Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

There’s been a lot of agreement on the podcast as of late, but that ends today! Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Liz as we disagree over whether this story worked and how many episodes it really should have been. At least there’s consensus on Peter Capaldi’s hair and Pearl Mackie.

What did you think of “The Lie of the Land”? Let us know in the comments!


Also covered:

Download or listen now (runtime 1:11:43) 

Comments on: "Episode 140 – The Cake Is a Lie of the Land" (18)

  1. Neil A Ottenstein said:

    One note not related to this podcast episode – now that Class has finished in the US, you might want to leave a link here to the podcast episode where you discuss Class.

  2. I’m Team Deb on this one. I was left really unsatisfied, especially re: the Doctor’s manipulation of Bill and his taking credit for _her_ saving the world. It ended suddenly enough to startle me, and never felt really complete.

    Not a fan.

  3. Squibby said:

    Kat, I agree with you 100%.

    Missy is not the Master. I refuse to accept her as the Master. She doesn’t work. Just like a female Doctor wouldn’t work. The character dynamics are all wrong.

    I also find it sexist – why do we need to have female versions of a male character instead of a different female charscter? Seemingly because a female Galifreyan character who didn’t start as male isn’t good enough for some people!

    My rule of thumb for any Doctor scene is “replace the current Doctor with William Hartnell (or Jon Pertwee for action scenes) and does it work”, if it doesn’t then its not written appropriately. Makes the Rose romance scenes very worrying.

    • Sarah said:

      Missy is the Master. Have you seen any other Master except Simm? She’s nuttier than Delgado, but something about her reminds me of him. She’s capable of feeling fondness for certain people (Capaldi’s Doctor, for example, as Delgado had a fondness for Pertwee’s Doctor), while being quite happy to assist everyone to their destruction. Michelle Gomez has said in an interview not to trust Missy — she may thinks she wants to change, but will do something terrible in the finale, though she didn’t specify to whom.

      I’m agnostic on a female Doctor, but with the right actor, it could work. I’m thinking of a little series of fan films I saw many years ago with Barbara Benedetti as an alternate Seventh Doctor, and she was the best thing about them. She was just the Doctor. Eccentric and a bit confused, straightforward… very Doctory. She just happened to be in a female body and didn’t care that much once she adjusted.

      I’ll give you your point about the Rose romance being worrying. Never worked for me at all.

      • Squibby said:

        Yes, I have seen the other Masters. Roger Delgado is still #1, though I am biased from having first seen him in the seventies.

        I’m not fond of the “I’m mad” over the top moments with the Simm Master either. But overall he works as the Master.

        Of course you can like the idea of a female Doctor and female Master. I just don’t think it’s been justified in the character evolution and the Galifreyan storyline.

        One objection is the laziness of it. Casting 99% of the Gallifreyan leaders as male, all the Galifreyan soldiers as male, then stunt-casting a body-swap female general. Really? How about having 50% of the Gallifreyan population be female, Moffant and Davies et al?

        Gender’s not a costume but, if Missy is the Master, then its been written very much as “he’s ‘playing dress up”.

  4. Laurie said:

    I actually found the Doctor’s behavior to be a little off in this episode. He was arrogant, autocratic, sometimes rude, and even a little madder than usual, at least, more so than we’ve seen from the Doctor in recent episodes. The scene where he crashes the boat stands out to me. First of all, he’s potentially endangering the people on the boat and around the boat. And that laugh! A little crazy. And I actually had a problem with Bill shooting the Doctor. I was reminded of the scene where Amy shoots Madame Kovarian in the alternate reality, and she is haunted by it. And that wasn’t even the Amy from our universe nor was she shooting someone she cared for, and she was still shaken. That’s a traumatic thing to put someone through, and then they laughed about it. So that makes me think, if I in fact, Missy is being effected by her time with the Doctor (and granted that is a big “if”), whose to say he is not also being effected by her? Friendship is never a one-way street.

    • Laurie said:

      I want to correct myself. Amy didn’t shoot Madame Kovarian. It was the eyepatch (oops!), but the point still stands.

  5. Snarly said:

    Not a fan either. How do the Monks go from aliens smart enough to actually do their homework before invading (the simulations in ‘Extremis’) and wielding near-godlike power (‘Pyramid’) to … whatever we got here, scampering off with barely a fight after being set up so much in the earlier episodes?

    It’s not the resolution at the end of a three-episode arc either; this episode alone has a number of places that could have gone in a much more interesting direction. Doctor Haw-Haw! 1984! The Doctor and Missy working together! Missy trying out this ‘good’ thing! Except all of these get the most hackneyed treatment imaginable.

    A real letdown for me. After this and the Series 9 two-hander, I’m glad we’re getting Chibnall instead of Whithouse.

    • For me both this episode and ‘Pyramid’ were completely hamstrung by the omnipotent villains that were set up in ‘Extremis’. It made their subsequent portrayal look ridiculous.

      I rewatched the Whithouse Series 9 two-parter recently and thought it was excellent. Where are the memorable side characters like Bennett and O’Donnell in this series? Beyond the TARDIS team there’s been no one.

  6. Sarah said:

    I haven’t listened to this podcast yet, but this episode made me surprisingly furious. It could’ve been so good, but Toby Whithouse was not the writer to handle it.

    OMGWTFBBQ, if that’s still used anymore. Really, Doctor? You collaborate with the enemy for 6 months and never apologize, Bill goes through some hell resisting brainwashing for 6 months, you set things up to test her, goad her into shooting you (but luckily, there are no bullets, except blanks can hurt, and have even killed people), then very dramatically pretend to die and regenerate in front of her, because she’s not traumatized enough? And Whithouse can’t be bothered to follow-up on how traumatized she should be.

    This may be weird, but I think DW setting up a shooting scene like that which has zero consequences is irresponsible. I keep thinking of what the “Battlestar Galactica” reboot did to end S1, had an undercover crewwoman shoot the commander in a really disturbing, messy, horrific scene that had consequences. It’s not that I want DW to get that bloody, but… consequences, maybe?!

    Whithouse can’t really be bothered to write a Doctor who’s not the “Lonely God” “Last of the Time Lords” Tennant at his worst. He even had the Doctor say “last of the Time Lords,” which is now demonstrably untrue. And this arsehole Doctor also needs to take credit for Bill — sure, she’s a young black woman saving the world with loving images of a black mother smiling like a peaceful goddess, but the Doctor has to make it about himself, because he had the idea to take photos of Bill’s mother in the first place. Creepy.

    Gahhh. I adore Capaldi (and am enjoying Mackie), so this episode leaves such a nasty taste behind.

  7. Richard S said:

    I’m with Team Everybody Else on this one. Overall, I was so blown away by the performances from Peter, Matt & especially Pearl, that I didn’t really mind the lack of solid motivation for the Monks. I did think they were run off the planet too easily, once the psychic link had been broken, but I can now head-canon this flaw as just further proof that there were very few Monks in the invading force, and when the spell was broken they had to skedaddle.

    Also, I felt surprisingly fine about Moffat’s improved version of the fake-out regeneration… up until the point where the Doctor did the whole “Was that too much?” theatrical aside that I associate more with the eye-rollingly tedious jokey post-ironic self-critiques given by characters in Pixar movies. That line was almost as cringe-worthy as Peter’s Hughie Green game-show host impersonation from last series. Almost as bad, thankfully not quite.

    Been trying to figure out why I was fine with this regeneration fake-out (as opposed to the infuriating one in Russell’s era)… I think it’s mostly a feeling of relief, because Peter Capaldi did not, did NOT, Thank Goodness, turn into Michelle Gomez, as was theorised in your last podcast.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine with the idea of a female Master, even more so when that female Master is used to create a genuinely hilarious and utterly gripping plotline as we saw in The Witch’s Familiar. I wouldn’t mind if every appearance of Missy was as good as that episode.

    What I’m saying is… the idea of a female Master is fine… the reality of THIS female Master is… IMHO… increasingly annoying & frustrating.

    I just don’t buy the new improved contrite tearful Missy. It’s a character development that feels unearned for this particular incarnation, as per what we’ve already seen of her. I kind of get most annoyed and frustrated when I see reviews (e.g. this week’s Radio Times) that mention the convincing portrayal of a guilt-ridden arch-enemy. For me, either we’re meant to realise Missy’s tears are as fake as they appear, or something is lacking in the script, the direction or (least likely) Michelle’s performance to show me, personally, that it’s actually meant to be genuine remorse.

    If the word “crocodile” had to be used anywhere in or after the episode, it should have been part of the line: “Oh, for goodness sake, Missy, enough already with the (…) tears.”

    (Interestingly, I’m perfectly fine with imagining Anthony Ainley in these scenes… possibly Ainley’s Master always seemed more neurotic… possibly because Ainley’s portrayal was my first “proper” non-decayed Master… possibly because my own sexism… I dunno.)

    In summary, I really enjoyed the episode, especially the stunning firefight in the Pyramid and every single moment of Pearl Mackie.

    For the most part, the story zipped by at a satisfying rate. I checked teh interwebs, and it turns out this one didn’t have an especially short running time. According to Shannon Sullivan’s website, the UK running time of The Lie Of The Land was not quite 45 minutes, somewhere between Knock Knock and Oxygen, with Thin Ice as the actual shortest ep so far this year.

    As a side note & very happy thing: went to see the amaaaaazing Wonder Woman today. Would really like to see Patty Jenkins as Chibnall’s go-to director. Not like she’s signed up for a WW sequel or anything. Just a thought.

  8. I’m quite torn about this episode. I liked an awful lot of it, but there were elements of it that really didn’t work for me. First, I didn’t like the way that Bill was duped by the Doctor and Nardole. It made me extremely cross. ‘Punch him, Bill!’ may have been shouted at the television. I can neither confirm nor deny.

    The second was the execution of the wrap up of the Monks plot. It had such a strong start with Extremis (which I adored) and the continuation was interesting in Pyramid (which I didn’t adore, but kept me interested and invested. I just thought that the final part of the trilogy just missed the mark. I can’t fault the performances, nor the ideas, but there was something lacking in the script. Perhaps something to tie up the three parts? Erica showing up, or an appearance from the virtual Doctor or Bill? I don’t know, but, as it stands, it’s just not as good as it could be. I think that Kat’s point that it would be very interesting as a standalone episode has a lot of merit. I’d hate to lose Extremis, though.

    I can understand Deb’s frustration with the allusions to other storylines, but I am in agreement with Liz that this is something that has been part of Doctor Who for a long time. The show is in a dialogue with itself and I think it is a better show for that. As a fan first, Moffat is conditioned to think about how he would have done it differently, no matter how much esteem he holds the original writer in. (And he does think very well of RTD as a writer, judging by his attempts to get him back to write an episode.) But Moffat’s been thinking ‘well, this is how I would have done it’ since he was a tiny Scottish child reading Target novelisations. I’d wager that RTD and Chibnall are the exact same. Perhaps, now that he’s finishing, he’s just giving free rein to that part of him. All I can say to Deb is that she’s entirely entitled to not enjoy it and I hope that the next series will be more to her liking.

  9. ccarol said:

    I think my feelings about this episode are roughly an average of the Verities. I noticed the flaws, but they didn’t annoy me quite enough to make me hate the episode, I just felt a bit let-down.

    I used to be against the idea of a female Doctor, but Missy has kind of converted me. Against all odds, she somehow works as the Master, much more than Simm did. So now I think a female Doctor would be difficult to get right, but not impossible. I’d like to see them try it.

  10. Caitlin EA said:

    I have been wondering if the Doctor’s highlighted arrogance plus the autocratic and mad (maniacal) moments are purposeful, to serve a larger story, a character development, and are not just a script being tone deaf or a line popped in for a laugh. Do they not seem Master-like? Though perhaps a “light” reflection of the “dark,” forming out of his 70+ years of interacting closely with Missy. Perhaps these will pose an increasing problem to drive the story of series 10.

  11. Rebecca said:

    My first ever comment. But I think the Doctor is off because he’s not the Doctor. During the harbor scene with Bill and Nardole, the music had a bit of “The Usual Suspects” vibes to it. Leading me to believe there is a false narrative throughout this season.

    I always thought a regenerating Doctor was in the vault. So, I was really excited about Tansy’s theory about the 13th Doctor already appearing on screen. My hope it’s Missy. I feel this explains the Doctor’s and Missy’s hair. Nether know how to style the others hair.

  12. I’m one who really enjoyed this episode, although I do agree that the jokiness after the fake regeneration was a bit off. I have to assume that this was a deliberate move to lighten the tone in what is a family show.

    I was lucky enough to watch this as part of the studio audience for ‘Whovians’ here in Sydney. It was a great way to watch the story! To those of you overseas I would recommend that you use methods to watch whovians on the ABC’s iview service. It’s very well put together with some genuinely funny moments. And if you’re in Australia, just watch it! It’s excellent.

  13. Heidi said:

    Thank you, Deb, if feel vindicated. I hated the lack of motivation of the monks, it made no sense, especially after all the trouble they went to to subjugate earth. I think the use of the word consent could have set up a storyline in which what they wanted from humans was an unhealthy relationship, demanding our love and worship. And then when we rejected them it would be because we’d realized we were strong and didn’t have to put up with an abusive relationship. Instead of just yelling mobs it should have been crying, raging humans shouting “you betrayed us!” like they were having a bad breakup. That would have made more sense considering how closely the monks had studied human psychology, and would have been an interesting twist.

    I also still don’t even see why they were monks. What’s with the Tibetan robes and Egyptian pyramids? Why not just be regular alien monsters instead of monsters cosplayong zombie monks?

    And I was glad to hear you use the word gaslighting, that’s exactly what the Doctor was doing to Bill and for no good reason. I hated that. I still don’t understand why he was doing those broadcasts at all. And if he can just produce regeneration energy on a whim like that, why didn’t he use it to heal his eyes?

  14. bobtoldmetodoit said:

    Next Doctor – Sacha Dhawan – Just saying

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: