Doctor Who: The Magician’s Apprentice

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Clara in the Magician's ApprenticeWhatever happened last season that took the Doctor and Clara down weird, random, and nonsensical roads has cleared away! Season 9 has premiered with Doctor Who with The Magician’s Apprentice!

A quick recap: The new 12th incarnation of the Doctor is played by Peter Capaldi with Clara (played by Jenna Coleman)  continuing on as his Companion. Prior to the start of the 8th season,  the explosive 50th anniversary, Day of the Doctor , introduced many new threads to the story with the exciting possibility that what was once destroyed ( Gallifrey ) may still be out there. Instead of having the Doctor search for his missing home, the last season was more focused on deep psychological weirdness and confusion. Which ended up creating a Doctor that was impersonal, aloof, and cold. The previous season had also drove quite a wedge between fans and the show as evidenced by the complete lack of 12th Doctor cosplayers on the convention floor.  It was a season of absurd story lines that seemed to result in nothing, many deaths, and general sadness. The finale featured a resurrected Master (longtime acquaintance/adversary and fellow time lord) in the form of Missy (played by Michelle Gomez) and her death.

With a Moffat flair, Missy has returned in the premiere and devises one of the spookiest ways to grab the worlds attention: by freezing planes above the world.  The Doctor is in trouble and she is looking for him. In the trailers and from her interactions, it seems that Missy may be a long term stay in the season.  Missy gas begun to introduce one of the most confusing, endearing, hilarious, and edgy relationship or friendship with the Doctor. These two apparently have had quite a history and I hope this history is explored even more. Michelle Gomez plays Missy with such an evil and charming flair that I truly hope she becomes a solid character in the show. Although she is quick to point out in the premier that she is not good. Definitely not good.

It’s endearing how many pop culture references pop in this episode. Using Toni Basil’s “Hey Mickey” lyrics as an encrypted message from Missy was really cute. By far, the best one was the Doctor’s entrance upon a tank while riffing on a guitar. Immediate comparisons to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure came to mind. More importantly, this scene inspired the greatest hope for this season: we finally get to see Capaldi as a Doctor that fans can follow. Even though there is a sad motive to the Doctor’s guitar riffing entrance, the rest of the episode still carried the same flair: Capaldi is playing as a more compassionate, passionate, humanizing and flawed Doctor. Very much keeping in line to the 50th Anniversary episode. If the 10th was the Doctor who regrets, the 11th was the Doctor who forgets, then the 12th would be the Doctor who repents. For he has finally able to face the mistakes of his past. Including the ones that damaged his future and those around him.

If that wasn’t obvious that this will be a season of reflections, many of the characters in the episodes have repeated the same question to him. Whether it was in horror, confusion, or curiosity, they have all asked,  “What have you done?”

The show has a lot moments of levity, but it also returns with one of time-travel’s favorite what-if questions: Would you go back and kill Hitler–or Davros–as a child? This theme was briefly touched upon but did not seem to hold as much emotional weight as this one. For the Daleks destroyed Gallifrey. Daleks have made major appearances before but this is the first time there was an actual sense of danger and horror. Davros seems especially sinister in this episode. Even in his dying state. Before they were just overall monsters, monsters that the Doctor has hated, feared, and scorned. Whatever the Doctor had decided when presented with the choice would have resulted in something horrific happened. The shame that he shows on his face proves that the Doctor is no longer the untouchable deity that he has been built up to be. He is a mere bring frolicking about in a spaceship. The show episode ends with a cliffhanger that is completely warranted. After a tense and densely packed episode, it was a shock to see the episode so abruptly.The second part to the story promises to be drenched in emotions and action.

It is also worthy to note that it has been confirmed that Jenna Coleman will be quitting as the companion. Could it possible that Missy will be stepping into that role? If so, I predict nothing but fast and crazy talk. Love it.

It has been a long time since a Doctor Who cliff hanger has left me so shaken. How can I wait until next week?!

BBC America has made the premiere episode available for free through two methods: through their own website here and through youtube. Enjoy!

 

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