Doctor Who Spoiler Free Preview: The Magician's Apprentice & The Witch's Familiar
In one week Doctor Who series nine returns to our screens and the anticipation couldn't be higher. Peter Capaldi had a great first year and now the expectation will be on him - and Steven Moffat - to raise the stakes, dramatically speaking. If his journey in series eight was about finding out who his Doctor is, then series nine is about running with that.
Having seen the first two episodes of series nine, the show does that in some style. Chilling, heartbreaking, funny, action-packed and filled with so much good dialogue, you'll be quoting Moffat's opening two-parter for some time. It will be on the fans to judge but for me personally, it was better than anything in series eight and I thought series eight was a real return to form.
The biggest thing to avoid before watching these episodes are spoilers. I won't discuss how big or small they are for fear of giving clues but you'll appreciate going into this episode cold. Besides, the BBC has already released story synopses for both episodes, a trailer and the great prequel video released on Friday, which really does set the scene for big things to come. What I will say is that back in July Peter Capaldi tease that the Doctor will "make a mistake that has cataclysmic repercussions". That wasn't bravado, that was very true.
So what can I tell you? Well I fear to say anything but assuming you have seen the trailers...
Missy. Michelle Gomez was great as a psychotic Mary Poppins in season eight but here she is just phenomenal. It is a miracle that she doesn't steal the show from Capaldi but he has raised his game too. He veers between playful, anguished and everything in between over the course of these two episodes. But Gomez just lights up the screen. Every piece of dialogue is magnificent. And there are some developments that...well I won't say more.
Jenna Coleman is great - though if you haven't liked her before there will be nothing to change your mind in this episode, particularly in the first half of the episode. Those creepy hands rising out of the mud with eyes in their palm, well there are just another brilliant, terrifying Moffat creation as is the mysterious hooded figure seen in all the trailers. It is also another great Dalek story - they might have been overused over the years but between this and Asylum Of The Daleks Moffat has demonstrated that he can do do something new and interesting with a baddie that has been in the show since its very beginning - in fact, there are some nice moments that go all the way back to that first Dalek adventure.
Moffat has talked about starting the series with an end-of-series blow out and it does feel like that in many ways but most importantly it has a doozy of a cliffhanger. We got our first mid-story cliffhanger in a while in Dark Water and with multiple-episode stories this series, that looks set to continue in spectacular fashion. They've been missed and in the ending to The Magician's Apprentice it certainly feels worth the wait.
Both episodes are great and there is sure to be enough to put a smile on your face, old or young. Avoid spoilers and enjoy.