Summary: We’ll be happy to enslave your planet, if you ask really nice.
Plot: In the middle of the most volatile region on the planet a Pyramid at least 5000 years old suddenly appears heralding the arrival of the alien menace that has been wargaming their invasion forever, but there is a catch, they need to be invited by people who love them, will the people of Earth do so?
Writing: One must be a little forgiving on a multi part story but after about 10 minutes so much in this episode is entirely predictable. The only exception was the fact that Bill asked for the Doctor’s eyesight rather than his life (although in theory one leads to the other). Furthermore no explanation is given as to why these folks need to be loved in order to take over the planet, again this might be in the next part but then again it might not. The story wasn’t bad per se but it could have, and in fact should have been so much better. Two pluses, I like the way the Character Rachel was written so her dwarfism is completely incidental rather than pushed and I really liked the Bill and Penny scene.
Acting: It’s rare that I mention a supporting actor first but Rachel Denning as Erica is first rate, since we know that Peter Capaldi is leaving it’s very possible that it might to introduce her as a companion (but likely that would have been announced already if true) she clearly has chemistry with Capaldi, more than Mackie frankly, but as he’s leaving that’s unlikely. Lucas and Capaldi do their normal good job and Mackie is fine (particularly in her scene with Penny which was great) but I found her acting in the climax completely unconvincing.
Memorable Moments: The Pope flashback, the Secretary General, and really not much else.
Doctor Who Flashbacks: The whole invaders from the beginning of time brings to mind the Silence from the Matt Smith years but other than that, not much.
Oddities: I can’t see the Doctor not realizing that Nardole would be vulnerable to the infection.
Pet Peeves: Two huge plot holes. #1 If there is CCTV and the monks are monitoring it why couldn’t the Doctor use that to let Bill see the current numbers (which is all he needs to figure the combination, the second is hole is MUCH worse. These beings have been wargaming the conquering of earth since the beginning of history , that being the case why not conquer it at the primitive time when they would appear as Gods and lovingly be given control. That’s so obvious that I’m almost insulted that it wasn’t brought up. And of course there is the gratuitous slam of Trump.
Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts
Erica: [As Tardis appears] Oh my god!
The Doctor: No, I’m the Doctor, but it’s an easy mistake to make.
Penn: How did it go the dream version? [Flash back to the Pope scene from last week] [Laughing] The Pope!
Bill: In person.
Penny: The Pope, In your flat here?
Penny: Your tutor has strange dreams.
Bill: I bet he does Yeah
Penny: Maybe he’s trying to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Bill: Maybe yeah. How to you feel on the subject? [Armed Soldiers break in] WOAH!
Soldier: Stay where you are, please remain still and calm, keep your hands in sight on the table. Ms Potts?
Soldier: who’s this.
Bill: this is my friend Penny who the hell are you?
Soldier: Room secure your excellency [elderly asian man enters] This is Miss Potts Sir.
Soldier: Ms Potts this is the secretary-general of the UN
The Doctor: Hello.
Red Monk: We know you.
The Doctor: Then you’ll know there is a line in the sand and I’m the man on the other side of it, you want to keep me that way.
Red Monk: We will take this planet and it’s people.
The Doctor: You will be prevented, you will be fought.
Red Monk: We will be invited. We will take this world, we will rule its people, but only when we’re asked.
The Doctor: Think Think Think Think Think Think Stupid Doctor. Stupid Stupid Stupid [an idea hits him] Handsome Doctor, Adorable, hugely intelligent, but still approachable Doctor! What’s another way to destroy bacteria?
The Doctor: and how do you sterilize something?
Ericia: Put it in boiling water
The Doctor: or
Erica: Put it in a flame.
The Doctor: She’s got it. By George she’s got it. I’m not going to lie to you, this means you’re insurance premiums are going to go through the roof in fact pretty much everything is going to go through the roof because I’m going to blow up the lab. I just need some kind of trigger first.
Erica: What are you going to blow it up with [it hits her] The Bacteria is making ethanol the green house and the lab are full of it!
The Doctor: Seriously what are you doing when this is all over?
Final Verdict: 4 stars A pretty good episode but I expected so much more.
Ranking of Season: 2nd of 7 It was a tough call between this one and Knock Knock but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt over the multi part business.
Top 10 Ranking in the Capaldi Era: Doesn’t place, this has to be the worst overall season that I’ve seen since the old series in terms of stand out episodes.
1st The Husbands of River Song
2nd. Last Christmas
3rd. The Caretaker
5th. The Return of Doctor Mysterio
6th. The Girl who Died
7th. The Witch’s Familiar
8th. Hell Bent
9th. Mummy on the Orient Express
10th. Face the Raven