The Magician's Apprentice didn't bowl me over, but it made me nod my head in appreciation more times than it made me roll my eyes. I think that's a reasonable way to start the season.
Some of the best scenes for me were, as others have mentioned, Clara and Missy. Clara more than held her own, simply by refusing to be frightened into a standstill by Missy's murderous ways. (From a Doylist perspective, both Coleman and Gomez appeared very assured and comfortable in their roles, more so than the last two episodes of last season.)
The Doctor and Clara ... far more than last season, I felt that they belonged in partnership. I loved Clara's attempt to guilt the Doctor into staying around.
The Doctor himself: Capaldi felt more "Doctor" to me in this first episode than he felt for much of his first season.
There were a couple of tragedies that stuck with me: the UNIT family man who Missy murdered was one, and reminded me - I really dislike the Master. I can appreciate her in all her iterations - I even really get a limited type of kick out of the Roberts Master - but ultimately, this is a creature whose many talents, whose embarrassments of riches, go to waste in a welter of selfish, undisciplined, childishly cruel, impulses. I can feel sorry for her; I can think about what broke and twisted her. I can even smile at her quick tongue and her style. But I don't like her. The Master kills intelligent beings for sport. She's a monster. I have a limited capacity for being charmed by monsters.
The other tragedy: Bors. Was it the snake bite that started a very quick transformation, or was the poor sod dead and didn't know it for a long time?
There were bits of sloppy writing ... why would the Doctor be surprised by the return of his screwdriver - more importantly, why would he act as if he'd just had a major revelation about Davros when he saw the screwdriver, when he was already headed to Davros,, and he'd obviously made the decision to visit Davros based on something he knew? Sloppy.
I liked that the snake theme carried through to the extremely snakey conduits draping Davros. I wasn't all that thrilled with the snake theme, though.
I did appreciate - oh, how I appreciated it - the decision to have Davros played extremely low-key; a dying old man who was definitely not inclined to over the top screeching, a la the end of S04. I liked it back then, but it was a very acquired taste. And I thought this interpretation was much better. I loved the bit about the Daleks being children. That's very true, in terms of the darkest aspects of childhood.
That's what I have right now.
Yes, of course I loved Capaldi on ax! This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/378926.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.