Bill takes Penny out on a date to a bar and explains she knows an alien and was trapped inside of a computer simulation. Penny figures that Bill is making it all up to hit on her. They go back to Bill's place and Penny asks how it went with her in it. Bill describes how the Pope come out of her bedroom, and Penny suggests that the Doctor was trying to keep her on the straight and narrow. As Bill asks how she feels on the subject, troopers bust into the flat and secure the room. Once they confirm who Bill is, they call in the Secretary General of the UN> He says that he came there to talk to the President. Bill has no idea who he's talking about, and the Secretary General finally explains that the Doctor is the President of Earth in times of crisis. Penny asks if she can get an Uber.
As the troopers drive the Secretary General and Bill away, the Secretary General explains that the Chinese and U.S. armies have gathered on the Chinese border near a pyramid. Colonel Don Brabbit calls and says that it seems dormant. The Chinese are reporting the same, and as they arrive at the airfield and an awaiting jet, Brabbit says that it's a 5,000-year-old pyramid... and it wasn't there the day before.
In the TARDIS, the Doctor talks about how the end of the world is a billion tiny moments.
A man crushes his wife Erica's reading glasses when he comes out the door.
Bill comes to see the Doctor, who puts on his sunglasses to conceal his blindness. She can't get in the door, and the Doctor tells her to consider what the monks would know if they had been simulating humanity. Bill tells her that the UN wants him, and he comes out to discover that the TARDIS is on the President' jet flying to China. The officer in charge, Erica, says that they got the TARDIS out of the office window. The Secretary General shows him the satellite feed on a tablet, but the Doctor can't see it. He has the Secretary General describe what is happening,.
At the Agrofuel Research Operations, Erica brings her co-worker Douglas coffee and tells him that he looks terrible. He admits that he was out drinking the night before, and says that they'll be going to Stage 2. Erica says that her reading glasses are broken and asks if Douglas is okay mixing it. He agrees and Erica puts on a biosuit and goes to the greenhouse lab. A monk watches her on the CCTV.
In Turmezistan, the Doctor's party drives to the pyramid. Soldiers are keeping the reporters away, and the Doctor has Bill describe what she sees. She figures that it's something disguised as a pyramid and is probably alien, and the Doctor points out that it's at the strategic point between the three most powerful armies on Earth. He says that it's sending the m a message to "bring it" and walks past the barricade by himself. The Doctor walks to the pyramid, and Nardole feeds him information via an earbud. When Bill wonders what he's doing, Nardole says that he's "updating" the Doctor.
The monks are watching, and open a door in the side of the pyramid. A monk comes out and says that they know the Doctor. He says that they will take the planet and rules its people, but only when they're asked. The Monk tells the Doctor that they will talk again at the end of the Earth, goes back into the pyramid, and closes the door.
Everyone's phone goes to 11:57 simultaneously. The Doctor explains that it's three minutes to midnight, represented on the Doomsday Clock. The closer it is to midnight, the closer they are to global disaster. The Doctor says that it's a warning because somewhere the end has begun.
Douglas's concentration flickers, and he activates Stage 2. The monks continue watching.
The Doctor calls the Russian commander and then homes in on his coordinates and materializes around the man. He introduces everyone, including Xiaolian, the commander of the Chinese army, and asks if they're for or against World War III.
At the UN base, the Doctor tells the assembled commanders about the monks and their simulation. He explains that they've chosen that exact moment and space to arrive, because it's a weak point in human history. Xiaolian suggests that they attack the pyramid to show strength, and Nardole is surprised when the Doctor agrees with her and tells them to coordinate their armies. Everyone's phones reset to 11:58 and the Doctor tells them to continue what he said. Once he leaves, Bill asks Nardole what is wrong with the Doctor, but he doesn't answer.
As the Doctor stands at a window, Bill approaches him and says that Nardole told her that there's something the Doctor wants to tell her. He removes his glasses and turns toward her, and a giant energy beam shoots out of the top of the pyramid into the sky. They drive to the pyramid as the bombers fly in. The monks train an energy beam on the first bomber, teleport aboard and replace the flight crew.
The monks use the energy beam to set the bomber on the ground. The ones that teleported aboard emerge and walk into the pyramid. The flight crew emerges, and then three Russians emerge. The Russian commander, Ilya, says that they targeted the pyramid with a missile from a submarine. The pyramid sets down a submarine nearby, and a voice says that they are ready to talk.
Erica suggests that Douglas take the afternoon off. Meanwhile, the Stage 2 chemical mist sprays onto the plants.
The Doctor, Nardole, Bill, the Secretary General, and the commanders enter the pyramid. The door closes behind them, and the lead Monk steps out and tells them that the human race is about to end. The chain of events is already in motion, and it takes them into a chamber to show them the simulation machine. The Monk explains that they are modeling the future, and they appear as monk-corpses because they see humanity as corpses. It tells them that they have seen the end of humanity and can protect them, but only if asked. Once they are given permission, they will protect humanity... forever. The Doctor warns the gathered humans that if they invite the monks in, it will be the last free action that they take.
The Monk invites them to touch the strands and see what humanity's future is one day in the future. The world is devastated, and everyone but the Doctor drops back gasping. The Doctor says that Earth is as dead as the moon, and the Monk tells them that power must consent. The Doctor asks why, as everyone's clocks set to 11:55. The Doctor wonders why the monks need consent, and the Monk tells him that they must be wanted and loved because ruling through fear is inefficient.
The Secretary General gives his consent against the Doctor's advice. The Monk shines a light on him and warns that if his power is impure, it will kill him. He declares that the Secretary General is acting out of fear, and fear is not consent. The Secretary General dissolves into dust, and the Doctor tells them that Earth does not consent. The Monk warns that without their help, Earth is doomed. The Doctor says that it's been doomed before and he's saved it.
At the lab, Erica and Douglas go into the greenhouse lab to check the plants. Douglas removes his helmet, explaining that he was about to throw up. All of the plants rot in seconds, and Douglas takes some dirt and goes out through the airlock.
The team goes back to the UN base, and the commanders agree not to consent. They ask the Doctor if they gave peace a chance, and the Doctor points out that the clocks are still at 11:59. He tells them that global war was never the problem, and figures that something is happening somewhere else and they have to find out what it is and stop it.
Erica and the helmetless Douglas analyze the chemical and discover that it's much too strong. She says that they have to seal off the lab and keep the chemicals from entering the atmosphere, and Douglas initiates sealoff protocol.
The Doctor tries to narrow things down. He figures that they should worry about something already on their radar, and work out that it's a mistake that will blow up in everybody's place. The Doctor puts all of the top secret documents in the world online in searchable format, and tells them to start Googling.
Douglas collapses and dies, his body rotting in seconds.
Brabbit wonders if they should agree to the deal, and the Doctor tells him that giving away the planet isn't smart. He then tries to work out what would be released, and has them check bio-chemical trials. Brabbit points out that the world they saw a dead Earth in a year, and Ilya agrees. The Doctor warns them that the price is too high, and insists that they can't give away their planet. Brabbit says that it's their planet and he plans on living to fight another day. Ilya and Xiaolian agree with him, and Bill asks the Doctor if they're right. He wonders if she would make the deal, and she says that she wouldn't if she had a choice... but they don't have a choice. Brabbit says that they're going back to the pyramid to negotiate their surrender.
Bill asks the Doctor what he's going to do, and he says that he's going to tell her the truth. He reaches for his glasses... and realizes that they can blind the monk. He sends Bill to the pyramid to keep an eye on them and goes to the TARDIS with Nardole.
As the lab goes into lockdown, Erica realizes what Douglas did.
The Doctor and Nardole bring up the 428 labs on a watchlist, and the Doctor tells Nardole to hack their CCTVs and switch them off. He figures that the monks are only watching one of the labs by hacking the cameras. Nardole switches off the cameras.
In the pyramid, the monitor goes dead.
The Doctor tells Nardole to now determine which camera gets its labs back. When the monks turn it on, Nardole detects it and the Doctor goes there in the TARDIS. He realizes that the atmosphere is toxic and sends Nardole into the TARDIS and tells him to monitor the situation. Once inside, Nardole starts choking as he dematerializes the TARDIS.
As Bill and the commanders go to the pyramid, the Doctor calls her and tells her what he's discovered. It's still in the lab, and the Doctor figures that he can contain it. Brabbit gives him two minutes.
Erica tells the Doctor that they have a filtration system and runs a cycle every 30 minutes. It will pump the bacteria into the atmosphere, and she can't switch it off. The next cycle is in 20 minutes, and everyone's clocks go to 11:59 and 40 seconds. Meanwhile, the Doctor gets an idea and says that they can sterilize the bacteria with flame. He grabs wiring and a thermos, and explains that he's going to blow up the lab using the ethanol the bacteria is giving off.
Inside the pyramid, Brabbit tells the Monk that they're going to talk. He scans them and asks if they have power, and warns that if they're consent is impure then they will die. The monks say that they act out of strategy, and strategy is not consent. The three commanders dissolve, and the monks turn to Bill. They ask if she consent, and Bill says that she has no power. The Monk tells her that she represents the Doctor, the greatest power on the planet, and asks if her consent is pure.
With four minutes left, the Doctor and Erica rig a bomb. Bill calls him and he explains his plan. He assures her that he can do it, and tells her not to consent. Bill asks what consent is, and the Monk tells her that once she consents, the link will be formed.
The Doctor goes into the greenhouse and wires the bomb to the ethanol. Erica goes out through one airlock and tells the Doctor to get out of there, and he sets the timer for two minutes.
The clocks go into reverse, and an alarm goes off in the pyramid. The monks monitor the threads of the simulation machine, and the Doctor tells Bill to get out. She runs for the exit, and Erica tells the Doctor that she can't override the airlock mechanism. She gives him the combination, but the Doctor can't see it . Erica can't see it from her angle, and the Doctor tells Bill that he can't see the locks. Nardole is unconscious in the TARDIS and can't send a camera to the lab. The Doctor tells Bill that he's blind, and admits that he lied to her. Bill says that she won't let him die, saying that the monks can help hm. The Doctor tells her not to do it, but Bill tells him that the planet needs him so she's keeping him alive. He warns her that she doesn't know what she's consenting to, but Bill asks the monks if they can give the Doctor his sight back. The Monk says that it can be restored, and Bill gives her consent. He tests her and confirms that she's acting out of love.
The Doctor demands to know what's happening. After a moment he realizes that he can see. He enters the combination and gets out of the greenhouse just in time. As the Doctor stares at the flames, he's wondered what he's done.
The Monk tells the Doctor to enjoy his sight, because now he will see their world.
Written by Gadfly on May 28, 2017