DWO’s Spoiler-free preview of Episode 9.1: The Magician’s Apprentice:
He’s back, and it’s about time (etc…)!
Doesn’t it seem strange to think that a little over a year ago, we had yet to see Peter Capaldi in a full episode of Doctor Who? He’d taken a dislike to his kidneys, managed to crash the TARDIS, and showed up alongside his other selves as the Time War came to a climax, but he still wasn’t quite the Doctor. Not yet. Fast forward thirteen months and we’re about to dive into another twelve weeks alongside this incarnation of the Time Lord, traversing time and space in his second series in the role.
It’s perhaps the highest compliment that I can give to say that Capaldi isn’t even trying in this episode. He simply walks through every scene as himself… and is so completely the Doctor in doing so. Having spent a bit of time in this new body, the Doctor seems to have relaxed a bit - this is much more the Doctor of Last Christmas than Into the Dalek - but he’s still got a slightly darker side, and isn’t afraid of making decisions that previous incarnations would have balked at. It’s nice to see a character who’s slightly more at ease with himself, but people fearing that the Doctor would simply be softened up this year needn’t worry.
Of course, every great Doctor needs a great arch-enemy, and Michelle Gomez’s incarnation of the Master - Missy - simply goes from strength to strength. She takes a prominent role in this episode alongside Jenna Coleman’s Clara, as they search for the missing Doctor having received his last will and testament in the form of a ‘Confession Dial’ sent to his closest friend on the eve of his final day.
There’s very little that we can actually tell you about this episode while still remaining spoiler-free, but perhaps that’s a good thing - this is an episode which really does work best if you’ve no clue what’s about to come. Every time you think you’ve had the final big surprise, or the last big reveal, there’s another one along to keep you glued to the action. Seriously, try to avoid the spoilers, the cryptic hints about what’s to come and what’s going on. What the Doctor’s done and who’s hunting him down as a result of it… they’ll be all the greater coming fresh.
In many ways, The Magician’s Apprentice feels more like a season finale than it does an opener. The stakes are high, there’s cameos for many people and places from across the Doctor's previous adventures in a manner resembling The Pandorica Opens or The Wedding of River Song, and they’re really going for broke in the drama department. As a hook to the new run of adventures, Doctor Who has rarely hit the ground running this hard.
Five Things to Look Out For;
1) ‘One of those was a lie…’
2) You So Fine.
3) ‘Tell me the name of the boy who isn’t going to die today!’
4) Beware of the Hand Mines.
5) ‘Doctor… what have you done?’
[Source: DWO, Will Brooks]