Monday, November 2, 2015

Doctor Who, Season Nine, Episode Seven: The Zygon Invasion

Once upon a time, there were three Doctors and two Osgoods.  Think back to the 50th anniversary special when the Doctor was dealing with the destruction of Gallifrey (the day when it was impossible to get it right) and the invasion of the Zygones.  The Doctors decides to force the humans and Zygones to create a treaty by affecting their memory so that neither human or Zygone could remember their identity, thus forcing them to create a treaty that works for both sides.

Last week, Ashildr said that the Doctor solves the problems and then flies away leaving others to deal with the results.  Well in The Zygon Invasion we get to see the results of the Doctor's problem solving. In The Day of the Doctor, two Osgoods were created when a Zygon took the form from the human Osgood. In the present, the two Osgoods speak about operation double which was created to resettle and rehouse an alien race.  With Unit's help, 20 million Zygones have taken human form and are now living on earth. The Osgoods are making this recording in case something goes wrong and Unit is infiltrated or one or both of them dies.

We then flash to a scene where one Osgood stands in front of a tombstone which is inscribed with the word sister with no date of birth or death. The dead Osgood was killed by Missy.

Back to the recording where the Osgoods both claim that the Zygones are a peaceful race.  They claim that shape shifting is a survival mechanism and that any race is capable of the best and the worst. The Osgoods claim that if one Zygone or on Human goes rogue, it will destroy the peace treaty. It seems that the Doctor left the Osgoods, the Osgood Box and it is the last resort - the final sanction. Both Osgoods say that if the box is ever needed, it would be a disaster; it would mean war.

Osgoode is now in a war zone and she rushes into a building to hide.  When a Zygone approaches, she tries to hide under a desk. Osgood uses her inhaler and then frantically pulls out her phone to send a message to the Doctor.  The Zygone enters the building and then pulls Osgood out from under the desk where she is hiding and then zaps her in the forehead.

The Doctor is in the Tardis playing Amazing Grace on his guitar when he receives Osgood's message about the nightmare scenario. Is every episode going to have Capaldi playing the guitar now?

The Doctor is in Brockwell Park, London.  Several school age children mill around and the Doctor sits on a swing. The Doctor calls Clara, calling himself Doctor Disco and says that he staking out some of the most dangerous people imaginable.  The Doctor takes off his glasses (yes, the Doctor is still wearing the blasted sonic sunglasses. A pox on Moffat)  and approaches two little girls who are playing on the monkey bars, telling them that they need to talk.

In the Unit safe house, in south London, Kate Lethbridge Stewart is trying to plan what to do next now that one Osgood is dead and the other is missing.  Kate watches a video of Osgood being taken away and learns that the encryption system for Osgood's files have been hacked.

On the playground, the Doctor informs the kids that he knows that they are Zygones but they ignore him and play. The Doctor says that he knows that the factions which the twins don't control are planning something. He warns that if they don't do something the peace will end. One of the girls tells the Doctor that this is their jurisdiction and that are close to finding the rebels.  The Doctor replies that he is taking this out of their hands and steps away when his phone rings.  It's Kate, who informs the Doctor that the cease fire has broken down.  Suddenly, red smoke appears on the playground and the Doctor rushes to the two little girls.  Zygones appear out of the smoke, snatch the girls and then drive away in the truck, leaving behind a claw like mark.

The Doctor and Kate watch a recording of Osgood. Two Zygones stand guard as Osgood says that the war is about to begin and that those who oppose the Zygones will be destroyed wherever they are. Osgood says that there will be truth or there will be consequences.  The Doctor calls Clara and once again gets her answering machine. The Doctor leaves a message demanding that Clara call him now.

Clara returns home and when she checks her phone, she notes that she has missed 127 calls from the Doctor. Clearly something is up. I cannot imagine the Doctor calling even one time and Clara ignoring him, particularly given how close they have become recently. Clara quickly hangs up the phone on the Doctor when she sees a dejected Sanjeep sitting on the stairwell.  The little boy says that he cannot find his parents, so Clara instructs him to wait there while she has a look.  Clara enters the child's apartment and is approached by two Zygones masquerading as Sanjeep's parents.  The child screams but Clara is told that everything is fine.  When Clara leaves the apartment, she gets another call from the Doctor.

Clara and the Doctor meet Kate at Drakeman Junior School - the Zygone headquarters in Dulwich London.  Kate explains the treaty to Clara and the Doctor and says that he left them with an impossible situation. Yep, remember what Ashildir said last week. The Doctor simply calls it peace and asks about the two little girls.  Kate answers that the girls were impossible to deal with since Osgood left and that there's a revolution brewing in the younger brood.  The Doctor says that the Osgoods were the peace because they were Zygone and human at the same time.  The Doctor learns that when one of the Osgoods died, the other went mad with grief.  Touching the control pod for all of the Zygones on earth, the Doctor learns that the Zygones are starting to worry.  The Zygones hatched and dispersed but something has gone wrong and they are worried about what would happen if the humans knew who they were.

They get another video from the Zygones which says that their rights were violated and that they demand the right to be themselves. They force the two little girls to take their true form and then slaughter them. The Zygones say that they will kill all traitors and finish with the words, "truth or consequences."

The Doctor wants to open negotiations but Kate refuses to do so. Kate wants to bomb Turmezistan. The Doctor points out that the problem is a splinter group and that if Kate starts bombing, the rest will be radicalized.  Clara pipes up to say that Truth or Consequences is in New Mexico and she knows this because it's a Trivial Pursuit question.  It seems that Clara's little hobby is memorizing the answers so that she can win. The Doctor sends Kate to Truth or Consequences to negotiate peace and rescue Osgood. Clara and Jack are told to stay in the U.K. because this is their country. The Doctor asks about his the presidential aircraft because he likes flying about in a big plane.

The Doctor boards the plane and Kate says that they don't have many troops.  Kate talks about a previous invasion in which a member of their staff created a nerve gas to take out the Zygones but it was stolen by somebody with a Tardis.  Yes, they are talking about the same gas Harry Sullivan created to turn the Zygones inside out after he was duplicated by them (classic who, 4th Doctor). I guess that's one way to get even.

Clara and Jack head to her home to grab a couple of things.  They come across the zygones dragging out the little boy wrapped in a carpet.  Clara's big plan is to catch up to the elevator and she and Zack race down the stairs.  Clara notes that the elevator is slower than usual and when the doors open, the elevator is empty.  Clara and Zack enter the elevator and the doors close. Something starts to ooze out of the control panel of the elevator and when Clara opens the control panel. she sees Zygone parts. Clara touches it and the lights go out and the elevator starts to shake.  When the elevator door opens again, Clara and Jack cautiously step out.  In the distance, they hear the screams of the little boy. They see the zygones in their true form, so Clara suggests that they need  reinforcements.

At unit command in Turmezistan, they are preparing to bomb the Zygones. The doctor introduces himself as the president of the world and demands that they not bomb because his friend is being held there.  The colonel asks for confirmation of the strike but when the soldier looks through the video feed, she sees what appears to be her family waving back at her. The soldier aborts the strike despite the direct order. This is the problem with enemies who can look like anyone. Who would want to risk being responsible for killing their family?

Kate arrives at Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, The town looks deserted.  There's a sign which reads no dogs and no British.  Kate pulls out her gun and continues to cautiously move forward. Kate makes her way into the police station.  Kate notices a picture of Osgood on the wall. When Kate turns, she finds a woman pointing a gun at her.  The Sheriff wants to know if Kate brought back up and Kate questions if she needs it.

On the streets of Turmezistan, the Doctor is informed that this could possibly be a Zygon training camp and that they don't know how many Zygons are there, or how they come and go. The colonel points out that they could really use the nerve gas but the Doctor argues that the Zygons are trying to make humans paranoid. The colonel argues that anything living could turn into a Zygon and kill her therefore; it's not paranoia if it is real. I gotta say that I agree with the colonel on this one.

In England, Clara and Jack CCTV to check out various elevators in London and Jack suggests that something wrong happening underneath London.

The Sheriff tells Kate that the British turned up two years ago with no job and no money. A couple of them got killed and after the murders they banded together. One day, one of them changed into a reptile. The sheriff says that they turned into monsters and when they came for the residents of Truth and Consequences, they couldn't fight back because they couldn't tell who was who.  Kate shows the Sheriff a photo of Osgood and learns that Osgood was there asking questions.

The military head to the Zygon occupied village.  The colonel says that  intel indicates that the Zygons are inside the church. The Doctor shows a picture of Osgood and tells the soldiers that this is their target. The Doctor asks that as few Zygons as possible be killed, so that they have someone to negotiate with.  The soldiers make their way in formation through the town and stop outside of the church, as the Doctor and the colonel sneak around back.  A soldier fires into the air and orders the Zygons to come out and throw down their weapons.  When the door finally opens, a Zygon who looks like the leaders mother exits.  John orders his soldiers to take aim but the Zygon claims to have been taken hostage. The Zygon says that the commanders of the military are the real aliens.  The colonel tells John to ask for details only his mother would know. John asks the date and place of his birth. The Zygon begs for its life, claiming to be scared. John asks the name of his favourite teddy bear and the Zygon responds that it cannot remember and shouldn't be killed because she cannot remember.  Zygons pour out of the church in the form of the soldiers family. The colonel orders John to kill them. The Zygon claims it can prove its identity if the soldiers come inside. The Zygon tells John that it forgives him and loves him and then closes its eyes when John looks like he is going to shoot. John lowers his weapon and asks what proof, as the colonel screams that the soldiers are going to their death.

The colonel and The Doctor rush around to the front of the building. Once inside, they find that the men have been executed. The colonel is determined to drop a bomb because they cannot tell who the enemy is anymore. The Doctor is adamant that he won't allow this to happen. The Colonel leaves because the strike is on the way but warns The Doctor that he has ten minutes.  The Doctor hears Osgood calling for help and he finds her hidden in a cavern under the floor.  The Doctor asks what the Zygons want and Osgood says that they are training and learning new skills.  A Zygon appears and the tunnel collapses on it. The Doctor realises that the bombing has started. So much for the ten minutes the colonel promised him

The sheriff shows Kate a garbage bin filled with the remains of the people of the town. Behind Kate are several more ominous garbage bins also filled with human remains.

Jack and Clara walk through the tunnels and Jack says that it feels like things are coming to an end but Clara believes that Jack feels like this because she is middle aged.  They find the Zygon tunnels and stop.

The Doctor tries to call Clara as he gets on the plane. The  captured Zygone is loaded  on the plane. The Doctor notes the question marks on Osgood's shirt and says that he still wears them on is underpants. Old Who fans will recognise the homage to the seventh Doctor. Osgood wonders what the questions is that the question mark is meant to represent.  The Doctor asks Osgood if she is human or Zygon and she says that she doesn't answer that question because that she and her sister were the living embodiment of the peace that was forged. Odgood adds that she is human and Zygon. Are you keeping count? This is yet another hybrid that the Doctor created.  The Doctor calls Osgood a hybrid and adds that he is proud to know her. The Doctor it seems  has determined that Osgood is human because Zygons need to keep the human alive to refresh their copy. The Doctor is convinced that Zygon Osgood would have changed back after her sisters death. Osgood replies that those were the old rules and that now, Zygons only need to keep the original alive if they need more information.
Back in the tunnels Jac and Clara are in awe of the Zygon pods hanging from the ceiling.  Clara says that Jac might be right about the end of the world.

On the plane, the Doctor asks the Zygon's name but it doesn't answer, so he introduces himself but says that the Zygon knew who he is.  The Zygon tells the Doctor that they (read: the Zygons) want the world.

The soldiers follow Clara and Jac into the tunnels.  Clara says it looks like the people of London have been taken and that the pods have to be neutralized.  Jac however says that they don't know what the pods are.  Inside the pod, Clara sees herself and Jack suggests that they wait. Clara is adamant that the beings in the pod  need to be destroyed because they are duplicates of them. Jac however does not believe the pods are duplicates but in fact kidnap victims. Jack realises too late that they are looking at the humans and calls for a retreat.  The Zygons appear. Jack begs but Zygone Clara asks that the traitors be killed.

We get a flash to when Clara went to check on the little boys parents; this is when Clara got taken. The Zygons move out of the tunnel and Zygon Clara stops to look at the original Clara and smiles.

On the plane, the Zygon says that they want to live as themselves at any cost.  The Zygons want their home and the Doctor answers that they cannot have the U.K, because there are already people living there and that the people will think that the Zygons are going to pinch their benefits. The Zygon replies that invasion has taken place over the last year and that they have won the first battle and are going to begin the war.

Kate is in the police station and the sheriff approaches.  The Sheriff says that everybody was taken. Kate replies that they have to find out what forms the Zygons took.  The Sheriff says someone caught a glimpse of a Zygonein its true form - a child how hadn't learned to hold the new form.   The word went around the community. The sheriff now sure that Kate has no back up, takes its true form.  Kate backs up in fear.

Clara checks in with Truth or Consequences to find out the status of the town. Zygon Kate says that Unit is neutralized in North America.  Fake Clara then gets a suit case out of lock up and then sends the message that Unit is neutralized in the UK.  Fake Clara takes note of where the Doctor's plane is on the computer screen.

Fake Clara stands in a field and calls the Doctor. On the plane, The Zygone tells the Doctor that his plane will never land.  Using the signal from the phone, fake Clara gets a gun. The Doctor tells Clara to get to the tardis and get herself safe. Fake Clara tells the Doctor that Clara, Kate and the Units soldiers are dead and then fires off her weapon.

One of the things I love about the Capaldi years that we are experiencing is the constant throw back to old Who.  This season the two part episodes are meant to be an homage to the style of old Who. This episode we also had Osgood wearing the question mark which Sylvester McCoy (the seventh Doctor) wore on his vest.  Osgood is an awesome cosplayer isn't she? Between Tom Bakers scarf and McCoy's question mark it feels like an homage to all of the fans who have dressed up as Doctors over the years.  What question does the question mark represent? We already know the answer to the oldest question in the universe and so it can only be why the Doctor started running in the first place.

The Zygon Invasion, just as the title suggests brought us the return of the Zygon's, and a flashback to the Day of the Doctor.  Even though I have watched the episode countless times, I still loved re-watching this little snippet.  We also had a reference to the Doctor's former companion Harry Sullivan, and his creation of a gas to turn the Zygons inside out, in retribution for being cloned.  For me, this is yet another example of humans creating something that they deem for defense that the Doctor greatly disapproves of.  Here's the thing, by forcing a treaty between the Zygons and the humans the Doctor created this situation in the first place.

The Zygon Invasion is absolutely meant to be a commentary on the current immigration crises. With lines like the British being worried that the Zygons will take their benefits it's absolutely clear. Then we have Osgood talking about how there is good and bad in every race.  I appreciate the sentiment but at the same time, this means that the refugees or more specifically the 'other' is being represented by a gross creature that looks simply awful.  Words don't necessarily diffuse the imagery.  I did however think that when the Doctor pointed out that attacking the Zygons would only radicalize them, it speaks largely to the failed policy that the west has engaged in when it comes to radical Islam. Rather than seeking out the neutral or even peaceful Zygons, units response is to just bomb everyone.  Does that sound familiar?  Though heavy handed at times, it's clear that writer Peter Harness, wants the audience to think about what is happening from both points of view.  What does bombing really accomplish?

The Zygon Invasion also serves to prove Ashildir's point about the Doctor just flying off in his Tardis and leaving others to clean up his mess.  The situation the Zygons and the humans find themselves in is directly of the Doctor's making. Gee what could possibly go wrong with sneaking 20 million Zygons into human society?  How could the Doctor not think of that?  Then we have Osgood herself who is a hybrid. This is the second hybrid that the Doctor has created this season. It reminds us of the warning from episode one that the Doctor would create a hybrid Dalek/Time Lord.

I do have some questions about the timeline. We were told in this episode that Zygons have spent the last year replacing the citizens of the U.K.  What does this mean for Danny Pink?  Was he actually a Zygon? Does it mean that the real Danny Pink is being held somewhere?  Something to think about.

We have to discuss Clara.  Clara was replaced by a Zygon very early in this episode; however, none of this explains why she either ignored or missed 127 (yes, I looked at her phone) calls from the Doctor.  This season has worked really hard to show the evolution of Clara's relationship with the Doctor and how much they mean to each other and yet she ignored him. In fact, she even hung up on him when he finally managed to get her on the phone at first.  What the hell was she up to that was somehow more important than speaking to the Doctor?  This makes me wonder if Ashildr had something to do with Clara's obvious preoccupation.  We did after all see her in the background of a picture that Clara took.  Something is going on here.  There are only five more episode before the Christmas special and we know that Jenna Coleman will be leaving before that.  Is this part of the big build up to her departure? Hmmmm.  Somehow, I think it will involve the Doctor's creation of a hybrid, as well as his constant desire to run.

What were your thoughts on this week episode, particularly its commentary on colonization, immigration and terrorism?