Use of Clara
Season 9, Episode 7
Aired: Oct. 31, 2015
Director: Daniel Nettheim
Writer: Peter Harness
In the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, the Zygons mostly felt like McGuffins used to give our three Doctors sufficient cause to reunite. So it was a cool idea to check back in to see how their treaty with Earth was progressing.
It also, wisely, gave the show a chance to bring back fan-favorite character Osgood, who was introduced in the 50th anniversary special, then unceremoniously killed last season. Many fans were (justifiably) upset with the way she was killed off, so it was a wise move bringing her back. And, though I have my doubts that this was the plan all along, I thought they found a pretty logical way to have Osgood still be around that didn’t seem too forced.
Of course, she was pretty immediately kidnapped and put back in harm’s way. Though, as much as Steven Moffat gets a bad wrap, I don’t think he would have her return just to kill her off again.
And similarly, I don’t have any real fear that Kate Stewart, Clara or Doctor Disco will be killed off, despite how grim things looked for them. Explaining away the missile coming straight for the Doctor’s plane should be interesting. As for Kate and Clara, the show had an out for explaining why they are still alive – the Zygons need them to make copies – but it explicitly had Osgood explain that that is no longer the case. So unless she is lying, there needs to be another reason why they are being kept alive.
The episode itself was fun. I particularly liked the Zygons using family members of the soldiers as disguises to keep them from attacking. It was pretty brilliant psychological warfare since you can tell yourself over and over again that it isn’t really your mother standing before you, but it’s still hard to pull the trigger on someone who looks just like her. There will always be that small seed of doubt creeping in that has you wondering if maybe they really did kidnap your mother and bring her there.
The Kate sidestory in New Mexico was a bit odd. Even with a global invasion, it seemed stupid that the head of UNIT would go there alone. And, once there, she immediately lets her guard down and allows herself to get captured, even though she knows the Zygons can impersonate anyone.
Clara managed to be even more foolish though, ignoring the Doctor’s voicemails to instead charge straight into a strange apartment where the Zygons were waiting for her. Clara’s screw up at least feels more in character than Kate’s since she tends to be pretty reckless in general, but it still felt incredibly sloppy and ill-conceived.
I do, however, like the prospect of an evil Zygon Clara putting the Doctor in the same situation all of the soldiers have been in where he may have to take her down. Plus, it puts him at a severe disadvantage next week as he presumably emerges from the wreckage of his plane only to find that UNIT has been infiltrated by the Zygons and he’s the only one who can stop them.
Obviously, there were also some not-too-subtle parallels between the rogue Zygon faction and what’s currently going on in the Middle East, driven home by the Doctor explaining that most of the Zygons are good and it’s only a small faction causing trouble. But you can contemplate the military allegory on your own. I don’t really want to examine in too closely.
And another thing …
- I have actually heard of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, but only because it was the listed hometown of former pro wrestler Mick Foley’s alter ego Cactus Jack.
- Osgood is shown using her inhaler in the episode, which leads me to believe she is in fact the human version. The Zygon version shouldn’t share her breathing problems.
- I’m with the Doctor that Clara’s voicemail could use an update.
- I prefer Doctor Funkenstein to Doctor Disco, but your mileage may vary.
Written by Joel Murphy. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org