How you feel about “The Magician’s Apprentice” depends upon whether you buy into the central conceit. Is the Doctor responsible for the rise of the Daleks? His first foray into series nine raises a philosophical question that was last brought up, though never fully explored, in the series six episode “Let’s Kill Hitler”. If you had the means to prevent a great evil from happening by destroying the perpetrator in childhood should you or would you do so?
The Doctor elects to deal with this issue by not dealing with it. He runs away. He’s already given the child Davros, future creator of the Daleks, the means to save himself. But he doesn’t stick around to offer more encouragement or assistance. Does this abandonment play a major part in warping the psyche of an individual who upon the eve of his death shows no remorse for his role in destroying countless lives?
Steven Moffat’s “Magician’s Apprentice” is a masterful beginning to series nine with an intriguing twist to the Dalek’s origin story. Davros may be well acquainted with the seven deadly sins but he perhaps has not sinned alone.