Well the nine month wait is finally over folks! Doctor Who is back! Permission to squee!!! What an opener this episode was and it really sets the bar high for the rest of the series and I am very much looking forward to the rest of the series!
*WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
Now due to the fact that this is only half of a story being told, I will not give my rating until after the second episode, “The Witch’s Familiar,” airs. Let me just say I LOVED this episode! This is how you write a premiere!
This episode has one of the best cold opens of any of the episodes I have seen during the Modern Who era.
We are shown a battlefield (an ancient war, judging by the technology, soldiers are wielding bows and arrows) and there are two races fighting each other, it honestly reminded me of a World War I battlefield, minus the guns. A soldier finds a boy trapped in the middle of a field where these creatures known as “hand mines,” are stalking him. The soldier reassures the boy everything will be alright before he is sucked into the ground by the hand mines! The boy yells for help and we hear the Doctor’s voice! (It’s great to see Capaldi back!)
The Doctor tells the boy that he has a one in a thousand chance of survival, but all he has to do is focus on the one! Twelve throws his sonic screwdriver near the boy to create what he calls “an acoustic corridor,” so that they can communicate with each other.
The Doctor continues to encourage the boy to survive and asks him his name until he says “Tell me the name of the boy who isn’t going to die today!” (While I am watching the episode, I knew the boy’s name would be someone the Doctor knew in the future)
The boy responds “Davros. My name is Davros.” Cue some dark and foreboding music as the camera slowly zooms in on the Doctor’s face as he looks in horror and realizes this is the boy who will grow up to create his archenemies, the Daleks! Cue the opening intro and theme!
Wow what a way to open the episode and season! We are then shown a mysterious creature who is searching for the Doctor throughout the galaxy (taking us to The Maldovarium, The Shadow Proclamation, and Karn). He calls himself Colony Sarff, but refers to himself as “We” because he is a collection of snakes represented by one alien man. Colony Sarff finally appears on Karn where he admits to Ohila (a member of The Sisterhood of Karn last seen in The Series 9 Prologue) that Davros is dying. Davros knows. Davros remembers and that the Doctor must face him one last time before he dies.
Missy gets in touch with Clara and she tells Clara that the Doctor gave her his confession dial, which is the last will and testament of a Time Lord. Missy thinks the Doctor believes he will die tomorrow and is concerned for her best friend. Missy and Clara track down the Doctor in 12th century Essex and time travel using Vortex Manipulators.
The Doctor is about to have an ax fight with a viking friend of his named Bors. The Doctor makes a grand entrance playing the electric guitar while riding in on a tank! The Doctor notices Clara and Missy as he plays Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman,” and Twelve’s behavior troubles Clara, because he is acting very strange even for him.
The Doctor admits this is his last party and all of him is invited, meaning he is going to exhibit personality traits of all of his past incarnations, which explains the Doctor playing guitar and hugging Clara.
Colony Sarff tracks the Doctor down thanks to his friends leading him right to him. Colony Sarff throws the Doctor his sonic screwdriver on the ground which looks very old and tells Twelve “Davros knows. Davros remembers. Davros is dying.” The Doctor looks very worried and scared and Clara immediately realizes the Doctor is ashamed. We then see a flashback to Davros as a child yelling “Help me. You said I had a chance. Please help me!” Through the mist we see the Doctor and his TARDIS disappear as the Doctor abandons Davros to the hand mines, (WOW what a powerful scene).
The Doctor says he is ready, obviously prepared to meet his fate for her abandoning Davros as a child, and is teleported to Colony Sarff’s ship. Clara will not abandon the Doctor and asks to be taken along with Missy, to which Colony Sarff votes on saying “we are a democracy,” and agrees.
Colony Sarff takes them to an abandoned space station where he holds Clara and Missy prisoner. The Doctor faces Davros where he shows him all of their previous encounters, including the most iconic one where The Fourth Doctor met Davros in “Genesis of The Daleks.”
The Fourth Doctor asks Davros “…If someone who knew the future pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives… could you then kill that child?” This episode attempts to tackle and answer that question which admittedly is pretty risky, but also brave of Steven Moffat, because it is a VERY interesting premise.
Davros says he approves of the Doctor’s new face because it reminds him of his (oh snap!) Davros also says the reason the Doctor came was out of guilt and that “compassion has always been your greatest indulgence.”
Meanwhile Missy and Clara are still being held as prisoners, and Missy points out that there is no gravity, which is odd because they should be floating around. Missy opens the door to the room and walks outside and realizes there is no space and Clara follows her outside the room.
Davros continues to talk to the Doctor and Missy realizes that they are not on a space station, but in fact a planet (which was hidden the whole time!), but not just any planet, it’s Skaro, the planet of the Daleks! Davros tells the Doctor that he returned home, so that he could die with his children!
Missy and Clara are cornered by a group of Daleks and taken into a room where the Doctor’s TARDIS has been captured! Twelve looks on a screen in horror as he realizes that his friend Clara is in mortal danger! The Doctor begs Davros not to kill Clara, to which Davros replies that he created them but that he cannot control them. Missy tries to convince the Daleks to not destroy the TARDIS because they can use it to conquer the universe! The Daleks seemingly exterminate Missy! Clara looks terrified but according to Davros the Daleks are toying with her and want her to run. Clara runs and is exterminated also and the Doctor is angry and looks utterly defeated.
We are shown the battlefield where young Davros is right after the Doctor left him. Davros asks the Doctor how he got there and Twelve says he is from the future. Davros asks “are you going to help me? The Doctor replies “I am going to help my friend the only way I know how,” as he lifts a Dalek gun and says “EXTERMINATE!” ending the episode! WOW what a cliffhanger!
What I liked:
The return of Davros, and the return of Julien Bleach as Davros. He is fantastic!
The return of Missy and also her characterization this time around, she seems more like The Master to me than her last appearance.
“You have a one in a thousand chance of survival. Forget about the thousand and focus on the one!”
“Tell me the name of the boy who isn’t going to die today!”
“Davros. My name is Davros.” :O!
Colony Sarff, he was a very interesting character.
“We are Colony Sarff and we bring harm.”
“Davros knows. Davros remembers.”
The return of the Maldovarium, The Shadow Proclamation and Karn.
The Doctor riding in on a tank playing the electric guitar. Rock on Doctor!
“This is my party, and all of me is invited!”
“You see that couple over there? You’re the puppy.”
The Doctor introducing the word dude a few centuries too early haha
“Compassion has always been your greatest indulgence.”
“I’m going to save my friends the only way I know how. EXTERMINATE!”
What I disliked:
Missy’s head popping out of the computer screen. It was too weird even for this show.
The whole “this is the Doctor’s final day, the day the Doctor will die” plot-line, it has been done to death *no pun intended*
Suffice to say I enjoyed “The Magician’s Apprentice,” and cannot wait until the second part “The Witch’s Familiar” airs on Saturday. Doctor Who is off to a great start!
What say you? Did you enjoy “The Magician’s Apprentice?” Did you like the return of Davros? Are you excited for the new season? Whatever your thoughts let me know!