The following post contains spoilers for “The Magician’s Apprentice,” the season 9 premiere of Doctor Who.
So if you haven’t watched the episode yet, what the heck are you waiting for?!?
At the start of the episode, The Doctor attempts to rescue a young boy on a battlefield, but he soon discovers that the boy is named Davros, GASP! The opening credits roll as Doctor abandons the boy. In the present, Sarff, a creature made of several snakes, searches for the Doctor in various locations, including the planet Karn and the Shadow Proclamation headquarters.
On Earth, Clara is summoned by UNIT when all the world’s aircraft freeze in the sky, and they discover Missy, is still alive. She is the cause of the airplane phenomenon, but that takes a backseat when she reveals that she has the last will and testament of the Doctor, and tells Clara that they must search for him.
The two trace him to Essex in 1138, where he has spent three weeks having a chaotic party. When Clara and Missy reunite with the Doctor, Sarff also arrives and explains that the elderly Davros wishes to see the Doctor one last time before he dies. Sarff takes them to a hospital ship, where the Doctor confronts Davros alone.
Clara and Missy discover the ship is actually a building on an invisible planet, but as the landscape reappears Missy identifies the planet as Skaro. The two are captured by the Daleks, who appear to kill them and destroy the TARDIS. The Doctor returns to the battlefield, now holding a Dalek weapon apparently preparing to kill the younger
To put it bluntly, “The Magician’s Apprentice” is more than an hour of questions with no answers. Don’t get me wrong, This episode had some solid ideas, and I liked a lot of what I saw, the episode was funny, had great effects, and a few memorable moments. I just wanted more of the good stuff. For instance,
Before we even get to the main plot, the episode veers off into a sub plot involving Clara’s investigation into thousands of planes that have been frozen in the sky, which turns out to be the handiwork of the aforementioned Missy. Sounds great to me! But we’re given zero explanation as to why Clara is working with UNIT. Is this a temporary thing? Did the Doctor get her the job? Is Clara on the payroll? We don’t know.
Also, as welcome as it is to have Michelle Gomez back, I think it’s too soon to bring her back. And unless I missed it, I don’t think a clear explanation was given about how she survived the Cybermen. Although I will admit Missy is quickly becoming my favorite incarnation of The Master.
And one last thing: 1975’s “Genesis of the Daleks” is my favorite Dalek story of them all. It’s a historic Doctor Who story because it revealed the origins of the Daleks, and introduced us to the evil that is Davros. We even got a few brief scenes from the story in “The Magician’s Apprentice” which was nice. But if you haven’t seen Genesis, you’re probably wondering who’s the guy that’s all teeth and curls.
Anyways, over the last four decades the character of Davros has been brought back so many times, that the status of “Genesis of the Daleks” has diminished. To put it in comic book terms, Genisis is the Phoenix Saga of Doctor Who. And it would be one of the best stories ever, had it been left alone, jut like the Phoenix Saga.
“The Magician’s Apprentice” final score: 8