Doctor Who - Episode 10.08 - The Lie of the Land - Review
This week's episode of Doctor Who was the conclusion of the Monk trilogy and marked the beginning of the tail end of the season. Toby Whithouse got the honor of finishing it. The episode was a very topical, poignant sweet and wonderful episode and most definitely on par with the rest of the stellar season. (Spoilers ahead).
The world is a very strange place right now. It is only natural that art reflects that. Science fiction has always done that. From Star Trek to The Twilight Zone, stories always have reflected what is going on in the world at the time.
Doctor Who has done this a lot as well. This week, they dealt with fake news and the fear of real information. It was done very well. I usually watch television shows and movies to escape from the real world, so I didn't know how I would react to this episode. My reaction was exactly what I wanted though. It brought hope to a dire situation, one that I don't feel in real life. So the episode endeared itself to me in that regard.
Pearl Mackie did some of her best acting this season, and Matt Lucas continued to be add some depth to Nardole. Peter Capaldi was great as always and he did a fake regeneration that scared me because he is going to do it for real in five episodes and I am not ready!
Another Doctor Who companion once said "Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love, whether its a world or a relationship, everything has it's time and everything ends." That companion was Sarah Jane Smith and the episode she said it in was in season 2, written by the same person who wrote this episode. That line always resonates with me, but it seemed very appropriate for this episode. Bill misses her mother. She even pretends to talk with her throughout the episode, so the payoff felt deserved when the memory of her mother amidst all of the fake news was the thing that forced the monks to leave. That was poignant and sweet, and a very good high for Bill who had several lows during the episode like thinking she was abandoned and having to shoot the Doctor.
We found out that Nardole (who refers to himself as "Nardy") won his hand somewhere. I like that there is a story about nearly every body part. We probably won't get anything more substantial but they are fun little anecdotes spread throughout the episodes.
Missy returns in this episode, it is telling that Moffat trusts Whithouse with the character (as Russell T. Davies trusted him Sarah Jane Smith) because its usually always Moffat who writes for Missy. I am not sure I believe her whole "trying to be good" thing but it is certainly intriguing. That will come to a head in the finale one way or another I am guessing. I like her interaction with Bill and can't wait to see her interact with Nardole. This new Missy arc is a fun seed to be planted now that we know who is in the vault and why. This should bring us to the climax of the season.
This was a strong, well crafted episode. Everyone is bringing their A-game for Moffat's swan song and it is probably the strongest season to date. Next week brings the Ice Warriors back, along with Mark Gatiss, whose episodes I am usually not a fan of. There have been a few I've liked, but for the most part, his episodes are miss for me, like last seasons abysmal "Sleep No More". Regardless, I'll be there to watch "Empress of Mars", hoping it is one of the ones I do like, this season deserves it.
Doctor Who airs at 9/8c on BBC America.