Doctor Who is back and to be honest, it’s the most exciting start to a series since The Impossible Astronaut. In fact this is only the second time in new Who that the show has started off with a two parter which is surprisingly a rare thing. The opening scene is one that had been used in the trailer so whilst it wasn’t as impressive as it had been in the trailer, this opening scene is memorable for one simple reason and that is the name of the little boy was Davros. I don’t mind admitting that there were a few goose bumps when this happened. The idea that the Doctor then leaves Davros and effectively creates the Davros is a great one.
The early part of this story had quite a lot of surprising cameos. There are too many to mention but ones that stood out were the Ood, The Judoon, the Hath from The Doctor’s Daughter and that red eyed woman from the Shadow Proclamation. As nice as it was to have more references from the RTD era in the show its not really clear why she was bought back in. The strange gliding figure that was after the Doctor was an impressive creation by Steven Moffat and there was a sense when it was revealed that he was a snake seemed to me to try and banish the memories of the awful snake used in Kinda for those who haven’t bought the DVD of that story with the new CGI effect.
It’s great having Davros back in Doctor Who because there was always something slightly underused about Davros in The Stolen Earth/Journeys End in 2008. Julian Bleach was great as Davros in that story and I am so glad that they managed to get him back in this story. The Davros that we see in this story is not very well and has called the Doctor to him but with the Doctor hiding its not an easy thing. Another big thing is the return of Skaro. There have been several mentions on twitter than they knew that it was Skaro but I didn’t see it coming. The room with all the Daleks was again something used in the trailer but there was one moment when the first Dalek style appeared outside which was a wonderful moment.
I cant believe that I have got this far in the review without mentioning Missy. Missy had been such an integral part of the final two episodes of the previous series that it seemed obvious that she would return but just not quite so soon. What I like about her being bought back is that she seems to have been bought back in as a sort of ally to Clara. There is a bit where Missy points to a couple walking a dog and she says that Clara is the dog is a wonderful way of describing the relationship between the three. There has always been something more about the relationship between the Doctor and Missy/Master than a simple good vs bad style. I like when the Doctor says that Davros is his greatest enemy and it annoys Missy. Michelle Gomez does seem to have reigned it back such a little bit but it’s enough.
There was as much Peter Capaldi as I would have liked but once he eventually appeared in the story properly it was full on bonkers. There has never been a moment that comes close the Doctor entering a room on a tank playing the guitar playing I think the Doctor Who theme. There is no explanation given as to why the Doctor is here but in a way it doesn’t matter because it was mad. Now that it has been confirmed that Jenna Coleman is leaving at the end of the series there seems to be little purpose in pretending that Clara has been killed. At the end of the episode its suggested that she has been exterminated by the Daleks which is clearly not the case.
The cliffhanger is rather good and is the sort of cliffhanger that I would have expected towards the end of the series but to get it in the first episode is something of a surprise. It sees the Doctor go back to Young Davros and is about to exterminate him. Like most things in this episode I didn’t see it coming and thought it was a great way to end what has been one of the best series openers. I do hope that someone in the next episode would be able to explain the purpose of the title of this episode because that is the only aspect of the entire thing that doesn’t quite sit right with me. Despite this, the writing from Steven Moffat is on fine form here. Those that hate his time on the show are now shown to be stupid because the whole episode was action packed and the idea of using Davros’ life as a potential story arc is something that no one else would have thought of.