Published on November 10th, 2015 | by Brad0
Doctor Who – The Zygon Inversion
It’s probably not a coincidence that The Zygon Inversion coincided with Remembrance Weekend here in the UK. It’s an absolute paean to pacifism, burning bright with rage against the futility of war. There’s no greater tribute to the fallen in any war than by promoting peace at all times, something that we would all do well to remember.
After the events of The Zygon Invasion, The Doctor and Osgood find themselves in a race against time to stop Bonnie before she’s able to open the mysterious Osgood Box in UNIT’s Black Archive and bring about her Zygon uprising. Bonnie, meanwhile, is interrogating Clara for the information she has on the Osgood Box, allowing for Jenna Coleman to act opposite herself for a bit, which was fun.
After The Doctor and Osgood escape the destruction of the presidential plane (for purposes of poncing around, obviously) by use of a James Bond Union Flag parachute, they’re off into London to investigate Bonnie’s plan and bring her down. This brings them into contact with a Zygon whose ability to retain his human form has been compromised by Bonnie. A moderate who just wanted to go about his life, he’s been dragged into a war he never wanted, and it utterly destroys him to the point where he commits suicide. The actor who plays the human form of this particular Zygon, Nicholas Asbury, gives such a strong performance he very nearly steals the episode.
When we left Kate Stewart last week she’d apparently been killed and replaced by one of Bonnie’s lieutenants. In actual fact, she’d shot the Zygon – five rounds rapid, as her old man used to say! – and the bulk of The Zygon Inversion sees her posing as the lieutenant to infiltrate Bonnie’s revolution and take her down. I’ve really enjoyed Jemma Redgrave’s work as Kate Stewart since she first appeared 3 years ago, and the continuing presence of UNIT does rather leave one wondering what on Earth the point in Torchwood was again.
The centrepiece of The Zygon Inversion is the showdown with Bonnie in the Black Archive, with the fate of the human/Zygon peace hanging in the balance. It all culminates in The Doctor giving a lengthy speech about pacifism, and the horrible lengths he’s had to go to in wars so much more horrifying than this little spat here on Earth. Peter Capaldi gives an absolute tour de force in this scene. The Zygon Inversion might not end up being anyone’s favourite Twelfth Doctor episode, but I guarantee the speech in the Black Archive will be high up on everyone’s Twelfth Doctor highlight reel.
I said last week that The Zygon Inversion was more likely to contain fuel for my Clara theory, and boy was I right about that one. At the episode’s conclusion, Clara asks The Doctor what it was like when he must have thought that she was dead, to which he responds “The longest month of my life.” The Doctor has definitely seen Clara die. His three-week pity party in 12th Century Wessex after sending his confession to The Master came as a direct result of this. Since The Master brought a living Clara Oswald along with her to crash the party, he’s been trying to work out a way to save her ever since. He’s doubled back on his own timeline to try and change the future in Under the Lake/Before the Flood, played with human mortality in The Girl Who Died/The Woman Who Lived, and now The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion has surely put the possibility of a Zygon duplicate of Clara into his head. What lengths will he go to? I’m fascinated to find out.
As invasion two-parters go, The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion is a pretty decent pair of episodes. The work done over the last couple of years to make the Zygons a credible threat has largely paid off, and bringing in Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver is always welcome. Series 9 has thus far been much more consistent than Series 8 was. Hopefully the final four episodes can keep it up.