Friday, 13 November 2015
THE ZYGON INVERSION - THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE NERDY
Taking this author completely by surprise, The Zygon Inversion somehow managed to surpass its predecessor in every way that matters! In fact, if the general consensus, coupled with the overnight ratings are anything to go by, then the claim that this particular episode would feel like a season finale are indeed validated. Here’s the good bits, the not so good bits and the good, but slightly geeky bits of the episode.
Do you know why Peter Capaldi’s speech at the end of the episode stands out for me? Why it still brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it? It’s because I can’t help but want to put it on a loop and play it for all the warmongers, the dictators and the terrorists plaguing our world. The speech is not like most badass boasts the Doctor has delivered so far. The reason why the Pandorica speech is so amazing is down to Rule of Cool so we don’t care when someone complains about “just shoot him from the spaceship”. It’s cool because it’s bold and sounds cool. This speech however resonates because while it is fantastically delivered, it is basically the truth and the truth hurts. This speech is what every terrorist or dictator is scared of: An argument that they just don’t have an answer for. What happens next? After you’ve crushed and enslaved the lesser races, what then? What do supervillains do with the world once they’ve conquered it? Watch Megamind? Every line of dialogue feels as though it’s written specifically to call out the terrorists, fascists and other discriminatory parties that might be watching.
UNIT makes the list this week, mostly because apart from Kate and Osgood, they’re not in the story. It’s sad when lack of UNIT equals better quality.
And yet, one of the things that has irked me about Kate Stewart is Doctor Who shoving it down our throats that she is the Brigadier’s daughter every episode she’s in, but at the same time, trying to convince us that she is still her own character. Her identity is overshadowed by whatever homage the series needs to pay to the Brigadier. Yet, the Fire Rounds Rapid reference is a good subtle way of reminding us of this father-daughter connection while at the same time paying respect to the Brigadier and showing Kate as a somewhat competent character.
I believe shrinking the focus of the invasion down to London as opposed to the international threat from last week was a good move. The first episode establishes and sets up the conflict, but it can be hard to make every location's story interesting as Kate's section last week feels like the low man on the totem pole. So forcing all the relevant parties into a more manageable location aids the story's task of balancing the various character elements at play.
Last, but not least, Osgood has come a long way since that first cosplay shot in The Day of the Doctor. This Zygon two-parter has done wonders for the character in terms of character development. Moreover, her appearance in this story has in no way diminished the character's death in Series 8. In fact, if I may be so bold as to say that without that death, Osgood's character probably wouldn't have been nearly as interesting and developed as we see here.
Clara the Last Plotbender is back this week. Instant master at Lucid Dreaming. We didn’t see this, but she just added water to some chemical and it happened. How did Clara manage to turn her prison into a weapon? I don’t know…because of plot? Won’t anxiety and fear also raise your heart rate making it harder to tell if someone is lying? Ah fudge it! Common sense and scientific logic be damned!
Eight episodes in and we still haven’t seen Clara actually do something reckless. You can’t just tell people this will be an arc for the new series and then not do until with it.
The Doctor's terrible and cheesy game show host accent is a subtle nod to an old American game show titled - you're not gonna believe this - Truth or Consequences.
Osgood continues the cosplay goodness by adopting what appears to be the Seventh Doctor’s coat from The Curse of Fenric. Did she nick it last time he visited Earth?
Bonnie’s name is less to do with adopting a human identity and more to do with the writers trying to be clever. In their defence, they are, but it doesn’t show since almost nobody realized that “wheel keeps turning” plus “glorious revolution” plus “Bonnie” is a reference to Bonnie Dundee and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Graham of Claverhouse or Bonnie Dundee raised an army from Highland clans while in Ireland, Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell led local Catholics, who had been discriminated against by previous English monarchs. Yup, like everything else in this two-parter, Bonnie’s name is meta as well.
Alongside Five Rounds Rapid, we go another stealthy reference with the Doctor calling former companion Harry Sullivan an "imbecile"...again. poor chap can’t catch a break.
And once again, the ability to lock a Zygon in human form was expertly handled in the Big Finish audio The Zygon Who Fell to Earth.
Tomorrow’s episode boasts that what we’ll see can never be unseen, but will that be a blessing, or will we regret what we’re shown?