Saturday, 10 June 2017

TV Review No. 56 Doctor Who: The Pyramid at the End of the World (S10, Ep7)

Strong Points:
Twist ending
Use of a mistake instead of war
Erica and The Doctor
Good CGI
Comparison's to breakages throughout - cause and effect

Weak Points:
The Monks are less scary this episode
Would they allow someone that hungover to work on something that dangerous?

In-depth Review:
So, we had a similar opening to last week's episode, with Penny the date and another powerful being popping up to spoil said date. This time we had the UN Secretary-General asking for The Doctor as a pyramid sort of appeared in the neutral zone between three of the biggest superpowers in the world (USA, China and Russia), you know, just like pyramids do.

Superpowers of the world and superpowers of the monks So, we might have three of the biggest super-powers working together, but The Monks have their own super-power - namely whatever's needed at this point in time. They stopped missiles, crippled a plane and teleported the occupants of said plane and a submarine into the pyramid and then released them. I'm hoping they also have the power of peppermint flamethrowers and the ability to make Valve realise that everyone would rather a Half-Life sequel than Steam Link.

The Monks, like many monsters, are much less scary in the daylight, turning from grotesque approximations of humans to cosplayers basically. They also just want to be loved it seems, although their version of love does seem to be complete submission of the human race, but still 'aww'. It's an odd way to approach a storyline, with The Monks firstly completing this eventuality many times in simulations to make sure they'd win, then landing a giant pyramid in between three superpowers to make sure they're heard, all just to basically say 'we can help you'. I don't know if they've got some code to say they can't just take over the world, or make the humans love them (they could cure The Doctor's blindness so who knows) but surely there's an easier way to do this. Also, it's funny that the reason they lost (until the end) was simply because they were there - if the events had played out without their involvement and them watching then everyone would've died until they popped up and saved the day. Lovely.

Three countries, not particularly known for getting along, all meet together. That seems like the beginning of a war doesn't it, especially considering the gun-ho nature Doctor Who has portrayed humans with. So, it was nice, and surprising, when it turned out that the massive 'end of the world' scenario was actually just a mistake. Wait, did I say nice? I meant terrifying. The slow build up with us going back to the lab throughout the episode and seeing bits of imagery like Erica's glasses breaking was great although I'm not sure about the credibility of allowing someone who was obviously that hung-over to handle chemicals which can disintegrate you.

So, the superpowers of the world didn't last long did they? The UN Secretary-General was disintegrated because of fear, the US, Chinese and Russian generals because of strategy being their reason. I mean, I didn't expect them to last long, they were basically slightly more powerful red shirts after all but The Monks are definitely being difficult. It's like if Nintendo said we'll release a new Metroid game if people really want it and then they proceed to destroy all Zelda games (an odd example I know but still).

So instead we're left with The Doctor and Erica to save the day, with two things standing out to me: firstly, how they located Erica and the 'mistake' which was just clever and just how well Erica and The Doctor work together. However, if you thought finesse was an option for this season, well 'boom' goes that theory as The Doctor proceeds to blow something else up (although with greater results).

The Doctor's trapped behind closed doors (mirroring slightly the final episode of Tennant's era) and you'd expect the scene to have shouts from Erica, fast talking from The Doctor, maybe a bit of head-hitting and pacing. But we get none of that, instead, getting a matter-of-fact 'there's a combination lock with numbers, and I can't see them' line from The Doctor, and an air of eventuality. This slow countdown allowed us to reflect more on the cause and effect to get The Doctor to this point (a continuing theme of this episode) and while it was more than likely that The Doctor would survive as it's only halfway through the season, the tension was still palpable.

Conclusion: overall, this was a pretty good episode with plenty of interesting themes and great acting from all, although The Monks are definitely less scary now they're in the light. This story arc is meant to end next week, and it looks like we're going alternate history!

Rating: 84%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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