Published: Monday, 21 September 2015 | Written by SciFi Vision
Following the review is a very detailed recap of the episode, including quotes (I think I went a bit overboard!).
From the beginning of "The Magician's Apprentice" they hit the ground running. The opening scene with the hand mines is creepy and the moment of revealing the boy as Davros is shocking. At the start we are also introduced to Colony Sarff. The makeup design and later reveal of his transformation was also a great affect. I also loved the fact that Colony Sarff visited places and characters that viewers have seen in the new Doctor Who series.
However, probably my favorite moment from the episode was The Doctor's grand entrance. The image of Peter Capaldi as a rock god really worked and showed a different side of his personality.
I also greatly enjoyed the emotional scene afterwards. The Doctor essentially serenades Clara with "Pretty Woman," then there is a bit of flirting, and then the hug, which was a powerful, although sad moment. I could go on for a while about my ship being canon, but I digress.
The other standout scene with Capaldi to me was near the end, when he collapses on his knees and begs to Davros to save Clara's life. He is close tears by the time she is vaporized. The scene was especially moving and completely heartbreaking.
Jenna Coleman and Michelle Gomez also had great moments in the episode. Gomez was hilarious as always, and I am excited to have her back. I especially enjoyed her proving that had no intention of being good - Missy is great at being a villain; she isn't meant to be redeemed.
Coleman played great off of Gomez and held her own. Also, as mentioned above, she had some terrific emotional scenes with Capaldi.
Of course the idea of returning to Skaro is very interesting, and I love that viewers are going to get to learn more about the Daleks' backstory, as well as Davros (Julian Bleach)'s. Even though the Daleks appear throughout the series, the writers are able to keep it fresh.
All in all, if the premiere episode is anything to go by, this season is going to be even better than the last. Capaldi is holding his place as the beloved Doctor.
Men are running across the battlefield of a war, being shot at by lasers from a plane flying above. One of the running men with a bow and arrow stops as he sees a boy run across the field. He yells to the boy to stop and that he won't hurt him; telling his fellow soldier to go ahead and he will catch up.
Now alone, the ground starts to move like something is moving under the surface. He tells the boy to stand very still as he scans the ground and confirms there are hand mines. He asks the boy if he's seen them before, to which he confirms he has: looking down the soldier sees that there is a muddy human hand wrapped around his foot. He tells the boy it will be okay, but suddenly he is sucked under the ground, which then closes back around him. The ground is covered with hands that have erupted from surface - each with a moving eyeball on the palm.
The boy screams for help. A recognizable device, Twelve's screwdriver, flies through the air to land at his feet. The Doctor tells the boy that he has a one in one thousand chance of survival and to concentrate on that one and pick it up. The sonic is creating an acoustic corridor so they can talk. The Doctor jokes he was looking for a book shop when he found the war - an old one going by the mix of tech. He asks the boy what war it is, to which he replies simply "the war," and when the man with the box asks him what planet it is, he doesn't understand.
The Doctor tells the boy to make a choice and decide to live - one chance is all he ever needs. He asks the boy his name, his smile fading as he hears his reply: "Davros."
The boy keeps yelling because he said he would help. Is he still there?
The Maldovarium A man in a cloak glides into the bar among all the various alien patrons, including some Oods. He identifies himself (though refers to himself as "we") as Colony Sarff and declares, "We bring harm." He hisses, asking where The Doctor is, but no one answers. A dark shadow looms as he transforms in some way that is off screen.
The Shadow Proclamation The Shadow Architect is giving a Judoon orders when Colony Sarff arrives, telling her that The Doctor is required. She tells him that it's neither her concern nor his employer’s, and wants to know what Davros wants with The Doctor.
Karn Colony Sarff talks to one of the women of the Sisterhood of Karn, who we last saw in "Night of the Doctor." She tells him that if he doesn't leave immediately, they will take his skin. When he questions her where The Doctor is, she says, "Where he always is, right behind you and one step ahead. Tread carefully when you seek The Doctor, Colony Sarff, or he will be the last thing you find." She tells him to leave the message with her.
Colony Sarff reveals that Davros is dying. She replies that he is ancient and should have been dust already. Sarff reveals that Davros has a message for The Doctor, and she tells him to leave it with her. He attempts to transform, but she tells him that his powers mean nothing there.
Sarff finally leaves his message: "Davros knows. Davros remembers," and says that The Doctor must face Davros one last time.
After Colony Sarff leaves, she asks aloud, "Doctor, what have you done?" The camera pans to show that he was there all along behind a rock.
Davros is shown mumbling for The Doctor. Sarff comes in, telling him he is dreaming. He is holding the screwdriver The Doctor gave him as a boy. Sarff tells him that The Doctor can't be found, but Davros tells him he is wrong. The Doctor has a weakness; if you see him, first seek his friend.
Clara makes a student put his spitball into the garbage, and then continues to teach them about Jane Austen.
Suddenly, she stops, seeing something - a plane in the sky hovering. She circles it on the window with a marker and tells the students to turn on their phones and go onto news websites and Twitter, hashtag #PlanesHaveStopped.
News programs show frozen planes around the world.
A teacher, Mr. Dunlop, comes into Clara's classroom and tells her she's got a phone call, which Clara assumes is UNIT. She tells him she has to leave for a "personal crisis," and takes off on her motorcycle after talking on the phone to UNIT, saying that she doesn't need a helicopter.
At UNIT headquarters, Kate Stewart says that Planes aren't responding. When Clara arrives, Kate tells her that The Doctor isn't answering his phone. Clara hasn't tried yet because he doesn't like gossip.
There are 4165 planes in the air and they don't know why. Clara mentions that that is a lot of fuel, and ponders what someone could do with that many flying bombs. They brainstorm about power stations, fault lines, and natural disasters. Kate runs a simulation. If it is an attack, why advertise? Clara asks. Why show what you can do and not just do it?
Another woman at UNIT explains that they can't contact the pilots; the planes haven't actually stopped, they're frozen in time. She then says, "Pardon my sci-fi, but this is beyond any human technology."
Kate says they need The Doctor, but Clara says, "We can't just find The Doctor and bleat. He'll go Scottish." Clara figures out that it's not an attack: someone wants their attention; someone wants them to listen.
They get a text message on The Doctor Channel that he never uses. The man decrypts it. "You so fine. You blow my mind. Hey Missy you so fine you blow my mind hey Missy!"
Missy's face pops up on the screen and out of it, and she says she will be talking to them through the square window.
MISSY: Cutting to the chase. Not dead, back. Big surprise. Nevermind.
She tells them she needs eight snipers - three for each heart, two for her brainstem; they have to switch her off fast, before she regenerates. She thinks this is the only way they will feel safe to meet her. She says she'll open up a flight corridor for four o'clock.
Clara meets Missy, who remarks on Danny still being dead. Clara questions that she's not dead, but she says, "Death is for other people, dear." She then mockingly asks if Clara needs shade since humans burn, and uses her device to move the plane enough that it blocks out the sun above them.
She tells Clara that she suspects she's tried to contact The Doctor, and she can't find him either. Clara responds that it happens from time to time, but Missy responds, "Not like this."
Missy shows Clara the confession dial that she received from The Doctor - it's like a will, an ancient tradition that is sent to a Time Lord's closest friend on the eve of their final day.
Clara goes to pick up the dial, thinking Missy meant it was for her and is shocked by it. Missy defends being a friend to The Doctor for so long. She gestures to a couple walking on the street walking their dog and says Clara is the puppy. Clara questions their friendship, because they keep trying to kill each other, and sarcastically says it's love. Missy says that they are Time Lords not animals, and that their friendship is older than Clara's civilization.
Clara is shocked that she wants her to believe she's "turned good." Missy vaporizes one of the UNIT men and declares in a fashion only she can, that she has not turned good. She kills another man and thanks Clara for bringing spares.
She goes to kill someone else and Clara yells at her not to, to which she replies with her usual, "Say something nice." Clara refuses, and she threatens to kill them all. Clara says to start with her. She came there for her help. Missy says it's because The Doctor is in danger, but Clara needs to believe her. The snipers are on Clara's demand. She tells Missy to prove she means it by letting the planes go, and she does so.
Missy declares it was only a time stop; a parlor trick. Clara wants to know what the confession says, but it will only open when he's dead. Missy asks if The Doctor is facing the end of his life, where in all of time and space on Earth would The Doctor go?
A man from UNIT brings a laptop over and they talk to Kate and the others back UNIT headquarters. Kate uses a simulation based on anomalies, anachronisms, and keywords to find out where and when The Doctor is; he always makes a lot of noise; he loves to make an entrance.
Clara questions how a Time Lord dies, and Missy says that they meditate and contemplate, so Clara tells Kate to look for noise without a crisis: they're looking for a party. It works. Missy says, "You go girl!" and then grabs Clara, teleporting them both.
The two women arrive, Missy telling Clara that she used her vortex manipulator is a slave to her own. People around are screaming and cheering; they are at a medieval fight. A man, Bors, tells "The Magician" to face him. Meanwhile, Missy and Clara discuss finding The Doctor. They don't have to.
Electric guitar music plays and The Doctor makes his grand entrance on top of a yellow tank playing hard rock to the audience's cheers. He's dressed differently than normal, wearing a t-shirt, jacket, plaid pants, and sun glasses. He verbally spars with the man, making lame jokes that no one for centuries would understand.
Clara questions what's wrong with him; he never acts like that. Missy says that she's really new, implying that it's not out of character for him.
The Doctor turns to them. Clara questions that he can hear them and knows they are there. He starts to play "Pretty Woman" on his guitar as he walks closer, almost as if serenading Clara. He plays to her for a few moments and then turns around to the audience. He says he's been there all day and it's been a great day, but Bors, corrects him: he's been there three weeks. The Doctor is shocked, and says, "It must be nearly bedtime."
He says that they've partied, he helped to dig a well with the first-class child-friendly visitors’ center, he gave them Maths tuition in a fun but relevant way, and introduced the word "dude" several centuries early. He has some sad news for them, he has to leave them, but before he does, he wants to introduce his friends.
Clara walks out to everyone cheering.
CLARA: How did you know I was here? Did you see me? DOCTOR: When do I not see you? CLARA: One face in all of that crowd? DOCTOR: There was a crowd too? CLARA: Wow, we're doing charm as well now, are we? Which one of us is dying?
The Doctor looks sad and grabs Clara and hugs her - really hugs her.
CLARA: And we're doing hugging now too. I can't keep up. DOCTOR: Well, you know what they say, hugging is a great way to hide your face.
CLARA: Okay, look. I guessed a party, but not like this, what is this? This isn't you. DOCTOR: I spent all day yesterday in a bowtie, the day before in a long scarf. It's my party, and all of me is invited.
He backs up and starts playing again, this time Auld Lang Sine. Missy comes in and asks what he's doing. He declares that it's the wicked step-mother and the audience boos. She plays it up and dances around. She then holds up the dial.
MISSY: Apparently you think you're going to die tomorrow. DOCTOR: Well, I've got some good news about that. It's still today!
Bors starts choking and The Doctor thinks he swallowed a marble and goes to help him. However, a snake slithers away from Bors and joins Colony Sarff who is suddenly there. He demands that he will come with him. The Doctor asks he and who's army, and Sarff's face splits into a snake, and he sort of unwraps himself until he becomes a giant snake with little snakes falling off of him. The crowd runs and screams.
The Doctor demands that no one will die there. The snake says that Davros is dying and will speak with him again on the last night of his life. The Doctor concedes if he agrees not to harm anyone. Sarff changes back. They verbally go back and forth a bit, The Doctor calling him a "snake nest in a dress." The Doctor says that Davros is his archenemy and questions why he would want to talk to him.
MISSY: Now wait; hang on a minute. Davros is your archenemy now? DOCTOR: Hush! MISSY: I'll scratch his eye out.
Sarff again gives his message that Davros knows and remembers. He tosses the screwdriver at The Doctor's feet. Clara says that it's The Doctors. He tells her that it was; he doesn't have a screwdriver anymore. Missy says she's never seen that before, and questions what the look on his face is. Clara knows that it's shame; he's ashamed of something.
The Doctor has a flashback of Davros as a boy again. Young Davros is yelling that he had said he would help him. The TARDIS disappears.
Back in the present The Doctor asks if the ship is in orbit, preparing to leave.
MISSY: It's a trap. Doctor, listen to me. I know traps. Traps are my flirting; this is a trap.
The Doctor is ready. Missy says that he sent her the dial and threw a three-week party, he knows what it is. He confirms that he does, but it's obvious that he is going anyway. He says good-bye to her, then to Clara. A snake wraps around his arms to teleport him.
Clara declares that both of them are going with him, even though he forbids it. Colony Sarff says that it is a democracy and teleports them all.
Meanwhile Bors comes out and reveals the TARDIS. He turns around and we see that an eye stalk has come out of his forehead. He contacts high command, telling them that the TARDIS has been located. A Dalek voice says back that it will be procured.
On the ship, The Doctor explains to Clara and Missy that Davros was a child of war. The war continued without end for a thousand years, to the point no one remembered why they were at war. Davros create a new kind of warrior, someone who wouldn't bother with that question, a mutant in a tank who would never stop. And they never did. Clara realizes that he is talking about the Daleks. He questions how scared you must be to seal every one of your own kind inside a tank.
DOCTOR: Davros made the Daleks, but who made Davros?
They drop out of hyperspace and see the ship where The Doctor says Davros must have ended up. Clara asks what it is and he says maybe a hospital.
The three end up in a room waiting. Missy sings, most likely to annoy them.
The door opens and Sarff comes through to get The Doctor. Clara says to The Doctor that he sent Missy the confession dial. He defends himself by saying that he knew her for a long time, and she is one of his people. Clara says that he saw her dying and knew - or worse hoped - that she was alive, and either way he's been lying. She doesn't want his apology; she wants him to make it up to her - therefore he has to come back.
The Doctor says "gravity" to Missy right before he is led out. She says she already knows and starts dancing around.
Clara questions about the gravity, and she tells her there isn't anything wrong with gravity - if they are in a space station it should be artificial, but it instead feels like a planet. She then goes to the air lock and says today might be the day I kill you. She jokes around when Clara says they will get sucked out and opens it. An alarm goes off.
Meanwhile The Doctor goes in to see Davros. Davros, obviously weak, tells him that he approves of his new face - it looks more like his. He tells Sarff to untie The Doctor and has him leave. He says that The Doctor came, but questions if he suspected a trap. He replies that he still does. Then why is he there? Davros asks if he missed their conversations and then plays audio clips of The Doctor in other incarnations arguing with him. The Doctor says he made his point, but he plays a video of the Fourth Doctor, asking that if someone knew the future and told you that a child would grow up to be evil and a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives, could you kill that child? The Doctor says again that he gets the point. Davros asks if he knows why he came. Davros guesses that it’s out of a sense of duty, guilt perhaps, and shame. He says that he thought he was right to create the Daleks for the ultimate good of the universe. The Doctor says that he was wrong - that's been their argument since they met. Davros says that it survived the time war but will end tonight - that's why he is there.
The alarm goes off from the air lock being opened. The video shows the women, Davros he says that his friends have gone off exploring.
Appearing to walk in midair, Missy says that they are on the ground, and they did not come out of a space station but a building; the planet is invisible. As they become part of the atmosphere, they start to sync with the spectrum, and the planet around them starts to appear.
Seeing the two on the monitor, The Doctor yells at Davros - he brought him to Skaro! Davros asks where an old man goes to die other than with his children.
Outside, Missy tells Clara that they are where it all started - The planet of the Daleks.
The Doctor yells for Clara, trying to open the door.
The women are brought back into the building and the TARDIS is there as well. Clara tells them that they can't get inside, but that isn't their plan; they are going to destroy the TARDIS. She responds that it is indestructible, but Missy tells her that she should never believe a man about a vehicle.
From the other room The Doctor yells for Missy to stop, but they can't hear him. She tells the Daleks that with the TARDIS, which she calls the "dog's unmentionables," they can go anywhere and kill anyone, be more powerful than before; they just need a Time Lady to show them how it works. She questions that maybe they would rather kill her. After saying "maximum extermination," they shoot and disintegrate Missy.
The Doctor sees this on the screen and collapses to his knees and starts begging Davros to save Clara. Davros says that he gave the Daleks life; he doesn't control them. He says it's life at its purest. They want Clara to run. The Doctor is close to tears when they exterminate Clara.
The Doctor questions why he ever let Davros live, to which Davros replies that it was compassion - his greatest indulgence. He tells The Doctor to let it be his final victory. He wants him to admit just this once that compassion is wrong.
The Daleks destroy the TARDIS, and The Doctor flashes back again to a young Davros. A weapon clicks and the boy questions how he moved to where he is now. This Doctor says he is from the future. Davros questions that he came back to save him, but The Doctor says he is there to save his friend - the only way he can. He lifts a gun and yells, "Exterminate!"