Peter Harness. Now there’s a name that’ll divide fandom.
While some argue Kill the Moon is beyond redemption, others find it a great experiment; and further still say Harness himself was redeemed by The Zygon Invasion/ The Zygon Inversion. Not me, I’m afraid. As far as I’m concerned, neither of his Series 8 and 9 serials were good enough: indeed, Kill the Moon made me question whether Doctor Who was for me anymore. The Zygon Invasion/ The Zygon Inversion was okay, but really, the only great thing about it was the Doctor’s speech, and much of that have the trademarks of Steven Moffat.
When I heard he was returning for Series 10, I wasn’t shocked, but the news was nonetheless met with trepidation. Perhaps fortunately, I hadn’t really enjoyed Extremis (again, it was fine: certainly no The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, but equally, not Dark Water/ Death in Heaven), so as we went into The Pyramid at the End of the World, my expectations were lowered somewhat.
And yet I thought it was great! Again, not perfect, but a definite step up from Extremis and Harness’ previous Doctor Who episodes.
But perhaps DWC readers weren’t as enamoured as I was, because in our poll following its airing, the fewest number of votes up to that date (and indeed, it would turn out the fewest of Series 10 overall). Or maybe it was just the standard mid-season slump. Either way, let’s find out what readers thought!
A nice round 50% gave it the equivalent of 4/5, which is a pretty solid hit-rate. A less impressive 7 people gave it a 5/5, but at least only 2 people hated it enough to award it 1/5. Not a massive success, but nor was it a complete failure.
(Kudos to James Baldock for help concocting the poll options.)
Our own Richard Forbes enjoyed The Pyramid at the End of the World, particularly enjoying the villains of the piece:
“Beyond the rotten faces of the Monks (“we have chosen this form to look like you,” one Monk says chillingly) lies a dark pathology humoured by their own technological dominance: they want their authority to be assented to and loved, using their advantage of foreknowledge to choose the most opportune moments – global catastrophic risks – to stage interventions in the lives of their future subjects. It’s in this sense they’re more despicable than the Doctor’s typical adversaries – such as the Daleks, Cybermen, or the Weeping Angels – the Monks have all of the heightened technology and all of the knowledge of the Time Lords, but share none of their conscience or their sense of responsibility.”
We had a little hosting problem when the initial poll went up – okay, so that accounts for the lower number of voters – so the comments section entirely vanished. Fortunately, you were on call elsewhere to tell us your thoughts.
Many of you thought it was okay, albeit dragged down by some plot holes. Planet of the Deaf questioned:
“Enjoyable, and some great bits…but also some plot related flaws, with too many conveniences to make the story entirely satisfying.
“The whole blindness concept has to me over the last 3 episodes been slightly unsatisfactory, as for most of the time the Doctor has been too effective. If someone can fool everyone (the rescued crew members from Oxygen, Bill, the members of the Vatican, the generals etc) then either his sonic glasses are too effective OR the other people are completely slow to not notice something that something weird was going on or at least look a bit puzzled at some point.
“Then, Bill asks the monks, and they can restore a Time Lord’s sight. Why would she think they can do that anyway? She’s seen them killing people, not restoring the sick! And how can they fix it, when he can’t?”
Lived With Otters agreed, “So swept up in the “Wait. What?” of some of the science (yep, the pyramid showing up doesn’t bother me but yet I get lost in the plot holes of the “biology”…), the continuity of the episode crumbled for me.” Peter Rabytt said, “For me this episode was ok, but no more than that. I found what was presumably supposed to be a building tension to be more frustrating waiting. The lab stuff made no sense at all, went on for an eternity, and so was irritating. I am not a fan of returning to the President of Earth stuff…….I don’t think The Doctor should be the authorities. The instruction to bomb the pyramid felt odd and un-doctor like…..and stupid. There were too many plot holes for me. Why didn’t the doctor just use his phone to show Bill the door combination on her phone so she could guide him?” The DWC’s Simon Danes said:
“Here is my review:
And Bar, in a comment we should all applaud, replied, “Given the bio research theme, did you intend your review to be an anagram of ‘Tree lab’?”
Tony Jones didn’t enjoy it so much: “With vast amounts of the story happening off-stage, and the leading armies of the world represented by three men in a hut, The Pyramid at the End of the World had some nice touches, hung together with not very much at all.”
But let’s leave our final say to Matt Badham: “The Pyramid at the End of the World is the weakest story in this season so far. It says a lot about how strong this season has been, then, that I still enjoyed it and I’m excited to see what happens next.”