In the conclusion of the story we find that not all wizards are as nice as the ones we’ve become accustomed to. Nathaniel Nightjar, played by Cyril Nri (familiar to Sarah Jane Adventures fans as The Shopkeeper in the brilliant ‘Lost In Time’) was pretty suave in the previous episode but here his cowardice overcomes, and he tries to bargain with the Nekross (with an intriguing reference to the magic abundant Neverside).
Miranda Fisher makes for a rather bitchy and angry wizard, being decidedly unpleasant to young girl Chloe (the wizard who unknowingly sprung this trap) and gave up Tom’s dad Michael (Michael Higgs) in a heartbeat to her alien captors. A great job from actress Rosie Cavaliero (A Young Doctor’s Notebook) and it’s good to see that, like The Nekross, wizards can be rather nasty too.
Writer Phil Ford also does a fine line in emboldening the emotional resonance of the show, something his co-creator Russell T Davies always did so well in Doctor Who. The friendship between new wizard Chloe and Tom blossoms quite naturally and, by the end, you can’t help but feel gratified the two are together and look set to embark on fun times together.
Of course, this was not to be. In a heart-breaking, not to mention shocking, twist, a happy ending was not on the cards. A stark reminder that the Nekross are an evil bunch intent on feasting on wizards, young Chloe had her magic extracted, thus leaving her as an old woman. The final scenes of Tom waiting for his date, with a lovely score from Sam Watts, are touching and as we see the old Chloe looking on, the evidence of the Nekross brutality is laid bare. It’s harsh for all concerned but an important re-establishing of the Nekross as a real threat, reinforcing the dramatic tension between the two species.
‘100 Wizards’ veers close to being just an average Wizards Vs Aliens adventure (not a bad thing in itself) but with its new wizard Chloe (and her chemistry with Tom), the fleshing out of both Wizardkind and the Nekross, and the genuinely surprising denouement, it pops its head up proudly – making for a top notch series opener.
Aired at 5pm on Tuesday 29 October 2013 on CBBC.
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