So, here we are at the end of the world. What’s gotten us here this time?
Well, the zombie cardinals from last week, or the Monks, I guess is what they’re called, have invaded Earth and set up in a pyramid in Turmezistan. Ignoring all references to the beginning of Despicable Me, the Monks are now prepared to accept the consent of the leaders of Earth to take over. What happens if we don’t consent?
Biochemical warfare, which kills us all. The end of the world comes about because a scientist had a hangover.
Sounds about right, I guess.
So, the Doctor once again assumes his position as President of the world, which we haven’t seen since Season 8’s “Death in Heaven,” and that action is the reason why this episode isn’t as good as it could be: the Doctor we know doesn’t belong in war.
Steven Moffat is DOCTOR WHO’s showrunner and one of the writers on this episode – does he not remember the 50th anniversary special (which he wrote, by the way)? The War Doctor was created for that episode to give a distinction between the Doctor then and the Doctor now. The Doctor hates war – do you remember his speech in “The Zygon Inversion”? This show isn’t meant to be about war. It’s supposed to be about solutions. Yes, sometimes war is inevitable – but that’s not what this show is supposed to be. Every time the war narrative keeps being brought back, every time the Doctor is made President of the world, we lose what makes this show what it is. This is a story line that just needs to stop. The Doctor isn’t a soldier any longer, and the show should stop trying to make him one.
Anyway, the Monks show the Doctor, Bill, and the others the future of the human race if they don’t consent – death, destruction, an empty planet. The world leaders, of course, decide that they have no other option and consent right away – but the Monks kill them, because their consent is not “pure.” “Consent is not fear,” say the Monks, “Consent is love.”
What an interesting medium to talk about the definition of consent!
The Doctor leaves for the lab where the biochemical warfare will start, where we meet my favorite character of the episode, Erica.
This is the part of the episode that felt like the Doctor Who I know and love. The Doctor always meets people along the way who he sees as the true heroes – those who help him even though they don’t know who he is, and they stay with us even though we only meet them once: Lynda with a Y from the Ninth Doctor’s two-part finale, Sally Sparrow from “Blink,” etc. They are the heart of the show; they are the people we see ourselves in, that fans can imagine we could be if the Doctor ever showed up in his blue box needing help. They are what gives the show its ultimate hope in the goodness of humanity; as the Eleventh Doctor said, “Nine hundred years of time and space and I never met anyone who wasn’t important,” and Erica is no exception.
I really love her; she doesn’t blame her fellow scientist for his mistake, she just gets to work to fix it, and when the Doctor stops by, after a few moments of understandable confusion she jumps in to help him, and ends up brainstorming with him to find the solution to destroy the biochemicals. I love the Doctor’s smile there, his confident belief in her shining future, and the fact that “after this, you will develop a pretty intense crush on me,” which I guess is probably an occupational hazard of meeting the Doctor!
So, let’s talk about Bill. The Doctor finally tells her he’s blind, but, of course, only when he’s trapped and about to die because of it. It’s the Doctor or the future of the human race; Bill, in keeping with her character, chooses the Doctor.
I feel like people may call her stupid for it. But you have to take into account her relationship with the Doctor; they haven’t known each other that long, but he cares about her deeply, enough to go blind in order to save her life. Bill, likewise, has a big heart and cares deeply about him; she’s seen the risks he takes to save her and to save the world, and she trusts him enough to be able to save the world now, even with the Monks taking over.
That leaves us with this: what is the world going to be like under the Monks’ control? Is this going to be some sort of alternate dimension? Obviously the threat is going to be great enough that the Doctor feels the only way he can defeat them is to let Missy out of the vault. And there we have our driving force to the season finale.
What will the Monks’ version of planet Earth look like? Find out next week in “The Lie of the Land”!
Season 10, Episode 7 (S10E07)
Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 9PM on BBC America
Cailin is a screenwriter and an aspiring TV writer. When not writing, she’s busy convincing random passersby that Firefly was the best show ever, converting her co-workers into Whovians, and waiting for the next season of Sherlock.
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Cailin Coane | Contributor