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The Watcher – Doctor Who: The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar

Posted by Proud Lion Contributor on

By Lewis White

Warning: this review contains spoilers.

It seems like ages ago since the Doctor was on our screens, but now he's back! The last time we saw the Doctor and Clara they decided to travel with nothing holding them down; the demise of Danny Pink has left Clara with all of time and space. It seems they can’t catch a break with the previously believed to be dead Missy returning. The series opener promised to be a whopper, and boy was it!

The first episode begins with a high altitude opening, dropping us on a battlefield with a little boy about to be killed by ‘the hand mines’. This makes for a scary and amazing start, and the first plot twist blows you away: the boy is none other than Davros! After a revamped title sequence, we follow a mysterious man searching for the Doctor, bringing us back to familiar spots such as ‘The Maldovarium’ and ‘The Shadow Proclamation’. No one knows where the Doctor is until we travel to the planet Karn, and the man leaves a message: ‘He knows, he remembers.'

Meanwhile, Clara is on Earth when all the planes stop in the air, causing U.N.I.T to jump into the fray – someone is clearly trying to get their attention. This acts as a good re-introduction to Missy as she’s ‘not dead, back, big surprise, never mind.’ This is all the explanation we need, right? After returning the planes to their flights, Missy uses Clara to find the Doctor at his pre-death party – which just happens to be in the 13th century, with the Doctor playing an electric guitar and riding in on a tank!

Naturally, the mysterious man gate crashes in order to capture the Doctor. Clara and Missy jump along for the ride as we are taken to see a dying Davros. This is obviously a trap, but one the Doctor can’t refuse. This makes for a great scene between Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and Davros, with some fantastic and memorable moments as classic storylines are referenced. Meanwhile, Clara and Missy do a bit of exploring to find that they are not in space as previously believed, but have been brought to Skaro! This cliffhanger leaves you begging for the next episode, and really pushes your curiosity to dig deeper.

When the second part begins, we are treated to some hilarious nostalgia and quips from Missy as she and Clara make their way through Skaro; this scenes makes a great return to the adventure. They must find a path back to the Doctor by going through the Skaro sewers. This gives us a fresh reminder of the monstrosity of the Daleks as we find out what they do to their dead. Their actions lead to Clara once again becoming a Dalek, this time by stepping into a captured shell and discovering how the Daleks manage to twist everything within them into something evil.

The Doctor, on the other hand, is spending his time trying to discover how Davros is dying. The dialogue here is great, and shows the complexity of the relationship between the characters. One particular image from this scene proves this show still has an element of its scare factor. I never thought Doctor Who would do that just by Davros opening his eyes.

As usual, the end comes with the Doctor getting into some trouble as his plan takes off. We get a tease of who the Doctor really is, and just how evil Missy can be. Interestingly, we are left with the question of whether Missy will be returning.

This opening two-parter is an amazing season opener to what looks to be an equally amazing series. At first glance, the first episode of this two-part story seems all over the place. Just 20 minutes in it already feels like the structure is a bit too complicated. Thankfully the second episode allows it all to fit together, so there's nothing to worry about. Michele Gomez’s performance of Missy in the episode allows her to shine, and she really steals every scene she’s in. The unfortunate side effect of this is the shadow she casts over Jenna Coleman. This might not be the best result, especially in what will be her last series. Overall, these two episodes act as a warm welcome with some truly memorable acting, writing and cinematography.

Lewis is immensely excited for the next episode and cannot wait for the onslaught of other shows to come!


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