Tag Archives: Toby Whithouse

The 12th Doctor – Series 10, Episode 8 – “The Lie of the Land” – Great Idea that Chokes a Bit at the End

“The Lie of the Land” is an episode that could have been great. If we’d spent more time with the Monks as occupiers and seen more of what they were doing that was beneficial it could have caused more conflict…or if there had been more setup on how there defeat could occur. Both these issues were not explored as well as they could have been which created a really rushed episode that in the end failed to be great, even if it was enjoyable.

The episode was directed by Wayne Yip and written by Toby Whithouse.

The premise involves the Monks now control the world and everyone believes they have always controlled it. The Doctor is putting out propaganda videos that the Monks see as subversive and Bill is searching for the Doctor as she holds onto her sanity through her only connection left, the one to the memory of her Mother.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Premise – The idea of the Monks ruling through mind control is actually pretty neat as it makes those who rebel not knowing who to trust (which the episode does do some stuff with). I liked Monk occupied Earth as it felt fearful and threatening and well off…and that was a good draw.

The Occupation – The occupation is full of Monk propaganda as they insert themselves throughout all human history and advancement. Those more prone to follow authority are also the greatest threat as the Monks themselves are usually the ones who never kill, it is their human followers. This adds a level of threat we haven’t really had in a Doctor Who invasion as often times it is the alien threat, rather than us as the threat.

The Monks – From their subversive occupation to mind controlling the human population through the power of a single act of consent…the Monks are truly an amazing threat and I’d like to see them in the future. They were a good invention and I got the idea from this episode that what they desire most is power and control and having that through the galaxy.

Missy – Missy comes up to help the Doctor and Bill and lets the Doctor know that the only way to stop the occupation for good is to kill the one who caused it, aka Bill. How she says it is without malice, just a fact and she blames the Doctor’s sentimentally for causing problems in the long run…though to contrast this she is recounting sorrow as she remembers the names and faces of all she has killed. The Master is growing and changing.

Bill and the Doctor – Bill and the Doctor are the leaders of the rebellion as we see each of them have gone about fighting in different ways. Bill by holding onto the truth and the Doctor by slowly recruiting and deprogramming others. I love their dynamic as both feel they can’t trust one another and first and through reveals find trust again. I wanted more with these two in the episode.

The Cons: Defeating the Monks – The Monks are defeated by Bill remembering her mother and using it break the propaganda Monk at the center of the Pyramid, which is the headquarters of the Monks. The Doctor takes responsibility for it claiming to have left Bill pictures of her Mother…we never see him actually do this. This peeved me off as it stole from Bill’s moment and we never saw the Doctor do it. This is what kept the episode from being great.

“The Monks Trilogy,” was mixed. The first episode is one of the best episodes of “Doctor Who,” while the second is one of the most annoying and disappointing. This one is mostly good but also has some of the problems of the second episode, which makes this Trilogy hard to recommend. Overall I enjoyed the Trilogy but you don’t need to watch the second one. The first and third are strong enough episodes on their own that you’ll at least get decent stories that reveal an intriguing enemy that I hope we see again in the future.

Final Score: 8 / 10 Solidly good.

The 12th Doctor – Series 9, Episode 3 – “Under the Lake” – A Ghost Story With Potential

Doctor_Who_Under_the_Lake_Ghosts

    “Under the Lake” is a story with a lot of potential that really depends on how well the second part of the story can pull off the first half. It is a story with “Doctor Who” tropes but still manages to have some pretty interesting minor characters and gives us a fascinating mystery that I am looking forward to being answered in the next episode.

    The story was directed by Daniel O’Hara and written by Toby Whithouse.

     The episode begins with the TARDIS transporting the Doctor to an underwater base and reacting with fear as something isn’t right on the base. We soon learn that the thing is ghosts which reject the concept of Time as they exist when death is what keeps time flowing and is an essential part of existence. From here the Doctor, Clara and the crew must catch one of the ghosts and find out why they are trying to kill them and what their purpose is.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Tone – The tone has an era of danger and darkness that keeps the episode going, and the final scene completes this payoff as we see the Doctor having been turned into one of the ghosts.

The Mystery – The mystery is fascinating as we are left wondering why there is a ship with no pilot, how the crew are coming back as ghosts and where the ship was originally going, which we soon learn was coordinates to a Temple. This leads the Doctor to go back in time with a few members of the crew while Clara is with the others in the present. The ghosts are attempting to bring more to boost the signal too as each dead person boosts the coordinates.

The Ghost – The Mole Man in Victorian garb creates a very threatening image and him being the jump scare works well given how much the one we met before was a total coward (they were last in “The God Complex.” So it being one of the villains is a nice change of pace.

Cass and Crew – Cass takes over and is their deaf leader and her and the crew have a great relationship where they look out for one another. She chooses to stay when she realizes that they need to find out what’s going on so one else goes through what they did. Her crew is great too as they are all young and are new to it all.

Clara – Clara is reckless in this and it is pretty wonderful as we see her fully embrace the discovering mentality. She is very much like the Doctor and it is a nice contrast to the crew as she like the Doctor is the outsider and notices for the first time. She also has a mystery to solve as in the present the Doctor is a ghost after he goes back in time.

The Doctor – The Doctor is fully driven to solve everything and we see an element of recklessness too as he eggs on the crew to stay feeding their responsibility, all because he wants to solve the mystery. It is this driven factor that shows his selfishness even as he protects them and uses them. This episode really illustrates his detachment and willingness to go to any ends to discover something new.

The Cons: The Corrupt Businessman – Name isn’t important, wanted oil at the bottom of the ocean. Probably dug up the Temple in the coordinates is a selfish git who ends up dead. He is a weak “Doctor Who” trope that has yet to be pulled off in an interesting ways. We want characters not caricatures.

This was a good episode but not great as the ensemble cast made it feel unfocused at times and the corrupt businessman was a major detriment to the story. The story is very much unfinished too so it can’t get a higher score as the mystery is unsolved and we get a cliffhanger at the end with the Doctor going back in time and being in the present as a ghost. It could be a great two-parter though depending on how the next part plays out.

Final Score: 8 / 10. Solidly good.