This series has been on quite the roll so far, with every episode being pretty good, and there’s even been a few exceptional episodes. Of course, I expected The Zygon Invasion to be no different as it was written by Peter Harness; who was the mastermind behind last series’ Kill The Moon, which is one of my personal favourite new-Who episodes. Harness and co did not disappoint. The Zygon Invasion is mad, it’s over the top, and it’s pure Doctor Who goodness.
One of the reasons why I’m such a fan of Harness’ previous episode, Kill The Moon is because of the important moral questions he made the central theme of the episode. Tonight’s episode doesn’t feature a similar motif, but this doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of the episode as these themes wouldn’t be applicable in a story like this.
Although, this episode isn’t completely devoid of any questions of morality, and interesting scenes that really get you thinking. Midway through the episode, The Doctor and UNIT surround a church with Zygons inside, but they come out disguised as human beings, and one even takes on the appearance of one of the soldiers mothers, trying to manipulate him into not killing her. This scene was a masterpiece of sci-fi brimmed with intensity, leaving me begging at the hopeless soldier not to fall for the devious Zygon trick.
However, one thing that does detract from my enjoyment is the design of the Zygons. I understand that it is important to not alienate fans of the original Doctor Who series, but the design is so ridiculous and dated that, at times, I struggled to consider the Zygons as a serious threat. This is not a good feeling to have, especially when these creatures are trying to take over the earth, and I’m too busy trying to look past their ludicrous design.
It would also be a crime to forget that they’ve pulled off another excellent cliff hanger at the end of the episode, with SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Zygon-Clara firing a missile at a plane with the Doctor inside. We all know that the Doctor won’t die, but I’m confident that it’ll be a lot of fun watching him get out of this mess; especially with the whole of U.N.I.T being compromised by a group of Zygon imposters. Clearly Harness has taken a lot of influence from The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (not that I mind, I adore that movie!).
The pacing of The Zygon Invasion was excellent, however. From the opening moments the action commences, making this episode a pure thrill ride from start to finish. Harness has created forceful action-packed episode which leaves you feeling satisfied by the time the credits roll. Another strong stride forward for the ever evolving (or perhaps even ‘regenerating’) series, with this episode really ticking all the right boxes, but leaving enough un-ticked to make us want to tune in again next week.