PREVIEW: Doctor Who Series 9, The Magician's Apprentice [SPOILER-FREE]

Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who)

The Magician's Apprentice
By Steven Moffat

Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman & Michelle Gomez

Airs Sept 19, 2015

Review by Cameron K McEwan

Oh lordy! Due to restrictions on what one can actually discuss about the opening episode to Doctor Who Series 9, this review may seem slightly vague at times. But it's for your own good!

In fact, you'd probably be best just leaving the internet until The Magician's Apprentice airs next week, so crammed and packed full of surprises and shocks this instalment is. In a nutshell, you can barely go five seconds in this delicious slice of Who from writer Steven Moffat without stepping in a huge spoiler. Speaking of which...

The opening moments make for one of the show's most exciting, enthralling and genuinely thrilling pre-credits sequence. It's also creepy as hell too.

The Magician's Apprentice

We're immediately thrust into the depths of war in a majestic, not to mention grittily eye-popping, first few minutes - and we're quickly introduced to Moffat's latest nightmare creation. I shan't say exactly what it is, but it's inspired stuff from the writer and will make you feel very uneasy indeed. And then to top it all, The Doctor appears and... well, Capaldi has mentioned the Doctor makes a "catastrophic mistake"...

Moving on...

The Magician's Apprentice

This is just one of three story strands that kick off the adventure. Elsewhere, Clara is back at school when a worldwide emergency takes place, resulting in a brief reunion with UNIT and then a deadly showdown with Missy. Moffat has been very deliberate here with her return. Too often villains (and, in particular, The Master) are the victims of diminished returns and their initial evilness and villainy is lost. Thankfully, this is not the case here and Missy is as manically terrifying as ever.

Her tete-a-tete with Clara is another spellbinding scene which displays a new dynamic between them as the Time Lady cruelly gloats and reveals much about her relationship with the Doctor. Curiously, he's gone missing but there's someone else on the lookout for him - a mysterious new creature named Colony Sarff (pictured below).

The Magician's Apprentice

Again, I won't go into details about who or what he is - but he's searching for the Gallifreyan and his journey takes a rather wonderfully traditional Moffat-trip through different locales featuring some familiar planets and places and some rather familiar faces (there'll be much joy from fans during this  montage). Sarff also stops off in a fantastically well-realised bar inhabited by some incredible-looking aliens (like the chap below) and some you may be more familiar with (again, much joy from fans).

What I will say about Sarff is that when he unveils himself, in a rather spectacular reveal, your skin will crawl. It's a particularly impressive piece of special effects magic from the Doctor Who production team on this guy.

He's not far behind Missy and Clara when they eventually track The Doctor down - he's been partying for three weeks in the most anachronistic, though hilarious, of styles - his entrance will be the hit of Twitter on the night I would imagine. And it's here, dear reader, where I can't really say much more about the ep without utterly ruining for you.

The Magician's Apprentice

Peter Capaldi is on top form as he jumps from pantomimic stand-up to the morally questioned Time Lord to a man in desperate need for mercy. The Daleks, as you may know, are back but are used sparingly and rendered quite horrific. These are mad, bad, dangerous little bastards who don't think twice and don't consider. There are also more nods to the past and some serious shocks to be taken in too and when we file into that final moment, your soul may be impaired from all the feels.

The Magician's Apprentice, like The Impossible Astronaut a few years back, opens the series with huge plot points, surprises, fun and chills. It's an episode you'll want to play again immediately, after you've been to visit the hospital, that it, to fix that broken jaw (it hit the ground, you see).

We'll have a more detailed and spoiler filled review for you after its UK broadcast.

The Magician's Apprentice airs on September 19 on BBC One

Thanks to the BBC

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