Written with no prior knowledge of what’s going to be in the episode – I watch the ‘Next Time’ trailer and make sure I see, hear and read nothing else – and written immediately after my first viewing. This is my unfettered, emotional response to this week’s DOCTOR WHO fare.

I’m a tad underwhelmed, to be honest. I’m not sure I’d go as far as disappointed, but my whelm is most definitely lacking.

There were scenes I liked in it:

  • The confrontation between Bill and The Doctor on the boat was absolute superb. P-Mac, who has not put a little toe wrong all series, has genuinely never been better. It was electrifying acting.
  • Fair enough, the scene with Missy had so much iconography stolen from the last episode of SHERLOCK, that they might as well have just cut to Benedict Cumberbatch cross-armed and smirking in the corner. But who doesn’t love a confrontation between P-Cap and M-Gom? Basically there’s something wrong with you as a Whovian if you didn’t take pleasure from the sight of Missy draped over a piano like the world’s most deadly chanteuse.
  • And – okay, I had problems with it that I’ll detail below – but the charge into The Monk’s cathedral/pyramid with headphones on was fantastically shot and sound designed.

However, there wasn’t much between those scenes, was there? This felt a really insubstantial episode of DOCTOR WHO.

Dictatorship = bad. Free will = good.

You don’t say.

Last week it was Bill’s love for The Doctor which doomed the world, in a refreshing subversion of the Nu-Who cliché that love will somehow save all. This week it was Bill’s love for her Mum which saved everyone in a clunking reassertion of the norm.

Nothing felt particularly new, nothing felt particularly exciting – it just felt like a DOCTOR WHO episode that had some good moments but was otherwise just there. Existing but very little more.

For the end of a trilogy, with so much good that went before, this really was a let-down. As I feared, it was ALIEN 3.

And when you don’t have a particularly good episode, you – of course – end up nit-picking.

Why, if The Monks were linked to Bill’s brain patterns, did they need The Doctor to make those videos? What was the point?

There may have been less monks than everyone thought there was, but still, getting in to the most important place The Monks possessed was a bit easy, wasn’t it? It might have been well shot, but from a script POV it was just perfunctory opposition.

Actually, reading the above, clearly I was mightily disappointed with what we got served tonight.

End notes:

  • Having said all that above, this is a beautifully planned and worked out series. Something which seems to be just a lovely little character moment in Episode One (The Doctor going back and taking pictures of Bill’s mum) saves the day in Episode Eight.
  • If Chris Chibnall has watched that tonight and is still of the opinion  – as reports suggest – that he needs to have a brand new companion, the man is clearly a maniac. The text/email/letter/postcard campaign starts here. We must save Bill!

My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free! A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!

One thought on “Doctor Who Review – The Lie of the Land

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