Press reaction for this week's Doctor Who - The Lie of the Land is mixed, with a number of reviewers finding it the weakest story in the season so far.
The Mirror found the conclusion to the Monk trilogy confusing but praised the performances. "Thank Omega for Missy, because it's the only plot strand in The Lie Of The Land that makes any sense and moves us along.The always excellent Michelle Gomez is finally getting the chance to stretch her portrayal of Missy. Her game of hot and cold with her sparring partner, mentions of pushing a small girl into a volcano and piano interludes create a Silence Of The Lambs vibe that I could watch an entire episode of."
The Telegraph also praised the actors "Pearl Mackie put in another marvellous performance here: authentic but controlled, never histrionic, equally convincing whether she was threatening to “beat the s--t” out of Nardole or saying a fond farewell when she thought she was sacrificing herself. "
However Radio Times felt the episode to be misjudged in getting the companion to fire a gun at The Doctor. "It presents the Doctor, Bill and Nardole in a very poor light. It’s blocked awkwardly. The actors look uncomfortable. Moreover, it’s horribly misjudged to show Bill turning a gun on the Doctor and firing not once but four times. We’ve seen nothing that would push her to such an extreme act. It cannot be rationalised or condoned."
Digital Spy called the spisode a decent climax to a middling trilogy. "The Lie of the Land works hard to have its audience – like Bill and her compatriots – second-guess everything we see. Has the Doctor turned? Is Missy really trying to help?For the most part, its attempts at ambiguity are enjoyable. The Missy scenes are perfectly-pitched and while the Doctor's turncoat moment is unconvincing on a plot level, it's powerfully performed."
Den of Geek Enjoyed the first part of the episode, but felt thinks went downhill after the Doctor faked his regeneration. "This three-part story has been really successful at building up some huge stakes, and huge challenges, but less successful at satisfyingly resolving them. I can't shake the feeling that it's a slightly frustrating episode this, one that didn’t quite pay off for me. "
AV Club was also disappointed in the episode feeling the skills of the lead actors outpaced the quality of the script. "There’s Pearl Mackie, who comes damn close to making the whole thing work in spite of herself. There’s Peter Capaldi, who is as great as ever but whose talents are sometimes misused in service of ideas the story won’t commit to. And then there’s Michelle Gomez, who is reliably great as Missy. "
Ars Technica also disliked the script. "The narration and lack of action are jarring, and while the BBC producers behind Doctor Who are generally pretty good at this sci-fi on a shoestring budget thing, Lie of the Land really deserves a bit more investment—particularly in development of the script, penned by Toby Whithouse"
IGN bucked the trend by enjoying the story and its conclusion "The episode proves to be a pretty good one, satisfyingly wrapping up the overall story while also charting some new ground, providing more than a couple of thrills and head-fakes, commenting on current events in a not at all subdued way, and further advancing the vault/Missy storyline just enough to keep us on the hook."
While Games Radar again praised the performances. "Pearl Mackie has this uncanny ability to transition between emotions flawlessly, with each change so natural that you realise how you’d probably react in the same way. Her acting in the scene above with Capaldi perfectly matches how you’ll feel when you watch the scene, going from despair to anger at the Doctor’s hypocrisy."
Link to Doctor Who News Review