This Week’s Doctor Who Asks If There’s Any Hope For A Humanity That Makes Enemies Out Of Friends?
Confused by the reappearance of Osgood in the previews for this past Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who? Of course you were. How were we to know that when Missy zapped the well-accessorized character into oblivion all the way back in series eight’s ‘Death in Heaven’ UNIT had another Osgood as backup. Sadly, it turns out that in ‘The Zygon Invasion’, this one’s in trouble too.
That’s because the fragile peace that humanity has crafted with a shapeshifting alien race called the Zygons (see: the 50th Anniversary episode “The Day of The Doctor” for their most recent appearance) has been toppled by a splinter group of extraterrestrials dissatisfied with the arrangement. 20 million displaced aliens currently inhabit Earth with the understanding that they will disguise their appearance to blend in with humans. So this:
Instead of this:
That’s right, Osgood is a Zygon in disguise—or at least one of the Osgoods is. Err, was? We’re not sure if it’s the one Missy murdered or the one that’s been captured by the rebel Zygons. Anyway, a minority of these Zygons don’t feel like dressing up as humans anymore. They like their suction-cup-adorned bodies very much thank you and would prefer to roam the planet au naturel—and they’re willing to fight dirty to accomplish their goals. No rebel group’s use of human shields has ever been more literal than this: the Zygons shapeshift into the parents, children, and partners of the UNIT soldier trying to attack them, making it impossible for anyone to pull the trigger. How do you blast your own mum to bits, even if she is a Zygon?
The rebels have no such hangups and there are plenty of human casualties in this episode, among them (maybe?) the difficult-to-kill Chief Scientific Officer of UNIT, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. Disappointingly, the worse things get, the worse humanity behaves. Each new effort only serves to escalate the violence and alienate Earth’s moderate Zygon population (sound familiar?).
More shocking than Stewart’s apparent death though, is just how far the Zygons have reached into the Doctor’s inner circle. The cliff-hanger at the end of this two-parter in a season comprised entirely of two-parters is surely the most shocking: the Clara that we’ve spent the good part of an hour with is not Clara at all, but a Zygon just one shoulder-launched rocket away from taking out the Doctor.