Well…that was entertaining!
WARNING!!!! SOME SPOILERS BELOW!!!!
Within 5 minutes, Doctor Who Series 9 did more than arguably the entire run of Series 8 (season finale excluded of course). Not only did we go to some legendary Doctor Who locations, but we found out that a very old enemy was not only alive…but was even more connected to the Doctor than ever.
Yes, the father of all Daleks, the architect of so much pain for the Doctor was alive…and in many ways…he was alive because of the Doctor.
While some may think of this as a typical “Moffat reset” of sorts, like how Clara was the reason the Doctor ended up the way he did in “Listen”, this actually was an aspired choice. Why? Because it ties into the question Capaldi’s Doctor asked last series, “Am I a good man?” A simple question, but with the Doctor, it’s not a simple answer.
What would come in “The Magician’s Apprentice” would be a whirlwind of tense moments, shocking surprises, and a few “yeah, that did not just happen” moments. And for the most part? It was pretty darn epic.
Let’s start with the great. Davros was very cool in his return. My favorite scene hands down was him replaying the old conversations he and the past lives of the Doctor have had. Calling back to the long history of the show, and showing just how intertwined the Doctors and the Daleks have been. It was chilling to be sure. Just as chilling as seeing Skaro rebuilt. The symbol of destruction reborn after so long, not good!
Then of course, there’s Missy. Missy was a bit of an odd duck when we met her last year. It wasn’t until the finale that I thought she truly shined. Thankfully, here she not only got the spotlight she deserved, but she showed why The Master is still very much as nuts and crazy no matter what incarnation. The way she interacted with the Doctor was funny, especially when it was clear that she was flirting with him.
Also though, when she interacted with Clara, we got a good view into their “relationship”, how she defined their “friendship” was very enlightening. As clearly both of them regard themselves as friends, as the Doctor sent her his “will”, or “confession”. I’m glad Missy is back, cause she brings a dynamic that this show will definitely utilize going forward.
Sadly, Clara didn’t fare so well. Outside of some spots where she showed she’s actually quite smart, and scenes showing she’s not one to be messed with (the scene with Missy in the cafe) or her short scene with the Doctor, she didn’t do much. Which is a bit odd considering she’s now confirmed to be leaving the show.
Also, despite a lot happening…it took a while to get there. Part of the episode was simply “Where is the Doctor?” Then once we found him, it took forever to get him out of the party he was at. Though entertaining, it was a bit long, and the jokes ran dry quickly.
Finally, the final “twists” of Missy and Clara dying are clearly going to be undone, or they aren’t what we thought they were. I’m leaning towards the former, but you never know. Regardless, it’s a bit sad to do this when you know they’re coming back. As anyone who’s seen the trailer knows they’ll be back.
In the end though, “The Magician’s Apprentice” was a great start to the series. Last years’ “Deep Breath” was a bit on the nose with the transition into Capaldi’s Doctor. Here though, we got a true exploration of the history that goes with the Doctor, and that things are about to heat up. Welcome back Doctor.