The Zygon Who Fell to Earth

Posted in Audio by - September 07, 2017
The Zygon Who Fell to Earth

Released June 2008

In a thoroughly entertaining but ultimately rather light second season of The Eighth Doctor Adventures, it’s the oft-whimsical Paul Magrs who delves deeper to deliver the season’s first truly emotional tale as the Doctor and Lucie once more cross paths with Lucie’s Aunty Pat ten years after their previous encounter and as old friends with a surprising history come to visit Pat’s husband, Trevor.

The title makes it no secret that featuring prominently in this story are the Zygons, one of the most fascinating but also least explored foes of the Doctor Who universe. With only one televised appearance to anchor a handful of novel and comic appearances at the time of this release, the inherent camouflage aspect of the species has rightfully been the focal point of the initial encounters. However, for the Zygons’ debut in the audio medium, Magrs takes this aspect to the next logical level as he posits that this changing of appearance can- under the right circumstances- allow a Zygon to choose to become anything but a Zygon as well. With the revelation that Hagoth has been assuming the identity of Trevor for decades following the real Trevor’s death as he lives peacefully beside Pat who is fully aware of his true identity, Magrs successfully explores a much more poignant and emotional side of an individual Zygon compared to the more usual warlike stylings of the race while Hagoth’s old cohorts try to draw him back to their side with no regard for the planet or people around them.

‘The Zygon Who Fell to Earth’ appears early on to be a rather quiet and standalone tale as Lucie discovers that Pat once ran a posh hotel in the eighties, but the hidden tragedy about to unfold is alluded to quite overtly as Lucie mentions that the Pat she knows in the future is neither successful nor happy. Yet while the truth behind Trevor and Hagoth’s unwanted but natural connection to the Zygons anchors the story for its duration, it’s Pat herself who becomes the true focal point as she meets her untimely end aboard the Zygon ship. This allows Sheridan Smith to spectacularly steal the spotlight as she portrays Lucie at her most vulnerable, coming to terms with the fact that Pat was ultimately so unimportant that history is able to overlook her death without having to correct itself, in essence nullifying Lucie’s childhood memories of her. The surprising survival of Hagoth gives one more unexpected twist, though, as he uses the last of his reserve power to change his appearance one final time to the form of his beloved Pat, quietly giving Lucie the figure she wants to hold on to so desperately without her knowing the truth. It’s during this scene of reflection with Lucie sleeping that the Doctor shows his own emotional side, conflicted about Hagoth’s plan but ultimately acquiescing because of his deep affection for his companion.

The story in unsurprisingly filled with magnificent ideas, and all of these are anchored by the enthusiasm with which the cast members universally bring to their performances, especially as the Zygons. Just as ‘Brave New Town’ earlier told a rather intimate story about the Autons, ‘The Zygon Who Fell to Earth’ does the same for the Zygons, and it seems entirely logical that the trapped group would have spent the last several decades investing in industrial products with the dual intent of raising money and destroying the Earth’s atmosphere while awaiting their chance to escape. It truly is a wonder that the Zygons and their Skarasen have not featured in more stories since they have so much intrinsic dramatic potential, but they transition to the audio medium perfectly here and- along with strong performances, direction, and sound design- help to provide one of the more dramatically satisfying tales of The Eighth Doctor Adventures with an ending that is sure to have bigger ramifications for Lucie and the Doctor in the future.

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