‘Doctor Who’ Recap: Season 9, Episode 7 ‘The Zygon Invasion’

Happy Who-lloween Whovians! Grab some candy because the invasion has begun in this week’s ‘Doctor Who’ recap!

Ashildr’s story was most wrapped up last week and we learned that she would be returning for episode ten season I can’t help wonder what she was up to during this particular episode of Doctor Who as I watched it unfold.

Returning to a plot that appeared to have been dropped from “The Day of the Doctor” 50th Anniversary special, Zygons took human form. In the specific case of the special, Kate and Osgood found themselves looked in a room with the Ten and Eleventh Doctor and the War Doctor. In order to establish some sort of peace treaty the Doctors prevented all four humans and Zygons from knowing which was which.

David Tennant and Matt Smith as the Tenth and the Eleventh Doctors in “Day of the Doctor” 50th Special Photo: BBC

This is where our episode begins. Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) and Osgood sit side by side recording an important video about their mission. They’re apart of “operation double”, they’re an active unit outside of actual UNIT that is responsible for maintaining the peace treaty. The video is evidence to be used if something goes wrong should a zygon go rogue or one of them die.

We see Osgood visit the grave which is inscribed with only “My Sister”, after Missy killed her just when the Doctor promised her companionship. The two Osgoods are responsible for the aptly named “Osgood Box”, they are to guard as they are also to guard the cease fire. With 20 million Zygons taking human form should things get bad it is literally a nightmare scenario.

In the present day we see Osgood running through gunfire, somewhere. She hides under a desk and uses her inhaler. As Zygon walks in as she texts the Doctor. She’s attacked. On the TARDIS the Doctor plays “Amazing Grace” on his guitar. He sees Osgood’s message and the music stops.

Doctor Who Photo: BBC Gif: sonic-ewdriver via Tumblr

Next we see him outside a playground On his own stake out mission in present day London, he calls Clara, whose voicemail says she’s either on the tube or in outer space and leaves her message. The Doctor interrogates two little girls. It’s a rather funny scene and I actually thought he maybe had the wrong suspects but as it turns out the girls actually are Zygon commanders. In the UNIT safe house also in London Kate (Jemma Redgrave) finds the picture of the Osgoods. They know she has been captured. Kate calls the Doctor.

She tells him that the cease fire has broken down. Just then two Zygons appear and grab the little girls. Signs are being tagged with a Zygon symbol, showing this is some kind of revolt. A video transmission shows Osgood reading a message that essentially states that the war is about to begin.

The Doctor calls Clara again and asks her to call her now. We see Clara heading into her apartment. She starts to listen to her message but stops when she spots a child crying on the stairs. He can’t find his parents so Clara offers to go looking for them. The apartment seems to be empty but then the boy’s father appears. The child screams but they tell Clara that everything is fine and she finally answers the Doctor’s call.

The Doctor, Clara, Kate and other UNIT members go to the school the two little girls attended looking for the Zygon command center. The children said that they had the revolution under control and underneath the school they find the command center. The Doctor futzes around with the control panel. We learn that when one of the Osgoods died the other went crazy and in the States. While the Doctor works out how to work the control panel they get another video transmission. The two little girls are on screen as a Zygon explains that they all wish to take their true form and live as themselves. They change and then the Zygons who were the little girls are vaporized. The Zygon who was speaking tells them that they are the new high command.

Kate immediately goes into action. She is not interested in negotiating and wants to bomb everything but the Doctor explains that bombing all of them, for this small radical faction with radicalize all of them. Clara points out that Truth or Consequences is a town in New Mexico. The Doctor quickly hashes out a plan. Kate will go to New Mexico, he will go to the middle east and rescue Osgood and Clara will stay there and protect her home.

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor in Doctor Who Photo: BBC Gif: raggedyotter via Tumblr

The Doctor opts to take the plan since he’s the unofficial official leader of the world. He takes a moment before getting on board to strike a very presidential pose and the boards. Kate tells Clara about Z-67 a contaminate of sorts created in the 70’s, the last time there was almost a Zygon Invasion. The nature of it is to basically turn the Zygon’s inside out but they can’t use it because they don’t have it because the Doctor stole it. Kate then leaves for New Mexico.

Clara and Jac, the woman working for Kate stop at Clara’s apartment so she can pick up a few things. They see the Zygon parents from earlier loading a body into the elevator. Clara says it’s slow so they try and catch it before it reaches the bottom floor. When it does open no one is there. The two step into the elevator to investigate. Zygon juices ooze from the elevator button panel. Curiously Clara opens it to see another panel. Jac tells her not to touch it but Clara does what she wants. Even more suspiciously the panel responds to Clara and the elevator lights go and it shakes and they end up underground somewhere. The doors open and they can still hear the child shrieking in the distance. Clara grabs a flashlight and they decide to go back for reinforcements.

The Doctor arrives at the UNIT location in the middle east. There’s an excellent little nod to the legendary Harriet Jones when the Doctor introduces himself and the UNIT commander says she knows he is. The moment itself lasts maybe a second but the Doctor’s facial expression recognizes it in the same we did when we heard it. My guess it the line was used to highlight the similarities between the commander and Harriet Jones. The Doctor gets pretty ticked off by her when she has the Sycorax ship destroyed after it left in peace during the “Christmas Invasion”. Aliens love to invade don’t they? Anyway, UNIT insists they launch a strike on some suspected Zygons. We see it’s the Zygon family from Clara’s apartment. The commander keeps giving orders but in the end the strike is aborted. It’s impossible to trust an instinct that these people aren’t people when they look perfectly innocent.

Jemma Redgrave as Kate in Doctor Who Photo: BBC Gif: scriptscribbles via Tumblr

In New Mexico Kate finds a desolate town. No one is around and there are strange signs saying, “Not British/No Dogs”. The Zygon tags are all over the place. Kate takes out her gun and enters the police station. It looks about where Osgood was captured. A cop enters and asks where her backup is. Kate asks the cop to tell her why she might need backup.

The Doctor learns that they are just outside a Zygon training camp. The commander tells the Doctor that the threat is very real. That it involves the people they love and they have to do something because at any moment any one of them could be a Zygon and start killing them all. Back in London Jac discovers that all the elevators are involved. People load bodies and then disappear. There is something sinister going on underneath London. And the cop tells Kate what happened. All these Brits arrived. It was strange. And then they became Zygons. Killed everyone.

Infiltrating the Zygon occupied village the Doctor and UNIT go in in an attempt to possibly negotiate and find Osgood. They surround a church and out comes one of the soldier’s mothers. She tells him that it’s the commanders that are the liars that she is real. He starts asking her questions. None of which she is able to answer. Other people exit the church, family members of the other surrounding soldiers. The commander tries to get her men to keep their heads but in they end they follow these people into the church. The Doctor insists on letting him speak to them but the commander goes in a back way. Sure enough the soldiers have been vaporized. Devastated by the loss of her men she decides that it is time to bomb the area. The Doctor asks to look for Osgood. She gives him ten minutes.

He hears her and tells her he’s there and looks for how to get in. She being held in some kind of underground space. The Doctor removes her chains and Zygon approaches. Not having been ten minutes at all the bombing starts. The Zygon appears to be knocked out amid some rubble.

For a moment we return to Kate who discovers that all the people from the town are being kept in dumpsters. We then see that Clara and Jac are back underground with a UNIT team. Jac is pretty set in the fact that the world is ending but Clara is keeping a very positive outlook until they discover some sort of Zygon corpse area.

Ingrid Oliver as Osgood in Doctor Who Photo: BBC Gif: randomthunk via Tumblr

The Doctor and Osgood have made it on the plan. He calls Clara again and this being the 12th time I think we’ve heard her voicemail I’m certainly sick of it but then the Doctor tells her just the same thing. He then comments to Osgood on the question marks on her collar, which are a change from her scarf. The Doctor asks if she’s human or Zygon and she refuses to answer the question. She says that she is the living embodiment of the peace and the Doctor calls her a hybrid. He commends her for her answer but then promises not to tell anyone that she’s human because if she wasn’t she would have died shortly after her sister. A Zygon copy needs it’s human host to be alive. Osgood appears taken aback, just enough to make me think the Doctor hit a nerve, but points out that those were the old rules. It’s now quite possible for the copy to remain alive after once the interrogation is complete and they no longer need more information.

The Zygon that they captured with them is rolled into the room and the Doctor asks what it wants. The Zygon reiterates that they want to walk as themselves, he asks the Doctor if he’s the leader of the world and the Doctor says he is. The Zygon smiles and says they want the world. The Zygon tells the Doctor that they have already won the battle and that the plan will not land and he will not make it.

Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in Doctor Who Photo: BBC Gif: clara-oswald via Tumblr

Underground Clara and Jac have found pods. Clara starts giving orders to destroy them but something doesn’t seem right to Jac. Zygons don’t grow humans. Clara tries to make a point and finds a pod with her face. Putting everything together Jac realizes that the pods are the humans. She gives orders to retreat but Clara is a Zygon and has them destroyed. We go back to a few moments earlier when Clara was confronted by the boy’s parents. They zapped her and a Zygon version entered the scene.

Returning briefly to New Mexico Kate discovers that the cop is also a Zygon. She is attacked and Zygon-Kate tells Clara that the US has been neutralized. Clara plugs in a few codes and does the same for the UK. She then goes to the armory and next we see her next to her motorcycle overlooking the ocean as the Doctor’s plan nears. Clara calls the Doctor, he talks about what the Zygon told him. She takes out a gun and tells the Doctor that everyone is dead. The Doctor realizes that he’s not speaking to Clara and she launches the nuke at the plan.

The episode is to be continued like nearly all the stories we have seen this series so far. It’s an interesting narrative method although to be honest I’m not particularly invested in this particular story.

Best Lines

  • “Your blobby-ness”
  • “You two are very blobby”
  • “Your kids are out of control”
  • “Did you just call yourself, Doctor Disco?”
  • “You left us with an impossible situation, Doctor”
    “Yes I know, peace”
  • “Should we leave you alone with that?”
  • “Snogged a Zygon once…Old habits”
  • “Cause that’s what he does”
  • “I’m Dr. Funkenstein”
  • “Yes, we know who you are”
  • “What’s going on here? Fun and games?”
  • “It’s not paranoia when it’s real”
  • “Everybody in middle age always thinks the world is about to come to an end”
  • “I wear question mark underpants”
  • “Makes you wonder what the question is”
  • “I think you might be right…The end of the world”

What a trick of an episode! Mostly I have a hard time having faith in there not being some sort of “Moffat Loop” to get the Doctor and the world out of this one. It is interesting that the plotline came back especially given how sad everyone was when Osgood was killed last season. So what do you think? Is she a Zygon? Is she human? Could the Doctor have a Ganger, no wait sorry wrong Doctor, wrong a season though I seriously don’t doubt that something along a Zygon!Doctor hybrid will show up? What do you want answers to? Where is all of this leading? Can Ashildr help? Is any of this important? And what’s with all the hybrids? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Ingrid Oliver as Osgood in Doctor Who Photo: BBC

Doctor Who airs on Saturdays at 9/8c on BBCA