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  • Writer's pictureDenise Breen

Doctor Who: a review of "The Lie of the Land" otherwise known as "The Monks: they cam

So, just who are the monks? Why did they want? What did they want with our obedience? We have never seen a more "motivation-less" villain in Doctor Who than these Monks. Granted they have been filmed brilliantly but their raison d'etre was never revealed. Ho hum.

The Lie of the Land brought the monk's trilogy to a conclusion and it was a tepid conclusion. Love conquers all apparently, including the monks. I don't want to give the ending away. Suffice to say, the Doctor and Bill prevail. Of course they do. They have to return next week.

The episode started out showing how the monks had taken over the world and replaced the history of the planet with their history. We had an Orwellian squad of "Memory Police" patrolling the streets and painting a view of a dystopian society. Comparisons to 1984 aside, it was well crafted and brought genuine terror to the story. With a nod to a necessary six-month recovery for Nardol due to exposure to last week's toxin, he and Bill plot to rescue the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) from the clutches of the monks. In a lengthy speech the Doctor extols the virtues of the monks and how they have saved humanity from themselves. It's a sinister, snarky speech aimed at Bill (Pearl Mackie). It is totally over the top.

Bill's reaction is over the top too and ill-timed. Without spoiling it for those who may not have seen it, what she does is uncharacteristic, needless and utterly pointless other then to trigger a fake regeneration of the Doctor. A more dramatically ill-judged moment of Who is difficult to recall.

I'm glad the monks are gone. I hope they never reappear in Whovian lore. While filmed brilliantly with a sinister speech pattern, they ultimately proved as useless as an older generation dalek faced with a flight of stairs.

Next week we see an old enemy return. The Empress of Mars brings back the Ice Warriors since Matt Smith met them in 2013.

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