Doctor Who: Extremis Recap

Synopsis of 10×6: Popes! Zombie Cardinals! Computer Simulations! Different timelines! So much happening! Too much happening? This is your review of ‘Extremis.’

Rating:
I should have known as soon as I saw “Written by Stephen Moffat” that this was going to be more than one episode. In fact, this will be a mid-season three-parter. That man never met a storyline he couldn’t stretch out.

There’s so much happening here, I’m not even sure where to begin. There’s three different storylines happening at once. Let’s break them up, one at a time.

The Vatican Calls

There is an ancient writing, called the Veritas, that reveals some sort of life-changing secret. Anyone who has read it takes their own life. But this episode isn’t about suicide at all. It’s not even about religion. It’s about the truth of reality.

The Veritas reveals that what we, the audience, have been watching, is not reality. This particular storyline, with the Doctor running around the Vatican, is a literal projection. “Like the holodeck on Star Trek,” as Nardole puts it. So what happens when the secret gets out and the world knows the truth?

Everybody dies. In the middle of the Vatican, there are projections to the most important points in the world. The Vatican, the White House, The Pentagon, CERN. All of these places go dark after reading the Veritas.

The secret is not just that they are a computer simulation. They’re a simulation run by aliens, who look like Zombie Cardinals mixed with the Silence. It’s the aliens’ attempt to conquer Earth. Earth is a test planet, a game, something out of a Douglas Adams novel. There’s even a numbers trick involved.

Towards the end of this storyline, Bill disintegrates into a binary code mess. She’s “died” two episodes in a row. Is she the new Rory? I certainly hope not.

Oh Missy, My Missy

A long long time ago, after Darillium and before Bill, there was an execution. Missy’s execution. The Doctor pledges to execute her and protect her body for 1,000 years. So it was Missy in the vault! Hurrah!

The Doctor is having a personal dilemma on killing the last of his kind. But Twelve isn’t the emotional Ten, begging for another Time Lord to live. This Doctor is far more cunning and somehow more troubled. He even calls for a priest.

The hooded priest in black is in fact Nardole on order of the Doctor’s late wife River Song. Obviously, she’s against the Doctor killing Missy. And River gives Nardole permission to kick the Doctor’s butt if need be.

So the Doctor gives Missy a literal shock. But he doesn’t kill her. He’s her friend. Having the Missy/Doctor dynamic is so much fun. And their friendship gets more and more enjoyable with each interaction. They’ve been eating Mexican takeaway and playing piano together. Now they must save the (simulated) world together. Can’t wait to see what this storyline cooks up next.

The Real World

The episode opens with the Doctor outside the vault, downloading an email attachment called “Extremis.” The mood is dark and dour. And the Doctor is still very blind.

But his glasses are connected to the Internet. And the virtual Doctor emails the Veritas, aka Extremis, to the Real World Doctor. “Save them,” he says. I’m dying to know what the Doctor’s email address is. Also, no one would email this file. It’s too big. Wouldn’t this be a Cloud File? DropBox? WeTransfer zip file at least!

The Doctor calls Real World Bill and tell her that something big is coming. Something that might be important enough to release Missy early. Something we’ll find out about next week.

Highlights:

  • Shout-out to a lady Pope! So now can we get a Lady Doctor?
  • Does Bill’s foster mom know she’s a lesbian? If she didn’t before, she does now. And she seems totally cool with it. And Bill is finally going on a date! Sort-of.
  • There’s more of Nardole, which is always a joy. But I don’t appreciate, or understand, his semi-sexist remarks to Bill. Especially since he served under River Song.
  • Bill sees a big, beautiful library and exclaims, “Harry Potter!” I love her more and more.
  • River Song references are always a delight.
  • More Missy, yay! But to what end?
  • An episode that deals in the Doctor having a real world disability is fascinating. Especially for a man who’s always felt invincible. There’s something of his out Clara-co-dependency at work here. He doesn’t want to be weak in front of his companion, so he can’t tell her. But Bill would be perfect person to help him out. So maybe that’s a secret for next week.