WARNING! SPOILERS: This post contains spoilers and speculation for the Doctor Who series nine episode “The Magician's Apprentice”.
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.
Lust is desire beyond meaning. It obscures everything but the object of your obsession. In Missy’s case that means a casual disregard for any life that is not useful to playing games with the Doctor. The scene where Missy demonstrates to Clara her contempt for lives she does not consider important is horrifying in its banality. She isn’t angry or vengeful. She simply doesn’t care. She wants the Doctor’s attention and she will do anything to get it.
Davros’ obsession is not for a person but for power. He is the helpless child who is determined never to feel that way again. He decided the universe is a bleak and brutal place and rather than fight against that he seeks to assure its destruction. He shares Missy’s dismissal of anything and anyone that does not further his own agenda. The Doctor offered the child Davros hope and then abandoned him to his fate. While those actions cannot be solely responsible for the man Davros grew up to be they were certainly an influence upon him.