All we are give peace (with Zygons) a chance!! (Doctor Who Episodes 7 & 8)

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Doctor Who Series 9 – Episode 7 and 8 – The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion

Episode 7 - Written by: Peter Harness
Episode 8 – Written by Peter Harness & Steven Moffat
Both Episodes - Directed by Daniel Nettheim

Peter Capaldi - The Doctor
Jenna Coleman  - Clara Oswald
Ingrid Oliver – Osgood
Jemma Redgrave – Kate Stewart
Rebecca Front – Colonel Walsh
Jaye Griffiths – Jac
Cleopatra Dickens – Claudette
Sasha Dickens – Jemima
Abhishek Singh – Sandeep
Samila Kularatne – Sandeep's mum
Todd Kramer – Hitchley
Jill Winternitz – Lisa
Gretchen Egolf – Norlander
Karen Mann – Hitchley's Mum
Aidan Cook – Zygon
Tom Wilton – Zygon

Quick Synopsis: In the “Day of the Doctor,” three versions of The Doctor worked to help set up a peace treaty between the Earth and the Zygons, a shape-shifting alien race without a home.  30 million Zygons were allowed to settle on Earth in human guise.  But a rogue group of Zygons has decided that this isn’t enough.  They are looking to force a war with humanity in order to get other Zygons to rise up against humanity as well.  The Doctor needs to help find a way to get the treaty back in place before the Zygons or UNIT can create a worldwide catastrophe.

  • So much of the talk about these episodes has been focused on the Doctor’s speech at the end.  Which was brilliant.

  • Part of the reason I loved this scene (and these episodes) so much is that for the most part Doctor Who has shied a little away from dealing with big social issues since it came back in 2005.  There are hints of it, but back in the day, Doctor Who dealt with social issues in a much more head on fashion.  Topics like the environment, overpopulation, and war were constantly in focus.   In these episodes, the Doctor is forced to deal with immigration and refugees on a very big scale.   Capaldi had commented in the past that he liked those kinds of Doctor Who stories, so I hope we get more of them.
  • In the end, we find out that the Doctor had set up a little test to help keep the treaty intact.  Two boxes called the Osgood Boxes.   The human box had two unlabeled buttons. One would kill all the Zygons.  The other would set off a nuclear device in the heart of London.  The Zygon box also had two buttons.  One would reveal all the Zygons on Earth.  The other would cause the Zygons to lose their shapeshifting abilities and be stuck in human form for the rest of their lives.    I did think this was a little ham fisted, but it did make sense based on what the Doctor was dealing with when the initial crisis was going on (the decision whether or not to use The Moment to destroy Gallifrey to end the Time War). 
  • One mystery throughout the episode is about Osgood.  Osgood was an UNIT technician who got a Zygon clone in Day of the Doctor. One of them was killed by Missy in the season finale last year, but we never found out which one.  The Doctor considers this a very important question, which made me wonder if he even understood the moral of the story.  Osgood was firm in saying that it didn’t matter if she was human or Zygon. Both races’ interests need to be protected.  Osgood is an interesting character, and I kind of hope she ends up getting a bigger role in the show in the future.  We really do need another companion with Clara leaving at the end of the season.
  • At the end of the first episode, we find out that Clara was replaced by a Zygon double early in the episode.  I am torn between who was hotter.  Evil Clara or tight black shirt Clara who existed only in evil Clara’s head.  I don’t know what it was, but Evil Clara’s expressions made her even more attractive than normal.  And that is saying quite a bit.
  • Just so I don’t get accused of being sexist, Jenna Coleman’s performance in these episodes was terrific.  Claraias forced to keep coming up with ways to try and make herself heard while trapped in a coma.  “Bonnie” the Zygon replaced Clara and was desperate to try and save her people.   Both of these roles were so different, but Jenna Coleman made them both terrific.  I am genuinely going to miss her when she’s gone at the end of the season.
  • Jemma Redgrave continues to be awesome as Kate Stewart.  She plays the role of the daughter of the Doctor’s old friend Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (played by the late Nicholas Courtney) perfectly.   I especially loved when she said, “Five rounds rapid,” which is a classic line.  Nicholas Courtney even used that as the name of his autobiography back in the day.   This was a great homage to one of my favorite characters, and Redgrave honors the role every time she plays Kate. 
  • There were a few things about these episodes that bugged me.  The reoccurring “Truth or Consequences” theme was interesting, but it became a little too much, especially when in the end we find out that the buttons had “Truth or Consequences” written on them.  There didn’t seem like any way for that to make sense other than to try and keep a theme which was getting annoying by the time we find that out.
  • It is also suggested at the end of the episode that this was the 15th time this crisis had broken out, and each time the Doctor had mindwiped UNIT and the Zygons after peace was restored.  In the end of this episode, the Doctor allows Bonnie to keep her memories, seemingly trying to break this cycle.  But it seems strange that the Doctor had allowed this to happen 15 times before deciding to try something new.  Clearly the old plan wasn’t working…so why keep doing it over and over again?
  • My last complaint is that the foreshadowing for Clara coming to a bad end is getting a little much.  Each story lately had ended with the Doctor looking at Clara with a grim foreboding look after a comment about thinking he had lost her.  I get it, I get it.  Something bad happens to Clara.  Personally, for me, I want Danny to come back to life and they get to live happily ever after.  That would be the perfect ending for Clara. 
  • This episode teased about “hybrids” again, with Osgood basically being a hybrid of humanity and Zygons.  Hybrids have been a reoccurring theme this season.  I assume that is our “Bad Wolf” for this season.  I typically prefer that Doctor who stay away from the season long themes, but it’s been fairly subtle this year, so I don’t mind it so much.
  • I am getting repetitive, but this has been a great season of Doctor Who.  So far, there has not been any bad episodes at all, and quite a few of the episodes have been great. 

Next Episode: Sleep No More – Our first stand-alone episode for this season.  This is going to be a “found footage” episode.  Kind of bored of that troupe at this point, but if any show can make it entertaining, it’s definitely Doctor Who.   This is definitely the episode I was least interested in when I was reading the synopsis.  BUT, it is written by Mark Gatiss, so there is that at least.

Sadly, there are only four episodes left of this terrific season of Doctor Who.  Plans for next season have been sketchy.  I have heard rumors that it will be a shortened season. I have heard rumors that it's going to be an extended season.  I have also heard rumors that they may delay season 10 for a whole year.  All we seem to know for sure is that Moffat will be back as the head writer, Capaldi will be back as The Doctor, and Jenna Coleman is leaving for sure this time.  No matter what, I'll be eagerly awaiting Season 10!

4.5 / 5.0