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Doctor Who Recap: It’s Doomsday O’Clock In The Pyramid At The End Of The World

Xmas Special Airs December 25 9e 6p

Brb, the world’s ending. How do we know? Because a 5,000-year-old pyramid just appeared out of nowhere at the intersection of Russian, Chinese, and American military bases and the robed aliens that came out of it said so. Good enough for you?

It’s more than good enough for the Doctor—sorry: President. Of Earth. (Extreme times, extreme pay grade increases.) As every Apple Watch and cuckoo clock on the planet, regardless of meridian, switches over to DMT (that’s Doomsday Mean Time), the Doctor hurries to prevent the impending disaster. The catch is that he has no idea what it might be—and neither does anyone else.

Except us, the omniscient viewers. We know that the thing that sets in motion a chain of events that will potentially end our existence begins with two unlucky lab workers—one hungover, the other robbed of her reading glasses (Mondays, am I right?). Muddled brains and a badly mixed cocktail of deadly enzymes turns everything in the lab to mush, including one of the botanists.

But while the countdown for the wide release of the deadly mixture is on (an automated laboratory exhaust system sees to that), the Doctor is busy trying to avoid a third World War, assuming that that’s what’s going to end us (not a bad guess—probably reads the papers). For him, the worst-case scenario sees humanity surrendering to the aliens who know our fate, without knowing the terms of such a surrender.

Scared that they’re about to blow their one chance to save us, our brave leaders step forward one by one to hand over the planet—only they do it out of fear or strategy. In order for the invaders to take power, that power must be given willingly. These anti-Machiavellian aliens want to be loved.

Using a clever CCTV camera trick, Nardole helps the Doctor figure out where the real crisis originates and (yeah, still blind) he heads to the lab to stop the deadly toxin from escaping. In doing so, he’s accidentally locked inside with the gas and the bomb that’s meant to neutralize it. Phoning in a hasty farewell-oh-and-btw-I’m-still-blind to Bill, the Doctor accepts his fate (it’s hard to regenerate after you detonate). And that’s when the aliens finally get their ideal surrender: Bill trades the entire world for the Doctor’s safety—and she does it out of love. But what, exactly, has she done?

5 Questions About This Week’s Episode

1. So we’ve handed Earth off to a contingent of corpse-faced alien monks who travel from place to place in a 5,000-year-old pyramid… What could go wrong?

2. No Missy this week? We expected some Missy. They’ll be Missy next week, yeah?

3. Any guesses as to what the secret terms of Earth’s surrender might be? Exorbitant extraterrestrial income taxes? Mandatory intergalactic military service? No more paid sick days? Does anyone under 40 still get those?

4. Real talk: What kind of top secret science lab has a glorified bike lock barring it’s door? What about retina scanners or fingerprint readers or a keypad at least?

5. The Doctor can see again, thanks to the alien monks—have they orchestrated their own downfall by restoring his sight?

INNERSPACE CLIPS