Doctor Who Recap Series 9, Episode 1 – “The Magician’s Apprentice”
Saturday night saw the return of The Doctor, Clara and Missy! Doctor Who returned with a big shock as The Doctor, traveling alone, finds himself attempting to save a young boy on a battlefield. The Doctor tells the boy his chances of survival are about 1 in 1000 but to "forget the 1000 and concentrate on the 1". However, shortly afterwards The Doctor finds out the boy he is trying to save is Davros. That's right, Davros, creator of the Daleks. The Doctor runs from the young boy but this being time travel and all, this decision catches up to him in the form of Davros' helper, Colonel Sarff. Colonel Sarff, who is actually a pile of snakes, let's the Doctor know that Davros' knows and remembers.
Missy was my favorite part of this episode. I’ve never really cared much for the Master, mostly because I just thought of him as just another enemy. There was a cool-factor added to him being the only other Time Lord in the universe when he came around during Tennant’s run, but Missy is much different. Not only do I love her characterization and her dramatic nature, but I love that they are blurring the lines between enemy and friend in her relationship with the Doctor. It makes it much more interesting, and “The Magician’s Apprentice” explores that more than any other episode has. I love the chemistry between Capaldi and Michelle Gomez; I feel like she is a great contrast to him in a way that would have been too much if she had been introduced during Matt Smith’s run. It also makes me wonder about what the Master was doing during the Time War. Missy was just as terrified as the Doctor was to learn that they were on Skaro, and so I’m curious about her relationship to the Daleks, especially since I know that they are the Time Lords’ worst enemies (not just the Doctor’s). Also Davros! The reveal of the little kid being young Davros was amazing, and the mystery around who made him the way he is now is a great thing to have to think about. This episode ended with Missy, Clara, and the TARDIS all being killed, but I don’t actually believe that happened. The most frustrating thing about this episode is that it is a two-parter, so we won’t actually know what happened until next Saturday. However, so far I’m really confident that this season will be better than the last. Especially if there’s more Missy!
Last season of Doctor Who left me skeptical, but I was very excited by the reveal of Missy. I was even more excited to hear that Missy was returning this season, well obviously, not as excited as Bayana. Before the season premiere, I started watching older episodes of New Who, mostly the Martha season and I was struck by how much darker the tone has been during Moffat's reign. While there were some dark episodes during RTD's reign, they were sprinkled throughout a mostly light humorous show, until the end but that's a topic for another post. This season premiere just felt infinitely bleaker, though Missy does remain hilarious. Just check the entrance she made! The cliffhanger left me wanting more answers in order understanding things that I realize will probably never be fully explained, but I'm very glad that they tried. Though Clara has died as many times as Rory at this point, I feel confident we will see her and Missy again next week. I can quickly see the dynamic this season being an exploration of what friendship means in the context of the Doctor. We definitely saw more examples of the "frenemy" relationship between The Doctor and Missy but what intrigued me was how that pits Clara and Missy against each other. We have seen past companions rival for the Doctor's attention and intimacy but what does it mean when your rival is another Time Lord, or Lady, a psychopathic one at that? While it's hard to have a fully formed opinion to one part of a two-part story, I will say the premiere left me eagerly anticipating how they will resolve some of these issues next week!