“Your world is ending, you can do nothing, but we can save you.”
This week on Doctor Who, the Doctor and Bill try to pick up the scattered pieces in the aftermath of last weeks episode. That episode featured a completely simulated version of earth so that the aliens, referred to as the Monks, could study earth. One very strange piece of this ongoing puzzle seems to be a large stone pyramid which appeared overnight at an army base. The Doctor is called in by the UN to investigate. It doesn’t take him long to work out that it is the group of Monks from the fabricated earth who put it there, but the question of why they were monitoring earth and what their plan is was something much more pressing. It is obvious to see that the Doctor still hasn’t told Bill about the condition of his eyesight, something which he isn’t letting on to be visibly frustrating. This is challenged though later in the episode.
It turns out that the Monks have ‘seen’ that the earths destruction will happen within the next year. Thus the reason they were monitoring earth was to work out a best way to help earth survive the terrible things that were going to happen sometime in the future. This is all well and good until you think about the reason why these Monks are trying to help earth, as they would probably be the first aliens (other than the Doctor) to do so. Here we come to the question of the Monks wanting ‘consent’ from the highest figure of authority for them to save earth, what is in it for them though we still don’t know. If past dealings with aliens are anything to go by though, to go through with it wouldn’t be good. The Monks show a group of UN officials a vision of the destruction of earth at humanities own hand, which prompts the small group to want to act. So, against the advice of the Doctor of course, the UN Secretary tries to give consent for protection no matter the cost. Unsurprisingly there is a catch to giving consent to the Monks. It needs to be given for the right reasons. The Secretary gave consent out of fear, and so he died at the hands of the Monks, as did the other military officials who tried giving consent. The only time consent didn’t kill the one giving it was from Bill. The reason? Love. It will be interesting to see just how much this reflects on the Monks and their motives as we watch the episode next week.
As the doomsday clock appears on every device possible, it comes to light that as humanity has a hand in its own demise there is a chance they can stop it. Before their second visit into the pyramid, the military leaders agree not to go to war which of course does nothing for the doomsday countdown. Which in this case, the Doctor works out, is counting down toward the first destruction domino that dooms earth, rather than the moment the earth is destroyed. Conclusion: something will be released somewhere, quite possibly by accident, and thus lead to the destruction of earth. Nardole’s first thought is that it is something biochemical which gets released on earth, which the Doctor instantly latches onto. So while the Doctor is still jumping to conclusions and tracking down the lab responsible, Bill is left to deal with the Monks along with the military higher ups. This as we already know doesn’t go so well, and here comes one of the pinnacle scenes of the episode.
Interestingly enough, this episode didn’t live up to the epic thrills of the episode last week, and the first part of the story. As a three-part, it is the least strong episode (so far), despite moments which kept me on the edge of my seat; such as the Doctor being unable to get out of the room with the poisonous gas bomb because he was blind and couldn’t punch in the code. Or those on the more emotional side; Bill giving consent to the Monks to help earth on the grounds that they would give the Doctor his sight back so to save him. It is impossible not to see how this episode serves more as an information dump which leads to a pay-off later on. More talk less walk – or run in this case. Apart from these few problems I did enjoy the episode, aside from the stress. Honestly though, give me Bill saving the day any day of the week and I’ll be happy! Though it will be interesting to see just what Bill’s ‘consent for help’ did for earth, and whether or not it really did work out in humanity’s favour.
Plot: 3/4 – Character: 2/3 – Monster (‘Misunderstood Alien’) of the Week: 2/3