Monday 2 November 2015
The Zygon Invasion - Review
Another great episode. Quite the most topical and adult we have seen, possibly ever.
Let's get the negatives out of the way first, because they are mostly niggling continuity points rather than criticisms of this - especially if you are coming to the Zygons anew.
Where's the bloomin' Skarasen? They're supposed to rely on the creatures' lactic fluid, but not even a mention. Then there is the fact that in their one and only classic series appearance it was stated that Earth wasn't a suitable planet for them. They were going to have to terra-form it before they could settle it.
Why would they have been allowed to settle on Earth in such vast numbers when there must be more appropriate planets with smaller, or no, populations that the Doctor could have pointed them towards?
And why so many in the UK, rather than wider dispersal - UNIT supposedly being an international organisation?
The fact that the majority of them are in the UK takes us straight to the inspiration behind this story.
It's the fear / paranoia about immigration in general, and immigration by those of the Islamic faith in particular.
The favourite kicking dogs of unimaginative, if not downright racist, TV exec's ever since 9/11 have been Muslims. Islamophobia is rife throughout Europe, Australasia and the US.
This was written before the marked upturn in migration into Europe by refugees from Syria and other countries that are being overrun by ISIS (or whatever it is being called this week), but a lot of things resonate with what is currently going on in the Middle East. Radicalisation, especially of the young. Drones. Hostage and execution videos. The Zygons choose to set up a training camp in what sounds like a former Soviet bloc country - somewhere neighbouring Afghanistan.
A very dark and grown-up story, as I've said - with no quick let up in the second half by the looks of things. I was disappointed at the way the Zygons were underused in the 50th Anniversary story, clips from which we saw as the episode opened. Osgood is back, but we don't know if she is the original human one or the Zygon duplicate. From what she says, it doesn't actually matter which one she is. The story arc for this season has finally settled down to the significance of a hybrid. We knew that this series was going to have a lot of references to the past, and in just 4 stories (if you count the Ashildr episodes as a joint venture) we have had 3 that contained archive clips. It's UNIT's second appearance. Davros and the Zygons were both introduced early in Tom Baker's tenure as the Doctor. The question marks are back - thanks to Osgood - though the Doctor jokes (hopefully) that he still wears them.
Have to admit that I spotted that Clara was a duplicate straight away. It was the way she fixed her hair on leaving the neighbour's flat. You don't witness what looks like child abuse and then just stride off, worrying about your appearance.
What might next week bring? Well, I don't believe that Kate Stewart really would have gone all the way to a small New Mexico town on her own. Did we get a hexachromite gas-type clue with the Z-67 gas that Harry Sullivan developed against the Zygons? For those who don't know, the Doctor spotted some gas that killed specifically reptile and aquatic life 5 minutes before encountering the Sea Devils and the Silurians in Warriors of the Deep. Is Z-67 what is in the Osgood Box? They said the gas turned Zygons inside out, and the name of next week's episode is The Zygon Inversion...
Personally, I think we have already been hoodwinked, and what we think are baddie Zygon replicas are really not. They're actually the real humans, or the good Zygons fighting back against the rebels.
I'd be unhappy if the majority of the Zygons who do want to co-exist peacefully with humans did not get the chance to help resolve this crisis.
That would send a positive message to viewers. The vast majority of newcomers to a community just want to get on with their new lives and are not intent on killing, raping and pillaging, stealing jobs or living on benefits - not that the current UK government would let them do the latter anyway. Better to starve them and drive some of them to a life of crime, eh David?
All of us who possess a brain, and a conscience, know that none of the anti-migration hysteria would exist if the people struggling to get into Europe were white and Christian, would it?