Sunday, September 20, 2015

Doctor Who Is NEW! - The Magician's Apprentice

Doctor Who is back with all new episodes, kicking off it's 9th series since the show's 2005 revival with The Magician's Apprentice which aired Saturday night. Peter Capaldi is back for his 2nd year as the Doctor while Jenna Coleman tees off her 3rd...and final...year as companion Clara Oswald

So how does Series 9 look coming out of the gate? I'll take a look at that but first, I must put up a spoiler caution. 

And now here we go in 5...





The Magician's Apprentice 
by Steven Moffat 

Things kick off on a scary battlefield with a young boy trapped among some wicked scary things called "hand mines". By the ways, hand mines are deathly grey hands with eye balls in the palms that pull you underground. Not a nice way to go. But the Doctor is there to save the young boy. Then he finds out the name of the boy he's trying to save. And that piece of information is NOT good news to the Doctor. 

Next: a creepy dude called Colony Sarrf who just glides around (creepily, duh!) looking for the Doctor. He pops up on the Maldovarium, at the Shadow Proclamation and before the Sisterhood of Karn. Colony Sarrf is not a nice.... whatever he is.  

We shift to Earth where airplanes are frozen in time in mid-flight all over the world. UNIT calls the Doctor (natch!) but the Doctor isn't answering (isn't that always the way?) so UNIT calls in...Clara Oswald (because, why not?). Then the person behind the time frozen planes is revealed to be...Missy. 

Yes, Missy who is supposed to be dead but isn't, big surprise, let's move on. (That is exactly how the question of Missy's escape from certain death last season is addressed.)  
Missy is in receipt of a very important communication from the Doctor, something called a Confessional Dial. It is the last will and testament of a Time Lord who is about to die. So Missy and Clara team up (kind of/sort of) and the Doctor is found, having one bodacious kick ass party in a medieval castle. And this is where you discover that even though you never knew it, you've always needed to see a sunglasses wearing Doctor riding in on a tank flailing away at an electric guitar.   

The Doctor is reunited with Clara and Missy but Colony Sarrf shows up as well and if you're wondering why a single person is named Colony, it's because Colony Sarrf isn't a single person and is, in fact, also not a person. Colony Sarrf scoops up our trio for a meeting with his boss:

Davros, creator of the Daleks. 

And he's on Skaro. 

And Skaro is once more overrun by Daleks.

It is a meeting that becomes less pleasant for the Doctor as he forced to witness the Daleks executing Missy and Clara. And then we're back on the battlefield from the beginning of the episode.  The frightened boy among the hand mines is confronted by the Doctor holding a Dalek weapon aimed at the boy. And the Doctor's last word before we fade to black?

To be continued. 


Once more, I must proclaim the terrible news that MOFFAT IS EVIL!!!! Evil, I tells ya!

First of all, scary stuff, OK? You know how Steve Moffat loves to take mundane things and make them scary? Let's try that with hands! Yes, hands! The hand mines have got to be the most creepy thing ever in Doctor Who. 

Or maybe the 2nd most creepy thing because there's Colony Saraf who is an alien humanoid except when he uncoils to reveal his true snake form and all the other snakes that live about him. OK, snakes were already scary. Did the Moff actually make snakes scarier?  

Then there's the ridiculous. Missy freezes airplanes in time just to get attention? Missy is her usual madcap homicidal self and no one can match her in the wacko gonzo department. 

Unless you count the Doctor himself. His over the top entrance into the medieval castle with a tank and an electric guitar is about as bizarre and surreal a thing the Doctor has ever done. And that's on top of introducing the word "dude" into the English vocabulary several centuries early.  

But for all the frivolity, there is a heavy sense of dread that hangs over the proceedings. At the very start, we learn the name of the boy the Doctor is trying to save: Davros. Later we learn the Doctor's secret shame: he didn't save him. 

Davros knows. Davros remembers.   

The Doctor finds himself caught in a Gordian knot that pulls tighter and squeezes him from all sides. He watches as Missy is exterminated, then Clara. Then he pays witness to the Daleks' destruction of his TARDIS. Bit by bit, piece by piece, the Doctor is being stripped of all hope. 

I will note that this episode is heavy into Doctor Who continuity. The places that Colony Sarrf hunts for the Doctor are all from previous episodes: the Maldovarium (last seen in A Good Man Goes to War), the Shadow Proclamation (last seen in The Stolen Earth) and the planet Karn (last seen in The Night of the Doctor). 

We also get audio clips from the 4th Doctor (Genesis of the Daleks), the 5th Doctor (Resurrection of the Daleks), the 6th Doctor (Revelation of the Daleks), the 7th Doctor (Remembrance of the Daleks) and the 10th Doctor (Journey's End). In fact, we get a full on video clip of Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor confronting Davros. If you're a long time Doctor Who fan, these are very cool moments. If you're not, it may seem a bit too inside.  

All in all, Steven Moffat pulls out the stops for a wild, thrilling and yes, perplexing adventure that makes me anxious to see how things turn out next week.  

I'll be back with another post tomorrow and more Doctor Who next Sunday when I review the The Witch's Familiar. 

Until then, be good to one another.

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

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