It's always hardest, being the second part of a three part story. Just as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers! It only won Oscars for Sound Editing and Visual Effects. This brings us to Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 8.
After introducing viewers to the Monks in the previous episode, now the series threw them all-in with their insidious nature, promising to protect humanity... forever... if only we consent (with love).
It was somewhat ambiguous whether the Monks purposefully arranged the lab disaster in some manner, though they definitely had the ability. And their malevolence spoke volumes.
One thing I want to get off my chest right off the bat was how irked I felt that the American soldier, Colonel Brabbit, seemed so intent to surrender the planet to mysterious but definitely evil aliens.
Colonel Brabbit: Listen, isn’t it just worth *considering* doing the deal?
The Doctor: What deal?
Colonel Brabbit: All we have to do is consent.
The Doctor: That’s what the Secretary-General thought, and they burned him!
Colonel Brabbit: He was afraid. I’m not being afraid, I’m being smart.
The Doctor: Yeah. Being smart is not giving away your planet!
I guess Brabbit never saw that old chestnut Independence Day? I don't know, maybe it's just me, but somehow Brabbit's behavior appeared... unlikely for a senior officer in the American military.
If Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart had been there, he'd probably have eaten his hat!
Also, I take some issue with the fact that the United Nations summoned the Doctor to act as the President of Earth once again, and then pretty much ignored him when they stopped agreeing with him.
Seriously? He's not just the President of Earth (a title which does have authority), he's the Doctor, a millennia-old alien who knows a lot more about this stuff than you do.
Another headscratcher: everyone aside from the Doctor seemed to take what the Monks said at face value. (Why do they need consent, anyway?)
Back to the lab disaster: there are only two ways to make what happened occur (aside from the Power of Plot) -- outside interference (aliens did it!) or breathtaking, utterly mind-boggling incompetence.
Those two scientists (not to mention the lab itself) failed some pretty elementary safety procedures which would have made the whole disaster not happen.
Among them: don't go the lab if you're ill; don't remove your protective gear inside the lab (you're wearing it for a reason, not for fashion!); never have both doors of an airlock open at the same time; and double-check your work!
Now that I've gotten most of my ranting out of the way, let's talk about some of the good points of this episode. There were a number of great lines; the Doctor seems to have picked up an affinity for monologuing at the start of episodes.
The Doctor: The end of your life is already begun. There is a last place you will ever go, a last door you will ever walk through, a last sight you will ever see. And every step you ever take is moving you closer. The end of the world is a billion, billion tiny moments. And somewhere, unnoticed, in silence or in darkness, it has already begun.
Bill [outside the TARDIS]: ...Are you talking to yourself in there?
Check out the Doctor Who quotes page for a rundown of some of the notable lines from this episode!
The dramatic ending itself, with Bill giving her consent in order to restore the Doctor's sight, was doubtless a source of interest for a lot of viewers. There was no obvious way out of this one, either.
This was helped by the constant impending sense of doom, handled by way of the Doomsday Clock to reinforce the peril faced by the world.
The Monks were reminiscent of the Silence (the aliens that you forget as soon as you look away), especially in their boasting regarding controlling the Earth and their power and whatnot.
In appearance, though, they actually made me think a bit of the High Priestess in Doctor Who Season 4 Episode 2, "The Fires of Pompeii," though she was turning to stone.
Colonel Brabbit: You don’t look much like guardian angels.
Monk: We have chosen this form to look like you.
Colonel Brabbit: You look like corpses.
Monk: You are corpses to *us*.
(Why do all these alien species have an obsession with lording it over this one little blue marble in an uninteresting corner of the galaxy, anyway?)
There were also plenty of continuity references, for the long-time fans among us, something I always appreciate. (It's especially entertaining when the Doctor materializes the TARDIS around a person, right?)
And the Doctor's trick to discover the lab the Monks were watching was pretty clever, too.
I will say that I enjoyed Rachel Denning's turn as scientist Erica, despite the fact that the lab failed proper procedure forever. Presumably, she'll be back again in the next episode for more fun and games.
Until we see the (presumed) resolution of this story in the following episode, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it. There are just so many questions and holes that I can't help but wonder if I'm missing something.
You can always watch Doctor Who online! And don't forget to check back after Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 9, "The Lie of the Land," airs on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 9/8c on BBC America!
So, what did you think of "The Pyramid at the End of the World"? Were you confused by the Monks' plan? How will the Doctor save the planet this time? Let us know in the comments section below!