Doctor Who Recap

Emma Ilstrup, Fauve Doblo, Zoey Tiller, Chloe Lovejoy, and Julian Doblo, Columnist

Doctor Who: Review on Series 9, Episodes 1-2:

(SPOILERS!!!)

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Episode 1 & 2: Summary

  This series premiere kicks off with the Doctor finding young Davros (eventual creator of the Daleks, who are the destroyers of the Doctor’s home planet) on a battlefield; the Doctor going missing; and Clara going back to a mostly normal life, except for working with UNIT (an organization on Earth that deals with all things alien).

   All seems fine until, suddenly, all of the planes on Earth stop mid-air and are unable to move. Who is responsible for this you might ask? None other than Missy (the female form of the Master, who was the Doctor’s childhood friend–that is, before the Master went mad and attempted to dominate the universe, of course. Missy arranges a meeting with Clara, and that’s where it is revealed that the Doctor is dying. Missy and Clara decide that they should try to  find him. He is eventually discovered in medieval times, where he has been making quite a ruckus. After Missy and Clara have been reunited with the Doctor, one of Davros’ henchmen (called Colony Sarff) finds the Doctor and tells him that Davros is dying and that he wants to see the Doctor before he dies. The Doctor agrees to go, taking Clara and Missy with him. Clara and Missy end up getting locked in a cell that they easily escape from and eventually discover that they are on the Daleks’ homeworld:Skaro. After discovering this fact, they also realize that there are hundreds of thousands of Daleks alive and living on the planet. Missy and Clara are captured again and are brought back inside only to be ‘murdered’ by the Daleks (FYI— they aren’t really dead). When Doctor sees this (he believes they are dead) he becomes enraged, throws Davros out of his chair, and steals it for himself. In the end, he has to return the chair, but not before having some fun with it.

    Meanwhile, Clara and Missy are fine and manage to teleport out of the Daleks’ reach, after narrowly escaping disintegration. They teleport outside of the city and find an underground area where the Daleks bury and abandon their dead. Missy plans an elaborate scheme to get a Dalek shell and puts Clara inside of it so she can control it. But this all goes wrong when Missy tries to turn Clara over to the Daleks.

    While all this is happening, the Doctor and Davros resolve their issues and have a heart-to-heart conversation. However, Davros then tricks the Doctor into giving some of his regeneration energy to all of the Daleks. But Davros doesn’t realize that by giving regeneration power he is giving all of the Daleks renewed power, and bringing the dead and abandoned Daleks back to life. All of the old, abandoned Daleks rise out of the sewers (where the Daleks keep their dead) and kill the younger Daleks, allowing the Doctor and Missy to escape. Missy manages to save the Doctor, but then they come across Clara in the Dalek shell. She can’t say her name or anything else because the Daleks don’t know the words for the things she is trying to say, which makes her seem to be a Dalek (to the Doctor). Missy wants the Doctor to believe that Clara is a Dalek. Luckily though, the Doctor realises that she isn’t and saves her. In the end, the Doctor and Clara leave, and Missy is left behind on Skaro.     

Episodes 1 & 2: Highlight of the Episodes

  One thing that these two season premieres accomplished really well is character development, which made the characters more unpredictable, and the show more intriguing. Some ways that they showed us how impending death was changing the Doctor was how relaxed and at ease he was. The old Doctor would never ride in on a tank while playing the electric guitar and teaching people to say “dude,” but with death looming over him he seems to have stopped caring. One way that these characters also showed unpredictability was with Missy. You’re never quite sure what her plan was and whose side she was on (if anyone’s). Unpredictability was also shown when Davros tricks the Doctor into giving him and all the other Daleks regenerative power. I liked the new characters, like one of Davros’ henchmen—Colony Sarff—who is completely made of snakes.

 

Episodes 1 & 2: Criticisms of the Episodes   

-Episode 1: The Magician’s Apprentice

    At the very beginning of the episode, when Davros (as a child) is trapped in the hand mines and sees some soldiers, one comes over to try to help him. But as the soldier is reassuring Davros, he gets sucked into the ground by a hand. This soldier, who happens to be a person of color, is the one that is killed off instead of several other white soldiers that also could have been killed. In my opinion, this event shows subtle racism in the show–TV writers and directors, in this day and age, need to be more attuned to this very offensive historical Hollywood dynamic of killing off non-white (read: dispensable, unimportant) characters for no good reason first.

    After this, the whole Missy situation is explained (how she isn’t dead, how she and the Doctor are “pals”) and I don’t think I’m just speaking for myself here when I say that that was really unexpected and confusing and had me like “????!!” for a while.

    Also, can we just mention how perfect Clara looks all the time? Like one minute she’s hardcore on her motorcycle, the next she’s showing off her flawless outfits, then her amazing eyebrow game (still nothing compared to The Doctors), adorable nose, and rocking the new hairstyle? I can’t handle her awesomeness. It shouldn’t be allowed.

    Lastly, probably about ⅔ through the episode, Colony Sarff (Davros’ assistant) calls Davros the “dark lord” and honestly the phrase seems kinda trite. So many books and movies (for example, Voldemort in Harry Potter) have used the “dark lord” component in their stories and I think at this point this name pretty worn out.

 

-Episode 2: The Witch’s Familiar

    Near the beginning of the episode, Missy says something about the Doctor and mentions his eyebrows. This is probably the 10809th time this has happened since Capaldi began playing the Doctor. We all appreciate his eyebrows (because they’re fabulous), but honestly, you can only use the ‘Doctor’s eyebrows’ card as comic relief so many times.

    There were a lot of emotional moments in this episode. Some parts were super sentimental, like when Davros is trying to convince the Doctor that he’s dying and we have just started to believe he’s changed his ways when he’s like ‘hahahaha nevermind I’m still a jerk’. My heart was slowly torn apart during that whole scene. These glum sentiments were somewhat exacerbated by the sad music and everything. Then, when the Doctor decided to give some of his regeneration energy to Davros (but later he claims it was all planned), I cursed him and how stupid he was. Also, let’s not forget when the Doctor almost kills Clara. She was crying and screaming at him that she was Clara and not to believe what Missy said (who was egging him on to kill the dalek who actually was Clara), and all that came out was “I am a dalek” and “exterminate” over and over again. That was pretty painful to watch. So I guess those weren’t really faults of the show, but of me because I am in fact a human being and possess a soul.   

    Finally, there was the plotline that is almost always the same in every episode: Doctor and/or companion almost die, it looks like it’s the end, but then the Doctor has something up his sleeve and saves the day. This same thing happened in this episode as well, which is making the plot development of each episode quite predictable.

   But enough with the criticisms. Who am I kidding? Doctor Who is a fantastic show, full of new and interesting plot twists and characters that make the show itself. And series 9 has begun with a whole lot of action (and heartbreaking moments) that leaves me dying for more. If you are new to the fandom and interested in watching, you can find the series 9 trailer below!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB8fh4QUy-A