Now that I’ve got that little spoiler out the way I can proceed with my review of the episode that aired on Saturday 19 September. Yes, this blog is going to be crammed of spoilers. So if you would like to avoid this until viewing the episode, please do so now. Still here? Ok! So we’re treated again to an outstanding season opener, and yet again it’s a two-parter.
The opening to episode one is steeped in mystery, planes have frozen in mid-flight and the only way of investigating the odd global occurrences is through a social call between Clara and Missy, who is in fact in foreign country. With the planes freezing in mid-air Clara’s way of travelling to Missy is left on slippery slope, until Missy graciously creates a ‘flight corridor’ for the Doctor’s companion to travel through. The only thing that audience members could do is, speculate that UNIT has a special super-duper plane that can’t fall under alien control. The tone of the story feels much darker and the visuals also reach this goal.
Peter Capaldi’s performance in this episode is spectacular. And with the help from Jenna Coleman and Michelle Gomez the tone for a new series is strongly set. It was refreshing to see the Daleks actually exterminating for once. In the episodes climatic ending Clara, Missy and the TARDIS are “EXTERMINATED!” without any hesitation whatsoever. The Daleks are no longer soft, they’re back and they mean business.
The idea of having Davros as a child is brilliant. I am somewhat relieved that the Doctor did not go back in time for the sole purpose of killing Davros to prevent the creation of the Daleks. If the rumors were true then the ‘Magician’s Apprentice’ and ‘The Witch’s Familiar’ would’ve been a poor rendition of the 1974 story ‘Genesis of the Daleks.’ The episode also didn’t feel like it was 45 minutes in duration, it felt more like a movie if anything. The tone, production sets, actors and costume were brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Prior to this episode I was advised to watch the 2008 season finale of Doctor Who, which gave me an inkling that we were due to see the return of the Shadow Proclamation, The Judoon or even Davros. Funny enough all three made a surprising appearance in ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ and this as left me hungry for more content.
However many of us Whovians must wait seven days for the second installment to find out how the Doctor is going to get out of the dilemma he’s got himself in. Judging by the preview shown at the end of the episode Davros looks badder than ever. Continuity points go to the BBC for recasting Julian Bleach as the Dalek creator. He was outstanding in ‘Stolen Earth’ and ‘Journeys End’ and it is very fitting to see his return to the Doctor Who universe. It can be easily seen that Peter Capaldi and Julian Bleach bounce off one another easily and the confrontation between the Doctor and Davros is going to be great. It’ll be very similar to the connection between the two characters that was seen back in 1974.
The hugely satisfying thing about this episode is the collection of classic Daleks from 1963 right up until the current series, a great homage to the shows roots in one room. Unlike the props used in the 2012 episode ‘Asylum of the Daleks’, these classic Dalek props actually did something and were a threat to the characters. Secondly the story is set on the Daleks’ home world Skaro, last seen in the 1988 when the Hand of Omega destroyed Skaro by turning its sun super-nova. But how Skaro has returned is a bit of a mystery. Viewers may find the answers to this mystery in seven days’ time. As the seventh Doctor once stated to his assistant Ace, “Time will tell, it usually does.”
Watching the episode it can be clearly seen that this season has got a much higher budget. Which is going to give us an array of beautiful and enjoyable episodes for Jenna Coleman’s final series.
Therefore, as this story is a two-part adventure I feel like I should award ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ a five out of five rating.