Last week left us wondering what life under the Monks — yeah, that’s their official name for now — would be like. This week we learned that, like all great dystopian societies ruled by evil overlords, it’s filled with rewritten history, wholesale propaganda, and of course, memory police. It’s a place where owning a box of comic books or even remembering the Monks have only been on Earth for six months (instead of from 1975) is a serious offense.
Amid all this is Bill. She’s been searching for both Nardole and the Doctor (who’s been part of the Monk’s broadcasts) for months to no avail. Luckily she’s got some emotional, if not physical, support from her birth mother, whose spirit she still talks to, as we’ve seen in previous episodes. Not that she has to look for too long: As it turns out, Nardole tracks her down!
“Nardie” has been looking for the Doctor as well, but with more luck. He’s tracked him down to this ship where he’s being held captive. So after a hearty round of well-deserved hugs, both companions hop onto a supply ship and sneak on board, eager to rescue the Doctor from the Monk’s clutches. Only it seems he doesn’t want to be saved. He even calls his guards and the Monks and sets them on Bill. Upset at his betrayal, and for struggling through the Monks’ attempts to mentally control her for months, Bill draws a gun and shoots the Doctor.
And just like that, he reveals that this whole thing was an act to see if she was under the control of the Monks. The Doctor’s been working on rescuing and deprogramming people one by one. His entire retinue of guards is free from the Monks’ control. Now reunited, Bill and the Doctor go to consult “the one person almost as smart as me”: Missy.
The “Mistress,” it seems, is attempting to turn over a new leaf — with the Doctor’s help, of course. As a result, she confirms the Doctor’s theory that the Monks are controlling the world’s population through their memory and perception centers. She also tells him that he will have to kill, or render brain-dead, the person who formed the psychic link with the Monks in the first place. The Doctor expressly states that this is not an option. Missy points out that this is her saving the world because she wants to.
Later, with Nardole and the rest of the rebels, Bill calls out the Doctor about know this was the solution. This is why he never sought her out earlier. He argues that he wanted her back by his side because it is the safest place in the world. However, the Doctor is able to come up with a plan. He’s going to plug his brain into the device transmitting the memories of the Monks through Bill’s psychic link. That should definitely override everything and fix the situation. He also decides it’s a great opportunity to rid the world of “racism and people who talk in the cinema.”
So, armed with headphones and tapes with Bill reiterating the truth about the Monks, they head into the Monks’ headquarters in the center of London — but not before the Doctor points out that there are only 12 Monks controlling the whole world. Their secret to global domination? Those massive statues of themselves they put up all over the world in every part of every city. It’s funny because its both a practical plan and also Evil Dictator 101. As lame as their name kind of is, these villains are both smart and efficient.
However, like all great plans, things go south quickly. They get into a skirmish with the Monks that is very reminiscent of Mockingjay Part 2. Alan, one of the guards, takes a bullet to his Walkman. Now inundated with the Monks’ propaganda, he holds a gun up to the Doctor’s head… But resident bad-arse Nardole takes him out with a well-executed Torovian Neck Pinch.
Once inside the main room where the device is, the Doctor hooks himself up to the device, or rather, what appears to be a Monk’s open brain. In any case, it doesn’t quite work as easily as he expected. Even his megamind isn’t strong enough to withstand the Monks’ device fighting back. When he wakes up, he’s all tied up and Bill is bidding him and Nardole goodbye…
(Recap continues on page 2)