The Bad War

This is a special, unedited “guest blog” written and typed by my 7-year-old grandson, Matthew. His devotion to Doctor Who exceeds my own and has outlasted his previous fixation with Thomas the Tank Engine.


matthewandtardis5Chapter 1
Once upon a time there was a fire. They almost died but then someone came for them. He said “SUPERBOY WHAT EVER MY NAME IS TO THE DAY!” He said he doesn’t remember what he usually calls himself. The Mysterious Hero saved the people from that fire. The Mysterious Hero can fly, Run 100 miles per hour, and can even have laser vision! Then… what we all been waiting for. The Doctor & Clara lands the TARDIS (Time Relative Dimensional In Space) at London 2020 Time is 3:30 Clara was so amazed she couldn’t say a thing. “Impressing.” Says The Doctor. “What time is this?” asks Clara. “London 2020.” Says The Doctor.

Chapter 2
The Doctor sees a DALEK chasing a CYBERMEN. The Doctor whispers to himself “That can’t be good… That cant be good at all.” “What?” Clara asks The Doctor. “There’s going to be incoming trouble later.” Says The Doctor. The Mysterious Hero sees The Doctor “Hello. What brings you here? And why are you standing by a blue box??!” asks The Mysterious Hero. “Well. This isn’t just a plain old blue box. This is a time machine. I call it The TARDIS. T A R D I S stands for Time Relative Dimensional In Space.” Says The Doctor. “No Way! Your so silly it can’t be a time machine. Its not possible to have a box that is bigger in the inside.” Says The Mysterious Hero. “Your Wrong. It is possible. Take a look.” Says The Doctor. The Mysterious Hero opens the door & then he could not believe his eyes. “B-B-But.. Hhow?!” says The Mysterious Hero.

Chapter 3
Magic.” Says Clara. “Magic.” Says The Doctor. “Oh and one thing. What’s your name??” asks The Mysterious Hero. “My name… is The Doctor.” “Doctor what?” asks Mysterious Hero “Just The Doctor” Says The Doctor “But Doctor who?” asks The Mysterious Hero “I told you The Doctor” says The Doctor.

Chapter 4
Mysterious had to stop asking and had to see that if he is actually a timelord. So he made tests “Hmm.. Speak a different language.” Says The Mysterious Hero “őíň ıįåç Ţ ŹŲćă ŢŦ” says The Doctor. “Now. Prove me that it’s a time machine. Take me to the same place just in the date that is 100,20,33” says The Mysterious Hero. “Ooooh I cant do that. Earth doesn’t live forever. Neither will you.” Says The Doctor. “What about.. 1995 but same place.” “Sorry I cant. If I do then I will see myself from the past. I have different faces.” Says The Doctor. “Fine.” Says The Mysterious Hero “Doctor. Your forgetting about me again.” Says Clara in a stressed way. “Yeah sorry about that Clara. Everyone stay here, its safe nothing can get in. There’s some enemies I need find.”

Chapter 5
Said The Doctor. The Doctor leaves The TARDIS and locks the door. “Lets see where are you little monsters.” Says The Doctor when The Doctor gets far away from something comes to come steal it and destroy it. “THE TARDIS IS DETECTED! YOU. TELL THE BOSS THAT WE DETECTED THE TARDIS!!!” Says DALEK “YES SIR.” Says CYBERMEN (That got Dementedetated. (Pretending it’s the daleks upgrade) ).

WE WILL WIN! WE WILL WIN THIS TIME DOCTOR! THIS TIME!! THIS TIME!!!!! THIS TIIIIIMMMME!!!!!!!!” Says DALEK (5 Minutes Later In The TARDIS) “AGHH!! WHY IS THE TARDIS MOVING SO MUCH!? DOES IT ALWAYS DO THIS!!!??” Asks The Mysterious Hero. “NO IT DOESN’T AGH!!” says Clara.

Chapter 6
The Doctor heads back to The TARDIS. He sees that The TARDIS is gone. “Oh no you don’t.” says The Doctor as he pulls out his sonic screwdriver and turns it to Land Here mode. (Meanwhile in The TARDIS) “Well that’s good we landed and stopped shaking” said Mysterious Hero & Clara. The Doctor unlocks the doors and opens doors then he asks “Are you two alright?” “Yeah were fine.” Says Clara and again The Doctor save the day.

The End

Compression Confession Dial: Who Knew?

SPOILER ALERT

Holy dimensional dementia!

When I saw the entire prison castle comfortably sitting inside the Doctor’s Confession Dial, as “Heaven Sent” concluded last week, I dismissed it as part of his delusional state of mind.

Talk about being bigger on the inside! Or did the Time Lord teleportation device turn him into a teeny, tiny micro-Doctor?

It all really happened. The Doctor did spend 4.5 billion years taking “the long way ’round” to the outer edge of space, time and Gallifrey. But were those real years, or itty-bitty micro-years?

No matter. What a gala homecoming it is for the Doctor in the season finale, “Hell Bent,” presented Dec. 5

welcoming committee
Welcome to Gallifrey, Doctor

The Doctor returns to his ancestral home, a barn that doesn’t seem to be associated with any other traditional farm buildings. His people silently gather to gawk at him eating soup. The hero of the Time War has returned. Everything he does is gawkable.

With all the trash talk about the Doctor always running away, it seemed more like Gallifrey should be running from him. In the dial, he had confessed to being scared, but he was not scared for himself. He was scared about what he might do to Gallifrey. He is as angry as a Time Lord who has just spent billions of years beating his fists on a harder-than-diamond wall can be.

High Council efforts to rein the War Doctor in are almost comical. He goes unblinkingly nose-to-nose with a heavily armed Gallifreyan Sky Tank. He scrapes a line in the sand with the heel of a shoe and walks away. When an exasperated Time Lord High Council President Rassilon finally comes to take him out, he has a one-line greeting.

“Get off my planet.”

And Rassilon the Redeemer, Rassilon the Resurrected, Rassilon the Not Timothy Dalton, does. Well, after his firing squad mutinies, and he is surrounded by a squadron of Sky Tanks summoned by the Doctor, he does.

The Time Lords are still keen to find out what the Doctor knows about the fabled and dreaded Hybrid, which was their purpose for putting him in the Confession Dial Fun House. At the end of “Heaven Sent,” the Doctor had laid claim to the name himself.

Rassilon and the rest of the High Council did not buy that statement. Maybe what the Doctor really meant was why worry about The Hybrid when he was already on his way to personally deliver a thorough ass-kicking experience?

The Doctor fails to deliver on that threat. His real purpose is embarking on a desperate, reckless attempt to resurrect Clara. The Time Lord bag of tricks includes an Extraction Chamber, a device capable of pulling someone out of the space-time continuum at the precise moment of death. Clara has information about the Hybrid, he tells the council, so they arrange an extraction.

Presto! Clara steps through a door from her death scene into the chamber, dazed and confused.

Without a pulse, Clara is still not quite alive. She is talking, walking much more skillfully and looking much better than any other reanimated corpse I’ve seen on the weekend television screen.

The Gallifreyan general who has been aiding the Doctor in his quest for Clara makes the mistake of getting in the Doctor’s way, insisting that Clara be told of her status and fate. In a totally out-of-character move, the Doctor grabs a gun.

Wildly waving the weapon, he orders everyone to not to move.

“On pain of death, no one take a selfie,” he commands.

When the general refuses to allow them to leave, the Doctor blasts the poor guy. The general was only trying to do the right thing.

What? Who is this Doctor? As an anti-gun guy for what, 4,500,002,000 years, now, thanks to his stay in the Confession Dial, he is rather nonchalant about the deed. The general was on only his tenth regeneration, so he wasn’t going to stay dead.

“We’re on Gallifrey. ‘Death’ is Time Lord for ‘man flu,’ ” he tells a shocked and appalled Clara.

The shooting is a measure of how passionate the Doctor is about regaining his companion. He is breaking all the rules, including his own. He is ready and willing to fracture time itself to accomplish his objective.

Following the tradition established by the first Doctor, the12th Doctor steals a TARDIS. He and Clara make their escape. The sense of deja vu is intensified by the TARDIS interior decor, which matches that of the TARDIS stolen by the first Doctor.

When it comes to TARDIS color schemes, white on white is apparently the Ferrari red of the Time Lords. It does make one wonder. Have the Doctors spent a lot of their weekends customizing the original TARDIS?

tardisclassic

The Doctor and Clara sort things out. She’s more than a little miffed that he dedicated 4.5 billion years to bringing her back. He’s concentrating on getting her a new pulse. Their discussion is interrupted by four knocks — the tell-tale, Time Lord, double heartbeat pattern — on the TARDIS door. That’s never a good thing.

The Doctor, ever the protective father figure and mindful of his “duty to care,” is the one to investigate. Outside, as he already knows, is Ashildr/Me, the eternal persona non grata Stark from Hell, waiting to chat.

They are still on Gallifrey, in the dark and dank cloister subterranean level which serves as housing for “Sliders” and the central location for the deceased Time Lord Matrix. The Universal End of Everything is only five minutes away.

Items of discussion include the real identity of The Hybrid. It’s not Me, as she’s less than half Mire and mostly Human. It’s not me, the Doctor claims, although he has a suspicious look on his face when he makes the denial and asks if it really matters. It’s not Team Doctor and Clara, which would be really stretching the definition of a single hybrid creature. Will the real Hybrid please stand up?

They also talk about the Doctor’s plans to take Clara in a safe place on Earth and to wipe her mind of all Doctor-related memories because they could use them to find her. Huh? I don’t know who “they” are, (the Time Lords?) or why they would want to find her.

Unknown to the Doctor and Me, Clara has been eavesdropping on their conversation through the TARDIS. She is not cool with the memory wipe plans.

“These have been the best years of my life, and they are mine,” she says. “Tomorrow is promised to no one, Doctor, but I insist upon my past. I am entitled to that.”

They compromise. Both will put a finger on the neural block memory zapper at the same time. Only one will walk away with memories intact. They do, and the Doctor begins to black out; but not before tearful good-byes and final words of wisdom for Clara.

“Never eat pears,” he advises. “They’re too squishy, and they always make your chin wet. That one’s quite important. Write it down.”

The Doctor hits the floor. His eyelids flutter, and his eyes close. Is he unconscious, or has he died?

He’s alive, we quickly learn. He awakens lying in the desert, attended by a guy Clara has posted to aid his recovery.

At this point, I need to apologetically backtrack.

diner

In the opening scene of the episode, the Doctor is piloting a pickup down a Nevada highway and comes to a diner just west of nowhere. He walks in, wearing his sonic shades and carrying his guitar, the very personification of the 1950s icons adorning the diner walls. Inside is a lone waitress, who, much not to my surprise, is Clara. The entire narrative of his return to Gallifrey are flashbacks, as he tells his story to Clara, a story about going back to his hometown, “Space Glasgow,” and the gang who wanted to kill him.

“You’ve been traveling,” Clara says, shortly after he appears.

“Yeah,” the Doctor replies, “from time to time.”

Like everyone else who watched the show (and isn’t lying), I believed, throughout the episode, that Clara was the one who had her memory wiped. I was flabbergasted to learn the Doctor had no idea that he was talking to Clara. I thought that the Doctor was just trying to determine if the memory wipe had been successful.

Very nicely done, Steven Moffat.

While the Doctor’s back is turned, and he is strumming the “Clara Theme” on his guitar, Clara slips though the diner back door and into the stolen TARDIS control room to join Me. The diner dissolves around the Doctor as the TARDIS dematerializes, leaving him alone the desert, but also leaving him with his missing TARDIS.

The memorial to Clara painted on the TARDIS exterior includes her likeness, the likeness of the waitress in the diner, the Impossible Girl. Inside, on a chalk board, are the words “Run, you clever boy, and be a doctor.”

This was an exponentially more satisfying way to say farewell to a dear companion than her quick death on Trap Street in “Face the Raven.” I got a little misty-eyed whenever the “Clara” theme was played.

newsscrewdriver
Oh, yeah!

All of that, and the Doctor gets a totally cool new sonic screwdriver. I want one.

Oh, I forgot to mention … aboard the vintage TARDIS, Me and Clara discuss plans. Time is not healing — what with Clara missing from her “fixed point in the Universe” moment of death and all. She is still without a heartbeat and knows she must go back to Gallifrey to be reinserted into her time stream.

Clara notes that they have some “wiggle room.” They opt to take the “long way around” to her destiny.

That would be another story. Not part of this one.

 

 

‘Heaven Sent’ Poses Puzzle

SPOILER ALERT

heavensentwordcloud

What do Peter Capaldi, Bill Murray and Tom Cruise have in common? They have all have all played characters trapped in an endless loop requiring that they get things right before they can continue.

For Murray, it was Groundhog Day; for Tom Cruise, Edge of Tomorrow. For Capaldi, it was “Heaven Sent,” the captivating Doctor Who episode presented Nov 28.

As the two films, a puzzle must be solved before the Doctor is freed from the repeating sequence of events. Unlike the films, this puzzle has been created within the grief-stricken Doctor’s own mind.

I’m not certain whether the trap has been projected into his mind by his captors, or he  has constructed the trap himself. Maybe a little of both.

The story continues from the end point of the previous week’s episode, “Face the Raven,” in which Clara, the Doctor’s companion is killed. In the final scene of that episode, the Doctor has a teleportation device attached to his wrist at the hands of Me/Ashildr, who is apparently acting in a bounty hunter capacity for unknown masters.

cu8baewwcaems4u

The Doctor rematerializes in a teleportation chamber in mysterious, rotating, medieval-looking castle equipped with anachronistic video monitors on the walls. He hasn’t clue as to whether he’s in a trap, prison or torture chamber. As it turns out, all three possibilities are somewhat correct.

The Doctor is initially very combative. Despite Clara’s dying request that he not journey to the dark side, he’s on a mission to avenge her death. He demands that his captors show themselves.

“I just watched my best friend die in agony,” he declares “My day can’t get any worse. Let’s see what we can do about yours!”

The monitors soon reveal to the Doctor that he is not alone in the castle. His anger turns to fear when he sees that he is being relentless stalked by a hulking, veiled death figure accompanied by large squadron of flies (who are not listed in the end credits for their pivotal supporting roles in this episode). To be touched by the figure brings death.

I had to watch this one more than once to gain what I think is an understanding of the story being told. Clues that the Doctor was actually in a “mind trap” begin early. The death figure is drawn from from his most horrific childhood memory. The Doctor is able to “talk” a door into unlocking itself. Where were his sonic sunglasses? No answer there. Later, he dons them.

In the midst of all the action, including a plunge to his death into the waters surrounding the castle, the Doctor is able to retreat to his mental “storeroom,” the TARDIS. There, he finds Clara, with her back to him in all but one scene, coaching him on his next moves by writing on a chalkboard. Even in the Hereafter, she’s still a teacher.

The Doctor notices that each of the rooms he visits resets itself to its original state when he is not present. This proves to be the key to deciphering the trap.

Telescoping the narrative, the Doctor runs through 4 billion (give or take a few dozen) years, of repeating sequences in which he burns his dying body to re-energize the teleporter and reinitialize the cycle. The cycle ends when the death figure reaches him and grasps his head.

At the start of each cycle, he returns to a barricade blocking the exit from the castle. The wall is tantalizingly labeled “HOME” upon his first encounter.

He interprets the lettering as meaning that the TARDIS is on the other side of the barricade and reduces his hands to bloody pulp by painfully beating his fists on the wall. In each cycle, he does minimal damage. His sonic sunglass analysis reveals the barricade to be a 20-feet thick of slab Azbantium — 400 times harder than diamond. Ouch!

Watching the Doctor crawl and stagger back to the teleportation chamber, leaving a trail of blood, was difficult to watch. He knows that he has plenty of time to get to the top of the castle because Time Lords take a very long time to die.

“It’s why we like to die among our own kind,” he quips. “They know not to bury us early.”

Despite the dark tone of the episode, the Doctor manages to get off a few other humorous comments.

“I can’t wait to hear what I say. I’m nothing without an audience,” he says early in the episode, with a sly glance at the camera.

“Working hypothesis,” he reasons aloud. “I’m in a fully automated haunted house, a mechanical maze.”

“It’s a killer puzzle box designed to scare me to death, and I’m trapped inside it. It must be Christmas,” he adds with a chuckle and a grin.

“Or maybe I’m in Hell. That’s OK. I’m not scared of Hell. It’s just heaven for bad people,” he observes in another flash of humor.

Death symbols run rampant throughout the episode. Along with the ominous death figure, we have a lilies, a fresh grave, a peeling painting of Clara, and skulls, skulls, skulls. Skulls are found in the teleportation room and piled high on the floor of the sea surrounding the castle; and they all belong to the Doctor.

Then, there’s Room 12. Does that mean that the Doctor’s number is up?

I sincerely hope that Peter Capadi’s time as the Doctor is not coming to an end, as he has really risen to the role this series. The Doctor is clearly is having an extremely difficult time coming to grips with Clara’s death, so maybe that’s what the symbolism is all about.

“It’s funny. The day you lose someone isn’t the worst,” says. “At least you’ve got something to do. It’s all the days they stay dead.”

Calculating how many times the Doctor went through the cycle is beyond my ken.  I guesstimate that he completed a cycle every 90 minutes for 2 billion years. You do the math.

The Doctor finally breaks through the barrier and discovers that “HOME” is not the TARDIS. It’s his home planet, Gallifrey. His fellow Time Lords are his tormentors.

A small boy appears to be his only welcoming committee. He sends the lad back to the city with a message.

“Tell them I came the long way around,” he instructs the boy. “The Hybrid destined to conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins is me.”

So, the prophesy was wrong. The Hybrid (I capitalize it because it is not “a” hybrid, but “the” Hybrid) is not half Time Lord and half Dalek.

My bet is that the Doctor’s mystery half is Human. I’ll guess we’ll find out when “Hell Bent” is presented this Saturday, Dec. 5.

Eulogy for a Companion

Friends, we gather here today to celebrate the lives of Clara Oswald, “The Impossible Girl,” whose newly freed soul has transcended all space and time to take its rightful place in the Universal Mind.

clara_sepiaClara, 28, died bravely Nov, 21, 2015, sacrificing herself for a friend, on an obscure street in London. The apparent cause of death was magic smoke inhalation after a Raven of Death had plunged into her body.

Clara long served as the Doctor’s faithful companion. She joined him in his 11th generation. She nurtured and guided him through his regeneration struggles as he became the 12th Doctor.

Clara was unique among the companions the Doctor has adopted during his more than 2000 years of existence. He encountered her multiple times across his generational timelines and witnessed the previous deaths of at least two of her incarnations, Oswin and Clara Oswin Oswald.

The Doctor thereafter searched across time for other versions of Clara, and found the 21st century incarnation who became his companion. He later discovered that Clara had been “echoed” across his entire timeline — ever since another version of Clara had sacrificed herself on the Doctor’s behalf. Unknown to the Doctor, Clara had come to his aid, even saved his life, numerous times.

I am aware that some of you did not like Clara or fully accept her as a proper companion for the Doctor. She was bossy and frequently challenged the Doctor’s authority. She was also fearless, resourceful and  fiercely loyal.

To those who wished her gone, I say, OK; you finally have what you wanted. Happy? Know that she would have given her life for you. Feel appropriately guilty.

Clara was born Nov. 23, 1986, to Ellie and Dave Oswald in Blackpool, Lancashire County, England. In her lifetimes, she worked as a starship crew member, Dalek puppet, barmaid, governess, nanny and school teacher.

Clara was preceded in death by her mother; her sometimes boyfriend, Danny Pink; and the first through 11th Doctors. Survivors include a special friend, Basil; and millions of Clara Oswald duplicates scattered throughout the known and unknown Universe.

While this version of Clara may have gone on to her reward, we can take comfort in knowing that most of her adventures with the Doctors have been recorded and preserved. In that sense, Clara will always be with us.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Commission Looking at Repeating Alternates (CLARA) have been suggested.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream of Michelin Man Monsters?

SPOILER ALERT!

Creativity is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it just doesn’t come together.

What does come together Nov. 14 in the “Sleep No More” Doctor Who episode was the “sleep dust” you find in the corner of your eyes each morning. The dust conglomerates into misshapen, murderous Michelin Man monsters feeding on humans and plotting to spread throughout the universe.

Whaaaat? Well, the episode does open with mad scientist Gagan Rassmussen telling viewers not to watch. That turned out to be good, ignored advice.

Rassmussen hosts “found footage” of events aboard Le Verrier, a space station orbiting Neptune. The station has gone radio silent, and a rescue crew arrives just after the Doctor and Clara.

What ensues involves the blind, eye-booger monsters chasing everyone around the ship, consuming all but one of the crew and eventually being destroyed by Neptune’s gravity. All is being presented through shaky, static-afflicted footage from cameras which don’t exist, alternating between color and black and white. Commentary provided by Rassmussen doesn’t add much clarity to events.

“None of this makes any sense,” the Doctor declares near the end of the episode.

He might have told us sooner.

Rassmussen is the man behind the Morpheus Machine, which turns out to be the cause of the monsters. The machines are semi-sentient pods which enable users to get the equivalent of hours of sleep in minutes.

Using the machines begins the transformation process. Continued use results in the humans being “digested” by the sleep dust, which is what happened to the station crew.

Each Morpheus session begins with a holographic rendition of “Mister Sandman” by the Chordettes. Funny once.

maxresdefault
Hello, Rassmussen.

The saving grace of this episode comes with satirical social commentary focused on the Morpheus process. The Doctor wants information from Rassmussen, who is found hiding from the monsters in one of the pods. Rassmussen obliges by providing a holographic commercial for Morpheus worthy of repeating in its entirety.

“May the Gods look favorably upon us all,” a woman’s gigantic holographic head begins.

“Friends, we live in a time of unparalleled prosperity, a golden age of peace, harmony and industry. But every shift must come to an end. Every working day must stop.

“Of course, we can take stimulants to make that deadline, to keep us propped up through that important meeting. But always, always, sleep claims us in the end. Until now.

“Welcome, Morpheus. The Morpheus Machine concentrates the whole nocturnal experience into one, five-minute burst. Now, you can go a whole month without sleep. A month!

“All the chemical benefits of rest, but freeing up the nights to continue working, working, working; to get the edge on your competitor, to turn that extra profit.

“Leave the Rip Van Winkles behind. Become one of the new generation of wide-awakes. The future is here. The future is now. Let yourself slip into the arms of Morpheus.

“Terms and conditions apply.”

Holy exploitation! If such an invention ever becomes reality, I hope like hell my employer never hears of it. I see a whole wing of Morpheus Machines and employees being “encouraged” to take their breaks in them.

“Sleep No More” also contains some humorous moments, such as when the Doctor licks his finger and holds in the air, as one might to do to determine wind direction. The information he gets: “38th century, Tuesday.”

The Doctor schools Clara on the finer points of companion etiquette. One does not simply put the word “space” in  front of other words, like “restaurant,” she is informed; and only the Doctor has the right to name things, like “Sandmen.”

Throughout this episode, I was fully expecting Graham Chapman’s “The Colonel” to abruptly appear and put and end to all the silliness. I didn’t think Chapman’s 1989 death would be an obstacle in such a dire situation.

The Doctor by Any Other Name

SPOILER ALERT!

Basil?

Really?

Known only as “The Doctor” for 50 years, the Doctor revealed Basil to be his first name Nov. 7 in “The Zygon Inversion.” Seriously?

The Doctor has seemed to be having a bit of an identity crisis of late. In the first half of this two-parter, “The Zygon Invasion,” he called himself Doctor Disco and Doctor Funkenstein. In this episode, along with Basil, he called himself Doctor John Disco and Doctor Puntastic.

Still, I’m assuming that his parents were well-traveled Time Lords with a sense of humor. Perhaps they had spent time on Earth and become extremely fond John Cleese’s Basil Fawlty character. They might have saddled their son with such a name.

Very well, then. Until told otherwise, Basil it is.

bonnie with osgood box
Bonnie, AKA Evil Zygon Clara, with finger ready to push an Osgood Box button. Will she or won’t she?

Anyway, this conclusion of the Zygon episodes had a lot to offer. Not the least was Basil’s anti-war message. Although he didn’t really cover any new ground, Peter Capaldi’s impassioned peace argument as two characters stood with fingers poised over destructive choice buttons was emotionally stirring and noteworthy.

“Why does peacekeeping always involve killing?” he asks Kate Lethbridge-Stewart after she shoots two Zygon guards.

Basil’s monologue was a brilliant way of getting Zygon Commander Zygella/Bonnie/Evil Clara and Kate to look beyond the present to both the “truth” and “consequences” of their decisions. He adds humor to the situation by occasionally jumping into game show host mode.

He points out that wars usually conclude with both sides meeting. Had they done that in the first place, the war could have been avoided.

“Break the cycle.” he urges. “Sit down and talk.”

“I just want you to think,” he adds. “Do you know what thinking is? It’s just a fancy word for changing your mind.”

During most of the episode, Clara, the original human version, is trapped inside a Zygon stasis pod while Bonnie impersonates her and takes care of business. Clara’s viewpoint from inside the pod is creatively done.

She appears to be in a small apartment, but the Zygons are unable to produce fine details of her illusional environment. The digits on her alarm clock are reversed. The printing on a newspaper is mostly gibberish.

Clara and Bonnie are linked to the point of having synchronized heartbeats. This proves to be the ultimate lie detector, but it gives Clara a measure of control over her evil doppelganger.

Bonnie is unaware that Clara has been able to influence her actions, such as throwing her aim off as she shoots down the jet carrying the President of the World. She is also able to make Bonnie call Basil on her cell phone, sending the text message “I’m awake.” More importantly, the message also let Basil know that she is still alive.

When Basil calls Clara on her cell phone, he comes face-to-face with Bonnie, but Clara is winking at him through her link with the Commander. Clara is also able to turn the mind link back on Bonnie, briefly forcing her back into Zygon form. All very clever stuff going well beyond the standard Pod People transformation story.

Osgood and Osgood
The Osgood Twins

Stepping into the limelight in this episode as the Person Fans Would Most Like To See As A New Companion is Petronella Osgood. She was introduced in “The Day of the Doctor” 50th anniversary episode. Duplicated by a Zygon, she and her “sister” had become indistinguishable from each other to the point of refusing to say which was which. One was killed by Missy in a later episode, but the surviving Osgood is still not saying whether she was originally Human or Zygon. To her, they are the same.

Osgood provides some of the most memorable moments in the episode. As she and Doctor (not yet Basil) are walking away from the site of their parachute escape from the plane shot down by Bonnie, we get:

“Any questions?” the Doctor asks.

“Why do you have a Union Jack parachute?”

“Um, camouflage.”

“Camouflage?”

“Yes. We’re in Britain.”

Osgood’s glasses are broken in the landing, so the Doctor lends her his sonic sunglasses.

“Sonic specs?” she inquires.

“Yeah.”

“Isn’t that a bit pointless, like a visual hearing aid?”

“What’s wrong with pointless? I once invented an invisible watch. Spot the design flaw. Don’t look at my browser history.”

“Whoa!”

“Yeah, I said don’t.”

The most endearing conversation she has with the Doctor most qualifies her as a future companion.

“The first thing I’d do if I was to invade the earth would be to kill you,” Osgood tells the Doctor.

“Thanks.”

“I wouldn’t even let you get talking, like you always do. Bullet between the eyes, first thing.”

“Again, thank you.”

“Twelve times, if necessary.”

“Ah, yes, why limit yourself? You’ve really thought this through, haven’t you?”

“I’m a big fan.”

It’s in a later exchange with Osgood that the Doctor drops the Basil bomb.

“What’s your name?” he asks Osgood.

“Osgood.”

“No, no, no. Your first name.”

“What’s your first name?”

“Basil.”

“Petronella.”

“Let’s just, uh, stick with what we had.”

Anyway, conflict resolved and selected minds wiped for the 16th time, the episode takes us back to the TARDIS, which Basil says stands for “Totally and Radically Driving in Space.” Basil, recognizing Osgood as a worthy companion, invites her to come along. Osgood, ever the dutiful public servant, declines, noting that she continues to have Earth to defend.

She surprises Basil when she is joined by another duplicate Osgood. Having given up her plans to wage war, Bonnie has opted to step into the “vacancy.”

Osgood and Oswald exchange quips.

“You take care of him, Osgood says. “Don’t let him die or anything.”

“What if he’s really annoying?” Clara asks.

“Then, fine.”

“Got ya.”

The final scene brings back the reminder that this series will be the last for Clara Oswald as she and Doctor Basil prepare to depart in the TARDIS.

“So, you must have thought I was dead for a while,” Clara says.

“Yeah.”

“How was that?”

“Longest month of my life.”

“It could only have been 5 minutes.”

“I’ll be the judge of time.”

Doctor Who Blasts into Past

SPOILER ALERT!

Fans were treated to a taste of classic Doctor Who in “The Zygon Invasion” Oct. 31.

The episode mixed flashbacks of three previous Doctors, a worldwide alien threat, UNIT and even a Lethbridge-Stewart into the plot. If they had thrown in a few Daleks, Cybermen and a guest appearance by K-9, they would have had a nice reunion going.

zygoninvasion

Taken in that light, the episode was entertaining if somewhat pedestrian. The idea of distributing millions of shape-shifting Zygon duplicates among the Earth’s human population seemed a bit far-fetched, although I am now regarding my neighbors with greater suspicion. If I see any blackened, smoking and sparking piles excelsior near my home, I’m going to dial 9-1-1.

Although the episode was a little less humorous than its current series predecessors, it was not without its chuckle-worthy moments.

The Doctor identified himself early as “Doctor Disco” and later as “Doctor Funkenstein.” At last, a name for the Doctor, but which is it?

I laughed at an exchange between the Doctor and Osgood. The Doctor had commented on question marks Osgood had added to her collar in tribute to her hero.

“You used to wear question marks,” Osgood says.

“Oh, I know, yes, I did,” the Doctor replies.

“They were nice. Why don’t you wear them anymore?”

“Oh, I do. I’ve got question mark underpants.”

“Makes one wonder what the question is.”

When the Doctor, arrives at the UNIT drone command center via the special jet airliner placed at his disposal as world commander-in-chief, he makes a grand entrance.

“At ease! I’m the President of the World,” he announces. “I’m here to rescue people and generally establish happiness all over the place.”

While interrogating a captured Zygon, the Doctor makes it clear that one nation is off-limits in the master Zygon conquest plan.

“Well, you can’t have the United Kingdom,” he tells him. “There’s already people living there. They’ll think you’re going to pinch their benefits.”

nobritishdogs
Kate gets a royal welcome when she arrives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico,

The rebellious faction of the Zygons have adopted the motto:” Truth or Consequences.” After Clara makes the dubious connection to a New Mexico town by the same name, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is dispatched to investigate. Upon her arrival, she finds that the community has not embraced the influx of British in the form of Zygon duplicates. In fact. all of the human residents have been destroyed, and Kate may suffer the same fate.

The recurring hybrid theme appears again in this episode with Osgood, who has permanently become half-Zygon, half-human. The theme had surfaced in “The Witch’s Familiar” when Davros referenced a prophesy of a Time Lord-Dalek hybrid. It reappeared in “The Girl Who Died,” when Ashildr is resurrected with alien technology and becomes a human-Mire hybrid.

If “Under the Lake” or “Before the Flood” contained specific hybrid references, I missed them. I suppose the “ghosts” could be considered human-Arcateenian hybrids, just to keep the string going.

The multiple references have led to speculation as to who will be the real hybrid when the season completes its run. I think the smart money is on Clara.

Looks like we’ve got another human-Zygon hybrid in Clara’s evil twin, Bonnie. Somehow, I don’t think Bonnie will survive the second half of this episode pair.