Doctor Who The Pyramid at the End of the World Review

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Doctor Who continued the Monks trilogy with “The Pyramid at the End of the World” and once again Whovians all over are in for a treat with this episode. The end of the episode is the most important, which leaves the story open for next week to explore, but the lesson from this week is to not ignore the small things. It’s the smallest incidents; breaking a pair of glasses, having a bit of a hangover, or lying about your eyesight after going blind saving a friend, that can bring about the end of the world (or the end of the free world) within a day.

Pyramids picks up right where we left off after Extremis, with Bill once again on a date (hopefully for real this time). She’s playing off her computer simulation date as a dream and laughing about how none other than The Pope showed up out of her bedroom to interrupt them. Which is of course the perfect time for the Secretary General of the United Nations to bust in looking for The Doctor (or President of the World). The general explains that a pyramid has popped up overnight in a very military tactical position, suggesting both an upcoming battle and that it probably isn’t here in peace. Unless we’re back in another computer simulation, the Monks from last week have decided now is the time to make their move to invade Earth. Though the Monks have an unconventional plan for their invasion and our characters are led astray. The Monks will invade and take over, but only after being asked to do so. Humanity has to give consent before they will lift a finger. And this isn’t just your standard cross your fingers behind your back and lie about the consent to get help…you have to mean it from your heart and a place of love otherwise you basically get turned to mummy dust. The Monks move the “doomsday clock” forward and display it for all to see, then sit back and wait for the leaders of the world to ask for their help. They promise The Doctor, that by the end of the hour Earth will consent and bend to them…

Life on Earth will cease by humanity’s own hand. – Monk

Image Credit: BBC

The Monks allow The Doctor, Bill, Nardole, and the army leaders into the pyramid for a quick chat about their presence. This is where we learn that the form the Monks have taken isn’t really their true form, and that opens up the flood gates for fan theories on who they might be or who controls them. The machine that they used for the computer simulations last week also works for detecting changes in real life events. The Monks know that the end is coming, which is why they chose now to show up. Each leader takes a glowing string and is given a glimpse at what Earth would look like exactly one year from then, and it is completely barren of all forms of life. Deciding that the pyramid chose this specific spot, at the crossroads of the three most powerful armies in the world, to help begin a war that would end humanity, the leaders begin a peace discussion.

Image Credit: BBC

In an amazing moment, and huge leap forward for mankind, peace is actually agreed upon by the world leaders, deciding that humanity is more important than any single country. Ding. The doomsday clock moves forward another minute. If after agreeing upon the fact that war will not occur, why is the doomsday clock still moving forward? Disgruntled, the leaders are ready to accept the Monks and save the Earth, but we learn that their consent was not pure and they too become mummy dust. If impending war wasn’t the cause for humanity’s end, what is?  The Doctor, realizing that something else must be happening, something that they just don’t know yet, sets to work. In a very Snowden type moment, he uploads EVERY classified document to the internet and puts them in a searchable database. This is like looking for a needle in a haystack, how can they find out what is happening that might cause the end of the world without having any clue what they’re looking for? After a teensy bit of TV magic, The Doctor and Nardole hone in on the problem, and take off to remedy it, leaving Bill in charge of the remaining world leaders and under the direction to not consent to the Monks.

Image Credit: BBC

This is why it’s important to pay attention to the small things, in a side story we’ve been watching two scientists in a pretty expensive lab go about their daily routine. One had a little too much fun the night before and isn’t feeling that well, a headache and a hang over impairing his ability to work. The other had her glasses broken on the way into work, which didn’t seem to be effecting her too badly, but clearly affected her enough to miss some critical observations. After realizing their critical errors, and the death of Mr. Hung-Over by a super-bug they’ve just released into the entire lab, The Doctor and Nardole show up to save the day. The contaimanted lab is too much for the human side of Nardole and he has to retreat to the TARDIS while The Doctor and the remaining scientist work out a plan to blow up the lab.

Enter second lesson of the week, don’t lie to your friends. Nardole is too affected by the chemical, and lies unconscious on the floor of the TARDIS, Bill is now the only remaining human with the Monks, and The Doctor has gotten himself into a jam he can’t quite work out. With the lab on an emergency protocol, The Doctor will have to manually open the air lock door to get free of the blast zone. The manual open is an old school combination type lock, and he’s been given the code. The only problem is, he can’t see to rotate the lock to the correct numbers. He’s managed to save humanity but he will also perish in the blast intended for this new super bug that would have wiped out all life on Earth. So Bill makes an executive decision, one she feels has to be made, even if it’s against the wishes of The Doctor. She consents to The Monks on the condition that they restore his eyesight. Bill sells out the freedom of everyone on Earth to grant The Doctor his vision back and it’ll be up to The Doctor and Missy next week to fight off the Monks and reclaim Earth for humanity.

I’ll tell you what old man, you better get my planet back. – Bill

This episode was absolutely fantastic, it was tension filled, frustrating and satisfying all at the same time. We didn’t even see Missy, or the Vault yet The Pyramid at the End of the World escalated the over arching story-line for the season beautifully. Will Nardole be okay? What will happen to Earth and those inhabiting it? Will The Doctor forgive Bill? Can The Doctor and Missy work together to fight the Monks? Who are they really and is another alien race behind this invasion?

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Michelle Harvey