“We’ve known there was something going on, some radicalisation, some revolution in the younger brood.”
“Isn’t there a solution that doesn’t involve bombing anyone? You start bombing them, you’ll radicalise the lot!”
Hm. Someone stumbling unknowingly onto this week’s Doctor Who might be forgiven for thinking it was a special Halloween version of Question Time where folk had donned costumes (of various degrees of silliness) to talk about immigration, terrorism and foreign policy.
I’m not entirely sure which side of the debate “The Zygon Invasion” actually ended up taking, however. The Doctor is the reasonable liberal, looking to understand and make peace. UNIT is the reactionary right-wing, wanting to bomb everyone into oblivion. Who did this ep side with? It’s only part one of two, sure, so it’s difficult to tell, but the basic idea that, by swapping Zygons in for UK residents, “the invasion’s already taken place, bit by bit” is a particularly dangerous route to go down for this type of allegory, as is substituting giant pink alien reptiles for… Muslims? Really?
Hm again. Since this is Doctor Who, rather than say Homeland, I’m reasonably optimistic that what they were trying to do was to explore all sides this week, with a view to the ultimate outcome of Part Two being nuanced, inclusive and hopeful rather than hateful. While I found Part One problematic on various levels, and much of the writing was far too on the nose, there’s no denying that it was – if you can get past the stupid pink costumes – a particularly dark, brave and ambitious episode, with surprisingly adult, relevant themes. And a very high body count. Sticking the landing next week, however, is going to be a very tricky thing to do.