In Review: Doctor Who – The Magicians Apprentice

I loved how the Doctor decided to bring his guitar to an axe fight.

Synopsis: An alien force freezes the Earths skies.

Review: The long wait is over and ‘Doctor Who’ is back and it has returned with a much stronger start than last series, but I’d bet money that the timey wimey plots twists, involving Davros, Daleks and Missy will have fans scratching their heads.

The story of of this episode, which is the first part of two centres on something new, which we learn about the Doctor’s relationship with Davros. But the time travel implications have a similar twist to the Doctor’s relationship with River Song, which adds something very new to the mix, which hopefully will be explained in the second episode or will eventually become clear by the close of the series.

Although I am still a bit disappointed with the whole Missy/Master plot twist from last season. Michelle Gomez continued to excel in the role and I still find her Scottish accent real sexy, but in an exciting dangerous way. In this instance Missy and Clara wind up working together in order to try and help the Doctor, who has pretty much given up all hope and is terribly ashamed of himself for supposedly not living up to his own incredibly high standards.

This story brings a fresh perspective on the do I have the right speech from the classic Tom Baker story ‘Genesis Of The Daleks’, and we even glimpse moments from that classic story as well as other prior encounters between the Doctor and Davros in the episode.

If your a long time fan of ‘Doctor Who’ in that you are aware of the classic stories and actually watched a few. Then this episode certainly rewards you for that. Perhaps the biggest pay off as I slip into spoiler territory is the return of the planet Skarro. The home planet of the Daleks. Which has me wondering if we may end up seeing Gallifrey by the close of this series.

Something else that this episode had was some extremely creepy imagery and ideas. Such as the hand mines that we see in the opening few minutes of the story. I have to wonder at times if Steven Moffat has some sort of dream machine that steals creepy ideas from the minds of frightened children because these hand minds would have seriously has the five year old me scurrying behind the sofa.

We also have lots of great humor. I loved how the Doctor decided to bring his guitar to an axe fight. But listen very carefully to what the Doctor plays on the guitar when he makes his entrance. Its very subtle, but if you have a bit of a musical ear you will soon catch on.

If I have one criticism. I think the use of UNIT in this episode was a little gratuitous Missy and Clara probably could have found the Doctor without them. We can but hope that UNIT gets used again, but in a less gratuitous way in the second part of this story, because it looks like the Doctor is going to need all the help he can get.

Murray Gold’s incidental music for this episode was really well done, but I do wish they’d do something about the music for the opening credits. I still hate it. To much synth. How about we have an opening credits soundtrack that is all rock guitar.

All in and all this is a very strong and dark start for the series. There’s a lot going on here as well as a lot of death.

Roll on next week is all I can say. Hopefully the second half of this story is equally as strong as what we have seen here.

Doctor Who - The Magicians Apprentice
  • Great acting and a strong start
  • The use of UNIT here seemed a little redundant.
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
One Comment
  • Raissa Devereux (@RaissaDevereux)
    20 September 2015 at 2:12 am -

    Putting aside that I wish they’d gone with a different villain for the opener, this was excellent as a jumping off point.

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