Stephen Moffatt has done it again.
The audience of Peter Capaldi’s last series of Doctor Who were on the edge of their seats, as the whys and wherefores of this unusual story unfolded.
The meddling monks from last week’s episode, who were running a simulation to discover Earth’s weaknesses, have settled on the here and now as the weakest point on human history. Landing a starship disguised as a pyramid at a border where American, Chineses and Russian armies are in each other’s sights, the monks hope humanity will sign itself into bondage to avoid World War III.
Comparisons with Stargate, which opined that the pyramids were starships piloted by ancient aliens who ruled Earth as gods, are inevitable. But Moffatt and fellow writer Peter Harness do not do the obvious with these plot points.
If ever an episode of Doctor Who was pregnant with social commentary, it is tonight’s, followed closely by last series’ Zygon two-parter which ended with that wonderful speech from the Doctor.
Tonight’s script is a strong statement against the folly of war.
The combined armies of Earth quickly learn that their combined force is not the answer, when the Doctor, aided by Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas), discover what’s really going on.
Nice touches included the Doctor “meditating” about the end of his 12th self with a guitar, and a scene that had you wondering if his time had, indeed come, mid series.
With the story yet to be concluded, it will guarantee a big audience for next week’s episode in which Missy (Michelle Gomez) is promised to return (again).