The Zygon Inversion

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    Mudlark @mudlark


    which version of Kate are we seeing?

    You posted that while I was writing mine above.  Maybe the ambiguity was deliberate.

    I took the disagreement as to the amount of time that had passed to the fact that Clara had spent most of it in a quasi-dream state and, as in dreams, here time sense was distorted.  What we were seeing was a highly time-compressed sequence of events which might well have taken a month in real time.  Alternatively and quite plausibly, the Doctor’s perception of time is different from ours, or else, for reasons not yet revealed, he was engaged in some time travelling back and forth as these events were playing out.

    nerys @nerys

    It’s too late for me to edit now, but I see I failed to format the quote by @winston as a quote in my post above. Sorry about that!

    @mudlark I too have wondered whether Kate’s identity was left deliberately ambiguous. Maybe that falls into Osgood’s “It doesn’t matter” refrain.

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    Another inversion….at the end, Clara was the one operating the TARDIS controls. All the Doctor did was pull down the handle, then walk away.

    Anyone else find that odd?

    Mudlark @mudlark

    A trivial afterthought:  The Doctor, when challenged to give his first name, decided to call himself Basil; a trifle hubristic, perhaps, since it derives from the Greek for king 😕

    and  erratum, post#46594, last paragraph, penultimate sentence should read:   … the Zygon whom *Bonnie* forces into reverting to his original form.

    Maybe I should refrain from writing long posts, since I nearly always fail to spot such slips, even when editing.

    nerys @nerys

    @ardaraith Interesting catch on the controls. I hadn’t noticed that. Time for a rewatch! I do find her wearing the long coat rather out of character … or at least, out of character for Clara. But very Doctor-like.

    lisa @lisa

    Something is lurking inside of Clara. If she can manage to message the Doctor on
    the cell phone thru Bonnie that has to imply to me that Clara has access to a
    beyond human ability. This is something she’s displayed many times previously and
    I think this was another example. What part did Clara actually play in trying to
    change Bonnie’s mind while they were both in the Black Archive. I imagine she was
    capable of doing a lot more since we have Osgoods example of displaying great
    influence over her double. But that didn’t happen as far as I can tell. She didn’t
    seem to make any attempt to try be any positive influence inside Bonnie’s mind.
    Of course we didn’t see the first 14 attempts to resolve the problem. However, Clara
    only tried to influence Bonnie to get out of the pod and not to resolve the issue of
    a Zygon takeover.

    lisa @lisa

    Plus the fact that the Doctor hardly glanced at Clara in the Tardis and didn’t
    want to make her part of his conversation with Osgood. Then the Doctor said
    “I let Clara inside my head and trust me she doesn’t leave”. That felt to me
    like a very foreboding comment. Also, @ardaraith good catch on
    Clara setting the Tardis controls at the end. I cant tell why but I keep
    getting hit with the notion that confession dial might possibly having something
    to do with all of this too.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    Five rounds rapid!!!!!!    🙂   Best of the series for me, without doubt. I was riveted start to finish.

    I felt this cemented a return to the Doctor as a master of rhetoric. His scene with Bonnie was enthralling. “Oh, it’s not fair. Well, my TARDIS doesn’t work properly.” And his description of his own experience in the Time War brought tears to my eyes. I had the passing thought earlier that the Doctor was really taking a back seat to others throughout this two-parter, and then when crunch time came, it was all Doctor, front and centre, talking the aliens down as he has done for centuries.

    I really enjoyed Osgood (Petronella?). I loved her perceptions about the Doctor’s character, her intuition about how he was feeling, her encouraging him that Clara might be still alive. I had guessed that Kate might have survived her encounter with the Zygon and been faking, because as others pointed out, there is precedent for that!  🙂  But her line to the Doctor about how she survived did in fact make me squeeeee. And kudos to the ones who pointed out the connection between the Osgood Box and the Moment.

    Altogether, a totally satisfying outing for me. It’s really hard for me to see how the series can get better than this!

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @arbutus   Yes, that exchange between Osgood and the Doctor, as they walked up from the beach where they landed after their bailout, was very revealing.  It was she who realised immediately the possible significance of the fact that Bonnie/Clara had contacted him before firing the missile, and that the first missile had misfired, and she who understood the significance of the text ‘I’M AWAKE’, while he was still in a rather insecure and hopeless ‘hope phase’.  Whether or not she was originally a Zygon, the link she had had with her sister Osgood had given her an insight into the Zygon-human link which the Doctor lacked, and an intuitive and empathic understanding of the Doctor himself.

    Bonnie’s ‘It’s not fair!’, which you quote,  is the cry of any adolescent who ever felt themselves misunderstood* , and of every frustrated toddler in a tantrum.  As the Doctor sees it, this is little different from the mindset of any fanatic or ideologue who thinks that the destruction of the world is justified in the cause of remaking it, and who is to say that he is wrong?

    * I have always borne in mind, as a salutary reminder, my younger brother’s remark to my mother on one occasion, as I stormed out of the room, slamming the door on my way out; ‘Don’t worry; she’s just suffering from adolescence’. and my mother’s response, ‘Yes, it’s alright; I know’.


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    It made me think about Osgood as hybrid, because it wasn’t just human Osgood’s personality, she acquired the zygons confidence.

    Yes, that’s what made me think the Osgood who died was the human, and the Osgood who lived was the Zygon. Ingrid Oliver’s delivering a different performance than even the one in Death In Heaven – an Osgood who is far more mature, confident and ‘expert’.

    So mature, in fact, that she turns the Doctor down because she has a job to do on Earth…

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @bluesqueakpip and @miapatrick   Either reading could make sense, because the link established between them would have imbued human Osgood with the Zygon’s greater maturity and confidence, and the Zygon Osgood with her human counterpart’s knowledge of the Doctor.  I prefer to see them as having become two halves of one person as, it seems, they wished themselves to be understood.  The surviving Osgood carried forward something of her sister, and now she has a new counterpart, with an added element of Clara-ness carried over from Bonnie’s link with Clara – a very complex hybrid indeed.  What more is it necessary to know?

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @phaseshift and others      Yes, I meant to add that Coleman was fantastic. There really were two completely different characters in the room, and she completely sold me as the Zygon rebel. I actually thought for a moment that the Doctor was not going to win her over, she had that perfect look of someone being offered a helping hand off the cliff and refusing to take it.

    Actually, @osgood1066, it was Clara who stopped the Doctor destroying Gallifrey. Bad Wolf/The Moment clearly didn’t want the Doctor to push the button, but she had not managed to convince him not to do it. It was Clara, talking to Eleven, that managed to stop him and make him realize that it was time to “be a Doctor”.

    @starla    I’d forgotten about Jac! Yes, I guess she must really have died. Too bad, I liked her. But I think that, yes, many people were killed, hence Bonnie saying, “After all that I’ve done?” On another note, I think that the people watching in the housing estate were indeed Zygons.

    @nerys    I’m not convinced that there is a Zygon Kate. A Zygon took Kate’s form at the original treaty negotiation, but we don’t know that the Zygon kept that form afterward. Since no mention was ever made, I’m inclined to think it didn’t.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    A Zygon took Kate’s form at the original treaty negotiation, but we don’t know that the Zygon kept that form afterward. Since no mention was ever made, I’m inclined to think it didn’t.

    The possibility that the Zygon who copied Kate in The Day of the Doctor had survived in that form had not occurred to me, although the existence of two Kates might explain the anomalies which @nerys and I both commented on, and would  have been a potential asset in monitoring the cease fire.   On the other hand, a Zygon Kate, or a human Kate linked to a Zygon counterpart, would not have been willing, on 14 successive occasions, to use the Osgood box. We can presume therefore that the Kate present at the face-off in the Black Archive was human, without any Zygon input.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @juniperfish    a complexity at the heart of multiculturalism.    Yes. But not an irreconcilable one. We haven’t really been shown anything (I don’t think) about Zygon culture, but some core values at least must be similar to ours as many Zygons seem to have assimilated happily into Earth society. But we are not always great at remembering that outward appearances (and surface cultural differences) usually mask a core that is no different than our own. I
    suppose that the next logical development for the Zygons (once they can move beyond the desire to win through revolution) would be their very own civil rights movement. Zygons who refuse to “pass”, and possibly pay the price at first, until the moral authority of their stand forces the backward to catch up with them!

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @miapatrick   It’s a good point about Bonnie’s insistence that she was Bonnie. She was so determined to be seen as Zygon rather than human, that she introduced herself to Clara in that exact way upon replication, which struck me as very odd at the time. It’s a moving irony that in the end, she chooses to become the hybrid after all.

    Mersey @mersey

    I doubt whether they decided which Osgood is which. And if they did I think it doesn’t really matter because they can always change their minds. This case is still open.

    JimmytheTulip @jimmythetulip

    For anyone interested, I wrote about these two episodes (in two parts) on my blog. Here are the links.


    Feel free to leave a comment and/or follow my blog if you wish.

    Anonymous @

    Hey @jimmythetulip

    I’ll definitely give them a read.

    Yes, all @mudlark @arbutus

    was waiting to read your comments early this morning: beautifully expressed as always.

    I will need to watch the Doctor’s speech with subtitles as it went on at a rattling pace at points but for me, this was a stand out scene of any Who ever -just my opinion, mind. Over the years there have been so many but the age of the Doctor, the lanky, sometimes “still in hope phase” Doctor was the epitome of all the Doctors as I feel I’ve known them all these years -truly, a wonderful flux and connection all at once.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Just got to watch it. A classic Who, but…actually, I think I liked the first episode better. Am I ARSE, or am I responding to being away for the weekend and getting some bad news about the family? Well, yes, probably the latter.

    Still, a brilliant episode, and am looking forward to a second viewing in the morning.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I was thinking, one of the potential ramifications of the Osgood and Zygon relationship if we take it as granted that Zygons can copy her bioprint or memory from other Zygons, is that Osgood is, like Ashildr, a technically immortal character. All it requires is a continuing line of Zygons who are committed to the plans of the originals.

    That actually has a pleasing symmetry, especially for Remembrance Sunday (last Remembrance Sunday we were recovering from Death in Heaven of course). Her memory will remain.

    Just on the Tarot front, while I still like @juniperfish s summation of Osgood as Tempererance, as a being with two Faces I can’t help but think of Janus, the Roman God. In terms of conflict and warfare he saw both the beginnings and endings of conflict with perfect clarity, enabling understanding. The Hierophant in Tarot is often depicted holding a set of keys – a deliberate call out to Janus and his understanding of future/past.

    Hudsey @hudsey

    While for a younger audience this perhaps wasn’t the greatest episode, for those of us old enough to remember the doctor’s monologues of old – this was one of the best in my opinion. .. I salute you Mr M. but to theories.. Apologies in advance. I may not quote properly ( a tad tipsy)..

    ‘Clara gets in your head’… Along with those funny looks she has been getting all series.. And also the heavy reference to the ‘bootstrap loop’..

    I think we have been thinking about Claricles and a Clara prime – but they are not not timey wimey enough. There is no Clara prime, she is a bootstrap (is that the right term?) loop. The doctor knows this, he’s realised that Clara appears in his timeline as a paradox, perhaps he feels he has to stop her reappearing in his timeline? Perhaps each time she dies, she then comes back? It’s like limbo.. I think he may want to free her from this.. As Sting would say.. ‘You love someone, set them free?!’ – cheesy reference, sorry. Also, she is changing – becoming more like him.  What happens when the bootstrap paradox coils around you -like a never ending serpent? You get strangled? You cause a bootstrap paradox collision?

    How could he stop this? who would help her if he did? Perhaps the immortal lady who is looking out for the other companions? The knightmare? I know she used the spare immortality chip on the other chap…but… I think I saw in the black archive this week a Mya helmet? It was right behind Kate,in the same place where Clara stole the vortex manipulator. I think three Mya’s had their helmets sipped off in the Viking episode? I’m sure I saw the same helmet shape in the archive. If that had a chip- perhaps the doctor would stop Clara dying – to stop her appearing in his timeline as she would no longer die? He has to give her immortality and then banish her from his timeline to remove the bootstrap loop. It’s worse than her dying (a la Adric) it’s the worst fate ever for a companion. Eternally never travelling with the doctor.. But always alive.  Sorry it’s a dark theory..!

    by the way, I read this site way too much. Thanks for the great theories!

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I didn’t get a chance to post on previous threads, but I found the idea discussed by some that the Knightmare and Nightmare scenario may reference ‘The Nightmare Child’ quite interesting, especially when I had a look at the dialogue that surrounds it.

    The first mention is Stolen Earth/Journey’s End in that Davros’ command ship was seemingly destroyed at the Gates of Elysium after flying into the jaws of the Nightmare Child. He raided the Gates of Heaven and was swallowed by a Nightmare.

    I found the reference in the End of Time even more interesting. The Doctot tells the Master:

    You weren’t there. In the final days of the war. You never saw what was born. But if the time lock’s broken then everything is coming through. Not just the Daleks, but the Skaro Degradations. The Horde of Travesties. The Nightmare Child. The Could-Have-Been King with his army of Meanwhiles and Neverweres. The war turned into hell! And that’s what you’ve opened. Right above the Earth. Hell is descending.

    OK, one referencing Heaven and Hell. More importantly though, Listen saw the Timelock gone. And if the Timelock is gone then everything is coming back? Perhaps signs and portents of the return of Gallifrey?

    The Daleks? Well, they only ever went briefly.

    The Skaro Degradations? I can’t help but think of the Sewers in Witches Familiar. Mutations stripped from armour, degraded in form and spirit.

    The Could-Have-Been King? The Fisher King with his knowledge of the Time Lords.

    Poetic Licence, but armies of Meanwhiles and Neverweres, I’d see as abstract menaces to the timelines. Distortions to the timelines to introduce things of the imagination. The things that never were. Anachronisms and myths. Vikings with horns. Robin Hood. The Moon is an egg.

    The Nightmare references may point us to Ashildr or something else.

    Not quite sure if anything fits the Horde of Travesties (You could make a pithy reference to The Mire. A Horde who had a reputation that turned out to be a bit of a travesty), but there is still time left obviously.

    Anyone got any different interpretations of this lot?

    lisa @lisa


    I was thinking that something else came thru the crack when the Time Lords gave
    the Doctor his new regenerations. That something is lurking in Clara. In the
    Spoilers section I put my bonkerist theory but basically saying that Clara has been morphing
    into something new since then. A little bit of Doctor, Dalek, Zygon etc. Possibly a
    new adversary? A Nightmare child or an abomination (like what is mentioned in the
    next episode)? A mega-hybrid. Maybe a Time lord weapon to use as a protection for when
    they return? Possibly Clara becomes the anti-Clara? Is that what will be Clara’s fate?
    SM did say it will have serious shock appeal.
    What does flying into the jaws of the Nightmare child mean? Sounds ominous. I think
    we can all assume letting Clara into your head means she will break both his bearts

    The last thing the Doctor says to Clara in the Tardis is to remind her that ‘I will be
    the judge of time” because he has figured out that Clara is this prophesy, the warrior greater
    then any, but also an abomination and/or a nightmare. He’s letting her know he gets now
    that she is the enemy inside the friend. I think River may have known this when she first
    met Clara. She is returning at the pivotal end point of Clara’s story arc in the same way she
    returned in ‘Demons Run’ at the pivotal moment. Its probably written in her Doctor diary.

    Kharis @kharis

    I have to say I was extremely impressed by this second half.  The speech the Doctor made had my crying and cheering at the same time.  From now on, every time someone wants to go to war, in any kind of way, I think I might find myself suggesting they close the box, or even better, asking myself to close the box.   Excellent episode.  Not sure why the Doctor kept asking if Osgood was a Zygon or Human, since clearly the point from the beginning was it doesn’t matter, but besides that confusion, I really loved this episode.

    Kharis @kharis

    Do have to add that the controlling the situation through the television with Clara’s strong mind was already seen in the Library.

    geoffers @geoffers

    @arbutus @mudlark

    I’m not convinced that there is a Zygon Kate. A Zygon took Kate’s form at the original treaty negotiation, but we don’t know that the Zygon kept that form afterward. Since no mention was ever made, I’m inclined to think it didn’t.

    in the previous episode (in the zygon command chamber), kate says that after the treaty, no one could tell which osgood was which, to which the doctor replies that they maintained their live link to keep the peace. i took this exchange as an admission (by omission) that the zygons from ‘the day of the doctor’ had moved on to other human templates, except for the osgoods. kate doesn’t say, “i’m no longer live linked with my zygon,” but it is implied…

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift @lisa

    There’s some sense that the ‘child’ could be the person in the jaws of the demon/dragon/serpent during Under the Lake -here, there’s a Star Trek- like figure obviously wearing a skirt -maybe she’s being devoured by time?

    Yes, I also thought (but it had no clarity like yours) that there was something ‘wrong’ with time -the idea of the moon as  an egg or Robin Hood -a story, a legend, just like the Doctor. It seemed at first to me as if Clara wasn’t really there -that during those episodes these were the stories she kept in her own head during times of conflict (like The Z Inversion) where she’s in her ‘home’ with “this is toothpaste” whilst trapped in a pod. To me, the moon visit and the terrific battle with words with Ben Miller as the Sherriff of Nottingham would be something that would cascade thru her mind whilst she’s living a type of half-life? Taken somewhere? Maybe like a mind device, like a Library, where all her thoughts are stories kept there to keep her from going insane. Young Clara, baking soufflés like stories her mother used to tell her to keep her company and to ensure she’s comforted.

    A frightening end for Clara.

    She’s definitely changing -so I think. But maybe these little hints we have about changes are not really about Clara at all -but about the Time lock opening and bringing these new species of creatures -3D creatures in Listen, the crazy monster in The Caretaker etc…. into our known universe.


    lisa @lisa


    Yes the Library! Also reminded me a lot of Asylum of the Daleks when Oswin spoke
    thru the Dalek eye piece and also in Magicians Apprentice same thing. Both are SM stories.
    Reuses these devices a lot. I can see his influence in this Zygon story too by familiar
    devices. Also when the Doctor said something to the effect of letting Clara
    into your head was similar to when he said he ‘always sees her’ in Magicians Apprentice.

    Kharis @kharis

    @hudsey Wow!  Brilliant theory!  I believe the Claricle issue was never received and the girl in the Library could possibly be a Clara still, which will have to be dealt with for the return of River.  I’m glad to see people don’t see my Nightmare Child theory as too bonkers anymore.  🙂    I really do think Achildr is the Knightmare/Nightmare child.  I’m more convinced then when I wrote the idea the first time.  There are clues.  The Mire helmet in the background seemed a visual reminder that there was another horrible war to come, another horrible choice.


    Kharis @kharis

    @lisa Yes!  I forgot that the line about Clara always in his head is so similar to River always in his head line.  They are linked somehow.  My guess is still in the Library.  You are right, this being trapped in her head is a theme, a very recurring theme.  The soufflé is the recipe.

    lisa @lisa


    I can imagine that the Doctor will have to find a solution to Clara. That’s what
    he does. He’s the ultimate problem solver. It might be his plan to add a new addition
    to the Library family.


    I think the Doctor realizes that he needs to defuse what Clara becomes to keep peace in
    the Universe. So maybe he is the creator of this entire ‘Claradox’ afterall.

    Kharis @kharis

    @lisa @purofilion It really is awful to know one way or another it’s going to be heart wrenching.  🙁

    Anonymous @

    @blenkinsopthebrave and family

    I hope all is well? It didn’t sound like it at all! I do hope that you have your family & support around you -we’ll be thinking of you. Sending happy thoughts 🙂

    Kindest  and  warm  wishes,

    Puro x

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift @lisa @geoffers

    The footprints of the ‘neverwere’ was mentioned by Eleven as the universe was disintegrating -and the demon of ‘time’ was alluded to by the 6th Doctor (all from tardis wiki). Still, the idea that if time implodes or if certain people continue past their normal existence (Ashildr), then what could be left except their footprints -those which, in some manner, half existed only?

    I would add that Clara is an oddity -spread thru time, looping forever. I’m now of the opinion (and I’m slow to it!) that there is no Clara Prime. I still recall Eleven reading a book about String Theory and the Universe as Clara rode her bike straight into the Tardis after The Name of the Doctor -as if nothing has happened to disturb their peace  -‘routine immediately restored: life up your tray tables and be ready for touch down’.

    Perhaps as early as this, Eleven and now Twelve, know that Clara can’t be dispersed. She lives on, as and when, the Doctor lives. If his concept of time isn’t linear but rather ‘loopy’ it would be correct to presume that Clara lives thru time (like Ashildr) too, never really away from the Doctor -becoming more doctorish as her lives loop ever closer towards the Doctor -as someone said above (lisa?) that there’s a point at which the Doctor and those who loop or twist around him (much like a serpent -tempting fate, tempting destruction) become much closer to him: “she’s always inside my head” inferring that she ‘is’ him -the two share so much that even in last night’s episode, he went into the Tardis and let Clara ‘do the driving’.

    They are like that old married couple: there’s no more snappy conversation, it’s calm and ordinary, though content  -on the outside, at least. The smile he gave in the car with Osgood was a very unusual quick, passing smile. Almost a smile of joy mixed with something bitter and tart. And then Osgood said “I don’t think I’ve seen you smile before” and he kept on resolutely smiling -reminding me somewhat of McCoy’s doctor, actually, as well as McGann’s in ‘that’ movie.

    Interesting that Osgood and the Doctor spoke alone and for some reason the Doctor wanted to question Osgood as to her ‘humanness’ by himself -is he trying to think of another pattern? Is he resolving a problem (as he did by testing Amy two years ago?) -there’s no zygela anymore, but then why did he ask to speak to Osgood privately (and why didn’t  Clara pick up on that immediately?) -that niggles. Maybe he needed to admit “I’m a fan” on his own -that Osgood deserved some privacy as she had effectively been the ‘peace’ and was, as @bluesqueakpip has said, a more determined, ‘super’ or “expert” Osgood than we saw before. He certainly was befuddled and I like that.

    He can give an incredibly impassioned speech begging for humanity and Zygonity to listen. He creates the peace and yet can also feel confused and bewildered an hour later.

    I wonder just what Clara can do? Her ability to control Zygela, her pure confidence was almost frightening: I was reminded of the soothsayer in Turn Left nervously whispering to Donna “what are you? What will you be?” and I thought the same of Clara.

    Who is she?

    Ozitenor @ozitenor

    Two things:

    1. (OT) it would be cool if in the login box for this forum instead of the checkbox “remember me” it read “run you clever boy and remember me”

    2. Further to the theory that Clara has not really been existing (or similar) since being in the Dalek back in episode 2, I do think the evidence points to the Doctor having 3 Mire immortality chips (especially since we now have seen another helmet in the archive), and it is fairly obvious given much of the dialogue this series that the Doctor would give one to Clara if he could (how many times has he said he could not bare to lose her) but he has not and does not because he can’t; because the Clara he has been traveling with the past long month is not her.

    Anonymous @

    I’m sorry @kharis I meant to tag you in this conversation, above, as well.

    All I have are a lot of observations and ‘niggles’ in my head?

    No real sense of anything concluding, coming together in any way etched in cement! Everything is confused, illusive, fluid and intangible -in other words, a mystery, much like the fab season with Smithy when we had “trenzalore, the question that must never be asked.”

    It still seems that the way that it ended -with Clara just the ‘same’ returning to normal life was so quick and yet unfinished: the ripples of that time are still being felt. I was taken by the end of the Time of the Doctor as Smithy aged and it came to an end, that it was magnificent. Clara saving the Doctor (as she always does and doing it again by speaking to the TLs in the pocket universe) is her role -but it distracted me from the myriad of other things still emerging, still  happening to her, and to the Doctor….and not everything has been fully revealed.

    It’s a mystery -and I love them. But I can’t get my head around all the clues. Phase has done a marvellous job of looking back at Ten’s era and describing all the evils emerging from the Master’s attempts at return. Gallifrey, she says, is still there -Missy is very much still ‘hanging’ about and we have the ‘enemy inside a friend’ as well as the concept hybrid to work out. At first I assumed the hybrid mentioned in the Witch’s Familiar was played out in The Zygon Invasion but it was only one part of the mystery, still!

    So many posts to re-read. Exciting!

    Anonymous @


    I agree/seconded -what a great idea!  “run, you clever boy and remember me! ”

    perhaps, you know, that’s another clue to the Doctor: he should jolly well run -as far and as fast from Clara as possible!

    lisa @lisa


    I think your right about there not being any prime Clara. That would be why she
    survived the time stream? I remember the 11th looking at the time string theory
    book and that it had to be about the Claradox. But I still think she is morphing into
    something new which is going to be like a bad nightmare. The Doctors creation
    has been compromised. Everything that was normal about her has changed.

    I also remember River being shocked when \she first saw Clara but for only a moment.
    So I bet she does know something about Clara because she also said they were mentally linked.
    But I wonder if Clara also shares a mental link with the Doctor? I think so because
    she was in his time stream. So does that mean its like the Zygons. They are mentally
    linked and 1 will be more powerful and able to control the other?

    @ozitenor That would be excellent if it can be done!

    geoffers @geoffers


    1. (OT) it would be cool if in the login box for this forum instead of the checkbox “remember me” it read “run you clever boy and remember me”  … i like the way you think!

    i just finished a re-watch, having digested the posts here. not much to add, except one bonkers theory, that hit me between the eyes while watching the scene where the doctor wipes kate’s and the zygon’s memories, but spares bonnie’s. when she asks, “what happened?” in reference to the doctor’s story of his choice in ‘the day of the doctor,’ he replies: ” the same thing that happened to you. i let clara oswald get inside my head… trust me, she doesn’t leave.”

    now, i don’t know if this has been posited elsewhere. i know several people have theorized that clara is a chameleon arched time lord, perhaps susan, perhaps his daughter with river or missy, etc. (i have thought the same since ‘the snowmen,’ and still wonder if it is how she survived the jump into his time stream in ‘the name of the doctor.’) but… what if moffat is pulling the biggest switcheroo right before our very eyes, this whole time? what if clara IS the doctor? a future incarnation, hidden in plain sight, as a companion, all this time?

    what if we’ve had the first female incarnation of the doctor on our screens these last three years?! perhaps moffat has found the perfect way to circumvent all the a.r.s.e.-ness that would erupt over casting a female lead?

    i’m still grappling with this idea, myself, looking for the pros and cons of such a long game/long con. but i trust that moffat could pull it off. he basically inserted the war doctor into existing who lore, with barely a few hints here and there. how much bolder to give us a future doctor, for three seasons, with many more subtle (and not so subtle) hints?

    @purofilion – you asked, Who is she? perhaps the question is, “Is she Who?”

    or, simply stated, “She is Who!”

    please, anyone, everyone… help me get this bonkers monster out of my head! my tiny human brain (my poor, noble, donna-sized brain) can’t contain the enormity of the possibility! lol

    geoffers @geoffers

    oh, and we also have a bit of a schrödinger’s osgood situation on our hands! it seems that all our conjecture about which is the human and which is the zygood has been effectively neutralized. (possibly for a future story? yay, for ingrid oliver!)

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    I think in both the classic and new Doctor Who, immortality is an abomination against nature, and the Doctor would think twice about granting it to another companion, even Clara.  He felt very uncomfortable about Captain Jack having it.

    I like the theory, that I think I have by now read in multiple places, that the episodes at some point will not be in an order linear in time to when events occurred.  Thus I think it is quite possible that Clara has died in the future but that the Doctor has gone back in time to when Clara was alive to enjoy some final moments with her.

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    Sadly I must totally disagree that this episode had anything to say about war, especially its status today.

    For one thing, if one examines the statements of all major powers in the world today, everyone decries war and claims their actions are done to prevent war.  This is what happens when language is degraded to mean whatever is convenient at the moment instead of being used to actually communicate.  It is quite possible for everyone to agree with the Doctor that war is wrong, and yet have as much war if not more continue to be started and to rage on in the name of being opposed to war.

    The major problem I have is that one side, the humans, are being deliberately kept in the dark about the existence of extraterrestrials (something I find hard to believe after the events of Death in Heaven), so that are in effect not being consulted other than Kate Stewart and Osgood.  Since Kate Stewart has apparently had her memories wiped 15 times, it would appear she has been asked the question only until she finally gets the right answer.

    The aftermath of this supposed solution is the exact opposite of the only answer we have today:  If mass punishment is not to be imposed, at least have a full investigation for the public record to at least understand what happened, using truth and reconciliation commissions.  That is the only hope to actually advance as a species, to learn from past mistakes.  But in this episode there can only be an ever escalating series of cover-ups, such as the apparent massacre of all of the human inhabitants of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  What in the world is going to be done about this, say for people who had relatives in that town, maybe very close ones, who are now at best replaced by Zygons.

    Absolutely no one from the human side this episode actually learned anything with Kate Stewart’s memory being erased again.  With the massacre of much of UNIT, far fewer are left who were even witnesses to the original agreement and aftermath.

    The question has to be asked exactly why are humans incapable of understanding the existence among them of extraterrestrials in the Doctor Who universe?  The only answer in the show may be due to the Doctor’s having witnessed events in the future, a premature revelation may create a time paradox.  Thus it is the existence of the Doctor himself that apparently keeps humans in a childlike condition relative to the rest of the cosmos.

    This matters because in the end, the question of how to prevent the triumph of evil to be of any worth has to have some element of appealing to education and enlightenment.  But the current setup of having the Doctor in effect dictate a peace that requires almost all humans to be ignorant of the very existence of the Zygons with whom they are supposed to cohabitate destroys all plausible conditions for virtue.  Apparently if one follows the logic of this episode it is better to have all power invested in at most 2 or 3 individuals.  I’m sorry, but this is simply shockingly retrograde thinking that has been refuted by simple phrases such as “who watches the watchers?”

    I find it incredibly ironic that an episode that purports to oppose war in the end advocates that one side simply assert that they are right, they are the enlightened ones, and that therefore they have the right and the duty to unilaterally impose their solutions on their less enlightened brethren, by any means necessary.  No need to acquire assent, no need to show mercy, it’s all okay as long as one has a temporary tactical advantage.  In other words, an argument against war has incredibly become an argument for war that glorifies war.

    Serahni @serahni

    @geoffers  I just logged in to find out if anyone else had picked up on that line about Clara not leaving your head once she’s in there.  On the surface, you accept it as a poetic way of referencing her ability to appeal to him in that pivotal Moment, but it’s a bit too word-crafted to be just that, I think.

    Notice the complete and utter lack of any reference to her jumping into his timestream since it happened.  No mention of how she managed it, how she fared after it, no real reference even to how much she recalls. Then we have our bootstrap paradox and the fact that The Doctor has been set up, via Missy’s storytelling, as someone who pulls solutions out of thin air because he always believes he will win.  Did he, lying there on the floor in the presence of his dead wife, with the Great Intelligence flooding his timeline, concoct his most brilliant solution yet?  Has Clara not, in all of this, been established as the repeating force that keeps turning up time and time again to ‘save the Doctor’, even though our story-time with Missy points out that he is usually very good at doing that himself.

    “There’s only me here, that’s the point.”

    We have been saying she seems to be growing more and more like him, and he’s suddenly learned how to hug.

    janetteB @janetteb

    This series just gets better and better. I felt last week that we had pieces of a puzzle that did not fit together. However the shape of the picture was there but without the conclusion it lacked meaning and what a conclusion it was. I have yet to rewatch, preferring to leave a day or so between viewings.

    Everything I could say has been said and said well however there was one thing I noticed, that when the Doctor mentions the damage done to children in war the camera hovers over Clara’s face, a reference maybe to the boy whom Danny kills and saves.

    The relationship between the Doctor and Clara certainly feels “off kilter” now. Even the boys have remarked upon it.

    I initially thought that all the Doctor meant when it said it had been a long month believing that Clara was dead was that it had that feel to him, in the way that intense emotion can distort one’s sense of time. On reading through all the comments there are some exciting theories as to alternative interpretations.

    @ozitenor I like the suggestion that Clara did not survive being put into the Dalek and hence for the Doctor it has been a month. I have been a Clara still in Dalek skeptic however I think I am beginning to warm to the theory. I wonder if she is indeed infested with Dalek nanos and is slowly dying inside. That would explain the meaningful looks he gives her though that hug in the first episode before she goes into the Dalek was equally loaded. Certainly something non lineal and timey wimey might be afoot. (that was just a shameful excuse to use that phrase again.)

    @countscarlioni You get the golden Jammy Dodger award this week. Well spotted/theorised.

    @mudlark, I have three victims of adolescence to deal with. (mostly they are wonderful) Even as adults we still have out adolescence moments. The Doctor’s speech was one of the finest ever penned in Dr Who.

    @mudlark again, The sharing of consciousness makes the physical origin of the Osgoods unimportant. Once the consciousness is shared they become of one mind. The physical origin is irrelevant and so it is indeed odd that the Doctor is so fixated upon it.

    @geoffers Sheer brilliance. Not sure my brain can cope either but I like it. If Clara is a future Doctor she can’t die, just go off somewhere else or regenerate.



    Carrieanne @carrieanne

    @serahni  I have been feeling a lot of what your saying, but I didn’t think back to it’s only me here  in his timeline.  And yes I caught the once she gets in your head line as well, and it felt important.  This is my first season watching it as it’s aired, I watched all the rest on netflix and some I recorded on dvr.  I gotta say this waiting for a new show each week is killing me!  It does make me more invested though, anticipation can be a great thing.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @carrieanne Yes we tended to be spoilt, firstly back when Who was originally aired in Oz it was shown four days a week and then in the intervening years we watched pre recorded episodes and would tend to watch an entire “story” usually of four episodes in one sitting. We would say, “one episode only” but those cliffhangers got the boys hooked every time and they just had to watch the next episode, and the next. I found the wait for this episode particularly difficult mostly because I had no clue where the story was going to go. The situation at the end of the previous episode seemed so hopeless. That is testament to the strength of the story telling.



    Anonymous @


    interesting “quis custodiet quis custodies” Who watches the watchers?

    I suppose one must argue it is the President of the World.

    In this, the elites were conspicuously left out of the decision making -which was ‘the truth’ I suppose and thus fair.

    One could argue that the Doctor has always sought for humanity to be “the best they can be”. To talk, to think -which is simply “changing one’s mind”

    In negotiations with those on the Left Bank the answer is forgiveness -both sides or neither side -and if neither, then there’s no hope for anything except continued bloody, devastating war on all fronts for man, woman and child.

    Bonnie said “how could they not kill me? How would they let me go after what I have done?” The Doctor says “here’s a change. I forgive you” and yes, I think  it’s not his position to offer such forgiveness: this isn’t his home planet -the beings of Earth should have the choice to forgive and forget (quite literally in that instant) or to choose another, much worse alternative -because there are only two alternates: forgiveness or more violence. Z67 -the gas – could be tracked and located, an attack mounted and war could incur historic losses.

    I agree, the victims of Truth or Consequences had relatives and loved ones and they cannot mourn -although I suppose that the point of Remembrance Sunday was to allow and complete the remembering without leading to more pointless revenge and ‘outing’ of the enemy inside of the friend.

    I think, on the contrary, mercy was the key point of this episode and if left to humans and their pudding brains what would they do? Would they “assent” to forgiveness?  Are they in a position to be “educated and enlightened” yet?

    I don’t think they are, actually -the ceasefire broke down quickly with little time for anything except to ask the Doctor to help -as Defender of the Earth, he did exactly that. The help “helped”.

    But I do understand your point: “a virtue which remains in isolation, untested and virgin, is not a virtue granted” but I feel there was little hope for anything else at this point. Earth’s citizens have certainly seen some nightmares: the void, the Titanic (unless this was all deleted during The Big Bang?) -but I don’t believe, ultimately the Doctor coddles humans. I do believe he thinks that they haven’t evolved sufficiently as a species for him to suggest another option?

    If anything, the Doctor attempts to make small changes in time person by person, family by family -remember the child who created monsters in his cupboard, those in the God Complex who he tried to save: who he begged would listen to him -who he asked for tolerance? He tried to do this with Van Gogh, although his particular disposition couldn’t be avoided.

    I’ve been part of Truth and Reconciliation commissions myself -Senate oversight equivalents: I find them as problematic as the solution the Doctor offered as they operate outside the tenets of democracy -to protect the people, when, really, they are simply stalling democracy. Only a handful of people are involved in such decisions and debate which rages on past the possible moment where success is calibrated and before the worst that could happen, does. I think the Doctor interceded correctly- during the latter. There was loss of life and I’m not decrying that: I myself would love to know what happened to Rebecca Front’s colonel -who insisted on ‘blowing them all up.’ 🙂

    On that note, it’s seen clearly that, if left to our own devices, we would have ‘blown’ things up first, and talked later. And by then, this splinter group could well have included all the zygons: now rebellious and angry. Out for human blood and respecting only revenge.

    Believe me, there are many situations in govt, where terrible things happen (and are happening) and it seems wise to have certain agencies fix those dire situations without the majority of the population knowing anything -as much as I shy away from that, I see no alternative -a lot of the time.

    It works. There are things nobody knows and whilst I’m all for openness, I often think it’s a misnomer widely held.

    For some things, secrecy is vital.

    Lastly, if Unit is involved with the Palace and therefore with the House, wouldn’t certain MPs have some knowledge, or an outline in stick figures about what happened? I wonder if they might have?

    janetteB @janetteb

    @purofilion Back in the past the Brigadier was answerable to various cabinet ministers, whom often turned out to be untrustworthy but Kate seems to operate very independently. There is an element of “fairy tale” about that. The world the Doctor inhabits is somewhat divorced from the real world; a reality where peace can happen because they have the Doctor and our world doesn’t. Also in making the Doctor nominal “President of the world” they are able to bypass governments. (I am no more enthusiastic about the Doctor as world president than he is but I did love his rock star stint at the plane door. Capaldi is really beginning to wear the role well and clearly loving it.)




    Mudlark @mudlark


    Sadly I must totally disagree that this episode had anything to say about war, especially its status today.

    I’m not sure that anyone is arguing that this episode and the preceding one were about war as such, still less that they were about the kind of double-think and obfuscatory language manifest increasingly in the justification and discussion of military adventures and military intervention.  Rather they were about kinds of thinking which lead to conflict:

    In the first place there is the ingrained tendency in human beings to identify themselves in relation to the ‘other’; the alien –  whether the ‘others’ are the members of another tribe who may not be quite as human as ‘we’ are, the incomers to a village who are regarded with suspicion, the supporters of a rival football team, people with opposing political views, immigrants who look different or have different customs or different religious practices, or the population of another nation whose interests conflict with ours.  This is the kind of binary thinking that we saw at its simplest in the child Davros, who knew only two kinds of being – his own people and the enemy ‘other’, in a war which had been going on so long that nobody remembered how it had begun.

    Secondly there is the narrowly focussed and rigid reasoning that can lead people to think that they, and they only, are in the right, and that any action, whether terrorism or full-scale war, at whatever cost, is justified as a means to achieve their end.

    The scenario in The Zygon Inversion may be unrealistic in a number of ways, but the basic point is made.  Conflict only reinforces and perpetuates perceived differences, to the point of seeing the enemy as undeserving of consideration or even life. Ultimately the only satisfactory resolution is to face the ‘other’, with mutual acknowledgement and forgiveness of past wrongs, and to forge a compromise.

    Frobisher @frobisher


    “Not sure why the Doctor kept asking if Osgood was a Zygon or Human, since clearly the point from the beginning was it doesn’t matter…”

    My take is that the Doctor was genuinely unsure of which Osgood he was talking to. I don’t know if he had an inkling or not, but either way he found this Osgood to be utterly convincing. I think he was intrigued by the prospect of an incredibly convincing copy being made of an individual he knows, and the possibility that he may not immediately recognise them as a copy. I think the Doctor is now doubting that the Clara he travels with is the Clara he originally met (Clara Prime), and she is instead a Claricle, and therefore doomed to die for him. I think Clara Prime may have in fact “died” in the time stream, and only Claricles came out. But would there be a Claricle for a future iteration of the Doctor? Who knows?

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