The Magician’s Apprentice
It’s been a while(a whole year) since we have had a conversation about Doctor Who. As you know I am a big fan of the show and I do not hold back while talking about the episodes.
In a season opener you always remember the opening scene. Its been forever since you seen the show and this is how they bring it back to you. Well.
The opening scene is fantastic. The hand mines are a very creepy monster, which Who and Moffat are great at and need to do a bit more of, the scene in general is wracked with tension and then there is that bombshell, the little kid is Davros. It is one of those classic time travel dilemmas, if you knew a child would grow up to be Hitler or Stalin could you kill that child? It is a real staple of classic sci-fi and a well that Doctor Who hasn’t visited very much and therefore feels fresh.
Now this is the Second season of a Doctor. Thus meaning we have had a whole season of this doctor, we have seen how he reacts with people, we have gone through the growing pains of meeting a new doctor and letting the actor figure out what he wants to do.
So in this episode we see who the doctor truly is. We caught glimpses of his promise last season but this … well, I can’t imagine any of the other Doctors so effectively riding in on a tank while playing an electric guitar in medieval London. What’s more, he seems like he’s more caring and compassionate than last season, where he picked a fight with anyone and everyone around him.
It’s unclear how much time has passed since Last Christmas or Death in Heaven, but Clara seems to be carrying on with her life after Danny’s death. She’s back teaching at school and working for/helping UNIT as a contractor. Beneath her familiar bubbliness there seems to be a harder and more mature Clara; her attitude echoes the changes we saw in her during the last two episodes and I’m glad for it. She may be able to call on the girlish charm while attempting to keep her spirits up or when teaching her class but Clara’s no longer a carefree time travel addict.
I’m surprised that Missy has returned so soon after her death fake-out at the end of last season, but at least in this episode she’s a welcome addition to the cast. I found Clara’s reaction to Missy’s ‘resurrection’ to be a bit lacklustre and their progression to gal pals happened far too quickly for my taste. It’s not like Missy was the reason Clara’s boyfriend(Ex-Boyfriend?) is dead.
Missy’s persona last season was a very insane adaption of the Master. For the moment she has been toned down and seems more sane and like less of a threat. Her concern about the Doctor’s impending death is believable. They may have been fighting each other, trying to kill each other for years but ultimately they are the last of their kind and with that comes a complex friendship and affection.
The Doctor’s role in Davros’s childhood is intriguing. I could feel my heart pounding when the child in the warzone revealed his name and I was hooked for the rest of the episode, wanting to know exactly what had happened. Of course, I assumed the Doctor had been stupidly kind and rescued Davros despite knowing that he would grow to become the creator of the Daleks. I assumed it was a fixed point in time and he would just have to get on with it.
However, as the episode progressed and more pieces of the story fell into place it became clear that the Doctor was struggling with the notion. Was he supposed to save Davros? Was it leaving him to die that caused Davros to become so hell-bent on revenge? Has Davros been hanging on to the sonic screwdriver for all these years because he knew that the Doctor hadn’t yet regenerated into the one he knew as a boy?
The Episode ended with the normal Moffat cliff hanger. People dying.
The tardis getting destroyed.
The doctor looking as if he is about to kill someone.
Then to finish it all off a big ol’ “To be continued…”
Overall this was a promising start to season 9 which will leave viewers with a lot of questions. No idea yet why this episode was titled The Magician’s Apprentice or why next week’s episode is The Witch’s Familiar. The titles are excellent but they have yet to connect to the plot in any tangible way. Hopefully this is another element that will be addressed next week.
Now I’ll leave you with my favorite gif and picture from this week.
Till next time.