Saturday 7 November 2015

The Zygon Inversion - Review

Doctor Who is just so different from any other Sci-Fi / fantasy programme, isn't it? The second half of a two-part big alien invasion story, and you would normally get some big countdown, chases and explosions. You wouldn't expect the principle character to simply talk the chief villain out of doing what they have been doing. That's what the Doctor does here - in what is to date Peter Capaldi's finest moment. His speech to "Bonnie", the Zygon rebel leader, and to the somewhat out of character belligerent Kate Stewart of UNIT is a tour de force.
This story was set up as a sequel to some of the events from The Day of the Doctor, and the Doctor's decision in that to press a button and destroy a civilisation is paralleled here.
Once again the Doctor has to get two opposing forces to call a halt and to find a peaceful solution to their differences.
We started with the get-out from last week's cliffhanger - where "Bonnie" in the guise of Clara was about to blast the Doctor's aircraft out of the sky.
Funny how a robot baddie getting his head lopped off last year caused a last minute re-write, yet we get to see an aircraft shot out of the sky in the same week when something similar might have happened to a real 'plane.
The get-out is that the real Clara, being linked mentally to her Zygon copy, can influence it, so the first shot goes wide. This allows Osgood (underused again I thought) and the Doctor to jump out using parachutes. A shame we didn't get to see the Doctor have a Spy Who Loved Me moment when his Union Jack parachute opened.
One thing I didn't quite buy was how Kate got out of trouble in New Mexico. Seems she simply pulled a gun and shot the Zygon - "Five rounds rapid..." - then managed to get over to London in a matter of minutes and fool a couple of Zygons into believing she was one of them.
Much of the episode was taken up with the battle of wills between real Clara and her Zygon copy, then the climactic scenes in the Black Archive at UNIT HQ. The board full of photos of previous companions was still there - so glimpses of Adric and Kamelion. A Mire suit of armour was conspicuous in the background.

The puzzle of the Osgood Box was answered. There were really two of them - like the Osgoods. I wonder if they ever considered naming these episodes "Truth" and "Consequences"?
And then we had that wonderful performance by Peter Capaldi, as he outlines everything the Doctor has ever felt when dealing with every invader or would-be tyrant. Whatever it is that you are after, what do you do with it once you've got it? How long does it last before someone else comes along wanting what you wanted?
Personally, I think Jenna Coleman's performance as "Bonnie" has been one of her best.
Throughout, the Doctor kept asking Osgood if she was the human one or the Zygon one. The story ended with possibility of both being Zygons.
Which would be the right thing. I said last week that I hoped that the Zygons themselves would be involved in the resolution of this situation.
I like to think that the truce is now totally in their hands.

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