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Spoilers below for the latest episode of Doctor Who, so be warned.
Some shows build themselves around mysteries that look bigger than they are, and usually we as fans don't know this until those mysteries have been solved. Doctor Who has proven itself to be one of those shows, and tonight ushered in the most tense episode of this season, and quite possibly the entire Steven Moffat era. Missy and the vault look like they're the least of our worries at this moment, as the Earth has fallen to The Monks, and it's all in the name of love. The end game is upon us.
During "The Pyramid At The End Of The World," we were lead to believe that The Doctor would save us all in typical Doctor-ly fashion, and for a good 80% of the episode, it looked like that was going to work. But in a last-minute twist, companion Bill took the deal where The Monks would control the world, in order to save it, which gave The Doctor back his sight at a critical juncture of his scheme to save the world without their help.
It needs to be stated that this week's episode is the best of Season 10, because while there's been a mixed bag of what seems to be random puzzle pieces, it all came together in the latest Doctor Who adventure. The picture we're looking at right now is rather frightening, and the preview for next week's episode seems to show Missy being sprung from the vault as a last ditch effort to save the world. And that sort of assistance, much like Bill's bargain with The Monks, comes at a cost that might be too high. We'll likely see what the ultimate price is in next week's episode, but with Nardole down for the count and possibly gone for good, it's already too high.
Come to think of it, The Doctor's offer to Missy for assistance during last week's episode, "Extremis," was pretty similar to the procedure that The Monks require to control the planet. The ritual of The Monks necessitates consent via feelings of love, and as we've seen in their long history together, The Doctor quite loves The Master/Missy as a fellow Time Lord. So much like the deal to consent to The Monks' assistance, Missy and The Doctor's pact will probably lead to something much more sinister. Though, what's to say these Monks aren't Time Lords themselves? We certainly don't know the true form of The Monks, and there's a chance that could actually be a band of rogue Gallifreyans under the control of Missy.
There are still some blanks that need to be filled in with the next few episodes of Doctor Who. While things are looking bleak and desperate, the show itself is looking to be the complete opposite. Moffat and co-writer Peter Harness have delivered the best episode of the season, and if the following five episodes that close out the season proper follow this pattern of momentum, the finale of the current showrunner's tenure just might tumble down a rabbit hole of escalating threats and excitement. While his run as the steward of the small screen's Doctor Who has been uneven at times, the last two seasons may go down in history as a fitting end to his era.