Doctor Who “The Zygon Invasion” Review (Season 9 Episode 7)

In an appropriate move for Halloween, Doctor Who delivered its most horror-tinged episode of the season last night. Following up on story threads from the fiftieth anniversary special, “The Zygon Invasion” was full of dark, cramped corridors, alien shapeshifters, and some genuinely unsettling scenes. It was another strong entry in what’s shaping up as one of the strongest seasons of the show in years.

Right away, it’s impressive just how visually exciting the camera work was this week, really evoking the feel of a classic body snatchers film right from the beginning. From the abandoned New Mexico town to the underground lair of the Zygons, this was a creepy episode, one that sold the threat of the Zygons both in and out of their natural form. The highlight was easily the scene with the soldier and his mother; it’s a classic dilemma when facing alien shapeshifters, and it did a great job of showing off the conflict of never being sure if who you’re with is real or not.

It was also nice just getting to spend so much time with UNIT this week, as both the Doctor and Clara didn’t really have much to do but tag along. Kate and Osgood have both become the modern-day face of the organization, and they got to take center stage this week. Osgood of course brought another Doctor-inspired piece of clothing with her in the form of the question-mark shirt, while also doing her best to maintain the peace between her two species. Kate, meanwhile, spent the majority of the episode investigating in New Mexico before unfortunately being grabbed by a Zygon.

In fact, this episode ended on a hugely down note, perhaps the most hopeless situation of any cliffhanger this season. UNIT was more or less neutralized, Clara was revealed to have been a Zygon from the episode’s beginning, and the Doctor was trapped on his presidential aircraft with a rocket on its way to blow him out of the sky. Given the horror trappings of the episode, this was a great way to build the tension for what will no doubt be an exciting continuation in next week’s episode.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!