Roots: There are references to Shakespeare, Minnie the Minx, Candy Crush Saga, Guy Fawkes, Gregg’s, Katherine Hepburn, Little Mix, Swarfega, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sean Connery, Francis Godwin’s The Man in the Moon, Crunchies, The Pilgrim’s Progress, The Smith’s “How Soon is Now”, Justin Bieber, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, The Specials’ “Ghost Town”, Radiohead’s “Creep”, Jimi Hendrix, and Bono.
Dialogue Disasters: Most of the phonetic Scottish dialogue.
Dialogue Triumphs: “We’re always in history. Even in the future, it’s still history. It depends how you look at it.”
“One person can change the world. No. Scrub that. Every person changes the world. Everybody affects the people around them, altering the course of events in a million chaotic ways.”
Continuity: The Psycholops are a space bound race that migrates between the stars in immense shoals, bound together in a psychic gestalt. They communicate through empathy, sensing and sharing their emotions. They resemble living spaceships, and may have evolved from sentient spaceships. They are psychokinetic. The one seen here became infected by the “grief-leeches” and crashed on Earth during the Ice Age. It has been preventing Arthur’s Seat from erupting.
The “grief-leeches” feed on grief and misery. They are kept a microsecond out of phase by temporal displacement, which the Doctor hypothesises is a defence mechanism. They only go out of phase when they are hunting or feeding. They are intelligent. One of them is able to control Annabelle’s mind and access her speech centres by using its radula to penetrate her frontal lobe.
The Doctor uses the psychic paper to pose as the King’s medical examiner Robert Louis Stevenson. He disguises himself as the Night Doctor. He and Bill eat porridge.
Bill has never visited Edinburgh before. She drinks ale. She catches the plague but is cured by streptomycin from the TARDIS medical kit. The Doctor gives her a spare TARDIS key.
Nardole briefly wears a tam-o’-shanter and a kilt. He claims to be descended from the clan MacNardole. He states that he has known the Doctor for over twenty years and that the Doctor has saved his life at least three times (see The Husbands of River Song). He claims that Tarovian kickboxing is a hobby. His lungs can filter out sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere. The Psycholops communicates via Nardole due to the fact that his psyche is untroubled and that he is willing to let it do so.
There is a chest containing gold sovereigns in the TARDIS’ second wardrobe room. According to Nardole, Anatids like water.
Links: The black leather bomber jacket that Bill finds in the TARDIS is possibly Ace’s. The Doctor mentions the Isolus (Fear Her). Catherine is treated by nuns who resemble cats (New Earth).
Location: Edinburgh, 1645 and 2017.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor once threw Nardole out of the TARDIS wearing a space suit and left him floating in space for five minutes to persuade him to stop humming.
The Bottom Line: “It’s quite simple. An alien being crashed onto your planet during the last ice age and is now buried under Arthur’s Seat.” Entertaining enough, and Morris writes the Twelfth Doctor, Bill and Nardole well, but the phonetic Scottish dialogue is annoying and the Doctor attracting the grief-leeches by playing whiny shoe-gazing hits smacks of self-indulgence.