Welcome to another edition of the Doctor Who Weekly! Yes, this may not be weekly which is mainly down to me not planning around the schedule in place for Doctor Who this series but here I am, writing a review for a thrilling Zygon two-parter which took me back to the days of Ecclestone and Tennant.
Fast, alien and thought-provoking
I’ve probably mentioned this in nearly every review this year but, I must say it again, The Zygon Invasion has a superbly strong start. Beginning the episode with a tie-in to the 50th anniversary special probably made hard-core Who fans a little bit giddy but it must be said that this was a clever device used by the show to help newer or more casual viewers to understand what they were about to watch for the next two episodes. I’ve always been an insanely huge fan of TV show/film music so hearing the 50th anniversary pieces threaded through this adventure was really satisfying. However, they managed to move on from the 50th and went on to brilliantly develop this storyline (special mention to Capaldi’s guitar, simply perfect). The pacing of the first episode was really good and having this type of world crisis adventure really took me back to the days of the Cybermen in parallel universes, Sontarans vs U.N.I.T. and Daleks in Manhattan. One of my hopes for the future is that this adventure will do the same for new fans as the ones I just listed did for me. I also loved the design aspect of this adventure. Despite seeing the Daleks already this year, it was fantastic to see real alien stuff in this story. The Zygons looked superb and the visuals of their lairs and caves looked fantastic and felt really at home on Doctor Who. And on top of all this, we were treated to a fascinating scene between U.N.I.T. soldiers and Zygons acting as their loved ones. This was the first of a few things which struck the emotional chords of the audience as it really did try to explore quite deep questions, well, deep for Doctor Who at least. This theme continued through to the next episode and was certainly effective.
The end of the Zygon Invasion was an intriguing cliff-hanger which caught me by surprise. I thought Kate Stewart could’ve had a bigger, more involved input into the story instead of just answering to the Doctor as the head of the U.N.I.T. But, the twist involving Clara was genius and I didn’t seeing it coming at all. Only after a second viewing could I understand all the clues dotted around the episode which told us that Clara was different. Plus, knowing that there were real consequences to her actions was quite welcoming, without being rude to Jac and all those U.N.I.T. soldiers. I loved watching evil Clara and it was a refreshing change to watch Jenna Coleman change her style. A quick nod to all the gags in this story too. The joke about benefits made me chuckle, as well as the Doctor’s question mark underpants, what the word planet actually means and the Doctor’s browsing history. Also, is the Doctor’s name actually Basil? Moving on to a deep look into the resolution of the story which saw Capaldi give one of his best performances yet as the time-travelling Time Lord. Listening to him mediate between the humans and Zygons was spellbinding. His anger and passion was evident by his dramatic performance and he had the audience in the palm of his hands with beautiful control and power. Furthermore, the situation at hand really did ask an important question about real-world issues. Terrorism. Revolutions. Radical ideas and how we deal with them. These are all issues with great depth and relevance and I admire that shows like Doctor Who try to explore this issues. The part about breaking the cycle was particularly thought-provoking for me.
To conclude, I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure spread over two weeks. Refreshing a classic Who villain for a new generation has worked out wonderfully. It was a gripping, thriller of a story which Capaldi can tick off of his Doctor Who bucket list. Evil Clara was interesting to watch, seeing U.N.I.T. is always great and the story explored topical, profound issues which was a treat for the more That’s all for now. Over the next couple of weeks, I believe we make a brief return to single-episode stories which means I’ll definitely be doing weekly reviews. The next episode looks promising to say the least. A whole adventure in first person. How has this not been thought of before. Until then, thank you very much for reading and I hope to see you next week!