The Zygon Invasion began with an interesting video from the two Osgood’s about the peace treaty that was signed between the humans and the Zygons known as operation double. The opening flashes back to the 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor in which that treaty was signed and begins to deal with the plot hole of how we would settle 20 million Zygons.
Since then peace has reigned, that is until about about a minute into this episode when Osgood is captured by a zygon in a town called Truth and Consequences in New Mexico thus setting the stage for the nightmare Scenario. Meanwhile the Doctor is playing Amazing Grace on the Guitar in the Tardis when he picks up the message and heads straight for the Zygon high command but just as they are kidnapped just as they were about to help the Doctor. It seems that the Doctor has become a bit more comfortable with his role as the president of earth which was good to see and I think that this won’t be the last time that we see him in this position.
The Zygon Invasion was written by Peter Harness who also wrote Kill the Moon and like that episode this one also delivers a strong message but this time of a more political nature. Up until this point the Zygons have been living peacefully among us but a radical splinter group that the doctor wants to stop U.N.I.T from bombing because he is an advocate for peace and he knows that attacking them with drones will only serve to radicalise more of the Zygons. There are some interesting analogies in this episode, especially with the Zygons releasing videos of Osgood who has been held hostage somewhere called Turmezistan.
The shape shifting nature of the Zygons is used to great effect in this episode as it has allowed them to hide in plain site and enact a kind of psychological warfare when challenged. Much like in the real world it is a lot harder to dehumanise the enemy when they look exactly like you and me and this episode plays on that quite heavily. Giving the Zygons the ability to imitate loved ones from your memory and only needing to keep the originals alive if they wanted more information from them was an interesting touch and gave them episode a bit more of a chill.
U.N.I.T is back in this episode and it is interesting that pretty much all the positions of power within their ranks are taken by women. They are led by Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) and Walsh (Rebecca Front) and it is good to see that these characters and getting a bit more screen time. The scenes with Kate Lethbridge-Stewart in Truth & Consequences were interesting even if the reveal was just a little bit to obvious. Clara and Walsh have some great interactions as they investigate the mysterious goings on beneath London with even more interesting reveals.
Over the course of the series the Doctor and Clara have had adventures across time and space but despite that they have not really been spending that much time together. In pretty much every episode of series 9 they have been separated in some way and this episode is no exception and it also features another character with a bleak outlook that spends time with Clara. I Know that she is set to leave at some point in this series with the finale looking the most likely but at least we got to see her take charge more in this episode and it will be interesting to see what she does next week.
Series 9 got off to a really good start with only two parter episodes being shown thus far which I think was a pretty good decision on there part. Nearly every series of Doctor since it returned has had an overarching narrative that has kept the episodes together but this series in particular seems to be more focused on setting up and resolving cliffhangers which makes a welcome change. It has also meant that they have been able to delve deeper into certain story lines and this series has gone from strength to strength as a result. It has not always been perfect but I have to say that I have really been enjoying watching this series of Doctor Who.
Previous Episode: The Girl Who Lived
Next Episode: The Zygon Inversion