Saturday, September 26, 2015

Doctor Who Season Nine, Episode One:The Magician's Apprentice

On a desolate planet, soldiers run in as planes fly overhead.  A plane flies overhead and a soldier notches his bow and arrow but does not let it fly.  It's interesting that there are clearly two levels of technology at work in this scene.  In the distance, a young boy runs.  The soldier chases after the child and yells at him to stop running, promising not to hurt him.  The soldier asks if the child is lost and the ground beneath them bubbles.  The soldier warns the child not to move as he scans the ground. The soldier believes that they are dealing with hand mines and warns that child that he is not to move. What the soldier does not realise is that a hand has burst through the ground and wrapped itself around his ankle.  When the child glances down, the soldier notices his leg for the first time. The soldier barely manages to promise the child that everything will be alright before he is sucked into the ground.  As the child watches, hands pop out of the ground as far as the eye can see. On the palm of each hand is an eye.  The child starts to scream for help and a sonic screwdriver lands at his feet. Okay that was freaky but I loved it.

Naturally, the Doctor has arrived and he tells the child to pick up the screwdriver, warning that his chances are 1 in a thousand.  The Doctor is crouched down fifty feet away in front of his TARDIS.  The Doctor asks what war is going on and what planet this is but the boy doesn't understand the question.  The Doctor then advises the child to decide to live. The Doctor asks the child's name and actually has to coax him before the boy reveals that his name is DAVROS.  Holy freaking shit!!!!! Yes, I just totally geeked out because Davros is the archenemy of the Doctor and the creator of the Daleks. The Doctor pauses as the boy calls out for help.

Colony Sarff floats ( okay ,floats isn't the right word because the actor is clearly wearing roller skates.)  into a bar and announces that he brings harm, before asking for the location of the Doctor.  When he gets no answer, Colony Sarff repeats his question.  In the background, bar patrons back away slowly so Colony Sarff asks his question a third time, this time causing everyone in the bar to feel pain.

At the Shadow Proclamation, Ohila is giving orders to a Judoon, when Colony Sarff makes his appearance.  Ohila is not at all pleased to see him, or to hear Colony Sarff's demand that the Doctor is required.  Ohila makes it clear that The Doctor is not the concern of the Shadow Proclamation, or of Davros. Ohila then demands to know what Davros wants with The Doctor but rather than answering Ohila, Colony Sarff simply glides (read: rolls away on is roller blades that is) away.

Colony Sarff's next stop is Kariff, to demand the Doctor's location from the Sisterhood of Karn. The Sisterhood is quick to warn Colony Sarff that if he doesn't leave immediately, they will take his skin. Colony Sarff pays no attention to the warning and instead asks where the Doctor is.  He is told that The Doctor is right behind him and one step ahead.  Colony Sarff is also warned to tread lightly, or the Doctor will be the last thing he finds.  It's then that Colony Sarff drops the bomb that Davros is dying and that he has a message for the Doctor.  The Sisterhood of Karn demand to know what the message is.  Colony Sarff tries to cause the Sisterhood pain but is unsuccessful and so simply says, "tell the Doctor, Davros knows, Davros remembers."  Colony Sarff leaves, adding that the Doctor must face Davros one last time.  The a member of the Sisterhood turns and asks The Doctor, who is hiding behind a rock ,what he has done.

A weakened Davros is hooked up to machines when Colony Sarff arrives.  Davros says that he is anticipating the arrival of the Doctor and so Colony Sarff admits that he cannot find the Doctor. Davros then reveals that The Doctor has a weakness - his friends.

Clara is teaching a class about Jane Austin, when she looks out a window and notices that a plane has stopped dead in the sky.  Clara instructs everyone to turn on their phones and look up news websites and twitter #planeshavestopped.

We then see various news reports on the stopped planes.  Principal Dunlop bursts into the room informing Clara that she has a call.  Mr. Dunlop is in shock because they were going to put him through to the prime minister.  Clara announces that the call is from UNIT and then adds that she is taking the rest of the day off for personal reasons.   Clara runs out of the school and hops on her bike.

When Clara arrives at UNIT she finds Kate on the phone with the President.  When Kate sees Clara, Kate gets off the phone and asks if Clara has heard from The Doctor yet.  Clara makes it clear that they don't have enough information yet and therefore the Doctor would consider the call gossip. Clara realises that the planes represent a lot of fuel and questions what could be done with over 4,000 bombs.  Kate brings up the nuclear power stations which are active globally and Clara brings up fault lines and tsunamis. Clara wonders how this constitutes an attack because nothing has actually happened yet and therefore surmises that someone clearly wants their attention.  On the Doctor channel a message appears.  Once the message is decrypted it reads, "Hey Missy you so fine, you so fine you blow my mind."

Missy's head pops out of the screen and she announces that she is not dead and is at one of earth's lovely little countries.  Missy then demands eight snipers:  Three for each heart and two for her brain stem. Missy warns that the shooters will have to act quickly so that she cannot regenerate.  Missy makes an appointment to meet with Clara at 4pm.

Snipers appear on a rooftop and aim at Missy, who is seated in an empty open air cafe.  Clara arrives and walks determinedly towards Missy.  Missy snarks about Danny's death and Clara questions why Missy is still alive.  Missy snarks about the sun and then using her compact mirror, directs a plane overhead to provide shade.  Missy then reveals that not only can she not find the Doctor, no one can. Missy then places a confession dial on the table - something that humans would understand as a will. Apparently, the confession dial is to be delivered to the Doctor's closest friend on the eve of the Doctor's final day.  Clara immediately reaches for the dial assuming of course that she is the closet friend in question, only to learn that the Doctor sent it to Missy.  Missy explains that she is the Doctor's friend and Clara is about as relevant as a dog, adding that she has been a friend of the Doctor's since he was a little girl.  Clara is not convinced that Missy and The Doctor are actually friends  because they keep trying to kill each other. Missy however makes it clear that her friendship with the Doctor is older than human civilization and far more complicated.  When Clara questions if Missy has gone good, Missy responds by blowing up two of the men there to guard Clara.  Clara begs Missy to stop and Missy threatens to kill everyone in the square.  Clara reminds Missy that The Doctor is in danger and adds that Missy needs to prove that she cares.  Missy responds by allowing the planes to move again, calling what she did a parlor trick.  Clara asks about The Doctor's confession and learns that it will only open when the Doctor is dead.  Missy questions where The Doctor would go if he knew that he had one day left to live.  Clara says the Doctor would come to earth but Missy points out that this is an obvious answer but does not reveal where and when.

Back at UNIT, the search begins for The Doctor.  Clara asks how a timelord is supposed to die and Missy says with meditation and contemplation.  Clara tells UNIT to change their search and look for a location where the Doctor is making the most noise and where there isn't a crises, adding that they are looking for a party.  UNIT narrows things down and Missy transports Clara.

Bors calls out for the magician to face him while in a balcony area, Clara and Missy talk about how to find the Doctor.  Suddenly, we hear the sound of an electric guitar and cue the Doctor. The Doctor makes his arrival wearing dark sun glasses, riding a tank and playing the guitar.  The crowd cheers as the Doctor plays what sounds like a version of the Doctor Who theme.  The Doctor takes a bow and Bors, calls the Doctor, "dude", asking what the guitar is.  The Doctor declares himself the winner of their battle and makes 21st century references which the crowd cannot hope to understand.  Clara and Missy talk about the state of the Doctor, with Clara wondering if the Doctor can hear them talking. The Doctor responds by playing Pretty Woman on the guitar. Clara and Missy make there way down to floor level, as the Doctor addresses the crowd saying that he has introduced the word dude several centuries early.  The Doctor announces that he has to leave but adds that he would like to introduce a couple of friends of his.  Clara and the Doctor make some small talk and Clara finishes by asking which one of them is dying.  The Doctor responds by hugging Clara close, saying that hugging is a great way to hide your face.  Clara then asks The Doctor what is going on, adding that he is not behaving like himself

Missy makes her way to the floor and demands to know what the Doctor is up to and in response, the Doctor tells the crowd to hiss. Bors starts to choke and the Doctor rushes over, thinking that Bors has swallowed a marble. Bors coughs up a snake and who should appear but Colony Sarff.  Just as Davros suggested, Colony Sarff followed Missy and Clara.  Colony Sarff demands that the Doctor come with him When the Doctor fails to comply, Colony Sarff turns into a giant snake.   The Doctor steps forward and announces that no one here is going to die.  Colony Sariff tells the Doctor, that Davros, the creator of the Daleks, is dying and wants to speak with the Doctor on the last night of his life.  The Doctor demands that Colony Sarff agree that no one will be hurt and so Colony Sarff reverts to his normal body.  Colony Sarff is not at all impressed with the Doctor, calling him little man and snarking about how dangerous the Doctor is.  The Doctor simply informs Colony Sarff that he was a fool for coming to find him.  The Doctor then declares Davros his arch enemy and asks why he would want to speak with him. Missy is not impressed by this comment having always taken the role of the Doctor's adversary.  Colony Sarff tells the Doctor that Davros knows and remembers, before tossing a sonic screwdriver at him.  Clara is surprised to see the screwdriver and the Doctor says that he doesn't have a screwdriver anymore.  Missy snarks and asks the Doctor if the look on his face is shame, causing Clara to ask what the Doctor has done.

Back on the war planet, Davros the child pleads for help and the Doctor takes off in his Tardis.

The Doctor asks Colony Sarff if his ship is in orbit and Missy intervenes to tell the Doctor that he is stepping into a trap.  The Doctor admits that he knows that this is goodbye, as a stunned Clara looks on.  The Doctor puts his hands  behind his back and Colony Sarff uses a snake to bind them.  Clara announces that she and Missy are going with the Doctor, so Colony Sariff wraps their hands in snakes as well.  The Doctor calls out that he forbids the women to come with him but everyone is transported away.

Bors makes his way through a tunnel and unveils the Tardis.  A Dalek scope appears out of Bors's forhead and he uses a communication device to report that the Tardis has been located.  We hear Dalek voices saying, "the Tardis will be secured."

On the ship, The Doctor tells Missy and Clara that Davros is a child a war - a war that went on for a thousand years; long after people remembered why they were fighting. Davros created a mutant that would always attack and never stop.  The Doctor questions how scared one must be to seal everyone of your own kind inside a tank.  The Doctor says that while they know that Davros made the Daleks, they don't know who made Davros.  The ship approaches what The Doctor believes to be a hospital.

The Doctor, Clara and Missy are in a locked room together, when Colony Sarff makes an appearance to request the Doctor's presence. Before the Doctor leaves, Clara asks about the confession dial and the Doctor explains that he has known Missy for a long time and that she is a Time Lord.  Clara however wants to talk about the fact that Missy is still alive and says that the Doctor knew all along, which means he has been lying.  The Doctor is quick to apologise but Clara doesn't want an apology and instead wants him to promise to come back.  The Doctor does not answer Clara but looks at Missy and says the word, "gravity".  

Missy starts jumping up and down and says that the gravity in the room they are locked in is perfect which should not be happening on a space station.  Clara asks how Missy and the Doctor can be friends since they spend all of their time fighting, to which Missy responds, "naturally."  Missy opens the air lock and an alarm goes off.

The Doctor follows Colony Sarff into a room where Davros is waiting.  The Doctor is shocked to see the shape that Davros is in.  Davros tells the Doctor that he approves of his new face because it is so much like his.  Davros wonders what the Doctor is doing here considering that the Doctor suspected this to be a trap.  In the background, Davros plays the voices of the Doctor's previous incarnations. The one that stands out the most is the the fourth Doctor, who wonders what one would do if one discovered a child which would go on to be a ruthless dictator and destroy millions of lives.  Davros asks the Doctor if he knew why he came and wonders if the Doctor has a sense of duty and shame.  Davros still believes he was right to create the Daleks and adds that his disagreement with the Doctor will end tonight.  The Doctor and Davros hear the alarm go off.

Missy puts her hand outside and notes that the air is warm and so she steps outside.  Both Clara and Missy realise that what appeared to be stars is actually a floor.  Missy declares that they are on an invisible planet.  Clara wonders why anyone would hide an entire planet.  The planet suddenly becomes visible and Missy and the Doctor realise that they are on the Dalek's home planet.  A Dalek approaches Missy and Clara, as the Doctor bangs on the wall, desperate to get to the two women.

Clara and Missy are escorted to a room where the Tardis sits.  Clara warns the Daleks that nothing can get inside the Tardis.  The Daleks announces the Tardis will be destroyed but this doesn't phase Clara because she responds that the Tardis is indestructible. Missy snarks that all men lie about their vehicles.  The Doctor watches on the screen, as Missy calls the Daleks attention to her.  Missy lays out the benefits of keeping the Tardis, adding that all they need is her - a time lady to show them how the Tardis works.  When the Daleks don't answer, Missy asks them if they would rather kill her.  The Daleks respond by saying "maximum extermination" before killing Missy.  The Doctor runs over to Davros and gets on his knees and begs Davros to save Clara.  Davros admits that he doesn't control the Daleks and that the Daleks are only toying with Clara.  Davros adds that the Daleks blood is screaming, "kill kill kill" and that they want Clara to run. The tension builds, as Davros talks and the Doctor watches.  Finally, a terrified Clara decides to rum.  A Dalek screams, "exterminate" and shoots at Clara.  Unfortunately, Clara didn't get very far.  The Doctor asks Davros why he let him live.  Davros explains that compassion has always been the Doctor's greatest indulgence.  For a final victory, Davros asks the Doctor to say that, "compassion is wrong."

The Daleks then turn their attention to the Tardis.  They fire at the Tardis and it explodes as they chant, "destroy, destroy" repeatedly.

Back on the planet, Davros as a child calls out for help.  The Doctor appears in front of Davros and explains that he is from the future.   Davros asks the Doctor if he is going to save him and the Doctor explains that he is there to save his friend.  The Doctor points a weapon at Davros that looks similar to the laser weapon on a Dalek and yells exterminate.

As the first episode of Season Nine, The Magicians Apprentice was a doozy. Yes, I know that there wasn't a lot of action but it presented so much promise I'm excited.   I loved that Missy said she knew that Doctor when he was a little girl.  Though Missy admitted that she could be lying, I like to think that this is a nod to the fans who have been clamoring for a female Doctor. Yes, I'm casting my vote for Jamie Murray right now.  I loved that we saw the Ood and the Judoon.  I loved that we got to revisit Maldovarium, the Shadow Proclamation and Karn.  Ohila was absolutely awesome in the brief screen time she got.

I don't know about you but it was a long wait from the Christmas episode to get to episode one of season nine.  This time, we know a little bit about what the 12th Doctor is like, so the expectations for this season are  different.  I've got to say, that for as long as people watch Doctor Who, Capaldi's Doctor will always be remembered for the epic entrance he made this week on a tank playing the guitar.  Yes, Capaldi was actually playing - and playing his version of the theme the Doctor Who at that.  Talk about epic dude! Also, did anyone notice the Doctor's new slacks?  They are clearly an homage to the second Doctor.

Like many of the companions before her, Clara is now working at UNIT.  Travelling with the Doctor gives his companions qualifications that simply cannot be matched.  I loved how in control Clara was when the planes stopped.  While Kate was anxious to get in contact with The Doctor, Clara wants to figure out as much as she can on her own before bringing the Doctor in.  This shows just how independent and self assured she has become.

Also, episode one came with the return of Missy.  God I love this character.  I love that she is as smart as the Doctor and full of snark and mustache turning evil. Fans of NuWho might not quite get the relationship between Missy and the Doctor.  If you think about it really, there isn't much difference between the two of them. Missy is absolutely destructive but then, so is the Doctor in his own way.  Missy can be selfish but then, so is the Doctor.  Missy is intelligent and never misses a moment to snark.  Does that sound like someone you know?  I don't believe for one moment Missy is actually dead.  Just like the Doctor's,other adversaries, no matter how many times you blow her up, she always re-appears.

This episode dealt with an old issue from the Doctor's past.  The moment the child in question said his name was Davros, I knew that this episode would be kick ass.  The Magician's Apprentice poses an interesting question: If you knew a child would grow up to be a mass murderer, would you kill them?  This is a dilemma that the Doctor faced before in the Genesis of the Daleks.

Obviously, the Doctor's first choice was to allow Davros to live.  Now that he has seen his Tardis destroyed and Clara and Missy killed, he believes he has made a mistake.  Also, damn you Moffat for starting the season with a cliffhanger.  We know that somehow he gets his Tardis back because otherwise, he would not have been able to travel in time.  Though we saw the Doctor pointing a weapon, I don't believe he will use it next week.  Yes, the Doctor has killed a lot of people but he has a long history of hating guns.   I have no idea how the Doctor is going to get out of this situation, I only know that I am excited to see how he does.

In season eight, The Doctor asked Clara if he is a good man.  He spent the rest of the season trying to figure it out and only at the end of the day did he decided that he's an "idiot with a blue box."  In some ways, The Magician's Apprentice goes back to the that question.  The Doctor wants to always do what is morally right but in this case ,he has to weigh the value of one life against millions.  Is there even a moral answer to this question?  I love that the Doctor is once again in an impossible situation where it's impossible to win no matter what he does.