Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Terror of the Zygons

Hoots, it's a Zygon!
Och Aye! It’s been a long time since the Doctor found himself in Scotland, and in real terms not relative even longer – ‘The Highlanders’ was set in the 18th century after all. ‘Terror of the Zygons’ is again in the ‘near future’, relative to its broadcast of course, so we can say around 1980 or so. It’s an interesting tale, with some excellent looking creatures in the Zygons, all red with nodules. Of course they still look a little bit human and you can see the top of the costume and the bottom are like pants and a pullover, but good to see a new monster in Doctor Who.
Also good to see the Brigadier and Benton back as well. It starts well, very mysteriously and eerily over the Scottish moors not too far from Loch Ness. John Woodnutt returns to the Doctor Who fold with a great performance as Broton/The Duke of Forgill, some wonderfully rolled ‘r’s! Not to be out done though, we have Angus Lennie as Angus the owner of the pub, who previously appeared as a scavenger in ‘The Ice Warriors’ with his wonderful Scottish accent. ‘I’m the seventh son of the seventh son’ – which granted him powers of second sight. Wonderful if not big supporting role.
A Scottish Tom?
It’s dopple-ganger city in this story, even though we’re on the countryside. That’s the Zygons plan. Although there’s a lot that’s not clear – how long have the Zygons been planning taking over Earth using the Skarasen – the Loch Ness Monster. It all starts by the monster attacking oil rigs. Well that’s a bit odd too really, Broton claims it was preparation or something, but really they just brought UNIT and the Doctor down on themselves (the Zygons).
Robert Banks Stewart wrote this one, a new writer to ‘Who’. His characters, action and atmosphere are superb, but unfortunately the plotting is pretty ridiculous. Not that other Doctor Who stories can’t claim that, but it just doesn’t logically piece together. An energy conference in London is the Zygons’ main target, where they will unveil the monster and broadcast their demands to the world. How the devil did the monster get all the way to London from Loch Ness without being seen and so quickly?
The Doctor does some dental work/
If I was grumpy, I too might attack an oil rig I guess.
In the third episode The Duke (Broton) leaves Sarah alone in the library which connects via a passageway to the Zygon space ship. That seemed a little careless as he knew the Doctor was onto him. So much doesn't add up and defies logic.
That said, it’s certainly not a BAD Doctor Who story. It’s well paced, exciting, the ideas behind the organic nature of the Zygon ship are nice, and the design is excellent. I would have liked the local community to feature a bit more and give a sense of the location, and a proper purpose to the attacks on the oil rigs. The characters and the characterisations though were colourful and highly enjoyable. It ends rather oddly when Harry decides to not to go with the Doctor and Sarah at the end, preferring to rely on road transportation. He had become a regular companion, and although the series may not have needed him, it seemed odd he would turn his back on the time travelling just like that. Sorry to see him go.
Last time as a team, The Doctor, Harry and Sarah.


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