Doctor Who S9E1 - "The Magician's Apprentice" Recap

A battle is underway in an unknown war. A boy gets trapped in a field of "handmines," which are creatures that are hands with eye that drag their victims underground. The Doctor shows up and tosses his sonic screwdriver to the boy to try to save him, but is shocked when the boy says his name is Davros (the eventual creator of the Daleks).

Some centuries later, an alien creature named Colony Sarff who serves Davros, visits various planets in search of the Doctor. Sarff even visits the headquarters of the Shadow Proclamation, an intergalactic police force, as well as the planet Karn. Sarff has a message for the Doctor, that Davros is dying and that he "knows" and "remembers." Sarff visits Davros, whose condition is worsening rapidly, and delivers the bad news that he has not found the Doctor. Davros still possesses the Doctor's sonic screwdriver, and pushes Sarff to track down the Doctor's friends in the hopes that they will be able to help track him down.

Clara is teaching her class when she notices that a plane is frozen in the sky. As is turns out, planes worldwide are frozen in place. She is summoned to the Tower of London by UNIT to try to get hold of the Doctor. She also learns that the planes haven't stopped but are frozen in time, thus no one on board can be contacted. UNIT receives a message on a channel specifically created for the Doctor to use but the message is actually from Missy.

Clara goes to meet Missy at an open-air café, who admits to freezing the planes due to her pressing need to contact the Doctor. Missy shows Clara the Doctor's confession dial, which is the Time Lord equivalent to a last will and testament. They are typically delivered on the day prior to a Time Lord's death and had been sent directly to Missy, not Clara. Missy believes that this means that the Doctor believes he only has one day to live and she is concerned for him, believing him to be her friend albeit one with whom she has an immensely complicated relationship with.

Missy and Clara track the Doctor down to Essex in the year 1138 where the Doctor has spent the last three weeks "partying," and bringing forth a number of items out of place in that time period, including an electric guitar, tank, and fish. The Doctor is reunited with Missy and Clara but then Sarff appears, having followed the women. He reveals that he is a colony creature made up of one large snake plus several smaller ones, though he normally wears a robe to take on a more humanoid appearance. Sarff threatens the safety of everyone in the arena but the Doctor shuts his threats down, prompting Sarff to deliver Davros' message and returns the sonic screwdriver.

It's revealed through flashbacks that the Doctor had abandoned Davros when he was trapped in the handmines. The Doctor feels great shame for his actions and agrees to go with Sarff as his prisoner, despite Missy and Clara's objections, though they insist on coming along as prisoners too. Bors, the medieval man with whom the Doctor had been interacting, is revealed to be a Dalek puppet and procures the Doctor's TARDIS for the Daleks.

Sarff brings the prisoners to a space station, the Doctor is brought forth to Davros. Missy tells Clara that there's something off with the gravity and it doesn't feel artificial the way it would on a space station. They step outside and find they are on a planet and the Doctor begins to figure the same thing out as them: that they are on Skaro, the home planet of the Daleks.

Missy and Clara are captured by Daleks and brought to the room where the TARDIS is being kept. The Daleks intend on destroying it and Missy offers to help the Daleks utilise it instead of destroying it but they seemingly exterminate her before doing the same to Clara, though the Doctor had pleaded for her life but Davros says he can't control them. The Doctor expresses remorse for not destroying Davros when he had the chance and the loss of his friends. Davros wants the Doctor to admit that his greatest indulgence, compassion, is wrong.

Finally, we see the Doctor once again at the handmine field and meeting young Davros, who asks if the Doctor will save him. The Doctor says he will save his friend the only way he can, "Exterminate," while aiming a Dalek gun at young Davros.

Doctor Who airs on Saturdays on BBC One at 9PM.


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