Doctor Who: The Pyramid at the End of the World
So it's kinda odd. Normally I write "no-spoiler" reviews but for Doctor Who, there are no real spoilers. In this episode, The Doctor becomes the President of the World to try to negotiate with the evil Monks that we saw in last week's episode "Extremis". This time they are living in a pyramid and want to save the earth by destroying it once we ask their help. Confused? Well, read on.
The Pyramid at the End of the World appears overnight in a remote part of the planet between US, Russian and Chinese armies. It's a hot-spot of tension whereby the warring nations must come together to save the planet from the Monks, except they fail and the Doctor must save the day. Of course he does but at what cost? The story with the monks continues next week with The Lie of the Land.
This week's episode was co-written by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat. Harness manages to reign in the worst excesses of Moffat who can't resist having the Doctor "meditate" on an electric guitar. Honestly, it has to be the worst thing anyone has ever written for any incarnation of the Doctor - his playing an electric guitar. Moffat - please drop it!
Again, this week, we learn precious little about the protagonists, the Monks. They can hack CCTV systems, turn people to dust and restore the eyesight of a timelord! Clever guys! However still no motivation for what they are doing or why.
For comic relief we learned that the Doctor got Nardole cheap human lungs which prove to be of little use to Nardole when exposed to the toxin. So, if the Doctor's final solution destroyed the toxin - is Nardole carrying it? It would seem so. I hope this doesn't turn into a plot point that gets forgotten.
Rachel Denning is cast in a role as a scientist, Erica, and never has her stature commented on once, which was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting a wise-crack from the Doctor and I'm glad it never came. He even flirted with Erica at one point!
The Pyramid at the End of the World is an excellent episode of Doctor Who, and promises even better things for next week. Its toying with the scientific concepts of determinism, fate and choice are fascinating and provide an enriching new strain to Whovian folklore. The creepiness of the Monks, from the way they are filmed, down to the way they use the word 'consent', is spine-tingling. On the face of it, their creature design looks generic, but the way they are shot, played, and written sells it. Can't wait to see how this three parter concludes next week with The Lie of the Land.