Synopsis of 10×7: The Doctor is once again President of the World, attempting to save us all from a bacteria strain and the blind monks in this loosely connected sequel to “Extremis.”
The UN is after Bill so that they can find the Doctor. He’s sulking in his Tardis, playing guitar, and contemplating the end of the world: “The end of the world is a billion, billion tiny moments. And somewhere, unknown, in silence or darkness, it has already begun.”
I feel like he might be talking about himself here: the moment Bill and the Doctor landed on a spaceship, the moment they put on those suits, the moment they walked into space, the moment the Doctor went blind. What are the consequences of that? By this point, the Doctor hasn’t told Bill, though he’s been presented with the opportunity. He’s been lucky so far, but his luck might be running out.
Or is he talking more generally, as we see these tiny moments take place on Earth: the moment someone’s eyeglasses break, the moment her partner, delirious from the night out, enters the wrong decimal point into the computer, releasing too much bacteria into the air at Agrofuel Research Operations. All those moments could lead to the end of the world, as the bacteria turns humans to mush and its minutes away from being pumped into the Earth’s air.
And the Doctor isn’t there to help as he’s being distracted with a giant pyramid in the middle of a territory surrounded by China, Russia, and the US. The blind monks from “Extremis” exit the pyramid, making their presence known. The Doctor, still blind, suggest to the generals of these three countries that a show of strength is the way to go.
“They’ve run simulations of this world,” he says, which is one of the only references to last week’s episode. But a show of strength is futile, as the pyramid just pulls airplanes down mid-flight, and pulls a submarine from the water. No one died, which means the monks don’t want domination through strength. So what do they want?
Consent. That fickle, important, buzzword for permission. Humans must give consent for these creatures to take over. But why would we ever do such a thing? Would we do it out of fear? No, as that’s what leads to the downfall of the UN Secretary of Defense. He sees the future and gives consent, only to be destroyed.
Is it out of strategy? Now, as the leaders of the military find out when they offer consent. The Doctor, having figured out that the end of the word is not World War Three, but is in fact this bacteria-ridden lab, is taking too long for their taste. So they give consent. But consent must be given out of love.
So that leaves Bill. Except she won’t have to give consent as the Doctor saves the day! Right?
The Doctor gets to the lab, which is toxic for humans and tells Nardole to get back in the Tardis and fly somewhere safe. “I got your lungs cheap,” he says, and cheap they are. As soon as Nardole steps foot in the Tardis he begins to show symptoms of being poisoned by the air.
The Doctor meanwhile comes up with a brilliant solution: sanitize the air by blowing it up. Of course! And when he does, it’s brilliant! Except for one eensy-weensy problem: to get out of the sealed room that’s in lockdown mode, the Doctor must enter a four digit code. But he can’t see. He can see shapes, he can try his sonic, but he needs someone to get the numbers right. Clock is ticking and Nardole is incapacitated. That leaves Bill.
So Bill, for the second time this season, must speak for the human race. She gives consent, out of love for the Doctor. The monks give him his eyesight back as they takeover the world. Bill doesn’t die this week, though she does look connected to the Monks.
What does a monk run world look like? Tune in next week to find out!
The use of Asian actors (Togo Igawa and Daphne Cheun) and a little person (Rachel Denning) makes me think that Doctor Who is purposefully adding more diverse casting. Does that include casting for next year’s Doctor?
I like that Doctor Who is getting more political. I’m surprised at how well it’s working. This episode was written by Peter Harness of last season’s Zygon two-parter. Political theatre seems to be his forte.
The Doomsday Clock was an interesting countdown. Especially since in TV-land it was set to three minutes to midnight, and at present it’s at two-and-a-half. It also made it a fun twist when the Doomsday clock isn’t what mattered, but the bomb clock that the Doctor built was the one to watch.
The idea of consent is explored here, though I think it could have been explored further. This episode, like last episode, was chocked full of themes, ideas, and explorations. These episodes have been a think-piece of a trilogy, and it looks like Moffat’s getting the final season he wanted.
The Doctor said something about his blindness as “my mistake, I must live with it.” Consequence wasn’t explored enough with Clara. Now I wonder if his blindness will return, and the consequence will be his regeneration.