How great is it that Doctor Who is finally back? And with quite a heavy premiere, too.
Not only did Missy return, but The Doctor faced off against Davros; a villain who has not appeared on the series in ages. A past deed came back to haunt our favorite Time Lord, and both Missy and Clara paid with their lives... or did they?
Join TV Fanatics Carissa Pavlica, Kathleen Wiedel, Hank Otero and our good pal Tom Gardiner from threeifbyspace.net, as we chat about Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 1 in the season's first Round Table discussion.
Could you find it in you to kill a child, if you knew he'd grow up to be a totally evil dictator?
Tom: If time can be changed, then absolutely not. At that moment, the child is only *potentially* an evil dictator. If there are things I could do to change that child's future without killing anyone, I'd explore all options.
Carissa: It depends upon the type of time travel. The Doctor's type is such that he can keep going back, so I might explore other options. Was I the only one who got the impression he created Davros, such as he was, by leaving him in the field unsaved? That whole thing got a little too timey wimey for me, to be honest. It wasn't until The Doctor said he no longer had a screwdriver (I never knew they only had one each regeneration) that I realized he left it there with him.
Kathleen: I'm a big believer in choice, in free will, which directly contradicts the whole premise of fate. Furthermore, I do not see myself qualified to act as judge, jury, and executioner; who am I to play God? It's a very, very difficult question, but I do not think I would be willing to kill anyone, let alone a child, under such circumstances.
Hank: I'm with Tom, if I could somehow influence that child's future I'd take that option. I thought the same thing Carissa, The Doctor heard the name Davros and took off effectively creating the evil dictator. Still, it would be very tempting to erase someone like Hitler from history.
Share your favorite moment from the season premiere.
Tom: There are always so many, but I'd have to pick the moment the boy told the Doctor his name was Davros. After all their history together, the look on Capaldi's face when he heard this said everything. His expression was a mix of "WTF" and the terrible realization of the power this moment could have. It was also a very different, if not brief, look at an old enemy.
Carissa: I thought the entire scene with The Doctor having a last hurrah was a lot of fun. Nothing deep, just enjoyable. The Doctor, Clara and Missy all cavorting for a few minutes. Yeah, I liked that.
Kathleen: The scene Tom mentioned was beautifully acted by Peter Capaldi. The dawning shock and horror on the Doctor's face were terribly expressive and evocative, especially if you know the full extent of the Doctor's history with Davros.
Hank: I loved every single scene Missy was in. Michelle Gomez is simply phenomenal and brings a wonderfully chaotic energy to the show. I'll be honest, I wasn't having a ton of fun last season until she showed up. That line about Danny Pink was brutal, yet brilliant!
What did you think of the Colony Sarff character?
Tom: The concept of a hive-type creature was cool, but otherwise I didn't find him terribly interesting. Was there a purpose to having a character like this? Maybe I missed it, but besides the freak-out factor of "Snakes in a Dress," Sarff was just a generic henchman/messenger.
Carissa: Not much. I have to agree with your assessment in the review, Hank. He didn't appear to slither, but to be rollerblading in and out of his scenes. I didn't even realize he was supposed to be a snake until he fell apart. Whoops. (Wait, Hank. There was hype about this character?)
Kathleen: I'm with the two of you. I found Colony Sarff's hoverboarding in and out of scenes more disconcerting and weirdly distracting than anything else.
Hank: The makeup was cool, and the scene where he falls apart, as well. After all the hype, like you guys, I found him rather forgettable. Perhaps he'll have more to do in Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 2?
Missy is absolutely bonkers. Did you enjoy seeing her again, this time working alongside the Doctor and Clara?
Tom: How can anyone not love Michelle Gomez? There's already plenty of witty dialogue on Doctor Who and Missy just adds to the fun. All the antics aside, what I'm really loving is that with Missy they're really highlighting the fact that she and the Doctor are old friends. I mean, in this episode they went so far as to spell it out with the Confession Dial so that absolutely no one should have any doubt these two are great pals. They just happen to live on opposite sides of the morality spectrum.
Carissa: It's all well and good that everyone loves Peter Capaldi as The Doctor, but it's Michelle Gomez as Missy/The Master that's really made all the difference to me since he's taken over. If she hadn't been involved, I don't think I would have been anywhere near as invested as I am now. Will she be the next companion, perhaps even the next Doctor? (Hold your rotten fruit and veg, please.)
Kathleen: Michelle Gomez really throws herself into the role of Missy; she brings a truly vibrant energy to the megalomaniac lunacy that is the Master, and she just plain has fun with it! Her insistence that she was the Doctor's best friend reminded me a bit of a scene in "The Five Doctors," when the Master is ordered to save the Doctor. He does so willingly, gleefully even, because the "cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about."
Hank: As I mentioned above, Missy is everything! Not only did I love her working alongside Clara, but she remained evil and twisted throughout. I'm seriously hoping Moffat keeps her around, especially knowing Clara will be signing off soon. What an amazing companion she'd make!
Were you shocked Missy and Clara were (supposedly) exterminated? Will they both return and if so, how?
Tom: Honestly, pulling a stunt like that in the first episode is very anti-climactic to me. It's too early for either Clara or Missy to make an exit this season, so it never felt like anything but a fake-out. The only question left to answer is how they're not dead (yet).
I'd bet the bank they'll both be back, but the "how" isn't so clear. I think another misdirection like Missy pulled in last season's finale is out of the question since it'd be really unpopular with fans – like it's cheating or something. Besides, I give the writers more credit than that.
Carissa: Well, it does present a bit of an odd situation in that time definitely has to shift (right?). I don't expect The Doctor to kill Davros, as the Daleks are far too important to the Whovian lore. So he'll have to change time somewhere else to get Clara and Missy back. While Clara's on her way out, that exit was too damn easy. And taking Missy at the same time? No way. Plus, I'd stomp my feet if we lost Missy, and we don't want that!
Kathleen: I'm with Tom. It came across as a total fake-out to me, especially since Missy and Clara both insisted on getting into the situation in the first place. I was also exceedingly perplexed as to why they were all so shocked and appalled that they found themselves on Skaro. They knew they were going to see Davros. Davros is from Skaro, after all. And the Daleks don't usually vaporize people when they exterminate. Every time they pull that "death = vaporization" trick on Doctor Who, it's actually a teleport.
Hank: Total fake-out as Tom said. There's no way both Clara and Missy were killed off. Besides, we know Clara's around until the Christmas special at least. I'm with Tom, the "how" of it all is what's going to be interesting since we all know they'll be back.
*Bonus question: If the TARDIS was destroyed, how did the Doctor return to confront young Davros?
Tom: This is something I wondered while watching the episode. Either the Doctor used a vortex manipulator, some Dalek time travel tech, or the most likely scenario is he somehow used the apparently destroyed TARDIS, which was never destroyed at all.
I'm thinking that whatever Clara, Missy, and the TARDIS were zapped with didn't destroy them, it was only meant to look that way. Davros is playing mind games with the Doctor, preying on his compassion, so I think the apparent destruction of the ladies and the police box are part of that plan.
Missy herself said the Daleks needed her to operate the TARDIS, and if it's true that someone who knows how to operate the machine is required, she'd be the only one who'd do so. The Doctor would never, ever operate the TARDIS for the Daleks or show them how, so I'd think Missy was too valuable to actually destroy.
Carissa: I thought maybe the TARDIS can't be destroyed, so when it "exploded" it suddenly scooped up The Doctor, then he made his way back to Davros in utter annoyance at the entire situation. He's more likely to act out in anger without Clara there to temper him due to the whole "am I a good man or a bad man thing," so the next episode will likely be heavier in tone than this one.
Kathleen: I'm going to say right now that the TARDIS wasn't destroyed at all and Steven Moffatt is playing mind games with us.
Hank: I've got nothin' guys, haha, but I absolutely love everyone's theories. My first thought was similar to Carissa's, the TARDIS somehow used the Dalek laser energy to charge up and scoop up The Doctor. Moffat is definitely playing mind games, Kathleen.
Here's a quick peek at Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 2: