Second Opinion – Season 9, Episode 08 “The Zygon Inversion”


Brent: Welcome back to Second Chance! Tonight we’re going to be talking about “The Zygon Inversion”. This was episode 8, right?

Jerry: Yes it was. And I will give you a second chance to talk about Second Opinion.

gallery_uktv-doctor-who-s09e08-the-zygon-inversion-08B: Did I say second chance? Sorry!

J: And I’m going to leave that in our conversation.

So, yes, this is episode 8, “The Zygon Inversion”, where the Doctor manages to quite literally talk himself out of the hole he found himself in, with being down a companion and a world filled with aliens. Not looking good. He dives into a monologue and it saves the day.

B: Since we are broaching the topic of the big speech, what was your opinion? Do you feel like this is a defining moment for this Doctor?

J: I don’t know… It was really interesting to see the memes on the Internet, which started circulating before I had a chance to watch the episode. So that was my first exposure to the entire dialogue. However, most of the memes cut out the more interesting part at the very end of the conversation.

I don’t know that I’m the right person to be able to judge whether it’s a defining moment for this Doctor. It may be the most memorable moment of the season to date. But in terms of it being a defining moment, I’ll leave that up to you.

B: Well I may have misspoken. When I said “defining moment”, it seems as though every actor who portrays the Doctor eventually has a moment where it seems like everything completely gels, and you get a fusion of actor and character. With some of the Doctors, it happens within the first 20 minutes of his first episode, where you say to yourself, “OK, he’s totally the Doctor for me.” For me, Capaldi hit that very early on; he had it with his first episode.

Much like you, I didn’t get to watch this episode live when it aired, and I started noticing things slip into my Facebook feed. It seemed like Peter Capaldi was trending there for a little bit. It just seemed like everywhere I was looking somebody was commenting – “Wow, that was that was Capaldi’s moment” or “I was really on the fence about him, but now I’m totally sold”. I had a friend that I haven’t talked to in a long time. Before he moved to Chicago, we used to watch Doctor Who together. We talked once at the beginning of the season via text, and he said he was very much not into Capaldi, that it just wasn’t clicking. I got a text from him on Sunday night this week that said “OK, I just watched it, and I’m all onboard the Capaldi train.”

So while some people latched on to him at the beginning, it seemed like he really got that final groundswell of the general public with this particular moment. Capaldi played it like it was a piece of music. I mean, he manipulated your emotions, he took you to these crests of emotions. I thought it was very artfully accomplished.

J: It definitely struck a chord with people of all backgrounds and type. It may not have been in the top 10, but it was definitely trending in the upper half of things going on over the past weekend on the Internet, which is saying quite a bit given the past week.

maxresdefaultI think the message itself is something that people really want to hear irregardless of their political beliefs or positions. I think it’s something that everyone is in agreement with, but they don’t always agree on how to get to that point.

B: I think there was a lot of little things about this episode that were very similar to that, that they could apply to a lot of different things, and it was left wide open to interpretation so that different cultures, different sexualities,  different ethnicities could latch on to little bits and pieces. For example, everyone constantly questioning Osgood as to whether she was the human or the Zygon. To me, on a subtle level, that almost seemed to play on one side with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule in the military. From another side, many people have a lot of secrets; many people don’t necessarily show their full selves to the world, and others try to push those people out when they’re comfortable in their shell. So in the show, everyone was continually trying to out Osgood as either being a human or as a Zygon, rather than just letting Osgood be Osgood. I think that’s the sign of a very successful children’s science fiction show when it occasionally will transcend its format and actually touch people on a really emotional level.

So last week you were criticizing, or lightly poking fun at, the lack of Zygon transformations. Did you feel like you got your fill in this episode of them?

J: I got more than we had previously, but I also think that we could have had a whole lot more. But I also think that’s part of the whole mentality of the world right now. Why settle for what you get, why not expect twice as much. I’ll compare this to the various seasons of The Walking Dead. People always complain about the lack of zombies in a particular episode. Much like with the Doctor Who budget, The Walking Dead budget has limits to what they can spend. It costs quite a lot of money to put those people into the makeup and clothes, to make them look like zombies. So do you really want the same number of zombies per episode, or would you be willing to have some episodes with fewer zombies in order to have the massive hoard of zombies for the season finale?

Getting back to this episode, I really liked how Clara was involved in the story without being involved in the story. Her mental aspect was trying to take back control of her body, whether it’s trying to stop the Zygon from firing the missile at the plane or the numerous other little obstacles that she threw up in the way. Even just their verbal sparring back and forth with the Zygon trying to get answers out of Clara.

9546909-low-B: Clara has been put in these situations time and again over the last few seasons. It was interesting to see her use the tools that she’s crafted as a companion of the Doctor to be able to step in and help him in a situation where he thinks she’s dead. Maybe this is foreshadowing events for the end of this season with Clara’s story arc.

I have to say there was one really neat moment for long time fans like myself. There was an instance back in the 1970s during the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee era, when the Doctor was exiled on Earth and working with UNIT, specifically with the Brigadier. The Brigadier was fighting these winged demon creatures, but he really didn’t know how to get out of of the situation. So he just looked at the soldiers and said, “Chap with wings. Five rounds rapid.” Jump ahead to this past week’s episode, the Brigadier’s daughter, Kate Stewart, was explaining how she got away from the Zygon in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. It shows her pulling out the old service revolver and popping five rounds into the Zygon. Then she reports back to the Doctor that she got out of the situation with five rounds rapid.

Last thing I wanted to share about this episode – I just really loved the symmetry of Osgood having always been a big fan of the Doctor. She kind of represents the cosplayer Über-fan mentality. She was like one of us because she’s fan of the Doctor. It was very touching at the end of the episode, after all they went through, when the Doctor looked at the now two Osgoods again and said, “You know what? I’m a very big fan.” I thought that was a great way to end things.

J: I almost get the impression that you may go as Osgood next year for Halloween.

B: HA! Well, I already have the glasses and the scarf! It is amazing, given the few conventions that I’ve been to and all the pictures I see online from all the big major conventions, that the Osgood cosplay has really seemed to latch on to people. Maybe because of that odd connection with fandom, it’s their representative on the show. 

J: So this week gives us episode 9. What can we look forward to?

ThatTimeOnDrWho 98aB: This episode is titled “Sleep No More”. It’s written by Mark Gatiss, the co-producer/co-writer/co-everything on Sherlock with Steven Moffat. From what I understand, this is going to be a found footage episode, which is a genre or trope that Doctor Who has not has not tried yet. I read earlier this week that this will be the first episode in Doctor Who history that does not have the theme song attached to it. They are making this a straight found footage scare-fest.

J: And what can we look forward to over at That Time on Doctor Who?

B: Look to your right and find out for yourself!

Well Jerry, have a good night. I know that sometimes we disagree on Doctor Who with our differing opinions. But I think in this one instance, I think it’s safe to say that we can let Zygons be Zygons.

J: Yeah….. That said, I’m still going to make you choose the red box or the blue box.

Speaking for the two of us, we want to thank you to reading Second Opinion, and we hope you will join us next week for our review of episode 9!

#ThatTimeOnDrWho is created mostly weekly by Brent Kincade for Word of the Nerd Online!


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