Where is the Doctor? When the skies of Earth are frozen over by an mysterious alien force, Clara needs her friends. But where is the Doctor and what is he hiding from? As past deeds come back to haunt him, old enemies will come face-to-face, and for the Doctor and Clara survival seems impossible.
The title of the episode was revealed just before the credits of the preceding Christmas Special. The title read: "The Doctor and Clara will return in The Magician's Apprentice". See more »
When the Doctor throws his sonic screwdriver, it lands on the ground with no hand mines around. When the boy is picking it up, the screwdriver is right at the base of a hand mine. See more »
[gestures towards the armoured battle tank]
What do you think of my tank? Don't worry, it isn't loaded.
I don't like it.
No neither do I. I bought it for my fish.
I may have ordered *on line*!
[the crowd is silent and confused]
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Unlike the lukewarm first episode of the previous series which introduced Peter Capaldi to the Doctor Who role, this curtain-raiser for the second series was for me a success at almost every level. Starting off with the first of many arresting special effects of the Doctor encountering the young Davros in a war-zone and in particular a terrifying hand-mine infested area (and that's not a mistype of land-mine, believe me) we're then led into an introduction to the sinister Colony Sarff seeking out the Doctor on the apparently dying Dalek creator's final wish. The story, as it makes clear later, takes as its jumping-off point an ethical dilemma posed by Tom Baker's Doctor in an episode from the 70's.
Cut then to planet earth where Clara is naturally, with her eyes-on-the-skies, the first to witness the singular phenomenon of aeroplanes the world over being frozen in mid-air, which turns out to be a typically elaborate reintroduction to the Missy character (completed with a very humorous reference to a piece of disposable 80's pop) who's also, wouldn't you know looking, for our main man. Finally the Doc makes his first extended appearance, in the guise of a would-be rock star or should that be axe-victim and so the adventure really begins.
There are good jokes ("don't upset him or he'll go Scottish!" particularly hitting home from the pen of my fellow-countryman Steven Moffat), some more great effects, especially the metamorphosis into a bag of snakes by the Colony Sarff and then, right at the end, shocks at the double leaving a real sense of confusion and anticipation as to what happens next.
This was definitely one of the best latter-day Doctor Who episodes I've seen and I only hope that the sequel lives up to expectations although judging by Jenna Coleman's recent announcement, it sadly looks as if Clara may have gone none too gently into that good night. Or has she, time, perhaps literally, will tell.
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