Season 9 of Doctor Who has finally started with the first episode of a 2-arc story titled “The Magicians’ Apprentice“. Doctor Who is one of the few shows where I review and recap each single episode. So SPOILERS!!! If you haven’t watched the episode yet, proceed with caution!
So, after finishing the episode, my first thought was “What the heck did I just watch?”. As a fair warning here, I don’t give myself a lot of processing time after an episode, I just jump right into writing the review. Sometimes I’ll even have changed my opinion a little by the time I get up the next morning. However, this way you definitely get my uncensored and unfiltered first thoughts.
What was the episode about?
War wherever you look, in the middle of it a child. Creepy handmines (mines made out of hands with eyes that grab you and suck you into the earth) have trapped said child in the middle of nowhere. He is crying for help and lo and behold who shows up: The Doctor. He asks the child for his name, who is the boy that won’t die today? Davros. (Yeah, I didn’t see that coming either)
Meanwhile in the presence: The Doctor is in hiding, no one knows where to find him. There is a mysterious guy made of snakes looking for him. Clara is off teaching when suddenly every plane on the planet is frozen in the air and she rushes off to help UNIT solve the mystery. Turns out Missy isn’t dead but needed Clara’s attention because she received the Doctor’s confession dial (a sort of last will that gets delivered to his best friend shortly before his death, but doesn’t open until he is dead). Missy and Clara team up to find the Doctor partying in the 12th century and all of him is invited. But he can no longer escape snake-guy, who’s employer is Davros.
“Davros knows, Davros remembers.”
They head off to meet with him, but it turns out it was all a trap so that the Daleks could get to the TARDIS. The Doctor, Clara and Missy are all brought to Skaro where Twelve finally has to face Davros. Meanwhile Clara and Missy go exploring and find out about the Daleks having the TARDIS. They exterminate Clara and Missy.
The Doctor travels back in time to young and deserted Davros to kill him in order to save his friends.
TO BE CONTINUED …
Unfortunately, I didn’t love it. In fact, I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, some of the dialogue was really great and funny. I am definitely going to try and use the “Pardon my sci fi.”-remark sometime soon in the future. Also, it had a handful of references, which I probably didn’t catch in their entirety, because I am still not as familiar with the original episodes as I should be, but that were still awesome. It was fast-paced and definitely not a soft opener. They did have my attention the moment the kid said his name was Davros.
On the other hand, this felt like a very lengthy prequel. (Which I know, it kind of was with being the first part of a 2-episode storyline …) Still, it felt strange. Twelve was basically missing the first half of the episode, even though I was hoping he’d be more front and center this time around. Clara clearly had no lingering grief for Danny and was just living her life as a teacher and UNIT agent (and apparently she’s bi now?). Missy isn’t dead, even though it is not explained how she survived. Yet everyone was basically dead and the TARDIS destroyed by the end of the episode. And the Doctor was about to do something that would change history forever. But Davros is in the next episode, so he couldn’t have killed him … I mean, he wouldn’t shoot a child in the face, would he? This was just confusing to no end.
So, as I said, I didn’t like it that much. I didn’t hate it either though. I think it much depends on how they’re going to round it all up in “The Witch’s Familiar” next week. There better be a VERY GOOD explanation as to how everyone survives and the TARDIS gets restored. Maybe Davros wants the Doctor to take over his place and become leader of the Daleks? Nah, probably not. He maybe wants to turn him into a Dalek as well though. I don’t know, that’s just sort of what I gathered from the promo below. What was your impression of the start of Series 9?