This week’s episode of Doctor Who looks to be putting the Time Lord in a pretty dire situation, with the evil Monks ruling the world and the human race forgetting that they haven’t always lived in this dystopian situation.
Frankly, it’s a mystery as to how the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) will ever find his way out of it – unless of course, the answer is that he won’t have to solve it at all, and we’re about to be hit with another massive twist that will undo all the Monks’ evil plans.
You see, some fans are now speculating that what we see in the next episode – the Monks’ authoritarian society and the Doctor’s cooperation with their plans – isn’t actually happening, and that the whole thing will in fact be revealed as another simulation just like the Monks’ attack in the series’ sixth episode Extremis. The Monks have been running these simulations for thousands if not millions of years, so who’s to say they wouldn’t want one more dry run at seeing how their rule would actually play out?
Sure, it’s a little unlikely right after Doctor Who pulled the same “it was all a dream” trick a couple of weeks ago, but think about it – what better way to surprise people than by doing the unexpected and using the same twist again? It certainly worked for villain Madame Kovarian back in the Matt Smith era, when first Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond and THEN her baby daughter were revealed to be synthetic duplicates in subsequent episodes (below).
And if the Monks’ world did turn out to be a simulation, it could also explain one of the most enduring mysteries of this series – Peter Capaldi’s early regeneration. Preview clips featuring footage from this episode (called The Lie of the Land, fact fans) have shown the Doctor begin his regeneration, while Peter Capaldi himself has hinted it could be coming earlier than expected, and we’ve spent a few weeks trying to work out how Capaldi’s hero could dodge the physical change that traditionally comes with that process.
Now, we might have our answer. Maybe Bill (Pearl Mackie) shoots the Doctor (as we’ve seen in the episode 8 trailer) specifically to trigger the change, which in some way will short-circuit or overwhelm the simulation due to the multiple possibilities of the Doctor’s next incarnation. Accordingly, this could set the Doctor free to seek out the real Monks, possibly explaining this picture from episode 8 that sees him run into a Cyber controller-style bigwig who appears to be in charge of the same sort of simulation cables we saw the Monks using in last week’s episode The Pyramid at the End of the World.
Of course, it’s far more likely that Doctor Who would shy away from using the same twist twice and there will be a far more satisfying and well-conceived answer for the Earth’s problems (and the Doctor’s regeneration issues) when we sit down to watch The Lie of the Land this Saturday. But hey – in a show as unpredictable as Doctor Who, you never know what to expect. Hell, even the expected can become the unexpected!
Doctor Who continues on BBC1 this Saturday 3rd June at 7:35pm