Saturday, 7 November 2015
Doctor Who: The Zygon Inversion
"Why do you have a Union Jack parachute?"
"Yeah. We're in Britain."
Wow. That's how you do it. A Part Two that outstrips Part One. Genius.
The structure of the whole thing is a marvel. The pre-titles bit, revealing the not-dead Clara in her very self-aware dream state in the pod, seems as though things are going to go a bit Forest of the Dead, but instead we get an episode that's all heart, centred around a superb speech by Peter Capaldi that uses a brave amount of screen time and is an acting tour de force. And if that's not enough we get not one but two extraordinary performances from Jenna Coleman. Oh, and Osgood rules. Oh, and there's a nice little moral about ceasefires, peace processes and not obsessing over past grievances that will hopefully get watched in Israel and Palestine.
Basically, the plot is clever, and the Osgood Box is a great big red herring; it's not objects but ideals that are important. This is a deeply and unusually satisfying plot resolution. Evil Clara, played with delicious malice by Jenna Coleman, even has a convincing change of heart and, in a brilliant stroke, becomes the second Osgood. Oh, and Osgood's first name is Petronella. And the Doctor's is Basil, apparently.
Another nice twist is that Kate (Jemma Redgrave underwhelms again, sadly) was just pretending to be a Zygon, but at the end she almost threatens to act like her dad in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a nice little bit of character development that is, sadly, wasted on Redgrave's phones-in performance. Can we kill the character and put Osgood in charge soon, please? She's cool. Even the Doctor is a huge fan.
But one duff performance doesn't stop this from being a fine episode, and certainly the finest script amongst some stiff competition this season. Only thing is that all this foreshadowing of Clara's death (I'm unspoiled, but it's bleeding obvious) is getting deafening by now...