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Doctor Who – The Zygon Inversion. “Don’t Look At My Browser History”

Well, that wasn’t as grand of a spectacle to what I was expecting. But, Osgood and the Osgood Box (or should that be boxes?) really does save the day. We follow on from the invasion (which doesn’t really seem to be much of one. Radicalisation Of The Zygons would have been a good episode, but would it have been controversial?) and we see Zygon Clara about to blow up the plane which is holding The Doctor and Osgood. Obviously that fails and the duo make it back to land without a scratch. Now, a few police officers who are clearly Zygons look to capture The Doctor and Osgood, and the creep factor really is strong as they look to escape and get to London to save the world. So, we don’t know who is human and who is Zygon anymore. We only know that The Doctor is still the real one and that Osgood is still herself (but is she human or Zygon? It really is a great mystery). ‘The Zygon Inversion’ (or the title I came up with) gives a great dynamic which shows Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and shows he can make a great combination with any actor or actress (but, I wish he actually got more time with Rebecca Front again).

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Zygon Clara is also interrogating Clara on where to find the Osgood Box as it can decide between starting a war and stopping one in its tracks. Meanwhile, The Doctor and Osgood find a man who was forcibly changed back into a Zygon by Zygon Clara and he is possibly the most dangerous character in this episode, he kills humans out of fear and not hatred. We get to see the side that The Zygons just want peace, and this small group could ruin everything. Clara is stuck in a pod while Zygon Clara (or Bonnie, why Bonnie?) is about to use the Osgood box. It’s at this time you really wonder if anyone wanted to write for Clara this series, Jenna Coleman has had some notable absences for majority of episodes and most of this two-parter has shown her as a different character. Anyway…we finally return to the Black Archive, where humans and Zygons last were together and the ceasefire was first set. The Doctor is pleading for the fighting to end and a showdown with Kate Stewart and a Zygon reflects the 50th anniversary episode perfectly. Though, we do feel the build-up was no way near as epic as you would hope it to be. Then we also get more questions for us to talk and debate for a long time to come.

The good thing we get from this two-parter is a lot of material about how The Zygons work, and how they can mutually share many attributes with the persons they imitate (including heartbeat, memories, thoughts and even their actions as noted on the attack on the plane). Whereas Zygon Clara got a great part to play, you feel bad for Jenna Coleman whose Clara seems to be really lacking at this point. Jemma Redgrave is still great as Kate Stewart, but she needs to be more primary in her episodes than secondary. Ingrid Oliver continues to be superb as Osgood, her character is effortless and I can see an alternative River Song coming through her. More Ingrid Oliver is always welcome. Peter Capaldi once again is the best performer of the show, he brings out The Doctor’s past and the emotion he shows to Zygon Clara is almost upsetting, and his conversation with Clara about missing her is a sad foreshadowing. Overall, I felt a little let down by this episode. The acting is superb and the writing is a massive improvement on this point last year when Peter Harness wrote ‘Kill The Moon’ (I know I gave it a favourable review at first, but the second view really killed for it for me. Pardon the little joke). The major gripe is the invasion is not an invasion, Clara felt very underused and I could just see that the conflict was not built up well enough for any real tension. But, I still really enjoyed the episode and the last 15 minutes of this episode is truly magnificent (and minimal use of the sonic sunglasses, which I think are ok but some people really hate them). A slight dip, but the third act and the acting saves it. Next week, we will see if we can ‘Sleep No More’…

Final Rating: 7.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Doctor Who – The Zygon Invasion. “Hi, this is Clara Oswald. I’m probably on the tube or in outer space. Leave a message.”

Don’t you hate just getting the answering machine all the time? Well, there is a lot of that here! You can’t say there is a lack of continuity in Doctor Who, revisiting one of the greatest changes in the history of the show was a bold move. Two years on from the treaty which saw humans and Zygons live among each other in peace. When a rogue faction of Zygons goes against the treaty, we see a breakdown and the world is suddenly at war. The Doctor is messaged by Osgood (wait a minute; she died at the hands of Missy! Oh, this is the Zygon copy isn’t it? Or is it?) with a message of distress, telling him they are experiencing the NIGHTMARE SCENARIO. The Doctor desperately tries to reach Clara and solve what has happened. Kate Stewart is also back (and more helpful than last time, sorry but she was very forgettable in the awesome opener of this series) and she goes to New Mexico to discover where it all started.

The Doctor goes in search of Osgood, taking his role as president of the world again with great joy (if just for the plane) and finds himself with a team of UNIT soldiers as they infiltrate a Zygon holding area. Meanwhile, people are being dragged underground and it looks like Zygons are being bred in pods! But wait; is this how they are made? Also, it is indeed intriguing when The Doctor can’t even tell if the Osgood he has with him is indeed human or alien, and the mention of hybrids comes around again. Are we going to see some great hybrid at the end of this series? Feels like this is the series arc, but where is it leading to? There is just so much going on, but at no point do we ever feel it is too much too handle. The battle for earth is hotting up, and there may be some debris after that final shot!

Ingrid Oliver is a delight as always, should she be the next companion? I reckon Osgood is a great choice if she makes it (and isn’t actually a Zygon, but could be fun). Seeing a different side to Clara is pulled off well by Jenna Coleman in yet another superb week of Doctor Who and Peter Capaldi yet again steals the show (and his moments with The Thick Of It co-star Rebecca Front are just great), his presidential salute boarding the plane gets a giggle and calling himself “Doctor Disco” is sure to see a T-Shirt or two created in its honour. Peter Harness has made ‘The Zygon Invasion’ a great script and a pleasure to see on the screen. I have no real bad points about this episode, except that Clara seems to go into Zygon mode a bit suddenly, but that is nit-picking. Let’s see next week how the Inversion goes! Superb stuff, Mr Harness makes a huge improvement on last year’s attempt and gives Clara her greatest part in series 9 so far.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 27/10/2015 - Programme Name: Doctor Who   - TX: 31/10/2015 - Episode: INVASION OF THE ZYGONS (By Peter Harness) (No. 7) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED UNTIL 27th OCTOBER 2015*** Doctor Who (PETER CAPALDI), Osgood (INGRID OLIVER) - (C) BBC   - Photographer: Simon Ridgway