After last week's banner episode, can Doctor Who keep the fun and excitement going? I think this two-parter is the best Doctor Who has been for a long while! Welcome to "The Zygon Inversion".
We start on Clara's face in the Zygon pod -- but was it all a dream? She wakes up and briefly sees the clock written backward. It corrects, but things aren't quite right; she has a tube that says "this is toothpaste" but is filled with black gel. She hears the conversation Bonnie has with The Doctor before shooting at his plane and finds that she can't escape her apartment.
She seems to be able to mess with the sighting on the missile launcher, and it misses the plane. She isn't able to shift the sight the second time, but she is able to keep Bonnie from pulling the trigger -- until she can't anymore. The missile is launched, and it strikes the plane, exploding.
A man is sweeping up Zygon incineration piles, but he is terrified of Bonnie approaching and runs and hides. She follows him. She declares, "If we cannot hide, we must fight." She zaps his temples, and he runs away, convulsing and breaking out in Zygon boils. He becomes a full-fledged Zygon in the streets, and Bonnie confirms that she is going to UNIT to retrieve the Osgood Box.
Clara is replaying the explosion over and over on her telly, and she sees a little flash of colour! She is sure that means The Doctor is safe.
The Doctor and Osgood have landed on a beach. He has a Union
Jack Flag parachute -- for camouflage, of course. The Doctor doesn't want to talk about Clara, who is still working away in her dream apartment. She manages to send a text through Bonnie to The Doctor -- "I'M AWAKE".
As Bonnie walks past a mirror, we see a flash of Clara, who disappears when she returns to the mirror. Is this more Impossible Girl nonsense? She finds a video about the Osgood Box and learns its location was a lie. There is a reason it's called the Osgood Box -- haven't you guessed?
The Doctor uses the psychic paper to stop the police and tell them about the plane crash. They're super weird, though, and he aborts the plan. The Doctor and Bonnie video chat, and she keeps winking at him -- no she's not, yes she is -- it turns out it's Morse Code, and Clara is answering questions and sending messages. Clara knows all about the Osgood Box, so he says to not give her any more memories. Of course that means Bonnie will poke around.
Bonnie goes to the pod to speak to Clara, who does not want to talk to her. Clara realises that, at this point, anyway, she has the upper hand. Bonnie can't force Clara to tell the truth, but she can tell if she's lying because their hearts are linked; Bonnie can check her pulse.
The Doctor and Osgood are at the apartment building where the man turned into a huge Zygon, and there are incineration piles. That's never a good sign.
Clara tells Bonnie that the Osgood Box is under the Tower of London. Only The Doctor and the Osgoods have access -- oh, wait, Clara does, too. If it's just a code, Bonnie can make Clara give it to her (though, let's be honest, her threat to kill her if she lies doesn't help her own cause any). It's coded to her body print. She CAN'T give her access because she already has it.
The Osgood Box has a button that will unmask all Zygons for up to an hour, creating chaos. Clara still won't tell Bonnie why it's called the Osgood Box, but she ensures that she will want to talk with Clara again when she finds out for herself.
The Doctor and Osgood are still stalking Mr. Zygon. They discuss names; her first name is Petronella, while he says his is Basil. They find Mr. Zygon, who is scared and acting out because he's mad Bonnie ruined his human cover. He doesn't want to fight. He zaps himself into an incineration pile.
Maybe-Zygon Kate Lethbridge-Stewart has returned, and she's tracked down The Doctor and Osgood and taken them to the hive. Osgood realises they are Zygons, and it's a trap. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart shoots the Zygon guards before they can attack.
Once Bonnie is into the Black Archive (with Clara-in-a-pod in tow), she gets a call from Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. There are TWO Osgood Boxes -- one normalises the Zygons while the other kills them. Bonnie releases Clara from the pod. Bonnie ends up mashing both boxes and finds both contain two more buttons -- "Truth" or "Consequences".
Kate Lethbridge-Stewart invokes her father -- she's the real one, you know -- when telling The Doctor how she escaped the Zygon sheriff attack with "FIVE ROUNDS RAPID"! The Brig lives on in Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. They head to the Black Archive. Bonnie doesn't think the situation is fair and only wants war, she says. She's a violent idealist, it seems. It'll all work out once they're victorious, and, when anyone else comes to challenge them, they'll beat them, too.
The Boxes aren't a game. They are "a scale model of war". The Doctor has a wee angry monologue about how no one knows the consequences of starting a war -- they don't know whose children will die, who will lose their homes, who will win.
The Doctor forgives Bonnie. After everything, he has mercy. Hell, he taught Daleks mercy. The Doctor has lived through the worst war, and he has sworn to never let it happen again. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is moved by his speech and closes her Box. Bonnie reckons that the Boxes are actually empty. She is able to think that because she has started to think like him. She was also at the disadvantage because he knows her face well.
Kate Lethbridge-Stewart says that they now know the Boxes are empty and can't forget it. Yeah, well that's what has happened all the other times. Memory erasing -- but only for Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. He wants Bonnie to remember what it's like to almost press a big button. Bonnie reports back to Zygon high command that the ceasefire is back in place.
Osgood seems to be lacking a couple of memories -- like what the TARDIS means. She really wants to travel with him, but she needs to stay to watch the Boxes. AND THERE ARE TWO AGAIN! One of them is Bonnie, who didn't think it was fair to go on with Clara's face.
In the TARDIS, Clara asks The Doctor what it was like to think she was dead. He replies that it was the longest month of his life.
Is that more evidence that Clara is already dead and just finds new ways of 'coming back' every week? Has The Doctor already seen her dying for real, leading to his rock star/sonic sunglasses/hugging mid-life crisis? Since he so rarely has the chance to say goodbye and have a last hurrah, is he so free with crossing his own timeline just to get a few more adventures with Clara? Does it have to be the human Osgood who survived -- or is she right that the rules have changed? Does the fact that Bonnie let Clara into her mind make her yet another hybrid?