“The Pyramid at the End of the World” is episode seven of season ten of the new Doctor Who.
This is the second in a trilogy of linked episodes. In the previous episode, “Extremis”, the Doctor was asked by the Pope to translate a document, known simply as ‘Veritas’, a document which had caused everyone who read it to kill themselves.
The document provided evidence that the entire world was a simulation, as was everyone in it, including the Doctor and Bill, a simulation created by a group of monk-like hideous (and therefore probably evil) aliens. Fake Doctor decided this simulation was a precursor to invasion, a way of testing plans to see what finally works, and managed to send an email to the real Doctor, informing him about everything that had gone on. The Doctor had asked for the person in the vault to help – no great surprise when it turned out to be Missy.
This episode opens with Bill talking to a friend about the simulation, interspersed with clips from the previous episode. This is the same person, Penny, that Bill’s date with was interrupted by the Pope. This new date is interrupted by armed men. They are making sure the room is safe for the Secretary General of the United Nations. Bill is never going to get anywhere with Penny at this rate. He wants to speak to the President. The Doctor. Bill does not know that the Doctor is the President of Earth, in times of unusual danger. The Secretary General thinks Bill may know where the Doctor is. There’s a disputed area, in Turmezistan (fictional), in the centre of which is a pyramid, and around which are troops from China, the U.S. and Russia. The pyramid is being observed carefully. It’s a 5,000 year old pyramid that wasn’t there the previous day.
The Doctor is in the TARDIS and Bill is knocking on the door. He isn’t interested in going to where he’s wanted – but the TARDIS has been put on a plane without his knowledge. The Doctor is still keeping the blindness he got in “Oxygen” a secret from everyone but Nardole, who he is using to tell him what is happening.
Bill deduces that the pyramid is actually a spaceship that just happens to look like a pyramid. Given its location between the three most powerful armed forces, it would appear to be a threat of some description. So the Doctor goes to take a look. One of the monk-creatures comes out of the pyramid. He says that they are going to take Earth and rule its people, but only when they are asked to. Then everyone’s phone and watch gets set to 11:57 PM, three minutes to midnight – the current time of the Doomsday Clock. The Doctor says this is a warning, not a threat. Using force does not seem to accomplish anything, but the monk-things are not being aggressive.
At Agrofuel Research Operations it seems likely that something bad is going to happen. They’re about to progress to stage two, but one researcher has broken her reading glasses and the other has a hangover. This does not look good. There’s also one of the ugly monk-things watching through the CCTV. It would seem to be what is happening here is what they are warning against.
The time on everyone’s Doomsday Clock is getting closer to midnight. If humanity does not ask for the monk-things’ help, everything on the world will die, from humanity’s own actions. If they do ask for help, the monk-things will rule the planet forever. They will not take the planet by force, even though they could.
Even though we know what is probably going to happen, no-one else does, and they believe war is the most likely cause of the death of every living thing on Earth. So they need to find out just what is going to cause the end of the world, before it does end the world, and they have a very limited amount of time to do this. Especially as everyone but the Doctor is willing to make the deal.
The episode is fairly sluggish to get going, but did the monks see what actually happened? A definite cliff-hanger and the story continues in “The Lie of the Land”.