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YMMV / Doctor Who S35 E1 "The Magician's Apprentice"

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  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • A lot of people thought that Clara kissing Jane Austen (and being very happy about it) is a way to make up for the "Nina was just a phase" joke in "Asylum of the Daleks", after the equally questionable attempt at a save in "Clara and the TARDIS".
    • The "New Paradigm" Daleks are conspicuous by their total absence, with only "Classic" and RTD-era models showing up.
    • The Special Weapons Dalek is not just brought back as a piece of background scenery this time, but totally functional. Not only that, but we get to see it talking and lighting up for the first time ever (many fans correctly guesses that the little ventilation slots on the sides of its doom were actually its version of the Dalek ear lamp lights), and Nick Briggs even went to the trouble of giving it a "big, beefy voice".
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    • The episode is also the beginning of sanding off the rougher edges of the Twelfth Doctor, as making him more grumpy and unlikable in Series 8 didn't really work out. First time we see The Doctor in this episode he's trying to save a child from death, and second time we see him he's playing a guitar, cracking jokes, and being affectionate with Clara. Much better!
  • Continuity Lockout: If you hadn't seen the online minisode "The Night of the Doctor" you'll probably have no clue who Ohila is.
  • Fanfic Fuel: With regards to the end of this series, how exactly did the Doctor and Clara go from best friends to something undefinable?
  • Foe Yay: As if the Doctor/Master relationship wasn't already rife with tension, we now have Missy sent a "last will" of the Doctor's that is meant for "his best friend" and openly talking about how great they are together. Missy even looks rather put out when the Doctor calls Davros his greatest enemy, threatening to scratch Davros's eye out. That said, she also seems to rule out the human version of romance, considering a Time Lord friendship to be above such "animal" unpleasantness.
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  • Ho Yay: A throwaway reference by Clara to Jane Austen being "a phenomenal kisser" led to speculation in fandom that the character was bisexual. The flames of this were fanned further by additional references to Austen and another female character (Ashildr) later in the season that teased this aspect.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Tons of it. The child tells us his name. Missy's grand return, even if it's not like we didn't know she wouldn't stay dead. Missy casually vaporizing people, still clearly holding all the cards even if eight snipers are trained on her. Davros's return. The reveal of just where they are. The possibility that the Doctor will willingly kill a child. Even the fact the Doctor is now prone to making bad jokes, hugs and flirting with Clara. This has many moments of the caliber of the single moment that puts the wham into most Wham Episodes.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Killing Clara, Missy, and the TARDIS in the series' opener? Yeah, the suspense isn't for that, it's for how they'll get out of it and how the Doctor will react (see below for that).
      • Although Jenna Coleman officially announced her departure from the show exactly a week before this episode was set to air, by that point there had been tons of promos, interviews, and episode summaries regarding the remainder of the season confirming that Clara would live to see another least through "Face the Raven", anyway. (The first half of the season finale, on the other hand, won't have anyone but the Doctor...)
    • The Doctor willingly murdering a child, even if it's Davros? Nope. Putting aside the huge paradoxical mess that would be, the Doctor can't stand to see children die, much less be a reason for their death, as the Time War's ultimate resolution proved — and the reason he's ready to die now is because of his guilt over abandoning Davros to begin with and the resultant tragedy of the Daleks. There's also the meta issue of the fate of a multi-million dollar family-friendly franchise about to appear in LEGO Dimensions: As Blogtor Who put it, "Join us next week, by which time we'll have found out if the Doctor really is about to murder a child in cold blood on primetime BBC1, for more in-depth analysis." Again, the real cliffhanger is how he will remain on the side of good. (Also: He says he's saving a "friend", not "friends". The prequel shorts reveal that he actually regards Davros, at least that scared boy Davros, as such.)
    • The Doctor's having The Last Dance because he believes he's going to die for good. Well, Peter Capaldi hasn't said he's leaving the show, so that ain't gonna happen.
    • Honestly, even if his shriveled-up potato of a body is finally falling apart, does anyone really think Davros's Joker Immunity is being subverted for keeps? At most, something like Brain Uploading seems very likely for the ultimate survival-obsessed narcissist. And even if the Doctor has the chance to eliminate the Daleks, they'll probably come out of all this just fine too, if perhaps altered in some way.
  • Narm: Having your hands tied by snakes is just a touch silly, and the Doctor's breakdown over Clara's death is hard to take seriously when it's obvious she'll come back (from our perspective of course; the Doctor couldn't know this having not had access in-universe to Jenna Coleman's contract). Also, the way Colony Sarff glides around led to jokes that he was on roller skates or a segway before him being a snake colony was revealed.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Hand-Mines.
  • Padding: We spend rather longer watching Colony Sarff trying to find the Doctor than we really needed. Makes for some nice Continuity Porn, though. (In fact, there is so much to the Sarff tangent that one entire segment was cut from the episode and released separately as a prologue.)
    • The Doctor's medieval concert also lasts a bit longer than it probably should, though this is probably more due to the The Cast Showoff factor.
  • Stock Footage Failure: A subtle one — People from the West Coast of the US know right off that the shot of La Cienega Blvd (near LAX) as shown in the faux news report segment is from almost a decade ago. The sign in the lower right-hand corner (shared with a Ralph's supermarket) advertises Long's Drugs, a pharmacy chain that was bought by CVS circa 2008.

Example of: