Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 1 Review: The Magician’s Apprentice

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Missy and Davros and Skaro! Oh my! That was one mental premiere, Whovians.

Full disclosure, Matt Smith's my Doctor, so I'm relatively new to Who. Netflix did allow me to go back in time to enjoy both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant's runs. Still, you never forget your first, and I find myself missing Eleven from time to time.

That said, I'm still feeling my way around the Whoniverse, so be gentle with me old-timers. Moffat took us way back to Four's (Tom Baker) time with Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 1. He spun a dark tale oozing with Who lore. This is gonna be fun!

The installment's cold open was intense and creepy, setting the tone for the hour. The Doctor learning the boy's identity and the sheer horror on his face spoke volumes. You needn't be aware who Davros was at that point to understand he was bad news.

Villains are not born, they're made, and the Doctor turning his back on the boy set him down his dark path. Quite the dilemma Moffat set up, right?

The Doctor: Tell me the name of the boy who isn't going to die today.
Boy: Davros. My name is Davros.

Colony Sarff's tour of the Whoniverse clearly established several locations we will be revisiting this season. The Maldovarium, The Shadow Proclamation, and Karn (which you might remember from The Night Of The Doctor webisode) seem to be important to the overarching story. Didn't the little cantina give you a Star Wars vibe? It sure was nice to see the Ood again. I miss those guys.

On Karn, we learned that Davros was dying and wished to face the Doctor one last time. "Davros knowssss. Davros rememberssss" Sarff hissed. I realize he was supposed to slither, but Sarff seemed to rollerblade in and out of his scenes. Weren't his movements a little off to you? His big reveal was impressive though, I'll give him that.

Like any great villain, Davros knew to seek out the Doctor's friends. Wasn't it wonderful to see Clara again? It always takes so long for the show to return each season. While it's not surprising Jenna Coleman is moving on, I will definitely miss her.

What have we got? What do we know? It's not an attack. It's not an invasion because, well that doesn't come with a fair warning. So, somebody needs our attention. Somebody who needs to put a gun to our heads to make us listen.

Clara

Enter Missy on the Doctor channel. I must say, Michelle Gomez's portrayal of Missy was one of the highlights of Doctor Who Season 8 for me. She's absolutely brilliant, and hopefully not dead (again). Gomez stole every scene she was in, even taking the spotlight from Coleman on a couple of occasions. I can handle a new companion, but the Mistress needs to stick around.

Once we learned Missy was behind the time stop "parlor trick," it was fun to just sit back and watch her do her thing. Hilariously shocking the way Missy brought up Danny Pink and later killed those agents when Clara called her "good." Things must be dire, because it seems the Doctor and the Mistress will be frenemies this season.   

Clara figured out the Doctor was rockin' out in 1138 A.D. and teaching the locals to say "dude." Capaldi made quite an entrace on that tank didn't he? I loved when he played the "Pretty Woman" guitar riff upon seeing his companion. The Doctor was hugging now too, but after learning Clara's fate we understood why.

"Snake nest in a dress" returned the Doctor's screwdriver and he turned himself in.

The Doctor: Davros is the child of war. A war that wouldn't end. A thousand years of fighting till nobody could remember why. So Davros, he created a new kind of warrior. One that wouldn't bother with that question. A mutant in a tank, that would never ever stop. And they never did.
Clara: The Daleks?

Missy was in rare psychotic form in the premiere, and I thought for a second she really was opening the airlock. That woman is a nutbar! Of course, we now know our heroes (and Missy) were on Skaro all along. Davros' comment about approving of the Doctor's new face was great. I also love when Moffat gives us glimpses of the previous Doctors. Here we listened to Four mention the child that would grow up to be be a ruthless dictator. Could you kill that child? Imagine if we were talking about Hitler. Would you then?

I confess I wasn't expecting the Daleks to exterminate Missy; Clara and the Tardis even less. However, that's the beauty of a time travel show. All those moments will be revisited and rewritten.

Overall, this was a fairly grim start to the new season. Thank goodness Missy served as comic relief throughout. I'm curious to delve deeper into the Davros/Dalek mythology and see if Missy will indeed become an ally.

What did you think of "The Magician’s Apprentice"? Does the Davros storyline interest you? Were you shocked Missy and Clara were supposedly exterminated? Will the Doctor shoot and kill the boy? Go ahead and sound off in the comments below guys.

This is episode is so loaded with details, you've got to see it again. Watch Doctor Who online via TV Fanatic.

NOTE: Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 2 is titled "The Witch's Familiar" and airs on Saturday, September 26.

The Magician’s Apprentice Review

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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (18 Votes)
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Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 1 Quotes

What have we got? What do we know? It's not an attack. It's not an invasion because, well that doesn't come with a fair warning. So, somebody needs our attention. Somebody who needs to put a gun to our heads to make us listen.

Clara

The Doctor: Tell me the name of the boy who isn't going to die today.
Boy: Davros. My name is Davros.