Doctor Who Series 9 Episodes 1 &2 Thoughts

IT’S FINALLY HERE.

THE WAIT HAS BEEN LONG.

BUT IT’S FINALLY HERE.

AND WHAT A WAY TO START IT OFF.

WITH AN EPIC TWO-PARTER.

Yes, the wait of millions of Whovians all over the globe is over, as the 9th season of Doctor Who finally began, and as a two-parter nonetheless that started on September 19 and ended on the 26th.  Starting off, the BBC did their best to quell the thirst of the fans by providing them constantly with little tidbits of info about the first 2 episodes of the new season, until we eventually just got the full scope of will be there.

BUT NOTHING COULD HAVE PREPARED ANYONE FOR THE HUGE TWIST THAT WAS REVEALED IN THE FIRST 3 MINUTES OF THE SHOW.

So that opener was pretty cool, but what about the rest of the episodes?  Well, I’m here to give you guys a quick rundown of my thoughts by highlighting what I thought were some of the most amusing/shocking moments of this epic two-parter opening.

What’s up, everyone, my name is Ken, from thebuttonsmashers.com, and today, I present to you my wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey thoughts on the first two episodes of Series 9 of Doctor Who:  “The Magician’s Apprentice” & “The Witch’s Familiar”.

Oh yeah, there will be spoilers, sooooooo if by any chance you haven’t seen the episodes yet, first of all, how dare you? Second of all, tread through this article with caution.

Ok, ready?

Shall we begin?

  • “Your chances of survival are about one in a thousand.  Forget about the thousand.  Concentrate on the one.”

Right off the bat, we see the Doctor being the Doctor:  saving people from seemingly impossible and unearthly situations.  When the Doctor arrives on a war-torn planet, he attempts to save a boy who was surrounded by what could be the creepiest land-mines in existence.  He proceeds to be all Doctor-ly and tries to raise the boy’s morale by telling him to believe he can survive.

And then he asks for the boy’s name.

And then the boy revealed that his name was Davros.

And then the Doctor proceeded to copy the face of pretty much everyone who heard the boy’s name.

Honestly his best WTF face by far.

  • “Where is the Doctor?”

Colony Sarff, a hooded snack-creature-humanoid….thing, is apparently hunting down the Doctor under orders from Davros himself.  The design for the character is especially chilling, seeing as how the face is actually a coiled snake.

It’s a lot more chilling to see it in action.

  • UNIT is back in action, and so is Clara.

When the skies of the earth seemingly freeze, who does UNIT call when the Doctor can’t be found?

We find out that while she might be done with the Doctor, Clara is still available for assistance in UNIT, and was instrumental in decoding Missy’s code.

Speaking of which…

  • “Ok…not dead.  Back.  Big surprise.”

Yeah, she’s back.

We don’t find out until episode 2, but man is it fun to see Michelle Gomez again as the insane Missy.  She’s still as bananas and cunning as she  is charming and funny.

  • That entrance though.

Using a vortex manipulator to teleport themselves into where the Doctor was, seemingly, Missy and Clara find themselves in a medieval setting, where a barbarian is challenging someone to a duel.

And that someone came on top of a tank, wearing sunglasses, and strumming killer riffs on an electric guitar.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Doctor is here.

  • “Davros knows.  Davros remembers.”

Colony Sarff was able to locate the Doctor as well and sends him this message from Davros.  The Doctor himself seems shocked and willingly turns himself in to find out more.  Of course, Clara and Missy join in as well, because why not.

  • Welcome to planet Skaro.

The trio gets teleported onto some sort of ship in the middle of space, where the Doctor was taken to Davros.  However, not everything is all that it seems, as the realization that the gravity in the “ship” was different causes Missy and Clara to discover that they aren’t on a ship at all.

They’re on a planet.

Planet Skaro.

  • “EXTERMINATE”.

Missy and Clara get exterminated.  The Doctor goes back in time to seemingly save them by exterminating the young Davros himself.

Lots of exterminating today.

Or not?

Episode 2:  “The Witch’s Familiar”

  • They’re alive, big surprise.

Well, yeah of course they’re alive.  By using the Dalek fire as fuel for their vortex manipulators, both were able to escape by making it seem like they have been exterminated, when it actuality, they just teleported to safety.  Inspired by a true story of the Doctor, as told by Missy.

  • “Admit it.  We’ve all had the exact nightmare.”

The Doctor cruising around a room full of Daleks on Davros’ mechanical chair, looking as though he was invited to a bumper-car race.

Need I say more?

  • Sewer cemetery.

Underneath the surface of the Dalek city lies the graveyard or decaying, but still conscious, Daleks.

They may look like muck, buuuuuuuuut I hate to break it to you……..that’s not muck.

  • Dalek Clara.

Step #1:  Use Clara as a bait so that Missy would be able to capture a Dalek.
Step #2:  Poke some holes into the Dalek so that the Dalek-muck can destroy it by assimilating into the armor.
Step #3:  Stuff Clara into the Dalek casing.  Give her some instructions on how to mentally maneuver the machine.

And presto!  Your Dalek Clara is ready for some exterminating!

  • The Doctor and Davros have a heart-to-heart.

Who knew that these two could relate to each other?  In a rather dramatic moment, Davros congratulates the Doctor for being able to save the Time Lords from the war.  He then asks the Doctor if he was a terrible person for trying to save his people, seemingly full of regret.  It was a very heart-warming moment that made the audience realize how similar in reality the Doctor and Davros are, and the two even share a laugh together.

 

All seemed well, until……..

  • BACK-STABBING!

IN A SHOCKING TURN OF EVENTS, Davros backstabs the Doctor into using his regeneration energy, and after entrapping him, siphons that energy so he can funnel it into every Dalek in Skaro, allowing Davros to create a Time Lord-Dalek hybrid.

Let’s just say that I totally did not expect such a twist.

  • REVERSE BACK STAB.

SURPRISE!  IN YET ANOTHER SHOCKING TURN OF EVENTS, the Doctor planned for this all along, stating that yes, his regeneration energy would be absorbed by the Daleks, but Davros didn’t account that the energy would be absorbed by ALL Daleks, including the ones in the sewer, just waiting to usurp and take over other Daleks, destroying them in the process.

  • The Doctor identifies Dalek Clara.

As they were escaping, the Doctor and Missy encounter Clara (still stuck inside a Dalek).  Missy then attempts to trick the Doctor into thinking that Clara was killed by this Dalek.  Clara tries to communicate that she is inside the Dalek operating it, but she couldn’t necessarily talk properly, as the tank’s vocabulary only allows her to say so much words without saying “exterminate”.

Luckily, the Doctor was able to deduce that something was different with this Dalek, as it was able to say the word “mercy” multiple times.  He orders that Dalek to open up its tank, and lo’ and behold, lil’ ol’ Clara was there.

Tricky ol’ Missy.

  • “These days, I’m all about wearable technology!”

The Doctor and Clara convene at the center of the facility, where the Supreme Dalek and all the other Daleks were panicking about the rising Dalek-ooze from the sewers, but they weren’t going to let the Doctor and Clara get away.  They try to exterminate the two, to no avail, however, as the Doctor reveals that the TARDIS is rearranging itself around them, offering them a barrier against the Daleks.

How, you ask?

With his sonic device.

Where was his sonic device?

In his sunglasses.

Genius.

  • “Always mercy…”

While watching the Dalek city crumble, the Doctor ponders how the concept of “mercy” was insinuated into the Dalek’s DNA, as shown by how Clara was able to say it inside the Dalek tank.  That’s when the Doctor figured out what to do.

He went back in time, and let’s just say that the end of the previous episode took an interesting turn of events.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

So, overall, what are my thoughts on this two-part opener?

 

It’s amazing, through and through.

I love how they’re starting the series big by having not just Daleks but the creator of the Daleks himself return.  There is no shortage of surprises, be it plot twists or cliffhangers that just left me at the edge of my seat.  The plot flowed smoothly yet swiftly, not even bothering to start slower than most first-episodes would.  The writing was clever and witty as usual as well, and a part of that is due to the execution of the characters who had the dialogue.

Peter Capaldi is absolutely stunning in this one, comfortable in the shoes of the Doctor to the point where he just owns the show every scene he’s in, be it with him being silly or serious or semi-silly-serious.  Jenna Coleman is still badass and has become more proactive as Clara with not just helping the Doctor, but with UNIT affairs as well, which is great for her character.  And Michelle Gomez as Missy is just a joy to watch.  She brings a new brand of kookiness to the Master’s character while still remaining true to how the character was portrayed all these years.  From her eccentric rants to her bold mannerisms, there is no end to how devilishly clever Missy is portrayed, and that just makes the entire two-parter all the more amazing to watch.

I will however give a special shout-out to Julian Bleach for his fantastic portrayal of the mad scientist Davros not only in his most sinister, but also in his most emotional.  He still hasn’t declined since his appearance in the 2008 David Tennant two-parter “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End”:  he is still as menacing as ever, bringing the madness in Davros’ demeanor and making his hatred and rage all the more realistic.  However, what struck me the most impressive about his performance was during the more emotional moments that he had with the Doctor.  I would never have thought that I would legitimately feel sorry for someone like Davros, and yet Julian Bleach portrays Davros’ grief and regret so well, that it brought new gravitas unlike anything we’ve seen related to a character like him.  His LOL moment with the Doctor was heart-warming and not at all creepy, and how he expresses his desire to see the sunrise with his real eyes had real impact to it.  And then FINALLY when he drops his ruse and becomes the same old cruel maniacal Davros, the transition was so seamless and so sudden that you can’t help but slap yourself for believing him for a few minutes.

That’s how good of a portrayal Julian Bleach did, and it deserves some mad props.

Like, really, who would’ve thought that Davros could CRY?”

Overall, this two-parter opens up the season fast and furiously, while at the same time having a fine balance of comedy, action, wit, and heart. A lot of questions still remain from these episodes:  what’s that secret plan that Missy’s been negotiating with the Daleks?  Is Davros still alive?  Where to go next?

As usual, only time will tell, and if this is only the beginning, I will gladly anticipate what the rest of the journey holds.

As per usual, leave a comment down below pertaining to your thoughts on this review, on the show itself, or if you would like me to review anything.  And, speaking of liking, give the review a thumbs-up if you enjoyed it.  Also, if you guys liked how I review shows other than anime, don’t hesitate to pass me any suggestions of future topics.

Aaaaaaand, with that, I bid you all adieu.  This has been Ken for thebuttonsmasher.com, and I’ll see you guys in the future.

 

 

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