Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Cast: Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Ronke Adekoluejo, Tim Bentinck, Andrew Byron, Daphne Cheung, Rachel Denning, Tony Gardner, Nigel Hastings, Jamie Hill, Togo Igawa, Eben Young.
The question is, do you give away your freedom to be saved? If you are drowning, if you are there in the water struggling for each breathe and someone offers to save you but at the price of slavery for your family forever, would you take it, knowing that the servitude will be relentless, that the abuse on those you love would be without pity, remorse or justice, would you still ask them to throw a lifebuoy?
The question that comes to us when confronted by the possibility of death, the Doctor’s ever present companion, is always that, what do we swear to do if someone, a deity, our lucky invisible charm, swoops down and gives us that extra bit of time, we always promise to change our ways, we strike the Dickensian bargain of Scrooge, we plead and without knowing the consequences of our position, we become entrapped in a game that could be a thousand times worse than the final loving sleep in Morpheus’ arms.
The Pyramid at the End of the World is one such moment in the world of Doctor Who, the second instalment of a three-part story line, the silent invasion, one that like a vampire has to be invited in to succeed, that needs the declaration of love to begin and once you cave, once you capitulate, the world is never the same again.
Despite the fact that the previous episode was arguably one of the finest ever penned in the long history of the show, to even keep up the momentum and see the middle part of the story be as intricate and as demanding as possible, would be a hell of a task for anybody to consider, yet The Pyramid at the End of the World does manage to keep the clock ticking, the various one liners uttered, interesting and creative and the fallout from the Doctor’s blindness finally exposed in a huge act of hubris; this was an episode of great introspection, the sense that truly the Doctor may always solve the problem but if the human race cannot cope with the cost then the companion, our own eyes and thought on the world and the actions surrounding us, must stand up to The Doctor’s orders, without a single moment to consider their own safety.
This is a great episode for Pearl Mackie as Bill, the tremendous way she has applied herself to the role has been steadily growing, she has taken apart the feeling of the new companion and one that normally takes time to really develop and barged it over with complete assured finesse and with the most radiant of smiles; it is a part that really is built for her and one that she has come to excel in very quickly.
It could be the end of the world as we know it but hidden inside the pyramid, away from the eyes that cultivate mass disaster in the name of science, a world can die and there could be no life preserver to help.
Ian D. Hall