WARNING: This review contains spoilers
There have been many complaints about New Who having lost its way in the most recent seasons. There will always be complaints on the new Doctors, new companions and new species that are presented in the story. One thing is for sure, though: Doctor Who will always be Doctor Who and, every now and then, we will still get gems like ‘The Zygon Inversion’.
From that first intriguing representation of what a dream world would look like, I could already tell that I was going to enjoy this second part much more than the first one. ‘The Zygon Inversion’ had brilliant dialogue and was captivating from the first minutes. That is probably because the episode stated its main focus from the very beginning: the Osgood box(es). One could normalize all the Zygons and the other could destroy all of them. Two humans to decide which button to press. Decisions and more decisions. However, this all turned out to be just an act. There were no boxes, no relevant buttons and no choices to be made because they had already been made by the Doctor.
In what actually sounded like the most epic anti-war political speech one could give, Peter Capaldi give us what could easily be the highlight of this season so far, and one of his best scenes and performances as the Twelfth Doctor overall, if not the best one. It didn’t take long for us to realize that the speech was no longer about the human/zygon conflict, but about war in general, and the Time War in particular.
I’ve fought in a bigger war than you will ever know. I did worse things than you could ever imagine. When I close my eyes… I hear more screams than anyone could ever be able to count. And you know what you do with all that pain? Shall I tell you where you put it? You hold it tight, till it burns your hand. And you say this: No one else will ever have to live like this. No one else will ever have to feel this pain. Not on my watch. – The Doctor
Henna Coleman’s Bonnie was much more convincing in this episode, although I still think she came off more as robotic/non-human than evil. However, she really made me feel very tense and uneasy when she was questioning Clara while checking her pulse for lying. Truth or consequences, indeed.
Seeing Osgood again for these two episodes was amazing, although I believe that she works best on her own. For some reason, I didn’t feel like she had much chemistry with the Doctor, which is why I’m happy she/they decided to stay as protectors of the Earth instead. It was pretty much in-your-face that Osgood’s character was the representation of how peace between the two species can be found. In a season full of hybrid themes, Osgood is constantly asked to make a division and answer whether she is zygon or human. She says she will reply “the day nobody cares about the answer”. Brilliant.