Contains spoilers for Doctor Who S10E8 ‘The Lie of the Land’

YouTube: The Lie of the Land: Trailer – Doctor Who: Series 10 Episode 8 – BBC One

Continuing on from the last two episodes, ‘Extremis’ and ‘The Pyramid at the End of the World’, this week’s Doctor Who saw the Monks demonstrating the full extent of their power (finally). In a 1984-esque dystopia, the Monks are in charge. Six months have passed since Bill consented for the Monks to take over in return for the Doctor’s sight, and Bill is the only person who remembers the Monks arriving. Everyone else has been brainwashed into thinking that the Monks have been on Earth far longer term, even taking credit for the heroic actions of the Doctor. With the Doctor seemingly siding with the Monks in a retaliation to Bill’s naïve act last week, it’s up to Bill (and Nardole, who quickly shows up) to save the day.

The problem with this episode is simply that it tries to fit too much into one episode. It’s not an issue with pacing, as was the problem for the first few episodes of this series, as the whole episode races through its plot, but scenes that should be dwelled on for far longer take up very little time at all. Funny then, that last week’s episode felt so slow and, well, mostly boring. Perhaps Moffat and co. would have been better off introducing this week’s dystopia in the second half of last week.

There were two main strong points to ‘The Lie of the Land’ though, both of them revolving around Pearl Mackie. Firstly: Mackie herself excels, as she has done all series. The scene in which she shoots the Doctor, believing (incorrectly) him to be immovable in his choice to serve the Monks, is acting as fine as we’ve seen all series, from any cast member.

Secondly, the resolution to the episode, while underdone, was sweet and moving. Bill uses the memory of her mother to replace the Monk’s signals of fear and control with one of love. It sounds soppy and it was, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s unfortunate that, with a series that started so well, and a three-parter that was so promising back in part one, has begun to feel quite mediocre. I’m not convinced by next week either, so fingers crossed the final few episodes bring the standard back up. It would be a shame for Capaldi’s last series to end on a tepid note.

YouTube: The Martian menace – Empress of Mars: Preview – Doctor Who: Series 10 Episode 9 – BBC One

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