Season 9, Episode 7 “The Zygon Invasion”
Directed by Daniel Nettheim
Written by Peter Harness
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Jemma Redgrave, Ingrid Oliver
Air date: Saturday, October 31, 2015
Doctor Who is not a series that generally tackles contemporary issues head-on. It was primarily started as a children’s entertainment designed to educate and inform, where possible, but not directly enter into controversy. So the Daleks can attempt genocide, we can all boo and hiss, and the Doctor can stop them, commenting about why they are so very wrong along the way. Looking back over the last 50-plus years, there are only a handful of serials that take stands on pressing political or social topics of the day. The Jon Pertwee serial “The Green Death” is remembered for its mention of environmental issues, as one example. The Tom Baker serial “The Sun Makers” dealt with the high British tax rates that made musical artists like the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and Led Zeppelin into tax exiles, as another.
In this context, “The Zygon Invasion” that we see this week is a very rare bird indeed. It is a UNIT story, perhaps the first real UNIT story in a very long time. It is also one with a very contemporary edge. With the Zygons now settled on Earth through a treaty created in “The Day Of The Doctor,” this episode takes on what happens next… which turns out to tie in very neatly with issues of terrorism and surveillance in a post-9/11 world, the ethnic and social identity of refugees, and social reactions to the Syrian refugee crisis. How does the episode perform? Let’s find out.
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