Being that my only Who article for Warped Factor so far was a somewhat negative one, and since we were treated to (in my eyes) a near perfect series opener of Doctor Who, I figured it was time I said something nice about the show and gave my top 10 moments of ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’.
There will be spoilers.
10. The Throwbacks
Now, I’ve always preferred it when the show looks forward rather than looks back, but there are times that I love it when it does the latter, and this was one of them! Seeing a return of the Shadow Proclamation and the Maldovarium was particularly exciting, especially with an array of cameos from old enemies such as the Sycorax and Ood. It reminded me heavily of the beginning of the Pandorica Opens, but with callbacks from the last 10 years rather than from a sole series. I’d like to see another return from the Shadow Proclamation in the future, perhaps the Doctor could team up with the Judoon for an episode or two.
I had heard rumours of planes being frozen in the sky since they started filming this episode and thought it was a very cool idea, and it was great to see it realised in the episode although I think it could have been used more effectively (perhaps to shorten the time spent in 1138 A.D.). It was, however, a brilliant way to reintroduce Clara, UNIT and, as we later learn, Missy too. I do love a good global news montage as well, especially when it is accompanied by an awesome rendition of the Twelfth Doctor’s theme!
8. Khaaaaaan! Um, sorry, Karn
The Brain of Morbius is one of my favourite Doctor Who stories, and so I was thrilled that we returned to Karn in 2013’s ‘The Night of the Doctor’. You can only imagine how excited I was when it was announced Ohila and the Sisterhood would be returning for this opening story. Their small scene was superb and I loved how Clare Higgins’ voice echoed around the quarry (it’s good to see a quarry again!) as she addressed Colony Sarff. It reminded me somewhat of Blofeld’s hypnotism in the James Bond film, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Unfortunately the Sisterhood’s scene was short lived and I hope that we see them again in the future.
7. Classic Doctors
Another throwback, but I thought this one deserved a place of its own. Seeing Tom, Colin, Sylvester and David on screen again was great, but what I really loved was the clip used from ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ which relates to this episode perfectly.
6. Hand Mines
A brilliantly creepy concept, fantastically realised. The design combined with the writing and direction created a beautifully tense scene! I just want to know what goes through Moffat’s head that makes him come up with these ideas… perhaps in this case he was just watching ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’… Hey, maybe this might mean Peter Capaldi will finally get his wish of having David Bowie star in an episode!
5. Hey Missy!
“Today, I shall be talking to you out of... The square window!”Now that is how you reintroduce a character! I have never smiled so much whilst watching an episode of Doctor Who. It’s no secret that I love Michelle Gomez as an actress and that Missy is quite possibly my favourite incarnation of the Master, so it’s no surprise I loved this bit! From the ‘Hey Missy’ lyrics on the Doctor Channel to Missy’s instructions, everything about this scene is amazing, and Murray Gold’s soundtrack is excellent here. I even love how Missy’s face extends - beats a burping bin any day!
It's not just her reintroduction that is perfect, Missy is great throughout this entire episode, though perhaps the word ‘sexy’ was used a bit too much. Michelle nails this role!
4. Capaldi on a tank, playing an electric guitar…
“Anachronisms. The slightest, tiniest… anachronism."It seems Moffat watched a few films whilst writing this episode… it appears that this is his answer to ‘Mad Max’! This scene, whilst incredibly cringeworthy, is simply awesome. Also, the puns… you can’t not love it! Capaldi is brilliant here and whilst I think the scene is a bit too drawn out (with all the ‘dude’ stuff) it is a lot of fun!
3. Colony Sarff
Another super creepy concept that works very well. I love the way he just glides around and whispers and hisses as he speaks. The reveal is again very creepy and perfectly realised. I hope we see more of him in ‘The Witch’s Familiar’.
2. Peter Capaldi as the Doctor
I have loved Peter Capaldi as the Doctor since day one, but his more abrasive nature definitely put some people off. I still stand by the fact that his slightly warmer tones combined with his colder side in ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’ and ‘Last Christmas’ were the best characterisations of the Twelfth Doctor, and definitely some of Peter’s best acting in the role. So it was great to see these characteristics back in this episode and further played with during the scenes in 1138 A.D.
1. Davros Returns
So the Daily Mail or The Mirror or some other tabloid leaked this storyline pretty early on and the Davros prop had been missing from the Doctor Who Experience during filming, but people still tried to dismiss the idea he might come back and refused to believe that the show would tackle such a dark storyline… fast forward 7 months and here we are!
I wasn’t surprised to see Davros in this episode after all of the speculation (and especially after BBC Two accidentally released the trailer for episode two on the morning of episode one!), but I was surprised to see him so early on in the episode! Before the title sequence in fact! I wont go into the whole child Davros storyline until I have seen the next episode so I can give my full thoughts on it, but I will say that what we have seen of it was great.
It was a particular delight to see Julian Bleach back as Davros. His is my favourite version of the character and he has such tremendous screen presence, even as a frail, dying Davros. Seeing him and Capaldi in the same room was amazing and I honestly can’t wait to see more of them together in ‘The Witch’s Familiar’. There’s too much for me to say, I’m running out of adjectives and it’s hurting my brain but Bleach stole every scene he was in, and was perfect. Yes perfect, it really is the only word I can find to describe the scenes with Davros… his voice gives me chills, even on my fifth viewing of the episode!
Honourable Mention: “Correct”
No words can describe how I reacted when I saw this - well, one can, but I’m not sure I can say it here… The reveal of Skaro (with brilliant acting from Michelle Gomez), the music and that Dalek... I, I can’t even… That is all.
These aren’t the only good bits about this episode, as there are so many great moments included - I didn’t even mention Missy and Clara’s supposed deaths or that cliffhanger! In my opinion 'The Magician's Apprentice' was near perfect (I seem to be using that word a lot), and providing ‘The Witch’s Familiar’ holds up, and the reviews suggest it does, it could quite possibly be my favourite series opener and one of my favourite Doctor Who episodes of all time.
It looks like Doctor Who series nine is set to be a blast!
What were your favourite moments from The Magician's Apprentice?
Nick is a 2000 year old alien who travels through time and space, saving the good and conquering the evil... or so he likes to think.