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[DW] Magician's Apprentice thoughts

Rather than make a long post on FB, I'll write something up here, and then post the link to FB.

This is a Moffat episode, which means outstanding character moments, and a plot that holds up less and less the more you think about it. I loved all the dialogue between Clare & Missy, Missy & the Doctor, and the Doctor & Clare. Kate and UNIT were made to look incredibly hapless, which I suppose makes sense--but still. And yes, I loved the Doctor riding in on a tank playing an electric guitar. The disgusted look on his opponent's face was priceless, like he's gotten used to the Doctor pulling whacky crap like this and it's not as funny as the Doctor thinks it is. ;)

I am still waiting for Osgood to return with the revelation that it was her Zygon double who was vaporized, btw.

Now let's look at the central issue: If you could kill the child who would grow up to be HitlerDavros, would you? It's an interesting idea, and a powerful moment for the Doctor to be faced with that choice--and decide to leave young Davros in the "hand mine field" (which was nicely creepy.


First off, you would think the Doctor would wonder why he was there in the first place. It's been well established that the TARDIS often takes him where he's needed (as in, she flat-out told him in amazing "Doctor's Wife"). However, being self-centered and not thinking that the TARDIS might have an opinion on the matter is perfectly in keeping with the Doctor, so I'll let that pass.

Second off, we are meant to believe that the Doctor left Davros to his fate, and that's why Davros became so evil (though considering The War, it's unlikely he would have grown up undamaged regardless). Well and good, even if I don't necessarily like the trend of entertwining the heroes' and the villains' origins, which is all the rage these days (watch, Moffat's Sherlock & Moriarty will have known each other as children. Young Sherlock Holmes gets a pass, shut up). However, we then see the Doctor show up again, with a gun, to make sure Davros doesn't survive this time (or at least that's the impression we're given--it wouldn't be the first time the Doctor has held a gun to him).

And here's where it falls apart. Let's say the Doctor realizes that he made Davros what he is by leaving him alone. He made his choice, and has to live with it. Except now we see he's crossed his own time stream, and is back at the same moment. We're supposed to accept that the Doctor doubles down on his decision, and kills Davros himself, rather than taking the child to safety and hoping that makes the difference? That's a stretch, and gives us the "damaged Doctor" I kind of thought we were done with (10 is the Man Who Regrets, while 11 is the Man Who Forgets, after all).

And then there's the narrative issue of going back to revisit this decision. Waaaaay back in Season 1 of New Who, in Father's Day, it's made very clear that if you make too big a change, Bad Things Happen (as in, extra-dimensional bugs come to eat everything). This is revisited in Waters of Mars. They almost come close to betraying that in the Day of the Doctor, but they make it so it still looks like Gallifrey is destroyed, so they squeak by. Here...if they follow through, and the Doctor kills or saves Davros as a child, there are no Daleks (unless they're invented by someone else, which would be a huge cop-out). This is about as big a change to the series as you can make (and I'm sure the Terry Nation estate would spit blood if it happened :p).

Since I doubt they're going to be that drastic, I'm at a loss as to how they'll resolve the corner they're in. Again, because it's Moffat, I expect a disappointing resolution that doesn't really work but seems cool on first viewing (ie, how he wrote out Amy & Rory).

Also, can we accept that death is pretty much meaningless now in this show? Even if they don't reset the timeline you know Missy is coming back. And we all know Clare is around for the whole season. And the TARDIS. This might have had more of an impact at the end of a season, when things are more uncertain, rather than the start, is all I'm saying.

I really did enjoy the episode, as much as I'm picking at it, btw. It just doesn't hold up very well if you think about it. Then again, maybe Moffat will surprise me with a resolution that actually pays off the high stakes they've set up. :p


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 21st, 2015 12:51 am (UTC)
I think you might have a problem... this Dr. Who addiction can be serious stuff!
Sep. 21st, 2015 02:50 am (UTC)
Oh, it's far too late for me--save yourself!
Sep. 21st, 2015 03:02 am (UTC)
I've just accepted that Doctor Who is never going to make any fucking sense as long as Moffat is writing it.

Missy was awesome though. It would be criminal not to use her again.
Sep. 21st, 2015 10:49 am (UTC)
The end of Amy and Rory's storyline didn't even hold up on the first watch. :p That season got away with some truly horrendous storytelling on the strength of the characters (and even now when they reshow them, I remember how much I really liked A&R and how they seemed like real people, even if a lot of the narrative was shit).

Missy was the absolute best thing about this episode. Her particular brand of insanity is exquisite.

Like you, I think the question itself is a good one, and the effect when Davros showed the Doctor all his past selves dealing with this same topic. But yeah, I'm not sure how they're going to resolve it; I don't think he can kill Davros because the universe doesn't work that way (not to mention the character) but will it be good, or will it be lame? WE SHALL SEE.

I do also quite like when they drive home that the Doctor is a very ancient alien. Like giving Missy, instead of Clara, the confession dial, and the line about the bow tie and the long scarf.

Anyway, I missed a lot of last season because it was boring, but this seems off to a good start, so I guess we'll see how it goes!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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