Contains spoilers for Doctor Who S10E7 ‘The Pyramid at the End of the World’
YouTube: The Pyramid at the End of the World: Trailer – Doctor Who: Series 10 Episode 7 – BBC One
Carrying on from last week’s ‘Extremis’, the Doctor and Bill are alive and well and, fingers crossed, not in a simulation. But a pyramid (or as Bill quickly determines, some kind of spaceship in the shape of a pyramid) has appeared out of nowhere between enemy territories, and the Monks are inside. As a solution to the impending doom of humanity (playing out in a lab somewhere), the Monks offer their foresight and strangely omnipotent powers to save the world, but only with “pure” consent from a figure of power.
‘The Pyramid at the End of the World’ is a curious second part. While developing the plot of the sinister Monks, very little else was continued. The Veritas is hardly mentioned, nor is the Pope. They briefly mention the simulation in which they were all trapped last week, but the episode focuses purely on what the Monks had in mind next.
Twitter: RT @stuart_manning: My poster for The Pyramid at the End of the World, tonight’s #DoctorWho, starring @Pearlie_mack, @RealMattLucas, writte… (@stuart_manning)
It gives ‘Extremis’ a sort of prologue feel to it, and somewhat undermines it, in my mind. I was curious as to why the flashbacks to Missy were involved (based on the Next Time, she’ll feature more heavily next week), but now it seems like it was more to fill the 45 minutes than anything.
As well as damaging ‘Extremis’ slightly, the episode just wasn’t particularly engaging (until the last ten minutes, I’ll get to that). The scenes in the lab between Douglas (Tony Gardner) and Erica (Rachel Denning) weren’t even slightly interesting until Douglas literally melts, and the pacing of the episode was all wrong, for the first time this series. It felt like the writers (Steven Moffat sharing duties with Peter Harness this week) wanted an explosive, fast-paced episode, but ended up rushing through events that just weren’t that interesting. I was waiting for the episode’s climax, which is never a good sign.
Fortunately, the climax was a lot stronger than the episode itself. Finally admitting to Bill that he’s still blind, Bill decides to take up the Monks’ offer as long as they can restore the Doctor’s sight (omnipotence comes in handy, doesn’t it?). Despite the Doctor’s pleas, Bill consents, and the Monks take control.
From the Next Time, this is going to lead to a 1984-inspired storyline, somewhat Doctor-lite, in which Missy is required to help save the day. Hopefully, it’s slightly more successful than this week’s episode.
There were elements I liked. Matt Lucas continues to shine as Nardole, and Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie are as outstanding as they have been all series. I’m especially enjoying the series of ruined dates that Bill suffers; I imagine (hope) that next week’s episode will end with the date finally succeeding, which would be nice.
I am relatively glad that the Doctor has his sight back; while I enjoyed the vulnerability it gave him, suddenly reliant on Bill and Nardole, there was only so much they could do with that, and I felt it had run its course.
With the Doctor’s sight back now though, all theories that the teased mid-series regeneration was in order to restore the Doctor’s sight have been proved wrong, so that’s something to look forward to as well.
One of the more underwhelming episodes of the series then, but saved by the climax. Dystopian ‘The Lie of the Land’ next week, which will hopefully put the series back on track.
YouTube: The Lie of the Land: Trailer – Doctor Who: Series 10 Episode 8 – BBC One