back to article Doctor Who's The Zygon Invasion shape-shifts Clara and brings yet more hybrids

Readers please note: THIS IS A POST-UK BROADCAST REVIEW – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! Kelly says: Time – once again – to sound the hybrid klaxon. Of course, Osgood is a hybrid: the whole thing is slowly falling into place. Can we finally see a relevance in that name now that we have an evil and way more entertaining (the baddies …

  1. Vulch

    "THIS IS A POST-UK BROADCAST REVIEW "

    Not at 20:25 GMT it's not...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was just about to say the same, when did rita ora join doctor who? I'm confused

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps someone's shoddy code hasn't taken into account DST.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not sure its the best sales strategy for them to blame the end of the world on small town USA.

    1. illiad

      A point... Mexico is NOT in the USA!! It is part of 'North America' .. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americas

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mexico is NOT in the USA!!

        ...but New Mexico is.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: Mexico is NOT in the USA!!

          Wait, there's a NEW Mexico?

      2. Earle M

        True that Mexico is not part of the USA, but...

        .. New Mexico is one of the 50 states, and Truth or Consequences NM is an actual city located in Southern New Mexico.

  3. Steven Raith

    Clara as a baddie

    ....works rather well, actually.

    Curious to see how they tie this one up. Two parters, not a bad premise for making more interesting stories, rather than trying to set up and blow down the whole thing in 45mins.

    Steven R

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Clara as a baddie

      "Two parters, not a bad premise for making more interesting stories, rather than trying to set up and blow down the whole thing in 45mins."

      Yes, going back to their roots when, from the very beginning in 1963 right up to Sylvester McCoy's final appearance when stories were 4-8 episode long, albeit shorter episode. My biggest bugbear with the 2005 reboot series' has been the inordinate number of one part stories where they seem to be in a rush to squeeze the ending into the last 2 minutes.

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Clara as a baddie

        I'm in love with zygon Clara!

        I am so glad they've started doing double part episodes regularly, 90' is a far more interesting shape. Maybe they'll try some three or four part episodes when they see how much people have loved this?

        1. x 7

          Re: Clara as a baddie

          "Maybe they'll try some three or four part episodes "

          no chance. Modern viewers are too thick to have the required attention span, unless the episodes are daily

          1. lorisarvendu

            Re: Clara as a baddie

            "no chance. Modern viewers are too thick to have the required attention span, unless the episodes are daily"

            I know, right. That's why weekly rubbish like Poldark, Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell, Wolf Hall, Peaky Blinders etc get such poor ratings. Nobody watches them because of their short attention...

            ...sorry, what were we talking about?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Clara as a baddie

        yep me too, I'd prefer at least 4 part stories with cliff hanger like back in the 70s!

    2. Ali on the Reg

      Re: Clara as a baddie

      Yes, although initially I thought she left that Asian boy to it because she didn't like Asians1 I'm not sure what's worse, Zygon Clara or Racist Clara?

  4. Richard Scratcher

    A big mistake...

    ...to let these shifty shape-shifters take human form and hide among us.

    Let Zygons be Zygons, that's what I say.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: A big mistake...

      Tom Baker called. He wants his joke back.

      1. Richard Scratcher

        Re: A big mistake...

        He may have stolen it from me and took it back with him to 1975.

  5. AndrewInIreland

    And what didn't work...

    The whole SWAT or whatever team deciding to walk into the church. There must have been at least one properly trained soldier amongst them.

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: And what didn't work...

      New Who has an unfortunate habit of making UNIT troops out to be utter incompetents. I think the last time they were ACTUALLY effective was when they loaded steel-jacketed rounds and kicked Sontaran ass.

      These guys? Complete morons.

      Seriously: even if you think they MAY be your actual freaking parents, you don't just put your guns down and follow them into a confined space. You treat it like you do any other hostage situation: order them to get on the ground and restrain each and every one of them. Even a Zygon's gonna be in a peck of bother with his/her/its (dunno what the proper gender pronouns for Zygons are, or if they're even applicable,) hands in manacles; and if it shifts back to break free, well, you splatter the son of a gun.

      That's what you would do EVEN IF you had no reason to believe that there was a significant chance they were shapeshifters and not your actual parents. These were so obviously shapeshifters it was painful.

      It's also bloody obvious that there's at least one Zygon, maybe more, in the UNIT basecamp; how else would the Zygons just "have" exactly the right "hostages" on hand? They wouldn't, and it's even less likely that the loved ones of ONLY those people who are actually looking at the Zygon camp would be there. Seriously, the drone operator's family? Loved ones for EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the UNIT team?

      And for that matter, there wasn't a single one on that team who had such a shitty relationship with someone that a Zygon ignorantly mimiced that they would've gladly taken the opportunity for a consequences-free shot at them and considered bagging a Zygon instead a consolation prize? Or someone willing to step up next to the commander, point their rifle at the Zygon imitating his mum, and say "You're either a Zygon or not, but either way, you're not MY mum. Get on the ground and put your hands on your head, or I will open fire, human or otherwise."

      It's just...

      No, just no. Please, please, PLEASE get an ACTUAL military veteran as a consultant, and actually LISTEN to them for a change. It doesn't make the aliens look badass when the humans are behaving so painfully pants-on-head, pencils-up-nose, gibbering-wibble-every-three-seconds retarded that fat civilians can poke holes in their behavior in five seconds flat, it just makes the humans look painfully incompetent. Seriously, if a Medieval queen can off one of them with a freaking dagger, how about the guys with guns actually get to do something useful for a change?

      (Also, what was with that drone operator? There's supposed to be at least two operators for a UCAV, and a commanding officer who has to authorize ordnance release. Why didn't someone else just grab the stick and push the button?)

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: And what didn't work...

        >>"New Who has an unfortunate habit of making UNIT troops out to be utter incompetents. I think the last time they were ACTUALLY effective was when they loaded steel-jacketed rounds and kicked Sontaran ass. These guys? Complete morons."

        Well I assume that UNIT soldiers are sourced from national armies. So when Geneva calls you up and says you need to supply five soldiers as your contribution and tells you they'll be working under the British to stand around most of the time and then occasionally be thrown at aliens who probably can't be harmed by Earth weapons anyway, which of your soldiers are you going to send? The command is going to come down from your general: "pick out the most useless and unpopular soldiers you have - the ones that you only don't kick out because of all the form filling. I've found you a way to get rid of them."

  6. Graham Marsden
    Meh

    "this story is influenced by current affairs"

    True, but I wish they didn't have to lay it on with a shovel...

    It struck me as rather ham-fisted and just another poor part of what could have been a much better episode had not the Doctor let all the soldiers go into the village first (instead of him just strolling in and outwitting the Zygons) and them then all stupidly walked into the church, Kate Stewart not being caught out by the "not-a-cop-anymore" Zygon and the silliness of the fake Clara getting them all into the Zygon's "breeding chamber" before, incredibly (or should that be "incredulously"?) finding "her" duplicate out of all of those many pods (what on Earth was the point of all that?)

    So, nice ideas, poor execution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "this story is influenced by current affairs"

      Err, fake Clara frightens Unit science person into getting all local Unit troops together in one place, with limited access and lots of human civilians (albeit temporarily pickled) to worry about, then can't resist showing how clever she has been before before the ambush.

      Kind of makes sense, but I bet Sgt Benson would never have fallen for it.

      As to whether the final Kate was a Zygon...

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: "this story is influenced by current affairs"

        Sgt Benton fell for "the oldest trick in the book" in The Time Monster.

        Right after he thought he'd been clever enough to catch out The Master.

    2. Will 28

      Re: "this story is influenced by current affairs"

      Kate Stewart wasn't caught out by the "not-a-cop-anymore" Zygon, as I expect we'll be amazed to discover next episode.

      Hell, if Queen Elizabeth the 1st can kill one then I'm pretty sure a unit operative can.

    3. Rol Silver badge

      Re: "this story is influenced by current affairs"

      As this is so close to the realities of worldly events, I sincerely doubt the plot will be allowed to deviate from a happy ending for ALL.

      Unethically, I am driven to see the whole goddam lot of 'em flushed into another galaxy, but in putting humanity back into humanity, I'd settle for just the radicals having their throats slit. No, I mean de-radicalised, yes that's it, de-throated.

      Perhaps Dr Who, not stealing its storyline from current events, could give the writers freedom to explore a fantasy where anything is possible with no risk of upsetting some individuals.

      Like:-

      An alien species that is quite cheeky, red and bushy tailed, is transmitting a deadly virus to the local wildlife and the Dr is called in to cull them.

      No? Well what about:-

      An alien species that is black and white, is accused of transmitting a deadly contagion to cows and the Dr is called into to cull them.

      No? I give in. This script writing for the overly sensitive is bloody impossible.

    4. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: "this story is influenced by current affairs"

      Yeah, the bit in the review about "The Zygon Invasion is Doctor Who does Homeland," made me wonder about the Zygon graffiti. Does any of it say "Doctor Who is watermelon?"

  7. x 7

    Clara may be a Zygon but shes still eminently sha****le

    Not Osgood though, reminds me too much of my ex-sister-in-law, minus the sweat and saliva

    1. dan1980

      Incorrect: Ingrid Oliver is lovely. (And funny.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Owch

    I've been bludgeoned by a subtle allegory.

  9. h4rm0ny
    Paris Hilton

    It was fun...

    ...and watchable. Got a little bit thick with allegory at times, but this is aimed at all ages so you need to be a bit unsubtle sometimes.

    A few beats seemed off to me. The Doctor working with UNIT and saying "try to kill as few as possible" jarred badly. He's been like this before in olden days, but it's a very large shift from Ten and Eleven. And he surely well knows that killing any at all will just push things further towards war. Seemed weird he wasn't trying to get UNIT to back off from their normal gung-ho approach. What happened to the "man who never would" ? And what's with the leader of UNIT driving alone to a small enemy-controlled town and walking around by herself?

    Finally, what is this "President of the World" nonsense and swanky jet? I've obviously blacked out the memory of some past episode to not recall this.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: It was fun...

      President of Earth etc - Death in Heaven (series final episode last year)

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: It was fun...

        >>"President of Earth etc - Death in Heaven (series final episode last year)"

        Oh yes, that would explain why I blocked it out. Thank you.

  10. John70

    Will this mean the prediction of Clara's death may actually be her "double" that dies?

    And all this time Clara was a sleep and has no idea who the Doctor is?

    1. dan1980

      And all this time Clara was a sleep and has no idea who the Doctor is?

      Not likely (the second part) - she was cloned when she went to find the child (Sandeep's) father. Also, why Clara in that scenario? That supposes that the Zygons cloned an otherwise unremarkable and unimportant human and then worked to get that person into the Doctor's company and trust. Far, far more sensible to just clone someone already in that position.

      One must also remember that these rogue Zygons are apparently a NEW breed and so they have only actually come about (born/hatched/grown/whatever) in the recent past, well after Clara met the Doctor. Unless, of course, they have time travel capabilities but that has not been hinted at and seems unlikely anyway.

      Okay, I'm a nerd - it's official.

    2. lorisarvendu

      "

      Will this mean the prediction of Clara's death may actually be her "double" that dies?"

      Ooo...and with Moffat's recent hints about Clara's departure being shocking, wouldn't the sudden realisation that you'd killed off the wrong duplicate be terrible? I smell a Companion Death Moment...

  11. illiad

    another thing, did anyone hear the tardis noise' at the end??? I will bet plane disappears/ blown up, and half our into part two, after lots of explosions etc, tardis appears... ???

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Yes, I've often wondered about the Tardis' level of sentience. We have had hints that the Tardis sometimes takes the Doctor to where/when he "needs" to be rather than where he was planning on going, then we got The Doctors Wife episode thoroughly demonstrating the Tardis' sentience, so why not have the Tardis, at least in extreme circumstances, come and rescue him?

      After all, we've already had episodes where the Tardis has materialised around the Doctor + Companion because it was "attracted" or "called" (or something)

  12. Beornfrith

    I've never had any love for Dr Who but if you're going to wonder about connections between characters at least make a relevant connection with their names. Wald is indeed the German word for wood but Oswald is an Anglo Saxon name meaning a ruler with godly power, or a divine ruler.

    Osgood is more convoluted as it's actual name form is from Old Norse. It's a corruption of an Old Norse spelling but could easily be spelled as "Osgod" in Old English (the Anglo Saxon tongue). Osgod would mean either "A divine god" or "A divine good" (as god meant both God and good in Old English (hooray for ambiguity).

    Pardon my ramble.

  13. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Benefit-claiming Zygons

    Attila the Stockbroker (Attila the Time Traveller?) wrote a wonderful poem in 2002 on the same line, here's part of it:

    Asylum seeking Daleks

    are landing here at noon!

    Why can't we simply send them back

    or stick them on the moon?

    It says here in the Daily Mail

    they're coming here to stay -

    The Loony Lefties let them in!

    The middle class will pay......

    They say that they're all pacifists:

    that doesn't wash with me!

    The last time I saw one I hid

    Weeks behind the settee...

    Good Lord - they're pink. With purple bumps!

    There's photos of them here!

    Not just extra-terrestial....

    The bloody things are queer!

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Benefit-claiming Zygons

      That sounded just like Pam Ayres reading that :)

  14. ShadowDragon8685

    Awh...

    The Doctor's poncing-about plane got blewed up? That's a shame.

    Also, what kind of moron at UNIT designed a "Presidential Jet" for President of the World without military countermeasures to prevent things like the plane being shot down with a MANPAADs? For that matter, why was the pilot flying low and slow off the coast, did the Doctor order him to take the scenic route?

    1. gisabsr

      You must admit that it would have rather ruined the whole 'plane getting shot down by bad Clara using a MANPAD' part of the plot if the aircraft had been able to avoid the missile by flying at altitude, blanketing the electromagnetic spectrum with noise and popping flares and chaff as if it were going out of fashion.

      Although, quite pretty, especially at night. Maybe not the electromagnetic bit.

      1. ShadowDragon8685

        "You must admit that it would have rather ruined the whole 'plane getting shot down by bad Clara using a MANPAD' part of the plot if the aircraft had been able to avoid the missile by flying at altitude, blanketing the electromagnetic spectrum with noise and popping flares and chaff as if it were going out of fashion."

        To be quite honest, it would have made UNIT out to be somewhat less the incompetent, bumbling fools that they have been so far.

        > notClara fires MANPAD at the plane.

        >> Cut to plane cockpit, lock-on warning.

        >> Close-up of COUNTERMEASURES flashing on the screen, pilot shouting something sharp like "Oh bollocks!" and jerking the yoke.

        > The plane banks sharply, flares and chaff dropping like they're going out of style. Cut to credits.

        Next week's ep:

        > Repeat from the launched MANPAD.

        >> Missile detonates in the chaff cloud, plane flies on, unhindered, pilot climbing fast and hard.

        >> Cut to notClara is looking somewhat bewildered, and checks to see if she brought more than one. She hasn't.

        > Cut to inside the plane, where the Doctor, Oswald, and the restrained Zygon are mashed against the side of the aircraft. The Doctor claws his way to the intercom, demands to know what the bloody hell is going on.

        >> Pilot tells the Doctor that they've been fired upon and the countermeasures' auto-deployment saved them.

        >> The Doctor asks if he can do that again.

        >> Pilot says no, that was all they had.

        > Doctor calls Clara's phone, notClara answers after a few moments.

        >> Doctor says 'you only brought the one, didn't you?'

        >> notClara says she wasn't expecting actual competency from UNIT.

        >> Doctor says they can't always be played like clowns, and tells notClara that he's coming for her, and if he doesn't find his Clara, there will be hell to pay.

        > Roll opening credits.

        But no, apparently UNIT are so stupid and/or critically short on budget that although they can actually negotiate a "President of the World" position that countries which are at one another's throats will both honor in times of alien invasion, they can't afford chaff and flares for said president's ride.

  15. Heathroi

    you'd thought the BBC could spring for a Crown Vic rather than a 00ish Cadillac Seville.

  16. crediblywitless

    The name of the nerve gas is "Z-67" (from the subtitles) and they apparently did persuade Jemma Redgrave to say "zee sixty-seven" rather than "zed sixty-seven", presumably for the Americans watching who wouldn't be able to understand, otherwise.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Meh

      So [rhetorical] why didn't they call it X67 or Q67 or any other letter of the alphabet that wouldn't jar on the ear?

      1. D@v3

        Zed is for Zygons

        presumably

  17. Blinkered
    FAIL

    What a load of....

    As a 'previous' WHO fan for many years (well since my childhood and I'm now sending kids of to university) all I can say is this series is the worst piece of SHITE to come out of the collection I have ever seen - used to tune in 'live' on TV - only do it on catchup now - just in the hope that there will be some plot or storyline that might redeem it.

    Alas I haven't found one yet.

    I disagree with all your reviews and think it's only fit as garbage viewing.

    PS I hope the Zygons win and kill the Doctor off so we can be shot of this (apologies in advance) 'Americanised drivel produced by the BBC.

    Hmm wonder if I can get a couple of quid off my licence for refusing to watch it again.

  18. RobThBay

    Z267 zee vs zed and a black flag

    I just have 2 comments about this episode:

    1) The anti-Zygon virus or whatever it is was called Z267 (I think she said 267). Since this is a BBC production why did they pronounce "Z" as zee (US style) rather than "zed"? I'm in Canada, so perhaps we saw the US edition (if there is a US edition) of the show.

    2) The Zygon's flag sure looks a lot like an ISIS style flag. Black flag with white doodles. Is Dr Who getting political?

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Z267 zee vs zed and a black flag

      Why "Zee"?

      One of UNIT's 'loo-tenants' will be along to explain it to you momentarily.

  19. Simon Harris
    Happy

    Questionable Underpants...

    I must be a pants-voyant or something...

    From a month or so ago...

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2015/09/26/doctor_who_witchs_familiar_review/#c_2647170

  20. Hilibnist
    Thumb Up

    UNIT Continuity

    The show is not perfect, but this week seemed to be a happy combination of new content and fanwank.

    I appreciated Kate's nod to the timing of the original UNIT stories, distractedly referring to events in the "seventies... eighties..." as though she couldn't recall the exact dates offhand. Nice dodge, I thought.

  21. illiad

    well, the NEW Star Trek TV series is coming in 2017...

    I will bet it will be EVEN MORE messed up..... :O :O

    1. Mr Flibble
      Stop

      Re: well, the NEW Star Trek TV series is coming in 2017...

      Well. The last proper Star Trek was Nemesis. If this is more reboot stuff, they can stick it up their… anyway, it's good that we're getting more two-part Who.

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: well, the NEW Star Trek TV series is coming in 2017...

      "will bet it will be EVEN MORE messed up"

      It might start bad and get better. If it lasts long enough.

      I've been listening to Wil Wheaton's 2009 podcasts on his memories of the first year of STTNG...

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