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The Lie of the Land: Press Reaction
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We said:

“Judged as a trilogy, Extremis set up a wonderful premise, the follow-up The Pyramid At The End Of The World was a classic case of a brilliant concept poorly executed, and The Lie of the Land rewarded viewers who stayed with it by bringing all three together with great economy.”

The Lie of the Land takes us from existential concerns about present (Extremis) and future reality (The Pyramid at the End of the World), to genuine doubts about the mediated past. It’s an extreme example of a real dilemma, the clever use of sci-fi tropes to explore how in real life those in power construct narratives to shape beliefs and allegiances. There is a very specific link made between the tactics of the Monks and that of the ancient Roman Empire, who exploited and subjugated other cultures through the fake notions of peace and prosperity (Whithouse could have picked virtually any other empire from any period in human history, for as the Doctor says the human race seems unable to learn from our past). Whithouse is no stranger to using Orwellian themes (The God Complex) in Doctor Who, and this is another example of his knack for making social commentary through the medium.”

Full Review


The Mirror

“Excellent performances wasted on a nonsensical trilogy”

“Oh dear. This series started so well. It was back to basics, punchy stories, awesome new companion and the Twelfth Doctor in his prime. So it’s incredibly disheartening to have such a weak and wasteful three parter just descend into the mix. Extremis was a disjointed story that revealed most of the episode was a computer simulation. The Pyramid At The End Of The World tried its best to setup the danger of the invading Monks and play with some elements of wheels in motion and hubris but still didn’t fire on all cylinders. So there was a lot riding on the final episode of the ‘Monk Trilogy’, the missing piece to make the previous two episodes work as a whole. And for me, it failed to deliver.”

Full Review


Radio Times

“Showing Bill fire a gun at the Doctor is horribly misjudged”

“After two weeks of build-up, this loose trilogy, the mid-series Monks marathon, hobbles to an end. The truth of The Lie of the Land is that it’s disappointingly uneven; there are interesting contours and notable features but it tends towards flat. Watching it unfold, I empathise with the brainwashed masses it depicts, living half-lives, clad in drab turquoise, sucking up the big lie, struggling to remember the recent past…. The Lie of the Land leaves a sweet-and-sour taste. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is the scariest thing in it. He wavers between downright nasty (his propaganda-spouting for the Monks; his appalling treatment of Bill) and at best disconcerting (his demented excitement when his boat is ramming the dock). He’s world-weary – specifically, Earth-weary. You can almost believe he’s working for the dark side, so great is his disenchantment with the human race.”

Full Review


Den of Geek

“Just past the half way point of the series, we’ve had the kind of ambitious story that once would have ended a run.”

“There are plenty of things like that to take from The Lie Of The Land, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s a slightly frustrating episode this, one that didn’t quite pay off for me. I do still think it’s got some really strong stuff in it, and do appreciate I’ve probably come across miserable and grumbly. But in hindsight, I’m not really sure the three-parter fully gelled.”

Full Review


These were not “real” memories if you have been following the series. The doctor gave her some old photos ( Billie had no memories of her mother) so they were not based in reality so apparently the monks couldn’t counter them.




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Gary Hardman
From the comments

AV Club

“A frustrating Doctor Who lacks the courage of its convictions”

“The Lie Of The Land could have been a great story, but most of its best moments feel like paler retreads of better stories. The climax recalls River’s sacrifice to save the 10th Doctor in “Forest Of The Dead.” As flawed as the ending of “The Last Of The Time Lords” is—and my goodness, is it ever flawed—it ends up committing more to its dystopian vision, as does “Turn Left.” Perhaps the closest match for this episode is “The Wedding Of River Song,” which proves more adept at flitting from wild idea to wild idea, including a fake-out regeneration, while paying just enough attention to character work for the thing to not just feel like an unabashed display of narrative pyrotechnics.”

Full Review


IGN

“The monk storyline ends on a strong note, giving us SJW food for thought, a couple of exciting set pieces, and some great, if tantalizing Missy scenes.”

“The episode proves to be a pretty good one, satisfyingly wrapping up the overall story while also charting some new ground, providing more than a couple of thrills and head-fakes, commenting on current events in a not at all subdued way, and further advancing the vault/Missy storyline just enough to keep us on the hook.”

Full Review


Gamesradar

“A Masterful act… The dystopian tones are palpable”

“At last giving Missy some substantial screen time, this lesson about ‘goodness’ will have you pondering just how much you’d sacrifice for humanity.”

Full Review


Digital Spy

“The Lie of the Land’ is a decent climax to a middling trilogy”

“The trilogy Doctor Who’s unfolded over the past few weeks might have made for a fine two-parter (with most of the pointless ‘Extremis’ excised) but has felt protracted as is. But even if series 10’s trilogy has been a missed opportunity, ‘The Lie of the Land’ is still a diverting chapter, with strong performances and plenty of momentum compensating for any script stumbles. And that’s the truth.”

Full Review

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About The Author
Michael East
Michael East is the founder of Doctor Who Worldwide. Best selling author, great statesmen, Ambassador to the Netherlands… Michael is none of these things. He was however named TIME Person of the Year in 2006 and 2011, is an award winning web designer and a comedy Marxist. He enjoys beards, retrogaming and classic TV. He is not a hipster.