Before you Whovians dive into the new series’ adventures on Saturday, let’s take a trip down memory lane with a recap of the Twelfth Doctor’s first series to refresh your brain buckets!
WARNING: Contains spoilers from series 8!
After Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith quickly underwent his twelfth transformation after being granted a new round of regenerations by the Time Lords following “The Snowmen,” Clara struggled with the drastic change of her “clever boy” into the aged man before her. But in “Deep Breath,” after receiving a phone call from the Eleventh Doctor in the past (timey-wimey stuff, remember) telling her to “help him,” she strapped herself in for some crazy adventures with her old pal with a new face…not unlike the mystery of the dinosaur in Victorian London they had just solved.
The dynamic duo encountered many friends and foes, including Robin Hood, Cybermen, the Paternoster Gang, and eternal menace the Daleks, all while Clara attempted to maintain a somewhat normal existence as a schoolteacher at Coal Hill School and carry on a relationship with colleague and former soldier Danny Pink. But as Clara continued to pursue this double life, Danny became more and more entwined into her life, putting his own past, present and future at risk.
Meanwhile, the acclimatizing Doctor pursued his time-hopping with a fervor free from the guilt of Gallifrey’s destruction. However, many of his excursions began to change and shape his evolving perspective, like his encounter with a “good” Dalek named Rusty in “Into the Dalek,” and a visitation to the Doctor’s childhood while investigating the monster under the bed Clara in “Listen”. Not all of his decisions were good ones though, putting a strain on his companionship with Clara when the Doctor left the decision of blowing up the Moon to Clara and space shuttle captain Lundvik in “Kill the Moon”. But in realizing the extent of the Doctor’s identity crisis, Clara continued traveling with the conflicted Time Lord.
Just on the outside of each adventure laid a mysterious and ethereal place called the Nethersphere, to which every casualty of the Doctor’s recent travels had led to. Overseen by a woman named Missy and her assistant Seb, little was revealed about the location and the odd pair until the final two episodes “Dark Water” and “Death in Heaven,” during which Clara attempted to blackmail the Doctor into changing history when Danny was killed by a car. Through Danny, the duo traveled to the Nethersphere and found themselves amidst an army of disguised Cybermen commanded by Missy, who revealed herself as the Doctor’s long-time rival The Master. However, once the Cybermen began to infiltrate Britain and one that rescues Clara was unveiled as Danny, the Master ceded control of the army to the Doctor. He refused and handed the reins to Danny, who bid his final goodbye to Clara and led the metal men to their destruction.
And while the time travelers seemingly parted ways, they once again came together in “Last Christmas,” during which they fell under the influence of Dream Crabs, resisting the temptations of and fighting the fears within multiple layers of a dream state to once again find reality. After one last dream layer consisting of an elderly Clara was lifted from the Doctor’s consciousness, the Doctor pled with Clara for her returned presence to the TARDIS, an invitation she readily accepted.
To complete your preparation, watch the prologue to “The Magician’s Apprentice” below, and don’t forget to set your timey-wimey device of choice to ring at the right time on Saturday, September 19, to catch the new series on BBC and BBC America! (Check your local listings for airtimes.)