Spoilers have been here all along.
The zombie monks have taken over. What’s worse, the Doctor has lined up with them, broadcasting their propaganda from parts unknown. But when it comes right down to it, how do they rate against other Doctor Who villains?
Their thing is altering history by hijacking everyone’s memory. Whoever tries to fight it, they get taken to labor camps by the Memory Police. So, they’ll pit others against you. But on direct confrontation, they’re not very original. They just seem to cast some sort of lightning attack. How very Palpatine of them.
First a little misdirection. The Doctor assures Bill (the audience) that he’s fully welcome our new alien masters. It’s the classic fool-the-audience-because-reasons, and we didn’t buy it for even a second. Bill of course has to buy it and shoot the Doctor so we can use that scene for the promo. Seeing Bill aiming a gun at the Doctor doesn’t seem like good start. At least Nardole is alive, thank you very much. Well, until Bill can make him pay for having the idea of keeping her oblivious of the plan.
It comes down to an emotional ending where first the Doctor and then Bill tries to subvert the hive mind that controls the signal inside the pyramid. It’s Bill who gets the job done by using a false memory of a mother she never knew. Apparently all those times we’ve seen her talk to a picture of her mom, that was all photos the Doctor gave her so she could have an image of what she looked like to form a memory.
Yes, it’s the old defeat-them-with-feelings subterfuge. It didn’t quite suck, but it’s hardly a new classic. Perhaps I’ve become jaded, but it fell a bit flat for me.
The moment that I thought worked was the consultation with Missy. We get to peek inside the vault, a room with a force-field prison. At least Missy gets a piano. Expectedly, she suggests killing the human acting as the link, the person who consented to the monks’ presence. She’s supposed not be evil anymore, but she hasn’t quite gotten the hang of good just yet. I wanted a longer convo, but I’ll take what I can get.
- The Doctor lies. It’s one of the rules of the Doctor from a past incarnation. But the whole let’s fool Bill, who is the audience personified, is just the usual mechanism to try to freak us out. If you’ve seen the show before, you should have seen it coming a mile away.
- The moment of Bill aiming a gun at the Doctor and actually shooting is supposed to be diffused, but that was a rather disturbing image to put in the show.
- The fake reincarnation did freak me out for a second. A second and no more.
- The zombie monks even claim to have gone against the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Weeping Angels. In a way, they wanted to take away the Doctor’s victories and make them their own. Incidentally, that lays to rest the rumor that they were pre-tech Cybermen.
- Can we go back to the vault and Missy? I mean, it’s going to be inevitable that the Doctor and Missy end up being the finale’s big confrontation. But for all the hints, the show should really start building up the expectations of what we’re going to get.
That will do for now.