Straight off the bat, I am going to be upfront and say this review might be a little different but follow me to the end of the rainbow here. As many of you will be aware we had a three-part story with The Doctor ( Peter Capaldi) and his companions, Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nadrole (Matt Lucus), Facing off against The Foretold is it? The monks to me. Anyway, I wish to do a two part review here. I will quickly review the whole trilogy and then this week's episode as I saw it.
It's basically a traffic light of stories we have all vaguely seen mashed together and yet in some beautifully illustrated tapestry it seems, to sum up, this. So what did I mean with the traffic light of stories? Well, red on the traffic lights means stop but is also seen as a warning, and for me, the first episode was a cause to stop. I still have a lot of issues with it. But if that was red then the next was a clear yellow. Things got better. They were allowed to move, even rev its show engine up ready for the race to end. And sure enough by the time we get to this week's episode. It's green for go. And while I didn’t like the first episode at the time. I have changed mind on it a little on it when seen as part of this trilogy. And like most trilogies, this story content went up and up. Now could it of been better? Yes, and yes there are better stories out there in the world of Doctor Who.
What the trilogy did well was show that longer stories can work with some breathing room. Most of the classic Doctor Who were 20-25 minutes episodes times maybe 4, which would be the same as two of the new Doctor Who episodes. So the trilogy of monks or the time of the monk's trilogy I am going to call it. it was in the words of the 9th doctor "fantastic" as it made up ground. The effects were good and there were some Big Moments for each of the Tardis crew and the peppered humour paid off in most cases. I would almost say each of the main characters saw their own story developments enriched and aloud to grow. Even Missy's (Michelle Gomez) cameos showed progress and I was delighted to see her.
So for the trilogy as a whole, I give it. A healthy and respectable. 7/10 Stars.
Sitting down to this weeks episode was going to be an interesting experience as I knew where the story was heading roughly as someone pointed out to me it's been done before on another show and almost in the same way. They were right and I was also hoping for something different. Wasn’t sure I wanted or needed a Bill-centric episode. I personally don’t think the character was quite there for carrying the show solo as she needs more development in some areas. I am glad to be wrong in my general speculation.
The episode sees the aftermath of the last episode in which The Doctor gained his sight back, but it came at the price of the Earth is under the control of the monks. This episode was going to show us a payoff that’s been running since episode one. That’s Bill and her mother. The love and loss were going to be the driving factor in getting the planet back. I for one was impressed by the payoff and by the acting of Pearl Mackie. She was the glue to the episode and in some ways the glue to this season so far.
Highlights of the week include Pearl being on fire with her character and helping to round of a trilogy that was a bit like eating a box of chocolates. Good bits in there but your praying you don’t get the coffee sweet. Peter needs to get a shout out for giving the viewers a tease of what his Doctor could be like if he went evil. Speaking of evil, that brings me onto Missy. And while Peter showed us a glimpse of evil. Missy showed me a glimpse of redemption and I must admit I liked it. I don’t buy it as she is the Master/Missy but I buy this new idea as it’s something I haven't seen before from my favourite sci fi show.
While Missy did make my highlights, she also made my low points. Her tease in the vault still hasn't sat well with me and I felt her story was the weaker part of the overall trilogy. Was this an after thought? I am not sure yet. I leave it to better writers than I. I personally think Nardoles recovery from last week's episode was a little weak as well. Perhaps that’s me maybe me nit picking an episode that was solid and made the trilogy watchable. My biggest problem was that fake regeneration and the fact they put it in trailers for the season and the episode. Knowing full well it would lead to an OMG reaction and the payoff for me didn’t work. If they had gone all the way and given us a new Doctor I would have hailed Steven Moffat as bold, brave and almost in the same vain as George RR Martin of Game of Thrones. A failed trick but not enough to kill the episode or the show. Just something I didn’t enjoy.
When the credits rolled and the new trailer was aired showing the Ice Warriors. I did breath a sigh of relief that monks were gone and that Doctor Who might get back to its more straight forward monsters. I do like the classic Doctor Who villains and I was thrilled to see their return last time. It does looks like we might get a strange cross over between the Michael Caine's movie Zulu and Doctor Who. I look forward to reviewing this one and seeing more of this season.