The aliens have won. Bill gave them what they wanted in order to save The Doctor. After taking the Lie of the Land, it looks like humanity’s day has finally come to an end.
With Humanity A Slave To The Monks Bill Takes The Lie Of The Land
The Lie of the Land was a fast-paced adventure from the start. The last episode in a fun trilogy the likes of which Doctor Who hasn’t had in a long time. Again we get some fantastic performances from the three main characters, but it’s still Bill that manages to steal the show.
The monks have taken control of Humanity through Bill’s free choice to save the Doctor. But after six months of false memories being implanted in humanity’s collective consciousness to secure the monk’s control, Bill manages to keep her wits about her. She forms a mental image of her mother as a sounding board that keeps her otherwise scatted thoughts focused. Bill gets several scenes throughout The Lie of the Land that continue to make her one of the most compelling companions to ever grace the TARDIS. She alone saves the day, fixing her mistake by finding the inner strength the Doctor always knew she had.
A Good End To A Fun Story Arc, But Still Too Familiar
The Lie of the Land was a lot of fun. It successfully completed a trilogy of episodes that really brought Season 10 to a high level. The only problem is that it followed the same formula as so many previous episodes that finally, after all these years, I felt let down. It’s not that I didn’t like it. I just wish the writing would have surprised me.
“The day is saved by love” is a trope far too common in Doctor Who’s revival since Steven Moffat took over the show. It’s been a while since it left such an unsavory taste in my mouth. This isn’t the place to critique Moffat. Since this episode wasn’t written by him it wouldn’t even be fair. But The Lie of the Land fell into the same trap so many episodes have before in Moffat’s era. After a fantastic two-episode buildup of excellent pacing, and intriguing character development, the story takes a quick, predictable dive towards a conclusion.
What Could Have Been, And What’s To Come
I really would have liked to see Missy play a larger, more purposeful role in The Lie of the Land. The buildup to the “vault mystery” was enjoyable, and the reveal, while predictable, was satisfying. Unfortunately Missy played such a unnecessary part in this story’s conclusion it took the fun out of her return. I know there will be more Missy to come, and wondering what she’ll get into is incredibly exciting. I only wish she would have fought alone side the Doctor to save the Earth, only to turn on him once again before escaping.
At the mid-way point of Season 10 I think it’s been a great ride so far. This hasn’t been a perfect season, but it has giving us some great moments. One thing this story arc did well is make Doctor Who a bit more menacing. There was some violence, sinister threat, and slight of hand that went in darker directions than I thought it would. If anything, the feel of these three episodes should set the tone for the rest of the season.