Monday, September 28, 2015

My Review of Doctor Who's 9x02: "The Witch's Familiar"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Hettie Macdonald

Davros (to the Doctor): "All Daleks shall drink the blood of Gallifrey."

I was really worried about this one. Not because of Missy, Clara and the TARDIS because they were never in danger in the first place and that was deftly dealt with in this episode but I was worried about Davros. Really worried.

And not because I actually thought for a second that the Doctor was going to kill him because that predictably didn't happen (and a good thing too) but because for one little moment, I actually feared that Davros was going to be redeemed. I mean, seriously, I was never so relieved in my life watching this show when his attempts of showing remorse were revealed to be a front so he could get some Time Lord energy off the Doctor.

Yup, it seems that Davros is actually fine enough - he just wanted to play on the Doctor's compassion to get Time Lord energy as part of some bonkers prophecy to make a Time Lord/Dalek hybrid, because it was so compelling when done in the third series with Dalek/Human DNA. It's not really compelling here either but it's used as a handy plot device in order to make an idiot out of Davros and cause some serious problems for the Daleks on Skaro though.

I did like the imagery of underground Daleks and that they were used as part of the resolution for the latest Dalek problem but what I really liked about this episode was just how evil Davros was in this episode. Sure he had to endure a bit of humiliation (being chucked out his chair by the Doctor and getting his eye scratched by Missy) but his nastiness has never felt more apparent than since Revelation Of The Daleks to be honest. More to the point, Davros has never felt that much in control since that particular serial as well.

I also have to praise the performances between Peter Capaldi and Julian Bleach. As brilliant as they were in the opening episode, both of them really came into their own throughout this one as they mostly interacted with each other. As for the actual cliffhanger of last week, it was the hand mines who got exterminated while the Doctor showed mercy to his enemy - something which has bled into the Daleks in a way.

As for the Clara and Missy segment of the episode, it was there to add some levity to proceedings. Their escape was dealt with in a rather hand waving sort of way while Missy spent a great deal of the episode tying up Clara and putting her in harm's way with every chance she had. I know it's a bit evil but Missy's cruelty towards Clara was a nice way of reminding people that she really is the Master and the fact that she almost tricked the Doctor into killing a Dalek cased Clara at one point was a delicious little moment of extra cruelty.

This episode really did play on the theme of enemies and friends being inside each other beautifully though. The scenes with the Doctor and Davros, Clara and Missy, the Doctor and Missy, Missy and the Daleks and of course, the Doctor and Clara as well during the end of the episode. Speaking of Clara, you really don't have to be genius to suss out that she's not going to make it out of the series alive.

Also in "The Witch's Familiar"

As intriguing as the titles were for these two episodes, did they really tie into what actually happened in either of them?

Clara: "Why am I tied up?"
Missy: "In case there's nothing to hunt."

Interesting cameos from the First and Fourth Doctors in this episode. Not totally needed but interesting nonetheless. More so than Missy maybe having a daughter.

Davros: "You would threaten a dying man? Have I not suffered enough?"
The Doctor: "Get out!"

Doctor (to the Daleks): "I'm the Doctor. Just accept it."

Three things that didn't bother me but apparently bothered others - Davros being chucked out of his chair, Davros opening his eyes and Missy using the word 'bitch'.

Missy (re sharp stick): "Oh poppet, do you really think you would?"
Clara: "First chance I get."

Clara: "What are you doing?"
Missy: "Murdering a Dalek."

I'm going to join the list of people who are hoping that the sonic sunglasses are not a pernament thing. Give him back the screwdriver, Moffat.

Davros: "I'm dying."
The Doctor: "You keep saying that, you keep not dying. Can you give it some welly?"

Missy (to Dalek): "Tell him the bitch is back."

Is it a safe bet to assume that given the outcomes of them both, that Missy and Davros may be a big problem for the Doctor and Clara in the finale?

Davros (to the Doctor): "I wish just once we had been on the same side."

Missy (to Davros): "Can I just say it's been an absolute pleasure to finally meet you?"

The format for Doctor Who Extra this series is a tad crap. Can't they just keep it to 10 minutes instead of breaking it into four parts per episode?

Dalek Supreme: "What is happening?"
The Doctor: "Oh, same old, same old. Just the Doctor and Clara Oswald in the TARDIS."

Chronology: More or less from where The Magician's Apprentice left off.

A very satisfying second episode. I really liked The Witch's Familiar and while there was the odd questionable moment, I do think the episode served it's purpose. It's commentary on the lines between friends and enemies was interesting while reminding us just how lethal both Missy and Davros truly are as antagonists too. Now imagine if those two combined forces.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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