Doctor Who Reviews – S10 E7 – The Pyramid at the End of the World

This review contains spoilers for the episode of Doctor Who.

The Pyramid at the End of the World is second part of what is being dubbed as The Monks Trilogy. It sees the Doctor and Bill being called in by the Secretary General of the UN to collaborate with the Generals of the US, Russian, and Chinese armies after a 5000 year old pyramid appears overnight. The Monk aliens from Extremis offer to save the world from an unknown threat if they consent to give the Monks the world, as long as the consent comes from a pure place.

Most of the episode was about manoeuvring the characters into the positions for everything to go wrong at the end, and to finally really pay off The Doctor’s blindness. The idea that The Monks, through the simulation from Extremis, have pinpointed a moment that will lead to the destruction of humanity and are essentially holding the Earth to ransom is a really cool one. The notion that they will only accept the consent if it comes from a place of love is a little ridiculous, but the pay off at the end of the episode is fantastic.

The scene where The Doctor manages to narrow down the possibilities for the cataclysmic event and his interplay with the scientist Erica, who accidentally created the bacteria that will wipe out humanity, is fantastic and an absolutely classic Doctor Who moment. But the turn at the end where he can’t get out of the chamber because of his blindness. It was a great payoff to the blindness plotline as it forced Bill to consent to Monk’s offer in order to restore his sight. This does mean that The Pyramid at the End of the World is essentially an episode to bridge the gap between Extremis and next week’s episode The Lie of the Land, but thanks to the ending it does this brilliantly.

Once again Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie are absolutely brilliant in this episode. Their performances in the back half of it are illustrating why this is probably the best Doctor/Companion pairing maybe since The Tenth Doctor and Donna. Nardole is also been much better in the past couple of episodes that he has been in previous episodes that he featured heavily. It was slightly disappointing that Tony Gardner only got a fairly minor guest role, because he has shown a brilliant comedic presence in shows like Bluestone 42, The Thick of It, and Fresh Meat.

Whilst it may have been an episode that essentially had to bridge the gap between the first and last part of the three-parter, thanks to Moffat’s willingness to take risks with it, and the brilliant performances from Capaldi and Mackie, it stands up as another very strong episode from Season 10.

8/10

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