Doctor Who: The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar


So, Doctor Who is back, and it’s getting it’s mandatory dalek story out of the way. Although this series has answered my ultimate new who prayer (every episode is a serial, just like classic) It hasn’t answered my second: CAN THERE BE ONE SERIES THAT IS FREE OF THE BLOODY DALEKS. I understand that due to the Terry Nation estate they have to put the classic salt and pepper shakers in every series, do they have to have a story to themselves each year? Can they not just have a cameo in one story like in Series 6? I think “Hello Dalek,” scene was a good way to put the daleks in the series without giving them a full story. But I digress.

The story concerns Davros. See, he was an old dying corpse back in the ’70s. Now it’s 2015, and it kind of goes without saying that he’s got really old, and he’s on his deathbed and he calls for help from his worst enemy, the doctor. Story wise I think this story is good. However, the Doctor visiting a dying Davros is something I have seen in a lot of Doctor Who fan lore. Most notably in the fantastic Aimless Wanderings audio drama “Death to the Davros.”  The whole idea of the Doctor having the lives of all of the daleks in his hand seemed an awful lot like a rehash of the Doctor having the lives of every Cyberman in his hands in Dark Water/Death in Heaven. Yeah, I’m sorry I had to bring that story up again too.

That being said, I actually really liked the scenes with the Doctor and Davros. Julian Bleech was really good, a marked improvement over his last performance. It probably was more the script and the director last time, but Bleech came off as really energetic and OTT, qualities that don’t make for a good Davros in my opinion. But here, Bleech was more refined in his role. He really did make Davros seem old and like he was dying. As much as I love Terry Molloy, that is something that hasn’t rally been seen in Davros since Michael Wisher’s legendary performance in Genesis. Capaldi also worked well with him. I always love scenes when the Doctor and Davros talk, and after Journey’s End (where they pretty much just shouted at each other) it was nice to see them just talk one on one again. Capaldi was also good as usual. He didn’t really have any standout scenes, but he was still really good and winding up to be one of the better of the revived who doctors. However, while I really liked the scenes with The Doctor and Davros, I wasn’t as big a fan of the Clara/Missy scenes. They just seemed to slow the plot down, and I’m not really a huge fan of Clara and Missy as characters. The scenes with Clara inside the Dalek were also pretty crap.That being said, I really liked the story Missy told at the beginning.

In the end, I liked “The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar.” It wasn’t the best story ever, and certainly a step down from last year’s Dalek story, “Into the Dalek,” which was the best Dalek story since “Parting of the Ways.” But that’s quite a bit to live up to. Seeing Davros again was a treat, but other than that I felt that the episode had little to offer and just came across as another Dalek episode. I really hope that next series we don’t have another Dalek story. They either wind up being messes like Asylum or mediocre entries such as this one. Not a bad story, but a rather average opener and Dalek story.


I’m hoping for something more interesting and memorable with Under the Lake this week.