05th Jun2017

‘Doctor Who 10×08: The Lie of the Land’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


When politics inspires a show like Doctor Who, we tend to see the extremes of what can happen. This week’s episode handles the nature of fascism, and that ever popular topic of fake news. What could go wrong?

With Earth now under the control of The Monks, Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) go in search of The Doctor (Peter Capaldi). With him working as the spokesperson of The Monks though, will he go willingly with his companions, or will drastic action need to be taken?

There is a moment in this episode of Doctor Who where something will click in your head, and you’ll get what this is about, and yes the title does give it away. The Doctor gives a brilliant line that is very relevant to society today, and you realise where this is heading. Yep, this is an episode about politics which will likely annoy a few fans (if they side with one certain side of politics).

The Monks version of control is relatable to politics, especially with what is going on in America. The use of false propaganda to control the masses is something that is evident in all forms of media, especially social media. The constant yell of “Fake news!” is a way of trying to control what people believe, and how they react to it. What this episode does is take it to an extreme level.

A nice touch in The Lie of the Land is to bring Missy (Michelle Gomez) out of her box. It is nice to finally get to see Pearl Mackie and Gomez on the screen together, and for Bill to act as you would expect. The two attitudes coming together shows just how good Mackie is as the new companion. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of this as the end of the season comes closer.

While the episode works well, it is a strange one, and that is because there is little in the way of action. There is a lot of talking, a lot of The Doctor giving his excellent monologues, and of course Bill showing her importance as the companion. While predictable in the way it tells the story, this predictableness is welcome because it brings heart to the story. I can’t say much more than that, because it would spoil how the episode ends, but what makes this season strong is that we have Bill as the heart of The Doctor’s little group, and it works well.

In many ways, this episode is something that Doctor Who fans also need to escape the realities of today’s world. We have to admit that things are pretty crappy, and what this story brings is a message that says when things are at their lowest, the human spirit can still win, that there is hope. Remember of course, that this story is a certain reality taken to an extreme, and yes, a social commentary. In the end though it is just a television show (so don’t get all worked up that it is slightly political.

Checking my words, I’m glad I didn’t explicitly state certain things, and just blurt out certain names, because this review isn’t about being “political”. This episode of Doctor Who though is a commentary on so-called fake news, and boy it is a good one. Another example of how Season 10 is getting The Doctor right, I’m going to miss Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, especially in episodes like this one.

***** 5/5

Doctor Who airs in the UK on Saturdays on BBC 1.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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