It’s getting harder and harder to preview this season of Doctor Who, because there’s just so much to each episode that you really do want to discover watching it on Saturday night (and don’t wait to watch this one till later – there’s so much in it that the only way you’ll be safely spoiler-free come 9 o’clock is to have watched it on transmission). Peter Capaldi is reunited with his The Thick of It co-star Rebecca Front, but the humour is dialled back in this highly political tale from Peter Harness, that sits alongside Russell T Davies’ Aliens of London/World War Three in its use of Doctor Who tropes (and monsters) to look at current issues. There are a couple of lines in this episode that I fully expect to see quoted out of context by the Daily Mail and its ilk in the coming week…
We’ve got a lot more Jenna Coleman this week than we had last although she’s not with Capaldi as much, spending time with Jaye Griffiths’ Jac; we’ve also got considerably more Jemma Redgrave than we saw in the last UNIT story, with Kate Stewart taking more of a military role than you might have expected from her initial appearance back in the Matt Smith era. And of course, as we know, Ingrid Oliver is back as Osgood… despite Missy’s actions at the end of last season.
Harness has written a large-scale opener on an international canvas, and the show pulls out all the stops in all departments to create yet another strong episode. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but with this, Series 9 continues to be one of the best seasons of Steven Moffat’s producership.
Verdict: A carefully plotted, dark tale that maintains the high standard of Zygon stories. 8/10