The Lie of the Land.
What a clever title for the latest episode of Doctor Who, the third and final part in the meddling zombie monk trilogy of Series 10.
The title, by Toby Whithouse, has double meaning.
It speaks of the metaphorical lie of the land about how things are since the monk invasion just a few months ago.
It also refers to the propaganda the monks have pedalled, that they have helped humanity almost from the beginning, and managed to brainwash the population with.
What a clever way to conquer a world: take over them brainwash the population into thinking you’re benevolent and have always been there. The only problem with this idea, is the monks lack motive, other than the standard megalomaniac motive to rule the world. Then again, Nazism makes no sense to the sane. Yet it brought the world to its knees.
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), partaking in one of the monks’ propaganda videos, seems to have bought the lie. But his companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) hasn’t.
The monks’ giant statues, erected around the world, are reminiscent of the Weeping Angels of the 10th and 11th Doctors’ eras. They also, spookily, feel like the Silence, who plagued the 11th Doctor throughout Series Six.
Bill’s reunion with Nardole (Matt Lucas), who hasn’t quite seen eye to eye with her thus far this season, was a beautiful scene. A reminder of that old saying that a friend of my friend is a friend of mine.
The revelation that the Doctor is a prisoner on a prison barge in the North Sea is both sinister and funny. He’s so dangerous to the monks’ plans of world domination that he must be kept off shore, which raises as smile as this is how the anti-establishment pirate radio operated back in the day.
How devastating for Bill to discover, when she and Nardole arrive on the barge, that the Doctor has thrown his lot in with the monks thanks to her deal with them. She made a deal with the devil and the whole world lost.
How predictable that the Doctor is just playing along with them to lull them into a false sense of security.
Missyâ’s help, halfway through this story, was inspired and helped to reinforce just how close she and the Doctor once were, and perhaps still are. Her solution was, shall we say, also predictable. As was the conclusion to this story.
The Lie of the Land felt like a re-tread of some of the best bits from Matt Smith’s era, with a twist of Peter Capaldi in his final season. I’m already beginning to miss him. I do hope we don’t learn who the new Doctor is before he appears on screen. I know the chances of that are virtually nil.
The Ice Warriors are returning to Mars next week, in Victorian times, in a script that feels it might have been written by Mark Gatiss. Time will tell.