Doctor Who Review: “Zygon Invasion”


Dear DocBlogger:

Something’s changed and my dear, sweet girl has been replaced by a completely different, dare I say “evil,” twin. How can I get her back before it’s too late?

Switched in South Carolina

Dear Switched:

Talk to her. Help her through it. But keep an eye on her in case she shoots you in the back.



Spoilers ahead, Sweetie…

When I saw the teaser for Zygon Invasion last week, my first thought was “How are they going to bring my beloved Osgood back from the dead?” Silly me, this is Doctor Who, where the dead are recycled on a regular basis and the points don’t matter (stealing that from Who’s Line Is It Anyway, in case you were wondering). Regardless, Osgood/Kate/Unit versus the red sucker Zygons is a ton of fun. And Evil Clara, you are a thing of beauty.

The Episode in a Nutshell

Zygon Invasion begins with a Day of the Doctor recap, and what a joy it was to see the gang back together. We learn that there are actually two Osgoods (gasp!), both serving as the cornerstone of Operation Double in which 20 million Zygons have peacefully integrated into human society. That is until now, when a “nightmare scenario” occurs and a splinter group has determined that hiding as humans is no longer acceptable. They take the Osgood who was not killed at Missy’s hand last season as a hostage as well as the location of all 20 million Zygons and give the warning: “There will be Truth or there will be Consequences.”

The Doctor is called in and his attempts to contact Clara include numerous voicemail messages, signing off in one with my new favorite nickname: “Doctor Disco.” Clara arrives at her flat and is checking her messages when she sees a neighbor boy crying about not being able to find his parents. She finds them, and then hesitantly leaves the screaming boy before being called in by Unit to help with this latest calamity. Unit wants to bomb the Zygon revolutionaries at their training camp in Turmezistan while our Doctor, a.k.a. the President of the World, says he will negotiate peace and rescue the fair Osgood.

We next learn a few interesting things: 1) The Doctor took a nerve gas weapon that kills Zygons, 2) The Zygon baddies are amassing under London thanks to building elevators that now have a new Lower Level, 3) Zygons turn humans into huge electrically charged dust bunnies, 4) Zygons can kill human originals once they have all the information they need from them, and 5) Truth or Consequences actually refers to Zygon Ground Zero in New Mexico. Kate heads to the U.S. alone while Unit’s military forces in Turmezistan are unable to kill Zygons who double as their family members.

The Doctor rescues Osgood and captures a Zygon, whom they interrogate in the Doctor’s own version of Air Force One. Osgood reveals that she is both Zygon and human, at which point the Doctor calls her a hybrid, the same words he used to refer to Ashildr/Lady Me last week. Clara and Jac have called in Unit reinforcements after discovering huge numbers of Zygon revolutionaries under London along with pods that contain not duplicates but the human originals the Zygons have copied. We see Clara in a pod and realize that Evil Clara (code name Bonnie) is on the loose as she orders the murder of Jac and the Unit soldiers.

Back in New Mexico, the local sheriff determines that Kate has no backup and reveals herself as a Zygon. Evil Clara answers the Doctor’s call and informs him that Unit has been neutralized in North America and the United Kingdom, and that Clara is dead. She then pulls out a rocket launcher and aims it at the Doctor’s plane as it flies by and the familiar words “To Be Continued” settle on the screen.

Double Trouble

This episode leaves us with not only a great cliffhanger but also a few breadcrumbs and a new overarching theme. Let’s first discuss the breadcrumbs. The beginning scene teases us with a potential solution to the current situation via an Osgood Box, left behind by the Doctor in case the treaty breaks. It is never referred to again, so chances are it will pop up as the deus ex machina in next week’s continuation episode. My guess is that it is somehow tied to the mystery nerve gas the Doctor took, but based on his new world view I wonder if he will use it. Certainly the splinter group’s main beef – their desire to be themselves – is not a crime that should warrant extinction. However the revolutionary Zygons must be punished for killing and kidnapping others. I hope the punishment fits the crime.

In terms of the new theme, the Doctor’s current obsession with identifying “hybrids” can only mean one thing: a group of special people with amazing skills/backstories are living among us… no wait, that’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But seriously, I’m confident at least one more hybrid will come to light as the season continues and this group will be pivotal during the season finale. Or at least I can hope so. Do you think hybrids are the new thing? Let me know in the comments below.

I should also add that on the political message side of the house, the writers picked a winner by creating an enemy who could be a friend or family. We see the power that wields when Unit soldiers can’t find it in themselves to kill what they know are Zygons if there’s even a chance the target might actually be a loved one. Tugs at your heartstrings a bit, but I’m confident the Doctor will make it all better next week.

Liz Bowen, a.k.a DocBlogger

Liz Bowen is a long-time Doctor Who fan and first-time blogger living in Colorado Springs. She enjoys seeing her childhood recreated in cinematic excellence and will waste entire evenings waxing poetic about the technical beauty that is Transformers. She indulges in writing Supernatural fanfic and is working on her first original book.