Ok, I’m giving this episode a 4.5/5. Not because of the episode as a whole, but because of THAT scene. Yes, one scene saves this whole episode, and is so good, Peter Capaldi should get an award for his performance in it.
Kate Stewart and Zygilla (as the Doctor refers to her) are in front of a box, each their own, and each with two buttons. One button will kill the Zygons, while the other will save them. Both are ready to blow the button to end the war, but they don’t know which button does which. Enter the Doctor.
Man, what a scene. I could seriously talk about it all day. Why? BECAUSE IT WAS THAT GOOD! AND, it was so Doctor Who. Tying all of this back to Day of the Doctor (where this whole mess actually got started in a way) was brilliant! As the Doctor talked about he was once the man in front of a box with a button with the power to destroy an entire race, and he pushed it…well you know what REALLY happened, but for a long time he THOUGHT he did!
Seeing the pain, and agony, on Capaldi’s face as he pleaded with Zygilla was magnificent. I honestly don’t think Matt Smith or David Tennant could’ve pulled that off, but Capaldi did, and he did it with 12th Doctor flair. And he summed it up so brilliantly with three words, “I forgive you”. If everyone could have that capacity for empathy and forgiveness, wouldn’t our world truly be saved?
Oh, and the reveal that both boxes were empty? Classic.
Now true, there was other parts of the episode, Jenna Coleman got to be both good and evil with fun results, Osgood was again a fun addition, and almost got to live out her dream of being a companion, but funnily enough, she rejected him! And now there’s two of them again!
The other scenes were ok, but it was obvious (like I predicted…again…) that the Doctor wouldn’t die, and it was obvious Kate wasn’t dead, but they were leadup to the big scene, so I don’t mind it too much.
In the end, “The Zygon Inversion” was a nice filler episode, but it was that ending scene that made it a Doctor Who classic moment. Hopefully we’ll reflect upon that scene whenever Capaldi’s run ends.