'fake news' (on the nose 'commentary' again!) with the power of love (again!). The simplicity of the plot however isn't necessarily a massive detraction. It does allow for some (admittedly) done-to-death emotional blubbering, but it's immeasurably beyond the characterisation vacuum of Coleman's Clara.

Most of my gripes similarly can be twisted into reasons as to why I found Lie of the Land to be reasonably good Doctor Who. The ADR is patronising - but without it the piece wouldn't clip along at such a furious pace. Comic sequences occur far too early on - but again, it would slow the episode down if they weren't present. The Monks are laughably inept, letting Bill potter about freely and keeping no tabs on the Doctor - again, to resolve these areas of scrutiny would leave the thing far longer than 45 minutes.

Despite wishing to evade the quagmire of Steven Moffat - his presence again looms large. In the components of the story that are clearly the remit of the script editor, namely the arc, creative exhaustion is again the topic of the day. The Monks are reminiscent of the Silence; Missy in the cell is reminiscent of recent Sherlock work and so on. Some basic canon bodge ups confuse - in particular 'the other last of the timelords' now almost FOUR YEARS after establishing in gratuitous detail that the timelords and gallifrey is back. We spent a whole episode knocking about with them not ONE WHOLE SEASON earlier back with Hell Bent. Dialogue again in some respects is extremely dated already and quite skin crawling...

"awk-ward" "Celebrity Love Island" "Just went viral"...

Of course, it just wouldn't be right if we didn't recycle Murray Gold music at obscene volumes often rammed into inappropriate junctures. Same old, same old.

Far from great: it's cheap, rushed and has some hokey dialogue and score choices - but it's a clippy romp in a genre that's rarely done on Who, and it mostly succeeds in telling a clear story with rational justification for the actions of protagonists and antagonists. In Season 10 of New Who, that, unfortunately, is praiseworthy.
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 6/26/17 8:19 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The Monks have won. They are now in full control of the Earth with all of humanity believing they have been here forever when in reality it's only been 6 months. Anyone who tries to tell the truth or resist is quelled and completely crushed. They've even somehow managed to get the Doctor on their side, broadcasting his voice and message across the world telling humanity not to resist and their benevolent rulers will take care of them. The only one seemingly fighting back and resisting is Bill and it's up to her to try and save the world while in the process trying to convince and save the Doctor from his misguided views and allegiances. Part of me is honestly not 100% sure what to make of this story as it gets me both excited and infuriated all at the same time. Everything from the setting down to the story and plot is pure 1984 dystopian horror and it really brings the trilogy to its darkest and most interesting. This is reflected in everything from character to tone with the Doctor in darker and shabbier clothes and even Lucas as Nardole playing it a bit darker than normal. This is also the most relevant the show has been in a while with 'fake news' being the key to not only the Monks' power but also the lynchpin to their destruction and it really hits home at just how dark our modern world has become but yet what hope we can find in the power of the individual. There are also some major surprises too that I didn't see coming with one in particular we need to make note of. You'll know which one I'm talking about if you've seen the episode as it includes a tantalizing clip that all Whovians have been trying to analyze for months on the end as it was in the trailers. In the end however, this particular moment served just as a useful but ultimately cheap ruse. Granted it was rather clever but I can't help but feel a little bit peeved by it especially watching it all play out with no real purpose other than as a test with no real consequence. There were a lot of moments like that throughout this story where I was hoping and excited to see it go one way but then it turned around and went another. I can definitely see why as we only have 45 minutes to resolve and get everything together in a conclusion to a three part story but I can't help but wonder and be a little miffed that it didn't go all the way with some of its concepts. Luckily, there is a lot that I do love in this story that almost makes up for it. The performances are still great with Capaldi especially playing the dark card all the way at first and actually making us believe what he says before naturally pulling the rug out from under us. It really shows how great an actor Capaldi is and how great the Twelfth Doctor is that he can pull a stunt like this and make us actually almost believe it. Missy is of course back and while we didn't get quite as much of her as I was hoping, Michelle Gomez of course still nails the performance as always and seems to be going in an intriguing direction with her character by the end of the story that I'm desperately hoping we get to see play out. But the real star here has to be Pearl Mackie as Bill. She NAILS every moment of this episode that she is in, reveling in the difficult questions and moments like a pro while still giving the lighter moments such brilliance and depth. She is very quickly becoming a favorite companion of mine and her struggle is powerfully handled here. Honestly I think the main problems I have with this story are thus fold: I think the episode needed to have been longer to accommodate all that happened, the fakeouts really irritated the hell out of me especially the big one given how much it was hyped, and the finale seems a little bit too rushed and too easy. I also ultimately love the idea of the Monks but I never really got to feel them and their power mainly because we never really got to see a motive or a backstory to them like we did with the Cybermen or the Silence. So while they are cool, they never really grabbed me as much as I wanted them to in that respect. All in all, it's a fine episode with a lot of promise going forward into the final third of the season and I'm glad that we got a pretty good trilogy out of this arc with the first third being a lot better than the others. I just wish that some of the little touches that infuriated me weren't there and that we had a bit longer to really flesh and deal with the menace a bit better. On to the Ice Warriors!
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 6/10/17 8:23 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Three parters are a strange beast for the new series of Doctor Who. The first parts either act as prequels to the second and third episode or a totally unconnected story, and whether they even count as 'three parters' is always a hot topic for discussion in the Whovian fandom. Personally I tend to count the prequel-part two-part three structure as a three part and the 'unconnected story' structure as something separate. That means Turn Left/The Stolen Earth/Journey's End and Name/Day/Time Of The Doctor are not three parters in my book, but Utopia/The Sound Of Drums/Last Of The Time Lords on the other hand certainly is.

Extremis/The Pyramid At The End Of The World/The Lie Of The Land counts too.



The strange thing is that whilst all three are a part of the same story, at the same time they explore three completely different areas of science fiction. The first part, Extremis, is set inside a Matrix-style computer simulation run by the Monks as a way to plan a successful invasion of Earth. Pyramid At The End of The World, meanwhile, is an apocalyptic episode where the Monks are using the approaching doomsday as leverage to persuade the United Nations and leaders of the three most powerful armies in the world - America, Russia and China - to give consent for the Monks to invade. The Lie of The Land, meanwhile, is set in an alternate dystopian world where the Monks have been given consent and Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) are the only ones who know the truth.




It's a clever format for the three parter, and a great way to keep things fresh.

The Lie Of The Land by Toby Whithouse sees a dystopian world where the Monks have taken over. The population of Earth believe that the Monks have always been a part of Earth's history, and Memory Police take away anybody who remembers that in reality they have only been here six months. Bill and Nardole both remember the truth, whilst the Doctor appears to be making propaganda broadcasts for the Monks. If that synopsis reminds anybody of George Orwell's 1984, where the UK population are working in a dystopian society where the government are purposefully rewriting historical documents and creating a new version of history, that's because the plot is very similar. The Monks have rewritten human history so that they were present in historical events, and the Doctor's past victories against The Daleks and Weeping Angels are now Monk victories. That doesn't mean the episode is unoriginal; instead, it very much does its own thing.



The episode suggests the very intelligent notion that if we as humanity believed something was always there, we would ignore it as it would have always been the case. This is a great twist on the usual alien invasion story, and gives the Monks an implied power that means they don't need to offer much resistance as the people of this dystopia have no reason to fear them. Some have complained that this episode rarely depicts any conflict from the Monks towards the Doctor, Bill and Nardole but to me it makes sense as they assume the Doctor's plan to rewrite what the Monks have done won't work. We are told that if either the Doctor, Bill or Nardole attempt to change things back the mind technology that the Monks use will fry their brains - why would they bother fighting them when the Doctor or his companions will be dead if they attempt to rewrite everything back to normal anyway?




In this final part of the three parter in particular, the current TARDIS crew of The Doctor, Bill and Nardole function impressively well together. They feel like a unit, more so than the Ninth Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack or the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory. When The Doctor says 'I've got the gang back together', he hits it totally on the ball - this current crew really feels like a gang. Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas have so much chemistry that you can't imagine one without the other. It's hard to believe now that the early episodes featured Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie with Matt Lucas merely making cameo appearances; The Doctor, Bill and Nardole are a package much like Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May were to Top Gear. Pearl Mackie in particular gives a very emotional promise, and you feel sorry for The Doctor and Nardole's cruel manipulation of her. The manipulation was justified, and Bill does forgive the pair and move on so it doesn't ruin the core unit feel but the lead up to the manipulation reveal plays to Pearl Mackie's acting strengths.




My only criticism of The Lie Of The Land is the fake regeneration. Somehow the Doctor manages to trigger a full regeneration without changing his face, and it's never explained how he manages to avoid becoming thirteen. It's not even like the regeneration had only just started, been siphoned off or only focused on one part of the Doctor's body; the golden glow covers everything and disappears without 12 showing a different face. An explanation would have been nice - was it a projection, for instance? Also: why does he ask if the regeneration was 'too much'? Bill doesn't know anything about regeneration, so why would he even need to fake it when he shoots her? He could have simply pretended to die.



Overall, the Monks trilogy starts off poor with Extremis but by the second and third parts it soon improves. Extremis is too confusing; basically Steven Moffat trying to be too clever. Pyramid At The End Of The World on the other hand is a classic and shows off The Monks at their very best, whilst Lie Of The Land portrays an interesting dystopian world. The Monks trilogy isn't the show's finest three parter - that honour still lies with Utopia/The Sound Of Drums/Last Of The Time Lords - but it does provide some nice variety, with all three parts exploring three distinctively different forms of science-fiction. Some may argue it's not a three parter, but to me it most certainly is.