JReviews: Doctor Who Series 9 Episode 8- The Zygon Inversion

So…last week we had a stunner to kick of this two parter. But does the conclusion live up to the opener?

Let me kick off by saying this. This episode is not one of the best of Peter Capaldi's time as the Doctor. It is one of the best Doctor Who episodes of all time. In fact, if we only look at the relaunched, post-2005 series (because it ivory unfair to compare the original series with the modern series, what with the advances in technology to create better monsters and environments and everything), it is probably up there with The End Of Time and The Doctor's Wife as the pinnacle of what this show can achieve. And if we take both halves as one episode, only The End Of Time can really compare. That is how good this episode was.

Although, this episode doesn't start off with any hint of how good it would become. The opening is relatively subdued, with an amusing dream sequence and the following 20 minutes are relatively interesting, ramping up the action but not really letting loose. We get a very informative insight into Zygon imprinting, which apparently works both ways and give Clara a chance to once again actually be really really good in an episode??? God, if you'd have told me how well Clara was going to do in the series before it started I would have laughed at you, but they honestly found a good spot for her now, she's started to work as a character. Smart, confident, with a nice amount of sass and that little bit of vulnerability that makes her more interesting than either the bland "More Doctor than the Doctor" Clara that we got most of last season. And we also got a few interesting bits to pick up on, like with last episode.

  1. Nice to see that the Zygon insurgents don't expose themselves in public, instead forcing a neutral Zygon to do it. So typical isn't it.
  2. THAT IS HOW YOU PUN DOCTOR!!!! Planet- Plan It!!! I salute you sir.
  3. Never start with you worst threat, we learnt that in last seasons opening episode.
  4. I would ask how they got the pod through U.N.I.T security, but- Zygon invasion + Zygon Artifact being transferred to U.N.I.T HQ by the Doctors companion= stupid question.
  5. Why is he surprised that the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart survived an attack by one Zygon? Has he met her dad? Yes he has, so why is he surprised when she turns out to be half as competent as him?
  6. One thing I forgot to point out last week and in the 50th anniversary episode is; where the hell is the Skarasen? I thought the Zygons depended on it's lactic fluid to survive, at least, the ones from the 70's did anyway.

But of course, none of this really matters in the end, because once we get all the major players into the Black Archive, that is when things very suddenly take a turn for the incredible. This pretty much 20 minute scene is one of the finest you will see on TV today. Peter Capaldi gives a performance that would put David Tennant in The End Of Time part 2 to shame. He pretty much takes 20 minutes of monologue, with the occasional interspersion by Kate or Zygon Clara, and works it so amazingly well that it is impossible to take your eyes off him for long enough to even blink (perfect thing to watch if there a Weeping Angels around really). This one scene took this episode from being great to being as near perfect as you could get.

And with that, I suppose that the final though I can leave you with is this. When the hell did Osgood suddenly become best character in this show?

Well, I suppose there was a vacancy.

JR out.

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7 Responses to JReviews: Doctor Who Series 9 Episode 8- The Zygon Inversion

  1. Outcast says:

    Any one else surprised when Osgood was alive

  2. dreadyacht says:

    Any one else surprised when Osgood was alive

    I wan’t, because, if you’d have watched the 50th anniversary episode, you’ll know that there were 2 Osgoods, then one died and the Kate-Zygon turned into another Osgood. Seriously? How could you NOT have picked up on that?

  3. Malfar says:

    Yeah, the episode was amazing. Can’t say that it was better or worse than the previous seasons – for me they are all perfect.

    2. Still, not having English as my native language I can’t even start to guess how come one pun is bad and the other is good. To me it’s all the same, the funny language tricks, not bad.
    6. They evolve, they told it in plain text in the previous episode. They no longer need to keep the originals to assume their identity, and possibly they no longer need Skarasen.

    Umm, @dredyacht, Kate-Zygon didn’t turn into Osgood because there wasn’t any Kate-Zygon. Clara-Zygon (or Bonnie) became Osgood.

  4. JR19759 says:

    @Malfar- I think he was talking about the Osgood that died at the end of last season to the Master.

  5. Jake says:

    Good review, though I’m rather confused by the repeated praise for The End of Time. That special had good parts, but was everything bad about the RTD era. John Simm was somehow even worse this time than in his previous outing. And then there were some of the lamest aliens in the revived series to ever “grace” the screen. The whole mental block on Donna being a ruse on the audience was annoying. And the “I don’t want to go” bit was cringe worthy.

  6. JR19759 says:

    @Jake- Ok, I’ll agree the Vinvochi weren’t exactly brilliant, but they weren’t there to be cool or do anything in particular, they were there to explain how, what and why the immortality gate was on Earth and after that just basically bluster and be a bit annoying. They were lame for the reason that they were meant to be lame and inconsequential characters. But other than that, I don’t agree with any of you points. Personally, I don’t think John Simm was bad in either of his outings as the Master. He was different to the previous Masters, yes, but he was perfect to play against David Tennant, mad and dangerous against calm and cool. The whole mental block thing with Donna wasn’t actually a ruse, why wouldn’t the Doctor put a failsafe on the block incase she did ever remember. Obviously anything that would cause her to remember something through a mind wipe would be somewhat of a threat to her so it makes sense again. And the “I don’t want to go” wasn’t cringe worthy I.M.O. It actually still gets me when I watch that episode.
    But the reason I praise it so highly is purely on the performances of David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins. They worked so well off of each other and individually gave two of the best performances the series has ever seen in their own right. Just take the scene after the Time Lords have been defeated. The first ten seconds of that scene are perfect, just down to David Tennant’s facial expressions. He doesn’t even need to speak to tell you everything you need to know here. And then the helpless desperation and grim acceptance that follows really hits you in the chest, well at least it does for me.
    But that’s just my opinion. You’re entitled to yours as much as I am mine.

  7. Jake says:

    It’s not that the mental block doesn’t make sense. It’s that the whole thing was such a terrible bit of misdirection without any purpose other than narrative misdirection. I don’t mind having a different Master; heck, I hadn’t seen the classic series when I first saw Simm’s Master. It’s how incredibly over the top he was that I disliked. And in this one he gets lightning powers! And he flies! Honestly, the worst part of John Simm’s Master was that Derek Jacobi absolutely killed it in his one episode. I have no doubt I’d have enjoyed this exponentially more if Derek Jacobi were the Master (and the script wasn’t as dumb).

    I agree with Tennant and Cribbins. I liked their scenes together, including the one you mentioned. This episode was so incredibly flawed though that