We should have known, though, the Doctor would come through with an incredible lesson about war, and why the need for it makes us forget about the impossible mess afterwards. It’s yet another reason why this season could be one for the ages.
*** SPOILERS BELOW ***
We saw Bonnie, the Zygon with Clara’s face, blow up the Doctor’s plane. She then forces a Zygon disguised as a human to reveal himself, and she sends a viral video. Her plan is to reveal all Zygons, cause panic, and then war. She doesn’t even care if her side loses, as long as there’s catastrophe, pain and death.
Meanwhile, Clara wakes up from inside her pod in a dream state where she tries to stop Bonnie from shooting the Doctor down. She and Bonnie’s brains are linked, but she doesn’t stop Bonnie from firing the missile. However, it turns out the Doctor and Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) managed to get out using an ejector seat.
Jenna Coleman is really going to be missed when she ends her run on the show. She is truly chilling as Bonnie, the angry Zygon with Clara’s face. Seeing Bonnie and Clara interact, especially when Bonnie tries to find out where the Osgood Box is, is just amazing. Bonnie does find out the box is at the Black Archive, UNIT’s super-secret vault, but Clara says Bonnie can’t kill her–especially when she finds the box. Bonnie, at least, is smart to take Clara along, just in case.
The Doctor and Osgood (whose first name is Petronella, after an early saint) also make a fine team. She’s the one who convinces him Clara’s not dead, but trying to fight back against Bonnie, after she sends a text. They also see the poor Zygon who preferred to stay human kill itself after it was exposed.
What about Kate Bennett (Jemma Redgrave), who seemed to have been taken over by her Zygon clone in New Mexico? Well, she returns to Bonnie with Zygon guards, but it doesn’t take long to show she’s the real Kate. Five rounds rapid.
Once everyone is at the Black Archive, we have an unforgettable showdown. The representatives of two races, at the edge of war, and the Doctor as the ultimate peacekeeper. It’s also a set piece that will go down in Doctor Who history.
First off, there are TWO Osgood Boxes, red and blue. The Doctor claims one will kill the Zygons, the other normalizes them. Under threat of killing Clara, he says the blue one normalizes them–or does it? Both boxes have two buttons. One guess what they say. Yep, “truth” and “consequences”.
Soon Kate arrives, and she chooses red. We have the ultimate confrontation, with both women at the verge of pushing a button that will cause war. In the middle is the Doctor, trying to talk them out of it.
Bonnie seems determined to expose her Zygons and cause catastrophe, but she’s asked what happens if she “wins”. Will things be what she wants? Kate is also determined, willing to push the button on her side that will release a nerve gas that will kill the Zygons–or a nuclear bomb.
Peter Capaldi is just incredible here trying to get some sense into Bonnie, or as he calls her Zygella, and Kate, especially when it turns into the most dangerous game show ( “fingers on buzzers”, as he puts it). But he tells them it’s not a game with an eloquent speech on the costs of war: “When you fire that first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die…how much blood will spill until every everybody does what they’re all were going to do from the very beginning–sit down and talk!”
Can we have him moderate a presidential candidates forum?
He also talks about how he’s fought in the Time Wars, and how he’s dealt with the aftermath. He vowed never again, and that includes Earth and the Zygons. Kate understands, and pulls back. So does Bonnie, but she also figures out the boxes are blanks. The lesson is still learned, though.
He wipes Kate’s memory of what happened to keep the power of the Osgood Boxes alive, but not Bonnie. He tells her there was another box that the Doctor could have used to get rid of his people (again, from “Day of the Doctor”…until Clara also got into his head. He figures it’ll work with Bonnie/Zygella.
Turns out he’s right. Bonnie/Zygella soon changes into a new Osgood, to match up with the other one. Although the primary Osgood never admits if she’s human or Zygon, she says she’ll answer that question when it doesn’t matter who she is. So, either we have two Zygon Osgoods, or one human and one Zygon Osgood. As long as both defend the world through the Osgood Boxes for UNIT, both arrangements work…and that’s the point.
Once again, the adventure ends with the Doctor and Clara leaving, and there’s more concern for him wondering what he’ll do without her. Very soon, he’ll have to find out.