‘Doctor Who’ season 9, episode 1 review: Davros’ return brings back David Tennant – Tom Baker flashbacks

Doctor WhoAren’t the folks over on “Doctor Who” clever? You wonder year in and year out how Steven Moffat and company are going to be able to top themselves, and yet they consistently come out with things that are more and more creative.

Take, for example, our season 9 premiere “The Magician’s Apprentice.” We knew that the return of Davros, claiming to be on his last breath, would lead to insanity. Who knew it would lead to this much chaos? The Doctor found himself trapped and surrounding by Daleks thanks to his creator; not only that, but we also saw some of the most important people in his life company decimated. One way or another, Missy has been a key part of his life for so long, he may not imagine the universe without her; yet, we saw her taken on by the Daleks, and then the same goes for Clara.

As for whether or not we personally believe either one of these characters to be truly gone, the answer to that is a clear no. We know that Jenna Coleman is departing, but the show wouldn’t take her from us this quickly! What this premiere serves as more than anything else is a setup to the craziness in the second episode, which will be the Doctor figuring out how to escape this possible situation while wrestling with his personal responsibility. He has allowed Davros to be for one reason or another (maybe compassion?), and that has led to him being in this position.

While brief, can we also give a quick toast to the brief David Tennant and Tom Baker references in the episode? We’re always down for a little nostalgia in a premiere.

“The Magician’s Apprentice” probably did not have the magic of some “Doctor Who” episodes in seasons past, but it was a step ahead in terms of action and storytelling compared to the super-muddy season 8 premiere. It was fun, and set the course for a season that will probably blow by faster than a trip in the Tardis would to any fan. Grade: B+.

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