Monday, November 09, 2015

My Review of Doctor Who's 9x08: "The Zygon Inversion"

Written by Peter Harness And Steven Moffat
Directed by Daniel Nettheim

Osgood (to the Doctor): "Does it matter which is which?"
Osgood: "All that matters is that Osgood lives."

And the answer as to whether Osgood is either human or Zygon will remain a mystery for another day and I definitely think there will be another day, even if Osgood herself turned down the chance to become a companion in this absolutely incredible episode.

It's something of a shame that she did though between I really could watch a whole series with the Doctor and Petronella Osgood (yup, that's her name) and it would probably one of the best we'll have ever had to boot. For now though, I'm just grateful that the second part of this Zygon adventure managed to excel and surpass the first part of it rather effortlessly.

The Doctor and Osgood survived being blasted out of the sky by Bonnie courtesy of Clara's subconscious kicking in at the right time. Upon surviving, the pair made their way through London, encounter one of Bonnie's side projects - a half human/Zygon man (look, there's that hybrid theme again) who just wanted to live in peace but ultimately took his own life when he felt he couldn't do so before the pair of them manage to pull a few tricks with Bonnie in relation to the Osgood box.

The Osgood box. It was never going to be a straightforward sort of thing but this was one of those times where the twists and turns truly shined because it highlighted the single mindedness in both Bonnie - determined to start a war and Kate, similarly determined to take out the Zygons in order to protect her own planet.

The scenes in the Black Archives are going to go down as some of the most iconic scenes in this show's 52 year history and certainly some of the most timely of ones too. The Doctor's whole speech about what war truly meant was some of the harrowing pieces of television I've watched in a while and Peter Capaldi gave his most definitive performance as the Doctor in the two series he's been in the role. It's an amazing scene, one that genuinely made hairs stand on the back of my neck and a moment that begs to rewatched as many times as humanly possible.

It's also a scene that's so stirring that it offered a satisfying of resolving the issue. I do like though that Bonnie wasn't immediately won over by the Doctor's anti-war speech (he did liken her to a spoiled child) but the gradual way in which his words began to take effect and wear down her resolve was beautifully handled and felt pretty believable to me.

Speaking of Bonnie - this was a good episode for Jenna Coleman, maybe her best one this series. Clara was still pretty underutilised (as she has been this series) but Coleman got to shine as the more calmly sinister Zygon and the back and forth between Clara and Bonnie was a good acting exercise for Coleman to say the least. However the hints towards Clara being a dead woman walking (if she isn't already dead) have never felt more obvious than in this one as well.

As for the rest of the episode, scaling the focus back to London worked more in the episode's favour and certainly helped to keep things significantly more focused as all the main players were drawn closer to each other in order to prevent Bonnie's plan from coming to fruition. Also after being a bit underused in previous story, I felt that Kate came a little more into her own with this story. She even got to channel a familiar saying from her father too, which was hard not to love during a particular moment.

Also in "The Zygon Inversion"

Loved all the dream like tropes we had in Clara's mind, even though the black toothpaste slightly grossed me out.

Bonnie (to Etoine): "If we cannot hide, we must fight. You are going to be the first. The first to make the humans see."

Osgood was pretty clear that she'd shoot the Doctor if she was the baddie, didn't she? I also liked the fact that she didn't know what TARDIS actually stood for.

Osgood: "Never really met Clara. Pretty strong, yeah?"
The Doctor: "She was amazing."

Bonnie: "There's no point in turning over. There's nothing better on the other side. I could erase your mind."
Clara: "Then why haven't you?"

Of course there would be two Osgood boxes - the blue and the red. Not sure if I liked Kate's memory erased when Bonnie's wasn't though.

Bonnie: "You think you're calling my bluff."
Clara: "I am calling your bluff."

Clara: "This is not a war you can win."
Bonnie: "Then we will die in the fire instead of living in chains."

There was some controversy in relation to the plane sequence due to recent real life circumstances but to be fair, this episode was written and filmed months ago.

The Doctor: "How did you survive?"
Kate: "Five rounds rapid."

What actually happened to Rebecca Front's Colonel Walsh? She seemed to disappear from this altogether. Offscreen death or retreat?

The Doctor: "Do you know what thinking is? It's just a fancy word for changing your mind."
Bonnie: "I will not change my mind."

The Doctor (to Bonnie): "I forgive you. After all you've done, I forgive you."

Chronology: From where The Zygon Invasion left off.

Well, this was truly exceptional. The Zygon Inversion truly hit a series high in terms of drama with this beyond satisfying conclusion to one of the most topical stories we've had on the show in such a while. Peter Capaldi gave his best performance ever but let's also praise Jenna Coleman, Ingrid Oliver and Jemma Redgrave, all of whom were on fine form too.

Rating: 10 out of 10

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