Doctor Who (9.7): A 10-minute story lost in a 45-minute episode

9492447-low-1I understand the desire to have more two-part stories, I do. Sometimes a story really needs more than 45 minutes (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances being a particularly strong example in new Who) – but this Zygon story is not one of them. Next week’s conclusion could be an absolute zinger, but there’s no getting away from this half being much more filler than thriller.

[Spoilers below the line…]

Honestly, you could cut all the faffing about in Turmezistan – whose only real purpose is to get the Doctor in place for that cliffhanger (and who takes a plane in a race-against-time crisis when they have a bleeding’ time machine?). The same can be said for the shenanigans in New Mexico. The meat of the story is in the last ten minutes – Clara revealed as a double and UNIT disabled. Even the sly commentary on radicalisation and snarky lines about Zygons “stealing benefits” can’t disguise the padding here. We’ll have to wait for the second half to be sure, but I bet this could have been a cracking episode if it had been kept to a one-parter…

On the bright side, it’s nice to have Osgood back, though it raises the question of what happened to the other Kate Stewart (there were two of them too). It’s difficult to believe Kate’s really dead anyway – the staging felt wrong (and, anyway, Moffat-era characters have difficulty dying AND staying dead). I suspect we’ve been dealing with Zygon Kate (and still are) – we’ll see how far from the mark I am next week! Let’s not forget the Osgood box, either – I don’t know what (if anything) the Doctor has left in there, but we have to assume it’s part of the solution.

See you for what had better be 45-minutes of uncuttable plot next week…

Jo the Hat


Filed under Dr Who

6 responses to “Doctor Who (9.7): A 10-minute story lost in a 45-minute episode

  1. mrssatan

    I’m sorry, but every time I see Osgood I can hear the Maltesers advert in my head… I’d rather hear the Doctor on his guitar…

    Is it bad to have a crush on the Doctor when he’s in his sonic sunglasses?

  2. Tim

    I know what you mean about there being a lot of padding in this episode – the Doctor’s trip to Turmezistan is mostly to get him on the plane to be shot at but also I guess to establish a sense of global scale regarding the Zygon threat – but I quite enjoyed it anyway. It’s nice to see the Zygons given some proper airtime and be given a reminder that UNIT and the Doctor are often uncomfortable bedfellows.

    (Warning, though: having seen the second part, I completely agree with you that this would have been better as a taut one-part story.)

  3. thebigmart

    Has anybody here ever snogged a Zygon ? 😉
    BTW I quite enjoyed the brief excerpt of ‘Amazing Grace’ that the Doctor performed on the guitar.

  4. DuCrieff

    If it had been a one parter there would be no build up, just a rushed episode as The Power of Three was. I thought these episodes were done in an incredible way; they set the scene, they gave us the full extent of the war, they dealt with real issues and, rather than simply dealing with it swiftly as they would have had to had it been a single episode, showed the effects of it all. I think these two episodes were by far the best of the series, not slow at all.

  5. Wow ! I thought I had missed an episode, until I realised you were responding to the programme that was transmitted almost 9 months ago!