Summary: OK Who’s gonna die to save the world from the Monks, The Doctor or Bill?
Plot: the Monks now rule the earth, and apparently have been with humanity from day one, or so everyone believes, but Bill and Nardole and the Doctor (with some help from Missy) find that there is a way to break this hold they have on humanity, but when the Doctor Bill and their band of Brothers plan fails, it looks like it will require someone to pay a fatal price, so who is going to pay it and free humanity? Or perhaps as the Doctor suggests it might be better to leave well enough alone.
Writing: With the exception of the final resolution, which I think was weak, there is plenty of stuff to love here and a lot of guessing. I like the Doctor building a team, Nardole proving himself to Bill, the Whole, I gave you a chance bit are all very good, but the real star of the episode are the scenes with Missy which are so far above everything else that almost the entire episode that one might think it was all written specifically for that exchange.
Acting: In terms of acting this is Pearl’s Mackie’s best episode and to some degree Capaldi’s worst (he seems to be overacting a bit to me) Matt Lucas’ Nardole remains excellent but all of it is completely overshadowed by the performance of Michelle Gomez that is so above everyone else’s that you almost wonder if they should do a whole season of her.
Memorable Moments: swooch swooh, neck pinches, Raming speed, counting the bodies, I want a pony
Doctor Who Flashbacks: Bill’s Quest parallels Martha’s in the Last of the Time Lords (10th Doctor Martha) , Peter Capaldi’s “ramming Speed’ moment bring to mind Matt Smith’s 1st scene as the Doctor End of Time Part 2, and the monks continue to bring to mind the Silence (11th Doctor) , Missy’s demands mimic Matt Smith’s demands to Nixon (Impossible Astronaut 11th doctor)
Oddities: Since when can the Doctor start a regen sequence on his own?
Pet Peeves: I think the monks run away much to easy, furthermore if they can anticipate everything why didn’t they anticipate this?
Great Quote(s) via chakoteya.net transcripts
Nardole: What are you doing? It’s me, Nardie!
Bill: No. Wait, wait. Shut up. Tell me something. That first time, with the Heather creature chasing us, where did we run away to?
Bill: What noise should spaceship doors make?
Nardole: Shuck-shuck, obviously.
The Doctor: Human society is stagnating. You’ve stopped moving forward. In fact, you’re regressing.
Bill: This isn’t exactly much better.
The Doctor: It’s safer.
Bill: Not so much for the people the Monks are killing.
The Doctor: The Romans killed people and saved billions more from disease, war, famine and barbarism.
Bill: No, wait. What about free will? You believe in free will. Your whole thing is. You made me write a three thousand word essay on free will.
The Doctor: Yes, well, I mean, you had free will, and look at what you did with it. Worse than that, you had history. History was saying to you, look, I’ve got some examples of fascism here for you to look at. No? Fundamentalism? No? Oh, okay, you carry on. I had to stop you, or at least not stand in the way of someone else who wanted to, because the guns were getting bigger, the stakes were getting higher, and any minute now it was going to be goodnight, Vienna. By the way, you never delivered that essay, anyway.
Bill: Because the world was invaded by zombie Monks!
Bill: But it’s, it’s just a woman. God, the way you and Nardole have been carrying on, I thought you had some kind of monster in here, or something!
The Doctor: I do. Missy, Bill. Bill, Missy, the other Last of the Time Lords.
Bill: Wait a sec. Why have you got a woman locked in a vault? Because even I think that’s weird, and I’ve been attacked by a puddle.
Bill: So when you defeated the Monks, that’s how you did it?
Missy: Well, at this point, all that was left of the bloodline was a wee girl, and I just pushed her into a volcano.
Bill: It’s me. The lynchpin is me.
Bill: So you’re saying I have to die.
Missy: No. If you were just to die, everyone’s false memories would have to fade, and that could take ages. It’s actually better if you keep breathing, if your brain just keeps transmitting, well, nothing. That would blot out the residue false memories.
Bill: What would be left of me?
Missy: You’d be a husk. Completely and irrevocably brain-dead. You couldn’t even get on Celebrity Love Island.
The Doctor: Even if that was the truth, the fact that you’re suggesting it shows there’s been no change, no hope, no point. We don’t sacrifice people. It’s wrong, because it’s easy.
Missy: You know, back in the day, I’d burn an entire city to the ground just to see the pretty shapes the smoke made. I’m sorry your plus one doesn’t get a happy ending, but, like it or not, I just saved this world because I want to change.Your version of good is not absolute. It’s vain, arrogant and sentimental. If you’re waiting for me to become all that, I’m going to be here for a long time yet.
Missy: I keep remembering all the people I’ve killed. Every day I think of more. Being bad, being bad drowned that out. I didn’t know I even knew their names. You didn’t tell me about this bit.
The Doctor: I’m sorry, but this is good.
Final Verdict: 4 1/2 stars Very Very good
Ranking of Season: 2nd of 8 Missy is the reason and it’s only the excellence of Extremis that keeps it from the top 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, if there was more Missy it might have edged face the Raven
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