Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A retrospective on Doctor Who season 9: Magician Apprentice

I saw the new Doctor Who when it was released. It had some good ideas, but it felt crowded, tried to hard and at the same time didn't tell us enough. Naturally, they'll be some spoilers but I imagine most have seen it by this point.


Firstly is the short segment released prior to the episode. It made more sense watching it after the episode, but I think it failed in what it was meant to do. This piece was essentially a trailer - intended to increase hype about the upcoming episode. The section detailed the Doctor preparing for his expected death. There's a couple okay jokes, but nothing really that gets us interested in the plot. The Doctor expecting to die is something that's been done way too often of late. It was literally how this Doctor started.

The start of the episode was the best for me. Some kind of post apocalypse, the Hand Mines (which I first thought was some kind of variant on the Weeping Angels) but most importantly it sets up that the Doctor needs to save Davros. This is a test of character which the episode points out that the Doctor failed and I'm not surprised; No Davros means no Daleks, no Daleks means no Time War, which ultimately means Gallifrey lives. Obviously this won't be the case because how it would seriously mess with his own time stream, though it would have been cool for those time monsters that chased Rose turned up...

Then we shift to Clara. Showing her teaching and noticing the planes is good...then she says "#planeshavestopped" - the first annoying moment. I get that it's a sensible thing to do, but it's cringeworthy her saying the tag. Then she publicly acknowledges that UNIT is chasing her and makes a pathetic excuse about a 'personal day' - her entire class knows about the Doctor. Either have her deny it or accept it, not flicker back and forth.

Most frustrating character wise was The Mistress. I'm glad she's involved, I've always enjoyed The Master but it's getting frustrating that they aren't even bothering to explain that she isn't dead anymore. Given how well she knows The Doctor, surely she didn't need Clara to find him. UNIT's database perhaps, but not Clara specifically.

Now that I've gone through my gripes with the characters, what was wrong with the story? Like I said, I liked the start of it and the dramatic reveal about Davros, but then they do the stuff with Missy, kill her off, kill Clara, destroy the TARDIS, and show The Doctor about to 'Exterminate'. It's quite obvious that absolutely none of that happened. Even leaving aside the story tropes that say exactly that, we've seen the Daleks pretend to murder people back with the 9th Doctor, and killing his companions would get rid of any leverage they had over him.

I still have hope that Doctor Who will have a good season, but I'm not expecting much.

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