Doctor Who RECAP & REVIEW: “The Zygon Invasion”

doctor who - review and recap - the zygon invasion

Once upon a time there were 3 Doctors, 2 Osgoods, and 1 Peace Treaty. Or at least that’s how the tale starts in ‘The Zygon Invasion’.

The last time we saw Osgood was in the previous season, when she helped the Doctor fight the Cybermen, tragically losing her life to Missy in the end.

We jump back in time a bit, to just after the events of the 50th anniversary special, which is actually when we first met Osgood. After having been duplicated with a Zygon copy, the two become so close that they refer to each other as sisters and identify themselves as Zygon-Human hybrids (there’s that word again!), with neither admitting which they actually are.

The Osgoods are shown on a recording saying that the Doctor gave them a failsafe if the treaty was ever broken, but all it would take is one bad egg (human or Zygon shaped) to make it happen.

Now we’re in the present, and Osgood is frantically making her way in what looks like a town under siege. While hiding under a desk, she makes a quick call to the Doctor, but she’s too late. A Zygon finds her and it’s zappity-zap – lights out!

Meanwhile, on the TARDIS, the Doctor’s too busy strumming away on his electric guitar to take the call. That is, until he realizes who it’s from and stops cold.

Now at a playground, Doctor Disco (as he now refers to himself) tracks down two seemingly innocent girls. Except, they’re not. They’re Zygon high command! And while the Doctor’s distracted, they’re kidnapped in a van. Was anyone else waiting for another adult to intervene seeing that this strange old man was approaching two girls?

doctor who - review - recap - zygon invasion

At UNIT headquarters, Kate Stewart is getting up to date on the situation, finding that Osgood has been kidnapped and that the cease-fire has been broken.

When Clara arrives home, she finds a boy from the building crying on the stairs, evidently unable to find his parents. But when Clara enters his home, she finds two very strange people who look like the boy’s parents, but something isn’t quite right, especially when the boy starts screaming when they try to take him.

Seemingly satisfied, Clara returns the Doctor’s call and leaves. Hmm.

The Doctor’s now with Kate, who informs him that the treaty he forced with the Zygons wasn’t exactly ideal, and tension has been increasing ever since. Apparently, a small sect have been building a resistance against what they look at as human control and set out to “free” themselves, wanting to appear as themselves, rather than having to take on human form.

Clara soon joins them and the Doctor inspects a Zygon control centre, which becomes a bit too sensual, but it tells him that Zygons all over the world are in a state of panic about being found.

We find out that Osgood has been fairly crazy since losing her Zygon-Human sister, having gone undercover in the United States and basically disappeared ever since. We also see the two Zygon girls from before reverted back to their true form by the rebels and then zapped to death.

doctor who - review - recap - the zygon invasion

The Doctor decides to take Air Force One (remember, he’s President of the World!) to Turmezistan, where he immediately meets up with the no-bull Colonel Walsh, who is set to put her team of UNIT operatives into action to eliminate the Zygon threat.

But even as they are told to do the opposite, the soldiers are tricked by Zygons emerging from the church wearing the faces of their loved ones, and are soon led to their deaths.

At the same time, Kate takes off to where Osgood was taken: a small town in New Mexico called Truth or Consequences, renamed for a TV show or something, as Clara puts it. She soon runs into the sheriff, who explains that the Zygons who had inhabited the town went crazy and pretty much killed everyone.

Meanwhile, Clara decides to return home, thinking that maybe there was more to the creepy parents she completely ignored earlier, and takes the somewhat nervous UNIT operative, Jac, who looks like she’d be more comfortable behind a desk.

Upon arriving, they find the creepy parents taking a wrapped-up body-sized something into an elevator, where they promptly disappear. After getting inside, Clara and Jac find a hidden panel that takes them to a secret basement level. They decide it’s best to get reinforcements.

Speaking of reinforcements, the sheriff in the town realizes that Kate definitely didn’t bring any, and decides to reveal her true Zygon self. Kate can only sit in terror as she’s seemingly killed; let’s hope not.

Back in the air on Air Force One, the Doctor has a chat with Osgood and can’t help but focus in on her resistance to reveal her true race. He thinks he’s outsmarted her, suggesting she’s human as a Zygon needs the human host alive, but Osgood schools him in the advanced technologies of the Zygons, and that they can apparently now retain a human’s form even if they’re dead. Yay?

doctor who - review - recap - zygon invasion

With that, a Zygon prisoner is brought in and the Doctor interrogates them. It makes the relatively tame and not-at-all crazy demand that all the Zygons want is the world for themselves. See? Sane.

It’s also adamant that there won’t be a Zygon invasion, because the invasion has already happened and they won. Okay. It then makes the threat that the Doctor’s plane won’t land, although the Doctor doesn’t seem to know if he should scoff or be worried.

Back in the Zygon’s underground lair, Clara and Jac lead a UNIT team into the depths of what appears to be a whole lot of Zygon pods. The pods are apparently growing duplicates, and when Clara finds one of hers, she’s quick to say that they should all be destroyed.

But Jac seems hesitant. She thinks they should come back after they reassess the situation, before they destroy anything, except then she starts to figure things out. Because Zygon’s don’t grow copies, they kidnap people to do it…which means that all of these pods are filled with trapped people, including Clara –  has been a Zygon this whole time! Or
at least since the incident involving those creepy parents.

With that, a whole flock of Zygons emerge, zapping the team to electrified dust. Goodbye, Jac! You sure were nervous.

On a rather pleasant seaside meadow, Zygon-Clara makes a quick call to the Doctor to inform him that the real Clara, Kate and the rest of UNIT are all dead…right before she fires off a rocket launcher to take down the plane. I guess the Zygon was right, that plane isn’t going to land!

doctor who - review and recap - the zygon invasion -

Recap Musings:

  • This is probably one of the bigger plots the show has done in a long time, especially seeing the story was separated into three international stories. It had a very similar feel to Torchwood in story and style, too. It was also one of the better part ones of this season, although having said that, the show still suffers from being either too plot light/character heavy or too plot heavy/character light. This episode did seem to stick to somewhere in the middle for the most part, but it almost makes me want to just wait to watch both parts together; then this wouldn’t even be a problem.
  • This episode was shot so beautifully. The shots of Kate, especially in the town, looked beautifully cinematic, adding to the ‘more than just a TV show’ feeling driven home throughout.
  • So at this point, it’s clear that Clara is going to be a hybrid of some kind…but of what exactly?
  • Osgood’s return was a little confusing at first, mainly because it took me a minute to catch on to there being two since the 50th anniversary special. It feels like it wasn’t the plan, seeing this was never mentioned at the end of last season. And I’m still not sure why the Zygon-Osgood has such a connection with her, unlike the others that were copies, that it wanted to remain that way.
  • Okay, I’ll admit it, the electric guitar showing up again so soon felt a little forced. You have a good thing going here Moffat; you don’t need to shove it done our faces every episode. We get it! Capaldi’s Doctor is also quirky now!
  • So sad that Jac bit the dust, literally. She didn’t seem like she had a chance though, at least not in an episode that didn’t have much spare cannon fodder. But I’m always a sucker for a naïve and innocent character that’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Also, on that note, I’m really hoping Kate isn’t dead. Even though it would mean escaping near death for the second time, if she did die, it would mean that UNIT are so terrible that their entire branch dies without much effort at all. Especially Kate, who pretty much just sat there in shock, evidently unable to defend herself, even though, you know, she’s the head of a secret military organization. No biggie. I just want better for her!

Next time…

C.D.