From what I can gather the titles of the two episodes in this two-parter are referring to Clara Oswald. The first episode is called ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ because she essentially has that dynamic with The Doctor, him being the magician in the equation. Whereas this episode she shadowed the evil Missy which is why in this episode she was basically like ‘The Witch’s Familiar’. Really clever writing involved in the naming of these episodes.
I really like the effect on the initial scene, the one where the incarnation of The Doctor changes every time he passes a pillar. Before finally settling on the current version because as The Master says: “They’re all the same to me.” I liked the explanation as to how Missy and Clara escaped alive but I thought it was odd that Oswald could work something like that out in such a scientific way. Although she has been adventuring with the time traveller for a long time now and is clearly very intelligent she doesn’t have the scientific insight that The Doctor or Missy has. This is something I noticed in the previous episode also, Clara Oswald seems to have taken a leap in ability between now and the end of season 8.
Skaro looks incredible this season, the impressive visuals of series 8 have certainly carried over to it’s successor. The very fact that we are getting an adventure on Skaro is amazing. We have Steven Moffat to thank for that. He seems to want to go where previous writers wouldn’t dare to tread, possibly because they were intimidated by the weight of the source material. He wants to dive into the mythos, to create those scenarios that all hardcore fans would long to see on-screen. The Doctor taking Davros’ chair was really cool, I have to commend the writers on the psychology of the characters in this episode. As a fan you find yourself thinking: “Yeah that is absolutely something that character would do.” For example, the paranoid and power-mad genius protecting himself from being attacked by his own creation. Hence the reason he was unharmed by the weaponry of the Daleks when sitting in Davros’ chair. I found the element of the story concerning the living sewers slightly stupid. I just found the idea that they could still move and be concious as sewage to be a bit absurd. Having said that, I found The Master’s explanation that Daleks couldn’t actually die to be fascinating. Could this be the secret to Davros’ longevity? He may have done to himself the same DNA trickery he used on his creations. Despite the premise of living sewage being silly, the writing was just really good in this episode. I love when we learn more about the things that are key to The Doctor Who mythos. Those episodes that give us an insight into Gallifrey or the Daleks.
Good to hear the Dalek theme back in the soundtrack, it is always very dramatic. The Daleks themselves are a tense presence in any episode just as long as they aren’t over used. Audiences occasionally need a break from them to ensure that they have the best effect. Michelle Gomez as The Master was great in this episode. Gomez manages to carry off all of those funny little mannerisms making the character absolutely magnetic on-screen. The writing for Missy was fantastic as always. The writers often tease the audiences with a tiny piece of information about The Doctor’s past but then pull back at the last second, refusing to elaborate. The scene where Missy talks about The Doctor giving her the brooch in the old days of Gallifrey being an example. Jenna Coleman’s delivery in that scene mirrored the audiences: enthralled, hanging on every word, wanting to know more. The scenes between Davros and The Doctor were gripping and paralleled those between The Fourth Doctor and Davros beautifully. Peter Capaldi’s acting was insanely good. The man keeps outdoing himself. Julian Bleach’s performance was impeccable also, to actually make Davros emote and seem sympathetic, all be it for a few moments before he showed his true colours again is a tremendous display of acting ability. He was able to draw sadness from the character even behind all those prosthetics. Serious props to Bleach, being behind the prosthetics he isn’t given enough credit for what he does. He has been given the near impossible task of acting up a storm behind many layers of prosthetics and he did a wonderful job with it.
This was a really amazing episode, I really thought that Confession Dial would play into this episode but it seems that will be a mystery going forward. I am very excited to learn more about that thing. With that being said, something I disliked that they seem to be running with is the trading of the Sonic Screwdriver for the sunglasses. Be sure to come back to GJC Reviews for more on all of your favourite shows and movies.