News Ticker

Doctor Who Season 9 Season Premiere – The Magician’s Apprentice Review

by Tony Ortega

Previously on Doctor Who: Matt Smith, this writer’s favorite doctor, regenerated into Peter Capaldi. Capaldi, who is a brilliant actor, was written horribly wrong by the largely ineffective Steven Moffat. Moffat, who’s mutant ability seems to be writing a good first and last 10 minutes of an episode, nearly ruined the franchise by making the doctor a smug, sanctimonious, and borderline Asperger’s Disorder doctor – reminiscent of Colin Baker’s tenure as the Doctor, which nearly killed the franchise. Clara Oswald, as brilliantly portrayed by Jenna Coleman, basically carried the season. Moffat made us fall in love with Danny Pink and also made us mourn Danny Pink (Damn you Moffat). Oh yeah, Missy was actually The Master. That’s all you need to know about season 8.

This writer apprehensively walked into this season premiere with high hopes that Moffat would get it together and actually do right by us Whovians. After watching The Magician’s Apprentice, I will briefly retract every bad thing I have said about Moffat. The episode was a Whovian erection from the word go.

Oh, and in my best River Song voice – SPOILERS.

The episode opens on a war torn battlefield where a young lad is running for his life. Soldiers, who eerily look like Danny Pink, try to rescue this young lad. Unfortunately, they get dragged into the ground by a bunch of hands. I squealed hoping that this meant that the Angels were the big bad for this episode. As the soldiers are dragged into the earth, the boy is surrounded by the aforementioned hands with eyes in their palms (No Angels). A sonic screwdriver flies across the field and lands near the young lad. The Doctor shows up and tells the young lad to grab the screwdriver. The big reveal is – the young lad is actually DAVROS. Cue mystery music now

Fade out to some dude who got his face caught in a fence or something, looking for the wayward Doctor. We even get to see several guests as well as the “current” state of The Shadow Proclamation. I don’t like how they have redecorated the place though. Creepy fence face guy (CFFG) utters, “Davros knows…Davros remembers.”

Jump to present day, or as present day as an episode of Doctor Who can get, and we see Clara teaching class as planes mysteriously stop in mid-air. She quickly joins UNIT and my favorite military gal, Kate, to figure this mystery out since the Doctor is nowhere to be found. I love that we see a much stronger, but not jaded by Danny’s death, version of Clara Oswald. She almost steals UNIT from under Kate as they rush to not only find the Doctor but also solve the mystery at hand. She deduces that someone is trying to get their attention. Next spoiler reveal, Missy is alive and well and behind this current mystery. When confronted by Clara about her “resurrection,” Missy states, “Dead is for other people” and “how’s your boyfriend, still dead?” The one thing I have to say about this episode is that it had so many brilliant one-liners. Michelle Gomez is absolutely a delight as Missy. Not only is she written so well and given great lines, her portrayal of Missy is by far the greatest acting on the show. I have not been so engrossed by a supporting Who character since River Song.

Not a team-up anyone saw coming, Missy and Clara team up to find the Doctor as Missy has the Doctor’s will. Wait, the Doctor is dying? Moffat, you’ve tried this before. After effectively deducting where to ping him, Clara narrows the possibilities of where the Doctor is by indicating, “where is the Doctor making the most noise without a crisis?” The Doctor is then found having what appears to be a mid life crisis, which really isn’t possible for a Time Lord but let’s suspend disbelief for a second here.

Apparently, the Doctor has introduced the word “dude” several centuries early while taking up the electric guitar. The Doctor spots Clara and Missy and lovingly refers to Missy as “the wicked stepmother.” CFFG shows up to ruin in the party. Missy is annoyed when the Doctor refers to Davros as his archenemy and they are whisked away to part unknown, being held captive by CFFG. CFFG takes the Doctor to meet with Davros while Missy and Clara remained captive.

Missy and Clara escape their bondage and roam around. Clara nearly walks into a trap and Missy says, “traps are my flirting.” As they roam around and subsequently discover that they are on Skaro (the planet of the Daleks), the Doctor has a heart to heart with his archenemy.

What ensues next can only be summed up in one word “WOW.” A clip from Tom Baker’s era makes an appearance. The age-old question of who mad Davros gets asked and the Doctor is confronted with the possibility of wondering: if you knew that a young boy would grow up to be a ruthless murdering dictator, would you change history by killing him before all of this happens?

The last five minutes of the episode left me gasping for air. Clara and Missy are subsequently killed (clearly they will be back next episode), Davros informs the Doctor “compassion has always been your greatest indulgence,” and the Doctor goes back in time to exterminate young Davros. Brilliant episode from start to finish. My only hope is that the writers can keep this momentum going for the rest of the season and we can pretend that season 8 of Doctor Who was much like Dallas Season 7 where it was all a dream. Although I don’t relish the prospect of seeing Capaldi in the shower.

About Armand (1271 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
%d bloggers like this: