Doctor Who – The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar

While I’m not planning to go into too many plot details, it’s likely that the random mutterings that follow will reveal some things you might prefer not to know if you haven’t seen these episodes yet, so in my usual way, I’ll include this warning:

Here be spoilers!

So. It was no secret that the opening two-parter would see the return of Missy, who in the traditional way of her previous incarnations was 100% less dead that appearances suggested. It was no secret that there would be Daleks, and lots of them. But what had been kept secret enough for me to not have seen any spoilers relating to the matter was the appearance of another old adversary.

But before all that we had some fun with Missy playing silly buggers to get some attention from UNIT and Clara, the Doctor playing even sillier buggers in a deliciously anachronistic way (electric guitar, tank, medieval period, and why not), and an odd chap with an odd name looking for the Doctor on behalf of his boss.

But we also saw the Doctor failing to rescue a boy from some singularly nasty “hand mines” (kind like land mines except they’re hands with eyes that reach up from the ground and pull you under) in a very nasty war zone. Well, he was just about to rescue the kid until he found that his name was Davros. Which seems a bit odd. You know, maybe Davros is the Skaro equivalent of Dave, and there’s lots of guys called that…

But moving right along, the Doctor, accompanied by Missy and Clara, accepts an invitation to visit Davros, who is, or so his slithery henchman Colony Sarff[1] claims, dying. And so they’re taken to a space station, which soon turns out to be on a hidden planet, which soon turns out to be Skaro. And Bad Things happen. While the Doctor is having a nice chat with Davros, the Daleks exterminate Missy and Clara and destroy the TARDIS. And as the Doctor seems to have left his sonic screwdriver behind, he’s not in the best state…

All good cliffhangery[2] stuff, and a sign of why two-parters can definitely be a Good Thing. The apparent extermination bit was sorted out early in the second part[3], but the TARDIS and sonic were still unaccounted for.

While Missy and Clara have a nice bonding session under the Dalek city,  the Doctor and Davros have a nice chat. And Davros is much quieter and subdued than the ranting maniac we’ve all come to know and err, know. And somehow, he’s more menacing than usual that way. It’s obvious that he’s up to something, with all his sniping about compassion being the Doctor’s weakness and downfall…

And indeed he is up to something. Of course, the Doctor knows what he’s up to and uses his own scheme against him. And then realises that in order for something to have happened he needs to do something else, which is a bit wibbly-wobbly and timey-wimey, but that’s the kind of thing you have to expect from a Moffat story, isn’t it?

So, a storming series opener – on the kind of scale that would have made a perfectly good finale, which makes me wonder what’s coming later. It was nice to see 60s style Daleks, the Special Weapons Dalek, the big red Supreme, lots of bronzes and not a new paradigm one at all.

Oh, and one more thing. The Doctor says he’s given up on screwdrivers. He’s now got something that tops Sarah Jane’s sonic lipstick. Yes, he now uses

Sonic Shades

They sort of went with the guitar and tank routine, and came in handy when it came to getting the TARDIS back.

Oh, and one more more thing. Michelle Gomez’s portrayal of Missy was even more extreme and bonkers than last time. Even when working with Clara to help the Doctor, she can’t help being ever so slightly evil. Enormous fun, and we’ll have to have her back again.

[1] That first name’s a bit of a clue
[2] Are you telling me that’s not a word? Pah!
[3] Technological trickery, or course.

One thought on “Doctor Who – The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witch’s Familiar

  1. Pingback: Doctor Who – The Zygon Invasion / The Zygon Inversion | Losing it

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