Tag Archives: Zygons

Doctor Who Series Nine Review

Another series has come to an end, but what a great series it was. Seeing a more settled Peter Capaldi lead this series, he gets to show a superbly fun streak while keeping the deeply moving moments when needs to. From busting out guitar solos to heart-wrenching speeches, it was a fantastic series which built upon the 2014 run and came out high. Jenna Coleman may now have left, but we got some great episodes featuring Clara to show how much we shall all miss her. Plus, who can forget appearances from Reece Shearsmith, Maisie Williams, and even Ingrid Oliver coming back as Osgood.

  1. The Zygon Inversion by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat

Not by any means a bad episode (compared to series 8 which had a few weak episodes), but arguably I felt this conclusion to the Zygon two-parter lacked much substance to me. I felt at this point Clara was very much just being sidelined to make Osgood appear to be a replacement. The threat from the rogue Zygons never feels as grand as it should, there isn’t that worldwide ramification which is teased in the first part and to see Kate Stewart minimalised is a crime. But, the speech from Peter Capaldi does really stand out as one of the best acting movements from the Scottish actor.

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  1. Under The Lake by Toby Whithouse

Following on from one of the most thrilling two-parters ever, Toby Whithouse had to give a story which could keep the same attention as Steven Moffat had done for the previous two weeks. Though it seemed some of the cast was wasted to short parts, the characters of Cass and Lunn really make a good mark as the double act. But Morven Christie is superb as O’Donnell, it is just a shame that her great presence is then minimalised in part two. The tension builds nicely and makes for a great conclusion, which I will discuss later…

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  1. The Woman Who Lived by Catherine Tregenna

When we see Ashildr after so many years, we find that she is almost nothing like the Viking girl we met in ‘The Girl Who Died’. Maisie Williams proves to be the best guest star of series 9 with her appearances in the show. This one sees her very much become traitor as she looks to trick The Doctor to get away from earth and explore the world, but the alien Leandro looks set to make his own plans (I have to admit, he was a weak villain in an otherwise strong story). Also, it was nice having a companion-lite story and who would have thought Rufus Hound was cast so well? It may not be a classic, but Catherine Tregenna should come back!

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  1. Sleep No More by Mark Gatiss

This episode took me by surprise, making a twist to the found-footage genre and giving it a Doctor Who episode was definitely out of the ordinary. On first viewing, I was greatly impressed. But, the second time really was a killer. I still get a great chill from that last scene, as it really does infuse a horror element to the show with an effortless performance from Reece Shearsmith. The creatures themselves were a great invention, though I would think this story could be expanded upon and a follow-up could be better.

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  1. Hell Bent by Steven Moffat

The finale came and wow! First off, The Doctor is back on Gallifrey and is finally free from billions of years stuck in his confession dial. Though the Time Lords ask for his help, he merely despises for their actions and eventually dethrones Rassilon. The humour is great and to see many story strands conclude here is all well and good. But, as much as I loved Jenna Coleman, bringing Clara back really seemed to destroy the outstanding exit scene she was given just two weeks prior. On the plus side, we do get to see a second TARDIS and Ashildr returns.

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  1. The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness

The Zygons exploded back onto the screen this year, and they brought Osgood back with them too. With the fear of a fracture in the treaty between human and Zygon, The Doctor is called upon by UNIT to help stop everything going to hell. The choice to have a mostly female led cast was genius and highlighted the best in Doctor Who with Osgood, Kate and Clara. The cliffhanger may not be the most stunning in its history, but the Clara reveal was well played and really made the stakes high.

INVASION OF THE ZYGONS (By Peter Harness)

  1. Before The Flood by Toby Whithouse

A two-parter unlike any other, this second part saw The Doctor travel over 100 years to the past to see what happened to cause these ghosts to appear. As well as meeting the mole-like Prentis, we also get to see The Fisher King, one of the most haunting and creepy monster’s to appear in the show. The combination of three separate actors bringing The Fisher King to life was indeed impressive and how long will you be questioning if Beethoven really made his own music?

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  1. The Witch’s Familiar by Steven Moffat

Fighting the Daleks, stealing chairs and drinking a cup of tea from an unknown source was just the starters of this episode. Seeing two hero/villain double acts fill the majority of the episode was impressive. While Clara and Missy teamed up to save The Doctor, The Doctor and Davros were getting chatty and some serious and fun moments evolved from that. The joke about the only other chair on Skaro will be a long lasting one. Also, kudos to the special effects team, Skaro looked really cool.

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  1. The Girl Who Died by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat

Jamie Mathieson wrote the superb ‘Flatline’ last year, and it was not an easy task to follow on from that. But, he did so and more. A Viking village is attacked by alien race The Mire and young Viking Ashildr declares war against the warrior race. The Doctor and Clara then have just 24 hours to train the village to become warriors like those they have lost. Putting in many great jokes, some stunning action sequences and seeing The Doctor talk baby again. A winning episode which finally tells what helped the Time Lord get the familiar looking face he currently holds.

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  1. Heaven Sent by Steven Moffat

Imagine being stuck in a loop for billions of years, being chased by a creature that can’t die and won’t stop. Imagine being all alone with no companions and no exit. The Doctor literally punches his way out of this nightmare trap over the years and slowly wears a wall away until he is free. Seeing a vulnerable and frightened Doctor, it was a great in-depth look into the mind of our hero and a story which could never be replicated. A grieving Time Lord after losing his friend is a dangerous thing.

HEAVEN SENT (By Steven Moffat)

  1. Face The Raven by Sarah Dollard

We knew it was coming, but who would have thought the death of Clara Oswald would have been so moving? Jenna Coleman provides one of her greatest performances as she does her best to save friend Rigsy and tries to be like The Doctor. Learning the hard way she can’t be like the Time Lord, the ultimate price is paid for trying to be more than human. The Doctor physically and mentally is shaken by the series of events, and even looks to destroy former ally Ashildr after she sets up the trap which puts all these events into motion. Seeing Clara fall to the ground will haunt Doctor Who fans for many years to come…

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  1. The Magician’s Apprentice by Steven Moffat

To start off on such a massive high is a huge gamble, but started what was to be a fantastic series can’t be denied. With The Doctor missing, Missy and Clara working together and the best axe battle of all time, there was a lot to enjoy. The biggest surprise comes in the opening minutes when The Doctor meets a young Davros on a battlefield and leaves him to die. He then goes to hide, knowing that Davros survives the events and is looking to get him. With the pace being hectic, yet grounded, we have such a strong opener which floods the screen with references and characters. All perfectly placed, all pieces move towards what becomes the biggest ever cliffhanger in the history of the show!

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Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

 

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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