The Lie of the Land
Written by Toby Whithouse, directed by Wayne Yip
“I’m sorry, Bill, I really wanted to make you see!”
“Oh my God, this is real. You’re really doing this!”
The world is gripped by a mass delusion and only Bill Potts can see the truth. When even the Doctor is fighting on the wrong side, it’s up to Bill to convince the Time Lord that humanity is in deadly danger. And if she can’t do that, she may just have to kill her best friend.
The Monks are rulers of the Earth, and appear to have been on Earth for millions of years, guiding human development. Bill and a few others are aware of the truth: the Monks have only been present on Earth for six months. Those who hold this view are imprisoned for “memory crimes”. The Doctor appears on television praising the Monks’ guidance over humanity.
Bill keeps herself grounded in reality by imagining that she is talking with her long-dead mother, based on pictures the Doctor gave her. Nardole, also aware of the truth, locates Bill and helps her to find the prison hulk where the Doctor is thought to be a captive. Inside, after a team of commandos swarm inside, the Doctor tells Bill he is cooperating willingly with the Monks, believing that humanity was doomed without their guidance. Bill becomes distraught and shoots the Doctor, who appears to begin regenerating, but quickly stops. The entire scenario is revealed to have been a test by Nardole, the Doctor and the team, to make sure Bill was not under the influence of the Monks.
At the university where the Doctor and Bill work, they enter the Vault to talk to Missy, who says she has encountered the Monks before. She confirms the Monks maintain control by broadcasting a signal containing the false history to their subjugated victims via the numerous statues they have built across Earth, enabled by a psychic link established through the person who originally gave “consent”; Missy claims she defeated them during her own encounter by killing that individual. The implication is that Bill must die as the one who gave consent on Earth.
Believing there is another solution, the Doctor, Bill, Nardole, and the commandos infiltrate the Monks’ pyramid in London so that the Doctor can hijack their broadcast with his own mind to break the psychic transmission. In the central chamber, the Doctor attempts to link his mind to the controlling Monk, who after a struggle overpowers the Doctor. Bill intends to sacrifice herself, linking her own mind to the Monk’s despite the Doctor’s protests. The Monks’ broadcast is replaced with images of Bill’s mother, which the Doctor recognizes is a strong and loving memory in Bill’s mind. Humanity wakes up from the Monks’ lies and revolts against them. The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole watch as the Monks abandon Earth. Sometime later, the Doctor and Bill find that most of humanity have no recollection of the Monks. In the Vault, Missy expresses remorse for those she has killed.