Can War be Avoided in “The Zygon Inversion” on Doctor Who?

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

There has been a quite of a lot of episodes in Series 9 of Doctor Who where The Doctor and Clara are separated. But they always find a way back to each other even when it requires some tricky mental exercises. Clara Oswald will need to be up to the task since she’s stuck in a pod and Zygon Bonnie has taken over her appearance. The invasion was a success but can The Doctor and Clara prevent war? Let’s find out in “The Zygon Inversion.”

Hello from the other side: Clara Oswald wakes up in her home but very confused. She hears The Doctor calling her name from the living room and finds the TV is on. Among the static is the conversation between Bonnie and The Doctor from which Clara figures out she and Bonnie are still mentally linked. When the TV picture clears, Clara sees Bonnie taking aim at The Doctor’s plane. She grabs her TV and throws off the Zygon’s aim so the first missile misses but Bonnie hits a bullseye with the second. When Clara reviews the video though she sees two parachutes in the sky. She smiles. The Doctor and Osgood safely land on a beach and begin heading back to civilization. Understanding that she can control some of the Zygon, Clara mimes out texting and Bonnie unknowingly sends a message to The Doctor. “I’m awake.”

Wink wink: Bonnie launches the next phase of her plan. She finds a peaceful Zygon living as a human and zaps him so he can’t control which form he takes so he can’t hide his blobbyness. Then she retrieves a computer from UNIT with information on the Osgood Box, a device capable of starting the war between humans and Zygons. But the computer is a decoy; the Osgood Box’s location remains a mystery. Convinced both by Clara’s text and Osgood’s reassurances that his companion is not yet dead, The Doctor video calls Bonnie. He cottons on that her unconscious winking is actually Clara using Morse Code to tell him where her pod is located. While he and Osgood commandeer a van, he instructs Clara to keep Bonnie out of her memories, which of course gives the Zygon an idea what to do next.

Through the looking glass: By staring at Clara through her pod window, Bonnie is able to more or less face-to-face chat with her. Clara plays it quite cool until Bonnie reminds her they’re sharing a pulse so if Clara lies about anything, she’ll know. And then she’ll kill her. With little choice Clara reveals the Osgood Box is located in the Black Archive and her body print gives her access. But she won’t tell Bonnie why it’s called the Osgood Box.

Friend or enemy?: Arriving in London, The Doctor and Osgood track down the Zygon Bonnie zapped earlier. Terrified because he can’t live his peaceful life anymore he electrocutes himself to death. Zygon Kate arrives just then to take The Doctor to Clara’s pod, which has disappeared. Revealing her UNIT soldiers are Zygons, she phones Bonnie who is facing a problem of her own. The Osgood box is actually two boxes, a blue and a red one. When Bonnie threats Clara, The Doctor tells her the blue one will normalize the Zygons but opening it reveals two buttons, one labeled Truth and the other Consequences. The red box has the same. That’s when Zygon Kate reveals herself to be not a Zygon at all and kills the other two advancing on her friends.

War in a box: Everyone congregates in the Black Archive for a tense showdown. Kate hovers over the red box, with one button capable of killing all the Zygons and the other of detonating a bomb under London. Bonnie has the blue box, which can either normalize all the Zygons or make them human beings forever. See the Osgood Box is really a scale model of war and it’s meant to force the two parties to sit down and talk. That’s where wars always end anyway, The Doctor points out. Bonnie doesn’t know the true cost of war, of the pain she’ll create if she pushes one of those buttons but The Doctor absolutely does and he tells her. Kate closes her box. Bonnie finally understands. The boxes are empty but it doesn’t matter because she realizes the cost is too great to fight.

Osgood is as Osgood does: The Doctor wipes Kate and the Zygons’ minds so they won’t remember the boxes are empty but leaves Bonnie with her memories. She returns to the control matrix and reinstitutes the cease-fire. Saying goodbye at the TARDIS, The Doctor asks Osgood again if she’s the human or Zygon. She doesn’t say. But a second Osgood walks up alongside her. It’s Bonnie, taking over for the deceased Osgood. They’ve teamed up to keep the peace. “You’re a credit to your race,” The Doctor says. “No. We’re a credit to both of them.”

Who Notes

  • Peter Capaldi is always doing outstanding work on this show but tonight he went above and beyond. Give him the BAFTA now.
  • Osgood: “Why do you have a Union Jack parachute?”
    Doctor: “Um camouflage.”
    Osgood: “Camouflage?”
    Doctor: “Yes, we’re in Britain.”
  • Osgood: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile before.”
    Doctor: (smiling too widely) “Dazzling, isn’t it?”
  • Doctor on the TARDIS: “Totally and Radically Driving in Space.”
  • Shipper corner:
    • Clara: “So you must’ve thought I was dead for a while?”
      Doctor: “Yeah.”
      Clara: “How was that?”
      Doctor: “Longest month of my life.”
      Clara: “It could only have been five minutes.”
      Doctor: “I’ll be the judge of time.”
    • Doctor: “I let Clara Oswald inside my head. Trust me, she doesn’t leave.”
Stephanie Coats
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