Doctor Who Series 9 Review – The Zygon Inversion

And the award for speech of the year goes to Peter Capaldi. This week our favourite gruff time-lord gives humans and Zygons alike the mother of all tellings off. You’d expect after last week’s Zygon invasion to see guns blazing and panic on the streets but the conflict is largely contained to one room and two boxes. Stellar peformances from the lead actors and a clever script that knows what it’s doing leads to another amazing episode with a clear moral message.

First off we do get to see some action. You’d be forgiven for thinking Peter Capaldi had been cast as the next James Bond as he floats casually away from an exploding plane under a union jack parachute. Elsewhere evil Clara, aka Bonnie, is genuinely terrifying. Perhaps I’ll never be able to look at Jenna Coleman in the same way again, particularly with her hair up. With a short zap from Bonnie a poor disguised Zygon runs through the streets, mutating in one of the show’s most disturbing transformations since people in the London Blitz began to cough up gas masks. Also Kate Stewart shows her military training as she puts a stop to her Zygon attacker with “five rounds rapid”. Strangely after last week’s focus on the largely expendable UNIT team, we only get to see key characters this week. I hope somebody radioed Rebecca Front’s Captain Walsh to let her know what was going on.

Clara is once again a captive in her own mind in a scene reminiscent of the dream crabs hallucinations in “Last Christmas”. It was a little confusing what the nature of her link with Bonnie was but Jenna Coleman played the two distinct characters well. She clearly relished the opportunity to play evil. The nature of evil though was revealed to not be so black and white. The humans are presented just as bad as the Zygons, prepared to commit mass genocide to protect the Earth. When it came down to the final conflict (perhaps the world’s most dangerous game of Deal or no Deal) the Doctor was appealing to the faces of two of his close friends.

The Doctor gave a speech that seemed to reach from that dingy UNIT base to everybody’s living rooms. It was a lengthy one I grant you, but it was hard not to be totally captivated. Part was down to the script and part to Peter Capaldi giving it his all. It’s already being described as his “defining Doctor moment” but I was won over long ago. Long may Peter Capaldi’s Doctor reign. The situation is perhaps more neatly resolved than is realistic but a family drama has to show hope; hope that people can change and humanity will win through. If only Peter Capaldi was allowed to give speeches to solve modern-day conflicts the world could be a better place.

As for which Osgood is which? I think as the episode taught us it doesn’t really matter. It would be nice to know though…wouldn’t it?

 

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