Doctor Who's Season 9 storyline has come to its conclusion this weekend with a very satisfying and entertaining episode entitled "Hell Bent." I won't share any spoilers, but its up there as one of the best season closers since the 2005 revival. And while there were some noteworthy moments in the final episode, the best moment of this series belonged to the eighth episode, "The Zygon Inversion."
Earlier in the series, I wrote an article questioning whether Doctor Who's season structure needed an overhaul closer in feature length appearance to Who showrunner's other baby, Sherlock or even to the series long story arc familiar with classic Doctor Who adventures. My argument was strengthened by the three part conclusion which was superbly paced and structured, despite being three very different episodes.
The two part Zygon story, first with "Invasion" and then "Inversion" was the standout back to back episode of the season. It was the "Zygon Inversion" episode that I feel contained the best 10 minutes of Season 9. This was the Doctor's Anti War Speech.
There's a lot to love in this scene.
First there's Jenna Louise Coleman's superb dual performance as companion 'Clara' and as Zygon 'Bonnie'. We knew this would be Coleman's final season on the show, and finally she has been giving material that really gives her acting abilities a decent workout, as well as hinting the different type of roles she could take on post-Doctor Who.
Next, the writing throughout is outstanding, building a tense, kinetic stand off, that's crafted with the expected Doctor wit and intelligence. The scene is an ultimate battle of words that leads into one of the most powerful anti-war messages seen on television in recent years. The monologues that Capaldi performs throughout the scene reverberate passed the television screen and right into the hearts of the every day news from the middle east and beyond.
The Doctor: You just want cruelty to beget cruelty. You're not superior to people who were cruel to you. You're just a whole bunch of new cruel people. A whole bunch of new cruel people, being cruel to some other people, who'll end up being cruel to you. The only way anyone can live in peace is if they're prepared to forgive. Why don't you break the cycle?
Bonnie: Why should we?
The Doctor: What is it that you actually want?
The Doctor: Ah. And when this war is over, when -- when you have the homeland free from humans, what do you think it's going to be like? Do you know? Have you thought about it? Have you given it any consideration? Because you're very close to getting what you want. What's it going to be like? Paint me a picture. Are you going to live in houses? Do you want people to go to work? What'll be holidays? Oh! Will there be music? Do you think people will be allowed to play violins? Who will make the violins? Well? Oh, You don't actually know, do you? Because, just like every other tantruming child in history, Bonnie, you don't actually know what you want. So, let me ask you a question about this brave new world of yours. When you've killed all the bad guys, and it's all perfect and just and fair, when you have finally got it exactly the way you want it, what are you going to do with the people like you? The troublemakers. How are you going to protect your glorious revolution from the next one?
And finally there is Peter Capaldi's finest performance as The Doctor of the whole series. The eighth series saw Capaldi bounce around a little with the character that earned the nickname as the Grumpy Doctor (perhaps his regeneration was taking some time to settle down). But this season that grumpiness has been replaced with a self-acknowledged positive spin. It is with little doubt that Eighth series Doctor could never have given this incredible speech against war.
I believe "The Zygon Inversion" was Capaldi's true turning point playing the Twelfth Doctor. This is not saying his portrayal of the Doctor hadn't been up to scratch before episode eight of this season, but it definitely affirmed a comfortability that Capaldi had with the role onwards, leading up the final episodes of this season.
As as a result of a very strong second half of season 9, there is a lot to be excited about for the upcoming Christmas Special - less than 20 days away. Capaldi is now completely settled into the role, so being partnered with seasoned Alex Kingston as River Song, this christmas' adventure is really going to be an exciting affair!
What was your favourite moment of this season of Doctor Who? Tell us in the comments below!
Daniel Sanguineti is a Australian Film Producer and Writer, who tutors film and media at the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology. Follow him on Moviepilot and on twitter @DanSanguineti.