The Zygon Invasion Review

(106 comments)

It is, in many ways, the most Part One of the two-parters we’ve had so far. Which is as it should be. I mean, it comes right out, first thing, and proclaims “we’re doing Zygon ISIS.” Pretty much right there, you’ve justified your second part. This isn’t some premise that requires a stealthy inversion at the halfway mark to work over ninety minutes. This is just an incredibly meaty, dense concept that it would be a travesty to even attempt in forty-five. Which makes it a beast to review, of course, but oh well.

Let’s stipulate up front, then, that much like Under the Lake/Before the Flood, a lot could go wrong in the second half. Clara - the actual one - is going to need something significant to do next week to avoid this contributing to a frustrating pattern of sidelining her this season. There’s an “immigration requires assimilation” subtext that, without some actively managed balance, could turn genuinely ugly, although there’s self-evidently no chance of this story going UKIP or anything, having already skewered them. And The Zygon Inversion could just suck. I’m pretty confident it won’t go wrong, though. Part of that is that I just have a lot of faith in an episode with the writing credit “by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat,” but much more of it is just that this is simply a very, very good episode of Doctor Who, and requires none of the “OK let’s be willfully sympathetic about what could easily just be abject sloppiness” that Under the Lake did.

From the start, there’s a deft balancing act going on between the two 1970s that Terror of the Zygons represented. On the one hand is the UNIT era that it ended, with all its political thrillers and sense of implied scale. On the other is the Hinchcliffe era it was a part of, with all its buried gothic horrors. The opening scene, as Osgood runs from a raging battle sold convincingly through a shaky camera and sound design into the police station is emblematic. The first part is neo-”Action by HAVOC.” The second is intimate dread. And the episode keeps toggling between those two approaches. On the one hand, the population of London is being sucked into the ground through its elevators. On the other, drone strikes in Generistan.

But this balance is all the more compelling when it’s tied unapologetically to the headlines in a way the series hasn’t really done since Davies left. When I say “Zygon ISIS,” I am not reading into the story to any meaningful extent. The radicalized Zygons are, first of all, actually described with the word “radicalized.” They send video messages of their hostages, whom they sometimes execute on camera. They have a sigil consciously designed to mirror the ISIS flag. This episode is not fucking around. Similarly, as a metaphor about immigration and assimilation, it’s as subtle as a brick, and gloriously so, both in the “they’ll think you’re trying to pinch their benefits,” a very particularly sort of classic Doctor Who line that just doesn’t show up much in the new series (“The rest were all foreigners.” “Well of course not, I’ve travelled.”), and in the New Mexico sequences.

Which makes the places where the episode flickers into the domestic, intimate sphere all the more affecting. This isn’t just a Doctor Who story with a tri-continental scale; it’s one that uses the full range that scale opens for it. The obvious scene to talk about, and holy shit let’s talk about it, is the one on the church steps. Some day, episodes of Doctor Who are going to stop starting so late that the end credits are post-watershed. This will in many regards be a good thing for the show; certainly it will help arrest the slide in viewers that comes from it getting used as fresh meat for the Saturday night autumnal firing line, thrown up against The X-Factor and the Rugby World Cup with minimal promotion. It is, as many critics have noted, more than a little perverse to have Doctor Who on too late for kids, even if a Sunday morning iPlayer Doctor Who is just about equivalent to a Saturday evening one on a school week.

But one of the real tragedies of that inevitable readjustment is going to be the end of this uncompromising perversity that leads us to things like the comedy Maisie Williams immortality recap montage suddenly swerving into dead babies or the spectacle of a soldier being begged by what is obviously an alien wearing his mother’s skin not to shoot her, and told that she loves him and forgives him. Murray Gold gets in on the sheer grotesqueness by turning the soundtrack into part of the Zygons’ weaponry, a mawkishly mournful tune that drenches the scene in awful, chilling bathos. Meanwhile, Peter Capaldi stands in the background displaying the full dramatic range of his eyebrows. It’s breathtakingly dark, and in a strange and furious way that only Doctor Who could or would do.  

Actually, Capaldi’s handling of the military bits is genuinely fascinating. Harness doesn’t bother with the usual hand-wringing scenes; when the Doctor objects it is practical. The closest he comes to a moral objection is “that’s where they’re holding my friend.” He does not argue with Rebecca Front’s character as she gives her orders, only augmenting them with his own purposes. He goes in, a man comfortable with this kind of situation but wary of it, conscious at every second that he is in a fundamentally different story than the one everyone around him thinks they’re in. It’s electrifying in its subtleties; in what’s chosen for saying and not saying.

Meanwhile in New Mexico we bounce the plot casually off of its X-Files duplicate, and get another flamboyantly bizarre moment in the angry, spat out, furiously hateful Trump-voter description of those foreigners who just came out of nowhere with no jobs and acting all funny where the foreigners are the British and also reptiles. And in the UK Jenna Coleman finally gets to play “evil,” and takes to it with delightful relish. The speed at which this twist plays out, completely changing the circumstances of the plot in a way that was on the one hand inevitable (of course the Zygons have to be within UNIT) and on the other genuinely surprising, is an impressive trick, and the cliffhanger is a good thrill, even if the lack of visible impact kind of makes the resolution seem obvious.

All in all, superb. Roll on next week.

  • “Titillate the fronds.” And with that, Harness takes the all-time prize for dirtiest line in Doctor Who from Moffat’s “well, a wife.” (Note: I am getting corrections on Twitter that the line is in fact "titivate the fronds." I don't care. I like my reality better.)
  • I really like the complete lack of fucks devoted to the discussion of how the Zygons have apparently built a vast global network of tunnels under the Earth with nobody noticing. Particularly that the script’s attitude to this jaw-dropper is to just play it cool. “Look, if the moon can be an egg…”
  • Correspondingly, I like the amount of time that was put into actually imagining Zygon culture. The kidnapped and executed Zygon High Command, the focus on a generational difference within the Zygons… all of this really serves to make it feel like a political crisis and not an invasion, title aside. (And I like the right the Zygons demand - the right to not have to hide. Excellent choice.)
  • Fascinated by some of the implications and resonances of Osgood’s dual-species identity, and especially by her insistence that she rejects the premise of the “human or Zygon” question. Also love the fact that the script then has her openly declare that we’re changing the rules for Zygons now.
  • Also good - the active focus on the fact that Zygons have names, from the one baffled by the question even being asked because it is literally just a giant reptile bent on conquering the world to Bonnie. (They named a Zygon after Bonnie Langford. I love it.)
  • I note that ISIS took credit for bringing down a Russian plane this morning. I can’t wait to see what sorts of incredibly stupid things people manage to say about the cliffhanger based on this.
  • Sad to see the cool middle-aged black science lady at UNIT get turned into an electric haystack. Or, perhaps more accurately, I’m glad to see them cast a middle-aged black woman as the recurring UNIT character who evil!Clara kills, but really wish there were still a middle-aged black woman with a recurring part on Doctor Who.
  • Speaking of the electric haystacks, another lovely bit of gruesomeness. A way to casually get away with massive piles of dead bodies in Doctor Who, they’re the exact right mix of silly and grim.
  • The #moffat hate tag appears dead silent on Tumblr tonight, but there was a poster on GallifreyBase who complained that the episode was too “gynocentric,” so they’ll have to suffice for that particular form of amusement.

Belatedly Added Funny Quote From the #Moffat Hate Tag on Tumblr

"This episode is just a big metaphor for Islamophobia - and it’s saying that the Islamophobes are correct. And that was on purpose."

Episode Ranking

  1. The Zygon Invasion
  2. The Girl Who Died
  3. The Magician’s Apprentice
  4. The Woman Who Lived
  5. The Witch’s Familiar
  6. Under the Lake
  7. Before the Flood

Comments

dm 1 year, 3 months ago

I can see what Caitlin was excited about: Clara's new Hero Coat is pretty sweet (much better than the Magician's Apprentice one).

That cliffhanger was just really fucking cool. Nothing particularly clever or original about it, but just played and directed so deftly.

While they have run out of things to do with Clara, can they just keep Jenna Coleman on as Bonnie?

The politics... I am worried, but I hope I'm wrong. Strong pro-assimilation stuff going on. You're right, Phil, that it isn't going to go UKIP, but equally I hope it doesn't go Guardian. The Doctor as a soft liberal (something not without precedent) is something I can't handle.

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David Brain 1 year, 3 months ago

Yeah, pretty much the only overtly negative reaction I had to this episode was "why did they have to kill Rosgood?" except that they really hadn't got anyone else that it could have been.
And the sheer "gynocentrism" of the episode was magnificent - by the time the trooper in New Mexico showed up, I was completely unsurprised that she was a woman. Pretty much the only significant male character (outside of The Doctor...) was the soldier outside the church, and frankly a mother/son confrontation was always going to be better than a mother/daughter one.

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Evan Forman 1 year, 3 months ago

Rather than merely "surpass" the Bechdel test like in Kill the Moon, Harness has opted to actually fail a male version of it. There are two (maybe three, didn't catch the soldier's) named male characters here and they don't talk about anything to eachother, let alone something other than a woman*. Great stuff.

*I'm counting the Doctors at the start as one person. But if anyone wants to clutch at straws for their male representation i'll be too delighted at the spectacle to stop them.

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Jane Campbell 1 year, 3 months ago

The Doctor talks to a Zygon on the plane, but the Zygon has no name. Beautiful.

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SpaceSquid 1 year, 3 months ago

I thought the opening scene added nicely to this too; the episode is so utterly nailing Bechdel here that it can pass it by having a woman talk to herself.

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Daibhid C 1 year, 3 months ago

I hadn't heard her called Rosgood before. I like it.

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EvilBug 1 year, 3 months ago

Considering how horrifically incompetent UNIT is under the matriarchy, I can hardly count it as a win for women.

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Evan Forman 1 year, 3 months ago

1. I wish it was early enough at night that I could be bothered Googling the name of the director of this episode (changed my mind: Daniel Nettheim) because the visuals stood out quite a bit. The wonky camera angles and weird zooms, the chilling shot of all those bins in New Mexico. Not quite "oh, who's this Nick Hurran bloke?", I don't think, but interesting nonetheless. Good stuff, I hope we get him back soon.

2. If you're going to do a fake-out "we'vekilled this major character" cliffhanger, at least show us the the plane crashing. We saw Clara getting disintegrated in The Magician's Apprentice, they could at least PRETEND this is something they'd actually go through with. Which sounds very nitpicky, but it was the one and only thing in the episode I didn't think was great.

3. The Hybrid. I genuinely think The Hybrid is a parody of a season arc. It felt so shoehorned in the conversation with Osgood i've convinced myself that Steven Moffat is ripping the piss here, that it's a ruse to distract the fan theorists and he's going to delightfully pull something out of nowhere for the finale.

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boortrand 1 year, 3 months ago

2> That assumed the plane actually crashes next episode.

3> I didn't think it was shoehorned it. Pretty much seems like Davros gave the doctor a pretty nice idea to puzzle over. At other times, he won't give a second thought about, but now he's pretty much "could this be what Davros meant"?

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Tony Macklin 1 year, 3 months ago

The hybrid theme seems to be permeating right down into the season structure, with each story very much a two-episode hybrid.

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Jane Campbell 1 year, 3 months ago

"The Hybrid" is also blatantly alchemical -- the Union of Opposites pointed at through so much of the show's discourse. But this has been true throughout Moffat's tenure, not just this season.

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Anton B 1 year, 3 months ago

The Hybrid is the Doctor. (Half human on his mother's side) this is why he fled Gallifrey. To prevent the Time Lords weaponising him as per the prophecy.

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Citizen_Alan 1 year, 3 months ago

" I genuinely think The Hybrid is a parody of a season arc. " I actually find this persuasive. Every reference to "The Hybrid" has been ham-fistedly shoe-horned into the episodes where they have appeared, starting with Davros's rant about it which was so out-of-left-field that I immediately rewound to watch the scene again in confusion.

2nd Captcha attempt

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Ger of All Trades 1 year, 3 months ago

I actually laughed out loud when Missy casually mentioned the hybrid at the end of "The Witch's Familiar". It's like she's in on the joke.

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Jane Campbell 1 year, 3 months ago

Ugh, I'm supposed to be writing up Tabula Rasa, and this is what I'd rather really write about. Obviously the Zygons are being used in all kinds of metaphorical dimensions, in very deliberate ways, and so my reservations expressed last week are quelled, yay.

As is the case with "shapeshifter" monsters, the Zygons function primarily as mirrors. Islamic State, obviously, and of course Latino immigration in the US. But the interesting thing in the latter case is that those immigrants are explicitly "British." Which means that the target audience of the UK is being put into the position of immigrants themselves, to identify with them. And that's terribly, terribly clever and welcome.

The Clara Zygon is another metaphor, but a very personal one. As has been noted before, Clara's become less overtly empathic since she's become "Doctorish," and I thinking specifically of her utilitarian callousness in Flatline, a reflection of what she saw of the Doctor in Orient Express. It's more than just Jenna Coleman getting to play evil -- it's a way for us to see the monster inside Clara.

Which is pointed out as a mirror for all of us by Osgood, who claims equal parts Zygon and Earthling. Here she stands for all humanity, for all us of have monsters inside us, every single one. I certainly do. But this is really a principle of alchemy, that union of opposites, to play the angel is to play the beast and all that. So it's very interesting that Osgood's Box has a Circle in the Square motif on it, a symbol of integration.

So, yeah, a lot to play with here. I wish the episode were more visually stimulating, but I've been so focused on LOST this week, which, being shot in Hawaii, well, it's hard to come close. Still, some very nice visuals I'll want to examine latter this week.

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Sean Dillon 1 year, 3 months ago

Well, remember. This is a two parter.

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Derik 1 year, 3 months ago

Zygon's ability to mirror someone's memories serves a primarily metaphorical role now -- the soldiers and citizens see them as 'other' and 'dangerous' and 'monsters'... but once they put on the faces of our loved ones, they suddenly become people.

(On another level, it turns the Zygons into Yet Another Moffat Monster Whose Gimmick is Related to Memory and Perception. Less thrilled by that, not because it's uninteresting but simply because we've got too many monsters exploring that theme in the mix with this showrunner. Would rather they let the Zygons be their own thing.)

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Riggio 1 year, 3 months ago

I really like your point about Clara, Jane. That's what I'm looking forward to in The Zygon Inversion, seeing the echoes of Clara in Bonnie's characterization. Not just for the spectacle of Jenna Coleman playing a properly ruthless villain. I mean, from the moment she does that turn in the Zygon prison, I can tell how much Coleman loves playing an icy villain. It was one thing to pair her with the Master in The Witch's Familiar. Now I want to see her play a future Master herself in about ten years' time.

I found this honestly the bravest Doctor Who story I think I've ever seen. Not only is it connecting with a major focus of global politics, ISIS, for its central imagery. It purposely and explicitly makes the grievances of even the most radical, mass murdering terrorists explicable, understandable, and even sympathetic. This seems to me like the most peace-minded Doctor Who story in a long time.

http://adamwriteseverything.blogspot.ca/2015/11/we-all-can-easily-become-monsters.html

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Anton B 1 year, 3 months ago

Wow! Best episode so far this season and not a minute too soon. Just when I was beginning to lose faith in Doctor Who's ability to still deliver the goods Harness gives us the Zygon Invasion and it certainly doesn't disappoint.

So much to get into that I'm going to need two or three viewings to really take it all in. On first run through though, what really stood out for me was the beautiful brazenness of its metaphors. To the extent that I see the main complaint among its detractors online is the 'obviousness' of the 'immigrants/radicalisation/assimilation allegory. As though a message somehow loses potency by being easy to read and that could somehow be a valid critique. I fear the real reason people are annoyed by the story's simple theme is that, in fact, they don't agree with its implications.

I love how the Osgood/Zygon question is not only sidestepped (the fact of her being alive is as obvious as the rest of the allegories and really not an interesting puzzle to obsess over, any more than where the Doctor got his cup of tea or how he escaped the invisible clones) but pressed into service to unexpectedly make the most political point in the story. No it shouldn't matter whether you identify the person you are talking to as human or alien, Christian or Muslim, male or female. Perhaps listening to what they're saying is more important than value judging.

The hybrid thing is really a thing now isn't it? Translation again plays a key role and notice how (apart from the obvious ISIS connotations) the Zygon insurgents' sigil is an eye in a hand.




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Jane Campbell 1 year, 3 months ago

Eye in the Hand motif... can't believe I missed that. Thank you. Coupled with... pulling people underground?

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Matt M 1 year, 3 months ago

I thought it was a sucker not an eye

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Anton B 1 year, 3 months ago

It's a three fingered Zygon hand too, which is cute. So looking forward to watching again and finding more hidden imagery. Also looking forward to your in depth analysis Jane. There must be more beneath the surface. (Pun probably intended :) )

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merrivalT 1 year, 3 months ago

That scene outside the church was quite, quite brilliant - the stand-out moment of the series so far.

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Froborr 1 year, 3 months ago

Is this the first time Doctor Who has used an entirely fictional country in a story set on contemporary Earth?

I was... not enthused by this. I think my intensely negative reactions to the pro-assimilation slant and the scenes of the Doctor not using his authority as President of the World to tell UNIT not to bomb an entire village made it hard to enjoy the good bits, even while I could acknowledge that the Know-Nothing ranting of the trooper being directed at the British was pretty good.

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Froborr 1 year, 3 months ago

Oh, also: the bit about how anyone you know could suddenly turn into a monster and kill you? My response was basically "Yeah, it's called being a human being. Suck it up and deal." It's true for everyone everywhere at all times, and you're still paranoid for not ignoring it.

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Jane Campbell 1 year, 3 months ago

I believe the people who expressed such sentiments, Froborr, were either villains or obviously coded as being wrong.

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Froborr 1 year, 3 months ago

I didn't see much to code, um, UNIT lady whose name I don't know, the one who spent most of the episode hanging out with Bonnie? I didn't see much to suggest she's coded as being villainous or wrong, and unless I'm misremembering, she's the one who said the "it's not paranoid if it's true" line.

Unrelated: Holy shit the captchas on this site are ABSURDLY hard. I'm starting to suspect I may actually be a robot.

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theoncominghurricane 1 year, 3 months ago

You are misremembering.

That line was Rebecca Front's character, who was with the Doctor and expressed preferences for 'bombing the hell out of everything'.

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Phil Sandifer 1 year, 3 months ago

I did not read this as the Doctor actually being reenstated as President of the World in any formal capacity, which would require an international agreement of exactly the sort that you can't really do while not telling anyone about the twenty million Zygons you quietly resettled across the planet.

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Froborr 1 year, 3 months ago

Hmm, I guess I assumed he never stopped being President of the World. Even so, isn't he some kind of high-ranking UNIT muckety-muck?

And regardless of formal rank, he's the Doctor. He orders people around constantly. It really bothers me to see him lurking about doing not a whole lot while soldiers are attacking places.

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theoncominghurricane 1 year, 3 months ago

He's scientific adviser, and yet this didn't stop nuclear weapons being fired in The Poison Sky when he directly ordered it. Only clone Martha stopped that happening having infiltrated the system.

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Citizen_Alan 1 year, 3 months ago

UNIT's relationship with the Doctor seems quite schitzoid now. As an institution, they grant him dictatorial powers when they need his help, while simultaneously hiding things from him that they know he'll disapprove of (and grumble when he steals away and hides such contraband from them even when it has genocidal potential). And was anyone else strangely offended on behalf of Ian Marter by the suggestion that good ole Harry Sullivan was responsible for creating nerve gas designed specifically to wipe out Zygons.

UKIP was mentioned earlier -- and my first captcha attempt is UKIF. Coincidence?

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Prandeamus 1 year, 3 months ago

Agreed re Harry. I suspect it was intended as a throwaway continuity reference without anyone thinking about the implications.

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EvilBug 1 year, 3 months ago

Your CAPTCHA prophesize its transformation into United Kingdom Independence Front. Civil war is inevitable.

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Dadalama 1 year, 3 months ago

Favorite season of New Who so far. I've only thought 2 episodes were bad (Magicians Apprentice and Before The Flood) and I found myself enjoying them anyways (even if I also my eyes rolling).

Still hasn't beat Season 26 of classic who for me but it's not far behind.

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Sean Dillon 1 year, 3 months ago

This was another episode I had a lot of fun with, after being slightly miffed about last week's outing (yeah, the dick jokes were even worse watching a second time before this episode). Also, does anyone else here think Harness nicked the "Oh god, it's the end of the world" "I think that's just middle age" bit from Shabcast 6 (the one after the Vox Day interview)?

Also, I hope there's a question mark guitar hidden in the TARDIS. There's just something so silly about the Doctor having one.

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Dadalama 1 year, 3 months ago

I admit that would be a pretty cool playful jab at the JNT era.

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dm 1 year, 3 months ago

I'd like to know what people think of Jemma Redgrave. Because I think she is just... plainly terrible. Check her scenes with the trooper, specifically the "They turned into reptiles" scene, and the bizarre facial expressions she makes for no apparent reason.

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Prole Hole 1 year, 3 months ago

Eh, I really like her but you aren't the first person I've come across that doesn't.. She has a slight... detachment to the way she plays things - obviously with her both her father and her job she's aware of aliens, invasions etc, but would also knows that getting too close to the Doctor can be a dangerous thing indeed, so she holds herself at a slight remove. This is, I think (hope?), quite intentional on the part of Jemma Redgrave and I really love the way that she's not played or written as either a straightforward Brigadier clone, nor as a standard military-type-but-just-happens-to-be-played-by-a-woman. Indeed one of the things I really enjoyed about this episode was getting to see her go off and have her own little adventure, stepping out from behind the desk and Getting On With Things.

New companion material? Well....

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dm 1 year, 3 months ago

I was on the fence about her. Like you, I tried to read her detachment as a deliberate choice. But in the scene I mentioned it looks like she is trying to detach a molar and is just annoyed that the trooper is talking.

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encyclops 1 year, 3 months ago

I thought she was a bit better this time around than she's been in the past, but in general I think she's hopeless. It's a tough act she has to follow in old Alastair, but I find it impossible to believe they couldn't have found a stronger candidate.

UNIT in general seems like kind of a joke these days. I have to keep telling myself that Benton and Mike Yates were not exactly Navy SEALs themselves and that UNIT is supposed to be a scientific organization now, but it's not easy to take them seriously.

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Jane Campbell 1 year, 3 months ago

I never take UNIT seriously. But then, I think it's meant to be a joke.

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AntonB 1 year, 3 months ago

Redgrave is remarkable and what she is doing as an actor is quite subtle. It's nothing to do with any fan-imagined legacy of the Brigadier; who was mostly written as a Monty Python cliche army character for the Doctor to anti-militarily snark at. (That the character trancended this is mostly down to Nicholas Courtney's professional skill) and I doubt she has much knowledge of the fan worship and head-canon that the character enjoyed other than what Moffat has told her. Instead I believe she is attempting something totally in keeping with the traditions of Doctor Who, that is, to juxtapose one genre convention against another to see what will happen. Redgrave is playing Kate Stewart naturalistically (using acting techniques more suited to docu-drama or performed reconstruction using reported speech) as a real person caught up in chaotic and surreal events who is forced to employ an unreal chaotic person (the Doctor) to restore order. Her coping option is to remain calm in the eye of the storm. If she appears detached, that is the result of the juxtaposition she has created. A calm reflection of the Doctor's manic energies. I find it fascinating to watch Matt Smith and now Capaldi clearly enjoying being exasperated at her coolness just as Pertwee and Baker were exasperated by the Brig's unflappability.

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dm 1 year, 3 months ago

Yeah I'm not comparing her to Courtney, because she's playing a very different character in a very different acting tradition some 45 years later. I get that she's aiming for naturalism, too, I just think... she's not very good at it? It could be that the scripts don't really give her much to do, she's a very loosely sketched character that needs real dedication to bring to life. I've looked at her other acting credits and the only things I'd have seen her in would be probably Marple and Buddha of Suburbia (one of the best things ever broadcast on any television network ever) but I don't really remember her character- even though my last rewatch was between the broadcasts of Dark Water and Death in Heaven.

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encyclops 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm glad you like her, AntonB. I definitely agree she doesn't have to be Nick Courtney v2. I just find her an underwhelming screen presence and wonder if maybe she could do with tipping the balance back away from "quite subtle" a bit more.

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Jane Campbell 1 year, 3 months ago

I agree, Anton (and disagree, dm and encylops). I'm always riveted by what Redgrave is doing on the screen, moreso than what "Kate" is doing on the screen. I definitely appreciate the performance more than the character.

But I'm not exactly well-versed in discerning what it is that actors are actually doing that makes them good at what they do. It could very well be that I simply find Redgrave herself compelling to watch. ;)

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Anton B 1 year, 3 months ago

I teach drama but it's difficult to define how minimalist acting works. In Doctor Who terms perhaps compare Hartnell with Troughton or Davison with either Baker. I would agree that often the distinction between 'Kate' and 'Gemma' seems thin but I would suggest that comes from a lack of k knowledge on our parts of both characters. I don't know Gemma Redgrave personally so I have no idea how much of her is in her portrayal of Kate. I suspect, as every actor does, she is using an aspect of herself to colour in the inevitable gaps left by a vaguely defined character being written by multiple writers over a sporadic number of episodes spanning three or four years.

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Richard Pugree 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm late to the party here, but oh well. Fantastic episode.

I agree with Anton and Jane on Redgrave. Her specific kind of naturalism/detachment reminds me a little of Lesley Sharpe actually, in as much as they can both seem a little 'off,' but only because everyone around them is acting.
Sharpe (in Midnight, Second Coming and Bob&Rose anyway) and Redgrave (here at least) are women trying to deal with increasingly difficult and ridiculous situations whilst stuck in the middle of a bunch of actors.
Which, let's face it, would be an absolute nightmare. It really works for me.

(On another note, I'm glad 'Rosgood' has caught on! I'm claiming credit for first use of that here, although I've no doubt lots of other people independently made the same joke. Also, I'll definitely accept a clumsily-scripted fake-out death if it means we get to see more of her.)


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encyclops 1 year, 3 months ago

Well, since I seem to be in the minority, far be it from me to spoil anyone's enjoyment of her performance. I do feel a bit puzzled by the idea that Stewart is somehow outside of the weirdness of events. She is the head of a paramilitary research and intelligence organization whose specific mission (unless it's changed and I've forgotten) is to detect and manage potential threats of extraterrestrial origin. The main difference between her and the Doctor is that she has one heart and she gets paid to do what for him is a hobby.

I don't think she got the job by being a temp and working her way up ranks. She's the daughter of the guy who basically put this organization together. She grew up either hearing all about aliens or carefully NOT hearing about them. She has a roomful of alien artifacts, whether she remembers what they are or not. And this team is not just a bunch of soldiers but a bunch of xenogeeks. "Realism" would suggest this bunch should be weird as fuck. Yet Kate Stewart is barely weird enough or authoritative enough to be a marketing manager. I'm fine with her being one or the other -- she doesn't have to be both, and I appreciate her contrast with the Doctor's eccentricity (though Capaldi is, like Pertwee, weird in relatively subtle ways). I don't want her to overact. But I feel like Oliver convinces me both as an actor and as a member of an organization like this, and Redgrave doesn't. My problem, though, obviously.

As for UNIT being a joke: I think sometimes and in some parts it is, and in others it isn't. Certainly (to pick a clear example) in "Planet of the Dead" Malcolm was a joke but Magambo, I think, wasn't meant to be. I don't think we were meant to feel the classic UNIT crew were jokes, though they sometimes served as comic relief. The role of UNIT in the old days was typically to come up with the wrong solution (usually "shoot things"), and then to provide muscle to support the right solution (produced by the Doctor). This makes a lot of sense when it's a military organization. I liked the shift to a scientific research organization -- it seems superficially progressive -- but it kind of wrecks this dynamic. Before the "wrong solution" came about because of philosophical misalignment: distrust and violence vs. curiosity and pacifism. If the values of UNIT are more or less aligned with those of the Doctor, they can only come up with the wrong solution through incompetence (they're not as smart / their science isn't as good) or impotence (they don't have the resources to do better). It's not nearly as satisfying, and yeah, they really do seem like kind of a joke as a result.Well, since I seem to be in the minority, far be it from me to spoil anyone's enjoyment of her performance. I do feel a bit puzzled by the idea that Stewart is somehow outside of the weirdness of events. She is the head of a paramilitary research and intelligence organization whose specific mission (unless it's changed and I've forgotten) is to detect and manage potential threats of extraterrestrial origin. The main difference between her and the Doctor is that she has one heart and she gets paid to do what for him is a hobby.

I don't think she got the job by being a temp and working her way up ranks. She's the daughter of the guy who basically put this organization together. She grew up either hearing all about aliens or carefully NOT hearing about them. She has a roomful of alien artifacts, whether she remembers what they are or not. And this team is not just a bunch of soldiers but a bunch of xenogeeks. "Realism" would suggest this bunch should be weird as fuck. Yet Kate Stewart is barely weird enough or authoritative enough to be a marketing manager. I'm fine with her being one or the other -- she doesn't have to be both, and I appreciate her contrast with the Doctor's eccentricity (though Capaldi is, like Pertwee, weird in relatively subtle ways). I don't want her to overact. But I feel like Oliver convinces me both as an actor and as a member of an organization like this, and Redgrave doesn't. My problem, though, obviously.

As for UNIT being a joke: I think sometimes and in some parts it is, and in others it isn't. Certainly (to pick a clear example) in "Planet of the Dead" Malcolm was a joke but Magambo, I think, wasn't meant to be. I don't think we were meant to feel the classic UNIT crew were jokes, though they sometimes served as comic relief. The role of UNIT in the old days was typically to come up with the wrong solution (usually "shoot things"), and then to provide muscle to support the right solution (produced by the Doctor). This makes a lot of sense when it's a military organization. I liked the shift to a scientific research organization -- it seems superficially progressive -- but it kind of wrecks this dynamic. Before the "wrong solution" came about because of philosophical misalignment: distrust and violence vs. curiosity and pacifism. If the values of UNIT are more or less aligned with those of the Doctor, they can only come up with the wrong solution through incompetence (they're not as smart / their science isn't as good) or impotence (they don't have the resources to do better). It's not nearly as satisfying, and yeah, they really do seem like kind of a joke as a result.

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encyclops 1 year, 3 months ago

Sorry about the previous version of this reply that got pasted 3 or 4 times somehow. Maybe one of our admins can delete it. Let me try again:

Well, since I seem to be in the minority, far be it from me to spoil anyone's enjoyment of her performance. I do feel a bit puzzled by the idea that Stewart is somehow outside of the weirdness of events. She is the head of a paramilitary research and intelligence organization whose specific mission (unless it's changed and I've forgotten) is to detect and manage potential threats of extraterrestrial origin. The main difference between her and the Doctor is that she has one heart and she gets paid to do what for him is a hobby.

I don't think she got the job by being a temp and working her way up ranks. She's the daughter of the guy who basically put this organization together. She grew up either hearing all about aliens or carefully NOT hearing about them. She has a roomful of alien artifacts, whether she remembers what they are or not. And this team is not just a bunch of soldiers but a bunch of xenogeeks. "Realism" would suggest this bunch should be weird as fuck. Yet Kate Stewart is barely weird enough or authoritative enough to be a marketing manager. I'm fine with her being one or the other -- she doesn't have to be both, and I appreciate her contrast with the Doctor's eccentricity (though Capaldi is, like Pertwee, weird in relatively subtle ways). I don't want her to overact. But I feel like Oliver convinces me both as an actor and as a member of an organization like this, and Redgrave doesn't. My problem, though, obviously.

As for UNIT being a joke: I think sometimes and in some parts it is, and in others it isn't. Certainly (to pick a clear example) in "Planet of the Dead" Malcolm was a joke but Magambo, I think, wasn't meant to be. I don't think we were meant to feel the classic UNIT crew were jokes, though they sometimes served as comic relief. The role of UNIT in the old days was typically to come up with the wrong solution (usually "shoot things"), and then to provide muscle to support the right solution (produced by the Doctor). This makes a lot of sense when it's a military organization. I liked the shift to a scientific research organization -- it seems superficially progressive -- but it kind of wrecks this dynamic. Before the "wrong solution" came about because of philosophical misalignment: distrust and violence vs. curiosity and pacifism. If the values of UNIT are more or less aligned with those of the Doctor, they can only come up with the wrong solution through incompetence (they're not as smart / their science isn't as good) or impotence (they don't have the resources to do better). It's not nearly as satisfying, and yeah, they really do seem like kind of a joke as a result.

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Aylwin 1 year, 3 months ago

That's a convincing analysis, at least of how this could go wrong. I'd highlight the point that the function of a military organisation is to get things done, not to decide what, in general terms, gets done. Hence, needing someone with a deeper understanding of a problem to guide it does not render it ridiculous, provided it can implement a course of action competently. But the function of a scientific organisation is to achieve understanding, so if it needs an outsider to do that it does become absurd and pointless.

I'm not sure that's what the actual problem is here, though, simply because I don't find the proclaimed realignment from military to scientific very convincing - scientific curiosity doesn't seem to figure much, while "shoot it" seems to be at least as much the default response as it ever was.

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Chris L 1 year, 3 months ago

Aren't the Zygons just using the tunnels built by the Silence?

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Derik 1 year, 3 months ago

I assumed they were using Silurian tunnels and the brick-constructed tunnel we saw wasn't Zygon construction, just an old abandoned railway or something.

Silurians having tunnels connecting every point on Earth is readily believable. They are the Air Loom Gang after all.

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TJS 1 year, 3 months ago

Why wouldn't they be the tunnels the Silence built?

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Jeff Heikkinen 1 year, 3 months ago

"(And I like the right the Zygons demand - the right to not have to hide. Excellent choice.)"

So basically, they just want him to let Zygons be Zygons?

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Jarl 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm positive this two parter is leading up to that punchline.

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ScarvesandCelery 1 year, 3 months ago

Actually, this would explain the multiple Zygon related puns (including that one) on Harness' twitter feed. Even if "Peter Harness likes making Zygon puns" is also a perfectly good explanation for that

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cmattg 1 year, 3 months ago

I heard "titillate" too, so I'm betting that they used a deliberately ambiguous word.

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Aylwin 1 year, 3 months ago

There's no question it's a deliberate pun (actually, I'm not sure it's possible to use the word "titivate" in any context without it sounding like a double entendre).

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Jarl 1 year, 3 months ago

Wow, they really went there. They go exactly where you think they're gonna go. Makes me think the abortion subtext in Kill The Moon really is there after all (though I still see it as pro-choice, but that's just me).

Carting the Zygon around in the Hannibal Lecter rig through the richly decorated wood interiors of the plane reminded me of the Doctor being carted around in The End of Time. It also reminded me of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, but that's more of a parasitic brain-worm than an actual point of analysis. Either way, it doesn't bode well for the plane, but neither does the fate of its immediate predecessor.

Nixon callback is interesting. The Day of the Moon and The Impossible Astronaut are sorta an inside-out version of this plot.

The thing that keeps getting to me is the mention of the reptilians. Just earlier today, on the bus, I was thinking it would be amusing if there was a Doctor Who story where they addressed the ole David Icke conspiracies and revealed reptilian shapeshifters had taken over the British Government, and at the end the Doctor warns his companion that they're still out there. I was just thinking it would be amusing for trolling reasons, but it seems that's actually what's happening.

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EvilBug 1 year, 3 months ago

I can hardly imagine how can you identify Kill the Moon as pro-choice. I don't seriously think it's about abortions, but the episode's designated heroic side shows questionable morality priorities that would, among other things, deny women right to abortion even with dangerous pregnancies.

Now, Zygons are Zygons, and any metaphor about real world with them would not quite work, with all those alien superpowers so they can't really be compared to any real group. It's not like someone's going to complain about anti-Dalek bigotry anyway.

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Jarl 1 year, 3 months ago

It's about actually making the choice. That they chose not to abort the moon is immaterial, the point is the Doctor declared it was their choice and he had no place in the matter, so he left it up to the 40 year old woman, the young professional woman, and the black teenager, the people most likely to need and seek an abortion.

This is just my viewing, though.

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EvilBug 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't know about you, but I don't think of women as interchangeable and devoid of individuality. Despite what you might think, women are actually separate people and have no more to do with other women's lives then men have.

Both Clara and Courtney were outsiders to the case and only one with legitimacy was Ludvic. He opinion to prioritize safety of currently living over a potential live was summarily overturned by people with less stake and legitimacy with "You'll think us later" justification.

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Jarl 1 year, 3 months ago

I definitely see their roles in the story as sorta stand-in Everywomen, personally.

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EvilBug 1 year, 3 months ago

Pro-choice doctrine does not dictate that pregnancy is to be a choice of "the women". It's about pregnant person deciding if they want to terminate it. The fact that majority of pregnancies happen to women is purely incidental.

In this context Ludvic is pregnant and so is all of humanity. Clara and Courtney are not pregnant. They will be in a few decades but not now.

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David Anderson 1 year, 3 months ago

I rather wish the taking your benefits line was just aimed at UKIP. It could easily be Teresa May. (Besides UKIP were as much a casualty of the election as Miliband Labour.)

I think a problem with the possibility of unintentional Islamophobia is that the only non-T-or-C Zygon / Zygon-ally with more than a couple of lines or even minimal effect on the plot is Osgood and she's only ambiguously so.

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encyclops 1 year, 3 months ago

This bugged me too. I really wanted to see at least one of the peaceful Zygons. I'm hoping we'll meet them in "Inversion"; this episode seemed intentionally to erode any possible sympathy I could have felt for them. I really disliked "Kill the Moon," but (perhaps all the more because) I don't think Harness is a careless, bad writer. It seems inevitable that he's trying to make us hate the Zygons and then flip it around on us.

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Jane Campbell 1 year, 3 months ago

We saw at least two peaceful Zygons -- the little girls who were executed by the radicals.

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encyclops 1 year, 3 months ago

True; I should have said I would have liked to see them interacting a bit more with the radical Zygons, to get a better sense of opposing points of view. It doesn't help that the "normalized" Zygons look almost identical (I would say that -- typical human!), but that makeup must take forever to put on, so it's no surprise they have maybe two actors playing all the Zygons. Still, as I say, it seems like a deliberate choice to hold that kind of thing back until part 2 to minimize our sympathies.

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Camestros Felapton 1 year, 3 months ago

Did the BBC get a special deal on military training villages? The somethingstan town and the New Mexico town both had that look.

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Genie P 1 year, 3 months ago

Best episode this series - just completely unremitting. And it's a good choice to have it now, in a series about enemies inside friends, so that the inevitable plot twists can be justified as 'thematically appropriate' as opposed to predictable. And no complaints from me - they're just an awful lot of fun.

To be honest - and this isn't a complaint - a lot of this is a clean-up job, and one I don't think we've seen the last of. Increasingly the attitude of the show seems to have been that The Day of the Doctor bordered on the idealistic, and that idealism has consequences. All the lovely, sentimental birthday stuff that defined the fiftieth anniversary has been slowly taken apart. Easy way out? Not always. The Doctor's bigger fan? Killed by the Master. Peace treaty? Not a chance. I've got a feeling this is going to pay off big time when Gallifrey comes back and the Doctor realises the extent of his consequences that day. (That's not to say they were wrong, of course. Failing in doing the right thing rather than succeeding in the wrong is more or less a statement of idealism, and it's so right.)

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David Brain 1 year, 3 months ago

I entirely agree. The political position of the Doctor has clearly always been "idealism" (it's just that this is often seen as a liberal, progressive or left-wing position - not that those three things are necessarily remotely similar or even meaningful except for people who have no nuance and need tribalism) and there is always the assumption that the outcome is "Happy Ever After". Doctor Who is a show that is able to have the luxury of exploring consequences but it rarely does; this year has been exciting to me for that reason.

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Genie P 1 year, 3 months ago

Exactly. And a show taking the position of 'make idealistic choices as long as you clear up the consequences' is a truly wonderful thing to be happening in the world.

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ferret 1 year, 3 months ago

Hopefully we haven't seen the last of Jac ("middle-aged black woman as the recurring UNIT character") as she too could have/be a sympathetic Zygon duplicate. It'd be cheap, but fine by me. Also, kudos for whoever came up with "Rosgood"!

Now, they're really raised the bar visually with this episode - I wonder how much of the seasons budget was invested in this? It blows Skaro's 3 rooms and 2 corridors out of the water, I could take a few earth-bound years of Doctor Who if they all exuded this level of quality.

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Evan Forman 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm not complaining about Jac's death because between Missy, Osgood and Ishildir the survival rate for women getting killed off this series is something like 100%.

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Evan Forman 1 year, 3 months ago

(Just after hitting 'post' I remembered O' Donnell in Before the Flood, but have decided to stick in the mud and assume they'll have her jumping out of a fridge in some future episode.)

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ferret 1 year, 3 months ago

Sorry misread, I see what you mean - Jac is as good as back already :-)

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ferret 1 year, 3 months ago

I'd be in total agreement, but I'm a big fan of the actress since her lead role in "Bugs" back in the 90s - I'd love to see her on TV more often. Make her a companion I say!

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Citizen_Alan 1 year, 3 months ago

My wild prediction for next week: There is a way to reconstitute the electric haystacks back into people. Phil postulates that they're just a way to show stacks of dead bodies in what is considered a children's show. But generally, Moffat (the originator of "Everybody Lives!") doesn't do stories in which the bodies are stacked up like cord wood, And unless he really does want the UKIP position to be held up as valid, I think there will need to be a way to pull the antagonist Zygon back from being the monsters who brutally murder a soldier while disguised as his weeping mum.

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Genie P 1 year, 3 months ago

Absolutely loved Murray Gold's score for the manipulation scene, just like Phil. It was almost too perfect - tempting and relaxing, but with a foreboding quality, a continuous sense that something isn't quite right. Probably the musical highlight of the series so far.

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Kristin King 1 year, 3 months ago

Absolutely riveted. I am an avid speculator, know that this season has all sorts of fakeouts, and had to rewatch the episode to find little niggly points that might or might not be clues. Things to consider:

1. Next episode's title is "Zygon Inversion". In what ways could last night's episode be inverted?

2. Why did Bonnie tell the Zygon to "kill the traitors"? Why are UNIT soldiers traitors to her, and not enemies? Were they all Zygons to begin with? Or is there a double fakeout going on here and Bonnie is somehow human and sees the UNIT soldiers as traitors because they allowed Zygons to settle all over the world?

3. If the humans in the Zygon eggs are dead, why are the Zygons bothering to keep them in eggs? Why not just make them electrified haystacks?

4. Are the electrified haystacks in fact human? In the ISIS video we saw _Zygons_, not humans, turned into haystacks.

5. Who died in the church -- the "hostages" or the soldiers?

6. Why did the Zygon guarding Osgood say "Clara"?

7. How does the song _Amazing Grace_ relate thematically to the episode?

8. What is in that box that the two Osgoods showed in the video? One of the reviews I read sugested it could be the Moment. I'm just thinking of Schrodinger's Cat.

9. Osgood said, "I would give all my lives . . ." -- um, how many does she have?

10. What happened in New Mexico? It sounded like a child slipped and revealed themself to be a Zygon, and then the whole town committed an atrocity -- a pogrom. And that could explain the dumpsters full of electrified haystacks.

11. With all the emphasis from both Osgood and the Doctor saying humans and Zygons are equally capable of good and evil, I can't help thinking next week's episode will show humans having been quite monstrous.

12 - and most important - WHERE CAN I GET A PAIR OF DOCTOR WHO UNDERPANTS???

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Genie P 1 year, 3 months ago

1) The main twist being that a character we thought was a Zygon was a human infiltrating the system the whole time?

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Prandeamus 1 year, 3 months ago

12.

Worryingly....
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=doctor+who+underpants&client=ubuntu&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=665&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CCkQsARqFQoTCProp5Hv78gCFcakHgod8AEPFg

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Prandeamus 1 year, 3 months ago

1. Inversions: Male/Female. Or, "six months later" the humans become radicalised and the Doctor works with Zygons & Osgood.

3. Explained in universe: Zygons no longer need to keep humans alive to maintain a body print, but they need to keep them alive if they want to refresh the print or get more information from them. Maybe.

5. A more interesting question is "why a church" ? And also when the Doctor entered it via the back door, it was more like a "church hall" than a sanctuary. Confusing visually, I thought.

7. Amazing Grace has resonances for slavery/anti-slavery causes, although John Newton's conversion experience might not be as clear-cut as often portrayed. "I once was LOST" ... might appeal to Jane.

The box was the dead man's lever. If one Osgood were to die, it would signal the TARDIS.

Osgood has/had two lives.

11. Humans acting like monsters is hardly new to Who. Or, regrettably, in reality. It's almost too obvious. And while it could work, I'd hope for something a little more subtle.

YMMV

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harlequin@quinny.demon.co.uk 1 year, 3 months ago

1 & 8: Part of me is hoping these two aren't connected. The box could contain the gas, the described effects of which are precisely that episode title.

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Harlequin 1 year, 3 months ago

Damn. My name shouldn't have been an e-mail address.

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AntonB 1 year, 3 months ago

@Kristin King

1. Everything we think we know is reversed.

2. Bonnie has absorbed enough of Clara to be swayed by her strong will. Just like Clara fought against her Dalek conditioning in both 'Asylum' and 'Witches Familiar'. When Bonnie said "kill the traitors" we only see the aftermath, the smoking electric haystacks. Who killed who? I think Bonnie was addressing the soldiers who were disguised good Zygons and it was the group of bad Zygons we see standing in the tunnel that were killed. I also think 'Rosgood' survived.

3. The humans in the Zygon eggs are not dead. They are being kept alive for interrogation.

4. All the electrified haystacks are dead Zygons.

5. the Zygons ( see 4)

6. He was repeating what the Doctor said to mock him.

7. "I once was lost but now I'm found"

8. The box is a bluff.

9. Osgood has as many lives as Moffat wants.

10. A Zygon revealed its true nature and all the Zygons were killed by the townsfolk.

11. See 10.

12 I had a pair of Tom Baker underpants in the 70s/80s but I found them too disturbing (and tight) to wear.

The Smoking Electric Haystacks is a great name for a band.

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encyclops 1 year, 3 months ago

4. I love this. Watched the episode again tonight with this in mind. I assumed the haystacks were the result of being attacked by a Zygon, but what you say suggests that they are in fact the result of being a dead Zygon.

5. Super interesting question. Though if it was the "hostages," where did the humans go? Who would they be hiding from?

7. Maybe it's leftover from the last episode in which he "saved a wretch like Me."

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Marionette 1 year, 3 months ago

I can see where it was very clever, I just didn't enjoy it much. I mean if they'd taken some of that cleverness and applied it to the plot so that Clara and the American policewoman weren't so obviously Zygons it might have felt more like plot twists and less like ticking boxes when they were revealed to be exactly what we'd guessed them to be all along.

On the plus side, I'm delighted by how "gynocentric" it was. More please, in a better story.

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Artur 1 year, 3 months ago

I was a bit wary of “Doctor Who tackling islamophobia”, but the episode turned out great and I’m very excited to see how it all ends next week. One thing that I would love to see would be the good Zygons play a bigger role in standing up to the extremist faction. While I absolutely love the liminal role that Osgood plays in the episode, she doesn’t quite count for me precisely because of her status as a “Hybrid” – I want to see ordinary Zygons take up the fight or just protesting the methods of the extremists.

I also very much liked the fact that the radical faction has a good point in opposing the assimilation trend. It would be lovely if the Zygons would just out themselves and keep living on Earth in their original form, though I don’t think the show could do that, so right now I expect the underground Zygon lairs to either become their permanent residence, or a special area where they can go to be themselves from time to time.

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ferret 1 year, 3 months ago

It's unfortunate that the plot is slightly constrained by the need to keep Earth recognisably close to the status quo of our own 'real' Earth to ensure Earthbound tales retain their close-to-home resonance, or force future showrunners to repeatedly reset it ala "The Crack in Amy's Wall".

As it's a problem born of the assumed extreme longevity of the show, I can't really complain - I just hope the solution is clever enough that it's not obviously set up purely to dodge this issue.

The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood fell afoul of this, but the "peace treaty that sees Zygons permanently disguised as humans" is a brilliant solution to Day of the Doctor - especially as it appeared to retain the Staus Quo whilst actually fundamentally changing it - even if we have learnt about it rather later than was strictly necessary.

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Frezno 1 year, 3 months ago

On writing it out, I got kind of mad at it. The Zygons... I get they're going for a thing where the ones running around killing people for being traitors are the minority. Aside from the High Command twins (and Osgood, arguably) though, we don't ever see any Zygons who aren't actively murdering people or plotting to break the ceasefire. We kind of need that perspective to keep these Zygons from just being a bunch of mustache twirlers trying to take over Earth just because.

That and Clara. This is the most Clara has done in ages, and it was great to see... only for the shoe to drop that it was all Bonnie, and Clara's spent the majority of the thing sealed up in a pod. Like, god damn it. She really needs to bust out of there and do something in the next one.

One last thing, not something I'm disappointed by so much as was expecting; I expected to see a Zygon Danny Pink show up down there. I'm not sure if that would be griefing Clara too much, but it would be interesting to see her overcome the trickery and hold her own against the Zygons. Ah well.

I accept that all of this might be fixed (inverted?) in part 2, but right now I feel a little let down.

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Prandeamus 1 year, 3 months ago

What happens when the underground Zygons meet the underground Silurians? Is that when ISIS forms a pact with Al-Quaida so that my enemy's enemy is my friend, and decide to hybridise and defeat humanity?

Or would this just create a continuity singularity?

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EvilBug 1 year, 3 months ago

Did anyone felt that "My Sister" gravestone was ridiculous? At this point they would do anything to not give Osgood first name. Even though there is no reason.

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Prandeamus 1 year, 3 months ago

Surely we only see the top of the headstone, or is my memory playing tricks?

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AntonB 1 year, 3 months ago

We see the full headstone but I don't think we are supposed to take the scene literally.

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Chris C 1 year, 3 months ago

Given the shared-identity nature of the two Osgoods as well as the general secrecy of the operation, the gravestone very much only exists for the other Osgood's benefit (it's not like there's even a corpse for it to overlook).

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Byan Yother 1 year, 3 months ago

Kate Stewart's still herself. She prevented the Zygon from copying her. Now she can proceed with her Zygon Infiltration plan....

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PeteSuperAddick 1 year, 3 months ago

Thank heavens.
I thought it was the best this season so far.
Not a lone voice.

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Matt M 1 year, 3 months ago

>Sad to see the cool middle-aged black science lady at UNIT get turned into an electric haystack.

It was an off-screen death so it's a bit late to tell if she's actually dead or not. Her character is also a bit redundant with Osgood back in the land of the living though. But on the other hand, she's clearly Ros from BUGS, so...

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S Blake 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm pretty comprehensively dismissive of viewer complaints, especially complaints from people claiming to be offended not on their own behalf, but on behalf of others.
But this week I couldn't help thinking, part way through the episode (it's difficult to pinpoint exactly where, although I think it was some time just after "Try to not kill too many of them"), that if I was a British Muslim watching this episode I'd be enjoying it a LOT less.

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EvilBug 1 year, 3 months ago

Zygons were welcome on Earth as long as they are willing to fit in with locals. The renegade Zygons instead want to preserve their own identity that is not welcome.

Some British Muslims would probably prefer to respect host nations' rules and symathize with UNIT.

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Matthew Marcus 1 year, 3 months ago

You don't feel that "not wanting to integrate fully with the local community, at least not to the point of giving up your language, traditions and traditional costume" might be a bit different from "being murderous alien hostiles intent on wiping out our civilisation"?

I'm definitely withholding judgment until next week on this one though.

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Anton B 1 year, 3 months ago

@EviBug
In the UK the process of assimilation has always been about the 'host nation' (as you call it) enriching its culture by welcoming, preserving and absorbing the customs and traditions of its immigrant population; not forcing people to 'fit in with locals'.

I'm not sure how one can describe 'British Muslims' as having a host nation. If they are British this is as much their nation as anyone elses. Islam is a religion not an identifier of race or nationality.

By 'sympathize with UNIT' I assume you mean accept that the armed forces have the right to 'not kill too many of you'.

We should be careful to maintain a distinction between the words terrorist, immigrant and refugee.

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EvilBug 1 year, 3 months ago

I mean, somewhere some British Muslim right now is thinking something like "Would someone please bomb Jamal? He and his attitude is the reason I had to left old country in the first place".

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Aylwin 1 year, 3 months ago

Finally got the chance to watch this. Too muzzy-headed right now to do any proper thinking about it, but a footnote on one of the more literal real-world allusions, which doesn't seem to have been mentioned: I think they said the lift to the Zygon lair was in SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies in London) - the kind of institution especially likely to be the focus of anxieties about "radicalisation on campus" and the like.

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