Doctor Who Review by John Keegan

Doctor Who 9.07: The Zygon Invasion

Doctor Who 9.07: The Zygon Invasion

Written By:
Peter Harness
Directed By:
Daniel Nettheim

This story had me from the very beginning, when it took elements of “Day of the Doctor” and used them as the springboard for this adventure.  And dark and terrifying adventure it is.  If the previous episode left us wondering what kind of unintended consequences Ashildr might need to address following the decisions made by The Doctor, this seemed to answer that question.  Because “massive alien invasion” certainly qualifies. 

After all the foreshadowing for Clara’s impending doom, the severity of the Zygon situation seemed to be driving home the potential for an early exit.  And the Zygons themselves represent a kind of resurrection potential; Osgood was killed by Missy, but there’s also a duplicate who doesn’t know if they are the “real” Osgood or not.  It’s an interesting twist that meshes with the complicated and disturbing aspects of the Zygons themselves.

In some respects, this invasion brought to mind aspects of the Battlestar Galactica reboot.  What if there was an embedded enemy all around you, and you never knew it, until it was far too late?  Hardly a new concept, but I imagine some will believe this is commentary for more recent sentiments in the UK and beyond.  That it is a generational conflict adds to some of the flavor, as we see one generation happily assimilating for survival, while the next chafes at the notion of giving up a key aspect of their identity.  

Had the issue been simply one of a group wanting to have a degree of autonomy or just the right to live as they truly are, that might have been more easily resolved.  Staging a major coup as part of that initiative takes it into a different arena entirely.  That said, having them neutralize and copy Kate and Clara made for an interesting turn of events, and there was something rather appealing about “Clara” when she is so sinister.

It’s hard not to see a theme emerging: characters that are seemingly dead coming back, thus mitigating the pain that The Doctor and others feel from their initial loss.  From Missy’s inexplicable return down the line, everyone seems to come back from the brink of extinction.  How much more crushing is it going to be, then, if The Doctor is force to endure a situation where Clara simply cannot be saved from a gruesome end?

So much of this episode was devastating, world-altering setup that a lot rides on how the situation is ultimately resolved.  Whatever else might be true, this is truly the series in which Capaldi is making the role of Twelve his own.  From the constant rock guitar stylings to his arrogant pronouncements throughout the crisis, this is a distinct version of The Doctor that only Capaldi could deliver.  After disappointing a bit in the eighth series, this is precisely what was needed.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The extent and severity of the invasion is substantial
  • The notion of returning from death might make Clara’s exit that much worse
The Bad:
  • A great start, but can the second part live up to the setup?

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Doctor Who by - 11/4/2015 12:36 PM155 views

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