Everything’s wrapped up, and much later than usual… After three episodes, we’ve finally said goodbye to the Monks. Fortunately, we’ve not said goodbye to our weekly round-up of references, similarities and general observations, so here’s our guide to this week’s episode… If you’re more eagle-eyed than we are, let us know what you’ve seen in the comments below!
The Memory Cheats
Though this is the first time the human race’s memories have been rewritten en masse (as opposed to time itself being rewritten, which has happened on multiple occasions, particularly since 2005), individuals’ memories have been played with from time to time, such as the Doctor erasing Donna’s memories of him in 2008’s Journey’s End, the Time Lords erasing Jamie and Zoe’s memories of the Doctor in 1969’s The War Games and Clara erasing the Doctor’s memories of her in 2014’s Hell Bent.
As well as presumably rewriting some of the Doctor’s own battles with the Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels, the Monks have infiltrated some other famous works and moments with links to the Doctor: the Vitruvian Man and the Mona Lisa were both created by Leonardo da Vinci, who was known to the Doctor when he visited his workshop in 1979’s City Of Death – on which occasion the Doctor marked out six extra Mona Lisas as fakes in order to foil Scaroth’s plot.
The Doctor interfered with the broadcast of the moon landing in 2011’s Day Of The Moon, while he was established to be a long-standing friend of Winston Churchill in 2010’s Victory Of The Daleks. The ninth Doctor and Rose heard the first telephone call in 2005’s Father’s Day, and the Doctor met Albert Einstein first in 1987’s Time And The Rani as a captive of the villainous Time Lady and then in the 2011 short Death Is The Only Answer, which was written by students from Oakley CE Junior School in Basingstoke following a BBC Learning competition.
There’s more than a hint of George Orwell’s 1984 about the Monks’ reign; in that novel, protagonist Winston Smith worked for the Ministry of Truth, whose role was to rewrite the past – albeit via newspaper articles rather than memory wipes. Similarly, the idea of memory crimes and the Memory Police parallels that novel’s thought crimes and Thought Police – much as remembering the wrong (or right) thing can get you arrested in the Monks’ world, so too can thinking the wrong thing in Orwell’s.
A few sites of previous Doctor Who adventures are shown in the Doctor’s video – the Eiffel Tower, again from 1979’s City Of Death; Stonehenge, home to the Pandorica in 2010’s The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang; and the Statue of Liberty, who was revealed to be a Weeping Angel in 2012’s The Angels Take Manhattan.
There are a few references to events earlier in this series. We assume you’ve been paying attention, but just in case, there’s the stop the TARDIS made in Australia in The Pilot to try and shake Heather off, Nardole’s insistence that space doors make a ‘shuk shuk’ noise in Oxygen, and the big fish creature living in the Thames underneath the Thin Ice. Furthermore, Bill didn’t know what her mother looked like at the start of the series – the Doctor went back in time and took some photos of her in The Pilot as a Christmas present for Bill.
One for Sorrow, Two for Joy
We see a branch of Magpie Electricals; the original Magpie Electricals in Muswell Hill was the site of an attempted invasion by the Wire when the Doctor and Rose visited 1953 in 2006’s The Idiot’s Lantern. Mr Magpie himself was killed during those events, but the brand has flourished – the twelfth Doctor plays his guitar through a Magpie amplifier, Martha Jones and Wilfred Mott both have Magpie televisions in 2008, and several items in the eleventh Doctor’s first console room are Magpie-branded. In fact, the chain survives well into the 33rd century – a branch is visible aboard the Starship UK in 2010’s The Beast Below.
The Doctor previously appeared to side with the villains while keeping his companion in the dark in 1978’s The Invasion Of Time, when he returned to Gallifrey as Lord President and let the tin-foil Vardans in – whilst exiling companion Leela to the wastelands, where she formed a resistance movement. He later revealed that he sent her away for her own protection.
Though the Doctor’s companions have tried to kill him from time to time whilst under alien influences (like Grace Holloway in the 1996 TV Movie), it’s rare for them to try and kill him whilst in their right mind; someone who did give it a go, however, was fifth Doctor companion Turlough. The Black Guardian offered to take him home if he eliminated the Doctor, and for several stories Turlough’s loyalties were divided – however, he eventually broke his contract with the Guardian and stayed with the Doctor until shortly before his regeneration.
The Doctor’s belief in free will was cemented in 1970’s Inferno, when the third Doctor was catapulted into a parallel Earth ruled by a fascist regime. Its very existence demonstrated to the Doctor that different decisions are possible and therefore free will is not an illusion.
There are a few nods to The Last Of The Time Lords in this story; that episode also began with a time jump of many months, with the Doctor under watch by the villain of the piece – on that occasion the Master – and the companion resisting the successful occupation of the Toclafane whilst keeping her head down and dressing all in black. There is, of course, the nod to the story’s title when the Doctor introduces Missy, and a version of the piece of music This Is Gallifrey, Our Childhood, Our Home that first played in that three-parter. That episode also saw a Time Lord getting shot – the Master was shot by his wife, and refused to regenerate.
The fake regeneration is reminiscent of the tenth Doctor’s at the end of 2008’s The Stolen Earth – that regeneration was real, but the Doctor had a spare hand on standby to stop himself from becoming Matt Smith 18 months early. The Tesselecta also faked regeneration energy when posing as the eleventh Doctor during the events of The Impossible Astronaut in 2011, but that wasn’t revealed until that year’s finale The Wedding Of River Song.
The double thumbs-up as shown between Bill and the soldier was shared by the eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond on several occasions during the 2010 series.
Missy plays Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer on the piano; the tune was previously whistled by a doomed hiker in 1977’s Image Of The Fendahl.
For all the talk of signals, it’s essentially Bill’s love for her mother that saves the day. The Steven Moffat era has been a bit sentimental like that – It was explicitly love that saved the day in 2010’s The Lodger, while in 2014’s Death In Heaven it was Danny Pink’s love for Clara that allowed him to disobey Missy’s orders.
The Tarovian neck pinch is obviously modelled on the Vulcan nerve pinch, a debilitating move devised by Spock actor Leonard Nimoy when he refused to beat up Captain Kirk in a less dignified way in 1966’s The Enemy Within.
Have you spotted something we haven’t? Leave it in the comments below!
Pete is the co-writer and presenter of The Mostly Made-Up Doctor Who Episode Guide, a comedy podcast chronicling the Doctor’s adventures that is almost as well-researched as this article. You can find it on iTunes or at http://www.mostlymadeupdw.co.uk.