Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 7
The Zygon Invasion
Written by: Peter Harness
Directed by: Daniel Nettheim
Broadcast Date: Saturday 31st October at 8:15pm on BBC One
The Gallifrey Times have seen The Zygon Invasion and have put our spoiler free preview together.
We’re over half way through this year’s series of Doctor Who, and wow, it’s been quite a triumph as far, but don’t fret, because this week’s episode, titled The Zygon Invasion, continues those thrills and exceeds expectations. Are you surprised? It’s another two-parter, and our last before the sure-to-be epic finale, however, for me, The Zygon Invasion couldn’t have worked any differently, unlike some of the other dual stories we’ve seen as far, this spellbinding, electric 50 minutes will substantially tease you for the things to come – seriously, you’re gonna be aching for the next 7 days to pass.
Peter Harness is back after that awfully ambitious and divisive (but, may I say, in my opinion, quite good) Series 8 spectacle Kill the Moon, and it seems he’s more precise in his understanding of the show’s structure – such as, some would say, Kill the Moon was rather unique in its execution, well, Harness has toned down that rarity.
Actually, The Zygon Invasion feels like a mashup of some of the most classic and rich Doctor Who episodes, dense with storytelling and shocks and some-what light on originality. For those who miss the good-old adventure days of RTD, I’ll be upmost shocked if you don’t squeal with joy over the likable tone and structure of this, quite frankly, marvelous outing.
Now, there’s a lot in this episode that the BBC have asked me to keep very quiet on – and suitably as well, because there’s some cryptic and subtle shocks that will sure to give you nostalgia from a scattering of Who eps and a reminder of some of the epic characters we’ve hinted upon through both Smith and Capaldi’s eras. It really is a joy to watch, its core may remind you of other episodes, but it builds upon them with its political intentions and actually, a very solid, yet not spoon-fed, message.
I am so glad we’ve been treated with more Zygon-action, because their comedic and horrific mix is completely perfect for Doctor Who – and let’s face it, they were wasted in Day of The Doctor. Don’t be laughing with their ghastly appearance just yet, because there are some moments in The Zygon Invasion, which, surprisingly, arise a very tense and spine-curling atmosphere – there’s even a few slight jump-scares in there. Be prepared, this is pay-back for all those whom laughed at the Zygons in DOTD.
After her small hiatus last episode, Jenna Coleman is back for more subtle teasing at her demise – well, actually, there’s not much of that, but more badass Clara action. She really is quite impressive here, leaving you angry with enjoyment that you have to wait to see the conclusions of the massive questions asked – there’s a lot of frankly, impressive ideas thrown around Harness’ mind and I’ll be shocked that, if like Kill the Moon, it doesn’t pay off. The Twelfth Doctor is fully warmed up now, but there’s still a subtle silliness (almost alike that of The Eleventh Doctor) thrown into his mix of spectacular characteristics – more than ever, he feels fun.
The Zygon Invasion genuinely feels universal, deadly, and full of threat. Whilst Doctor Who has mostly always worked brilliantly with Earth stories, this almost feels like something much, much better. The spectrum of backgrounds, figures, and even tone, all feels as if this is a worldwide threat. Nettheim is sure to make the danger inclusive to everyone and anyone, and this heightens the tension and intrigue – do I need to say it? This may be Series 9’s best, if not second best, episode as far.
Full of character, dense in storytelling and suitably mixing tones of humour and horror, The Zygon Invasion is Doctor Who where it feels comfortable – but not too comfortable, for this episode packs a punch, leaving you either subtly intrigued by its political context, or shocked by its brutal questions and of course, there’s one hell-of-a cliffhanger. If this isn’t enjoyed, I’ll be shocked, because The Zygon Invasion is an episode that should please, fulfill and most certainly thrill all.