I know some of you have been waiting for my words of ‘wisdom’ (HA!) but . . .
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write about the first episode of Season 9. For a while I tried to convince myself that because this season is essentially 6 x 2-parters, I should probably wait until each full story has passed, but no . . . that’s not it.
Do want to know what it is?
Apprehension, that’s what.
I mean, that episode, that glorious, glorious episode; I have rarely seen a single episode of any TV show that promises so much . . . if episode two doesn’t live up to it, it’s going to be a crashing disappointment.
But I am getting ahead of myself?
Yeah, probably. I’m just aware of how many times the ball was dropped last season; we had some breathtaking openings to episodes that petered and farted themselves out of any kind of serious consideration. I don’t want that to happen here because, as I said . . .
The pre-credits sequence – the planet being Skaro came as no surprise. The misty desert, the mix of tech? This had to be pre-Genesis of the Daleks. So . . . that kid was too important to not be Davros. Nothing here came as a genuine surprise, but it was still wonderfully done: the hand mines, the sonic tunnel, the look of horror on the Doctor’s face. Beautiful. As soon as the magic word “Davros” was spoken, *that* monologue, played out in my mind, as it did in the Doctor’s. A stunning piece of identification/empathy.
Missy’s return was a thing of pure joy, from the “Not dead. Back. Big surprise” opener – saving us all from a tedious explanation of her escape at the end of “Death In Heaven” – to the audacious planes frozen in time schtick – “I know how you humans burn” being particularly chilling – and the arbitrary deaths . . . this was strangely wonderful.
The three leads are practically perfect in every way <smirk> and just gel as a team perfectly; I can’t possibly complain about that, in fact as far as this episode is concerned, I can’t really complain about anything . . . well . . . maybe the Shadow Proclamation, but I’ve never been convinced by them.
Everything about this episode said . . . wait . . . no . . . everything about this episode shouted from the rooftops “EPIC EPIC EPIC!!!!!!!”
And that’s what worries me.
Can part two possibly live up to part one?
Can the return of Skaro, supposedly destroyed in “Remembrance of the Daleks” and removed from time in The Time Wars, be clue to the return of another planet… I mean, we know it’s out there . . .
Can the Doctor’s pleading make any difference to Davros?
Can The Doctor really go back and destroy Davros?
Is that a paradox that signals the return of the Timelords? (No daleks, no time war, no exiled planet)
Will that – uh-oh – trigger a visit from the reapers?
And what about Clara and Missy’s ‘destruction’ at the hands of the daleks? Do those fast and dirty time travel doo-dads have any bearing on their ‘deaths’? They sure as hell didn’t die like any dalek death I’ve ever seen . . .
And what the hell was that snake guy about?
See, it’s marvellous that it’s had this effect on me. I mean, utterly marvellous. I’ve not felt this excited by Doctor Who for a long time. It’s big, brash, audacious, a little bit silly, scary . . . everything it should be.
But I can’t quite let myself enjoy it. I really don’t want to be let down.
I really don’t want to be let down so much that I’ve watched it four times so far.
I’m complex. So sue me.
What is interesting, though, is that it’s slowly moving away from tea time family viewing. Part of that is probably because of Strictly, but it does seem to give the makers license to be a little bit more . . . sticky. I mean those hand mines were horrific. I got the shivers off those things! The cold blooded killings of those UNIT guys along with discussions about their families was really unpleasant. We know the Master – oops . . . Missy – does these things, but something so brazen and callous would normally be off-screen. It’s getting very Hinchcliffe around here.
I like it.