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This is going to be a slightly shorter review this week.

We have had the end of the three part story surrounding the Monks and this has led us onto what I think is going to be the story taking us through to the end of the season and, apparently, Peter Capaldi’s last episode.

The story is very basic and runs very quickly but it gives us a little insight into the characters of Bill and Missy, and their complexities.

It’s been 6 months since Bill asked for help and the Monks are in control of the world. Anyone who attempts to prove that the Monks have not been ‘mentoring’ the human race since it began, is arrested by the ‘Memory Police’ for spreading propaganda and, in extreme cases, is executed.

Bill spends her time hanging onto her real memories by talking with her mother, or an ‘invisible friend’ sort of version of her Mum. This is, until Nardole turns up. After a hug, he tells her he was ill for about 6 weeks after the bacteria from the GM site affected his human lungs but for the rest of the six months, he was tracking down the Doctor, who is a prisoner and has been broadcasting Monk propaganda. Apparently, he is being kept captive on a ship which changes location frequently.

Nardole and Bill get on board the ship thanks to a supply boat, whose Captain has a son spending ten years in prison for owning a box of comics. There they find the Doctor, who doesn’t want to be rescued and tells Bill he is helping the Monks to save the human race from themselves. An upset Bill grabs a gun from one of the guards and shoots the Doctor, prompting him to start to regenerate. Or so we think – the gun was loaded with blanks. He stops regenerating and it turns out that the Doctor sent Nardole to find Bill and bring her to the ship where he has spent the last six months deprogramming his ‘guards’ and this ‘act’ was to ensure that the Monks weren’t spying on him via her.

They decide to go and see the only other person who can help and is as smart as the Doctor. The only other Time Lord. Yep, that means a visit to the vault and Missy. Missy, having battled the Monks before, explains that when Bill asked the Monks for help, they formed a ‘link’ with Bill. This link to the human race allows them to beam a false ‘history’ of the human race into the minds of everyone on the planet. They are using the numerous statues of Monks as a network of booster transmitters. Unfortunately, Missy explains the only way to break the link is to kill the person who asked for help. The link is genetic and will pass down through the family line. However, if the link is killed outright it takes a while for the false memories to fade. If the link is just braindead, but still breathing it broadcasts nothing, which has a speedier result (Time Lord logic there – Don’t try to figure it out).
The Doctor doesn’t want to do that and deduces that the Monks will be broadcasting from one specific site, their pyramid, so he will go and plug himself into whatever the Monks are using so he can broadcast the real history of the earth.

After gaining entry to the pyramid they find one Monk plugged into the system which the Doctor tries to hi-jack.Unfortunately, it’s too powerful for him and he ends up being knocked unconscious. He wakes up to find himself tied up and Bill ready to plug herself in, which will wipe her mind, but will break the link. She says goodbye to the Doctor, plugs herself in and starts to think about the photographs and her memories, which starts to work before the Monks fight back. In the end, all that is needed is just one image. The strongest Bill has. Her mother. This proves too much for the Monks system and the link breaks, allowing the humans to break free from the mind control and fight back against the Monks, who flee.

Unfortunately, as they flee, the Monks erase themselves from the memories of the human race, so only the Doctor, Bill and, presumably, Nardole remember. Life returns to normal and the planet is safe again, without remembering the lessons of banding together to defeat oppression.

Later, the Doctor is visiting Missy, who is going ‘cold turkey’ and trying to turn a new leaf from hundreds of years of evil.She silently weeps before telling him she keeps remembering all the people she has killed. With a reign, as long as the Master/Missy, that’s a lot of people and for someone who used to kill without conscience, the guilt is weighing very heavily. She says he never told her about that and he apologises but implies that it’s a good thing that she’s feeling it.

Ok. Maybe not the most exciting episode (It felt more like a filler) but it wraps up the storyline in finally getting Missy into the action and, as mentioned earlier I think this will mean Missy is going to play some kind of part in the last few episodes before escaping the vault. It had some great moments such as Bill's reaction to Nardole having had the whole idea of tricking Bill to get her on the ship. It's too good to write - you have to see it for the whole effect!

Of course, they had to get some more social commentary in. Did you hear that ‘Fake News Central!’ quip when they entered the Monks’ broadcast centre? Always on the ball with current affairs ... or, umm, fake current affairs?

This episode is a little different in that Bill is relating the story to her Mum throughout. To me this is to reinforce the way she bets the broadcasting machine. She has created such a strong mental image of, and closeness with, her Mum, which we have seen on other occasions such as in the episode ‘Knock, Knock’, this has become the biggest memory she has, as she is literally keeping her mother alive in her mind and it’s so strong the Monks can’t touch it. This leads me to believe there has to be a story coming up where she will meet her mother. After all, Rose met her Dad, so why can’t Bill meet her Mum?
Bill doesn’t think of herself as anything special but the Doctor sees much more than that. He shows this when he told Bill a couple of weeks ago that Penny was not out of Bill’s league, and now with the conversation at the end of this week’s episode:

Bill: Why do you put up with us then?
Doctor: In amongst seven billion, there’s someone like you. That’s why I put up with the rest of them.

I absolutely love the friendship between Bill and Capaldi’s Doctor. It takes me back to the relationship between Donna and Tennant’s Doctor. It’s not complicated by romance or even the overly used ‘I’m just trying to protect you’ trope. It’s a relationship built on trust, respect, and mutual learning. The Doctor also seems, very much, to want to pass as much knowledge to Bill as possible but wants her to learn the mechanics of what he’s teaching her, which is why the University and private tutoring is an ideal premise for this relationship.

The Doctor’s relationship with Missy is more complex. He’s given her yet another chance and this time he appears to be making some progress. He’s never really been able to get through to Missy, through all her years as the Master/Missy, but he still seems to want to help her. When she says he never told her about how she would feel, when she remembers the people she has killed, I think she’s referring to the Doctor’s own guilt at destroying his own race during the Time War, although we have seen Gallifrey since then.

Whether Missy is genuinely feeling this guilt and repentance, or whether it’s a ruse to escape is anyone’s guess. Maybe she is genuinely feeling it, but will revert as soon as the right trigger situation comes along, is another possibility. The Master/Missy has always been the Doctor’s nemeses and, besides helping to stop Gallifrey from destroying the earth a few Christmases ago, has always been the polar opposite to the Doctor. Whether the universe of Dr Who can operate with, or is even ready for, two ‘good’ Time Lords or not, I don’t know. It’s a bit like black without white, good without evil, yin without yang, left without right, forward without back and up without down. I don’t know whether one can exist without being opposite to the other. We’ll have to wait and see!

Comments (5)
Jun 17, 2017
Hello, my name is Brenda. Well, I am studying English in order to become a teacher. I read the complete article you posted because I couldn't stop reading basically. I am not sure that "catcher" is the right word, though I loved it :')
The funny thing is that I have not watched this serie but with all your description of a chapter ( I think it is ) now I want to follow the serie of "Dr. Who" .

Jun 18, 2017
Hi Brenda.
Glad to help out.
The show really is good. If you haven't watched the really old series, which started back in the 1960's then watching the rebooted version (This series) which started in 2005 is certainly well worth it.
Like all shows, some episodes can be a bit silly, but it's always enjoyable.
Good luck with your studies and thanks for reading. :)
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