Doctor Who Review: The Witch’s Familiar

Artwork by Stuart Manning
We were engulfed in a cornucopia of twists and turns, in this week’s episode of Doctor Who. The cliffnotes version of  the second episode of season 9, “The Witch’s Familiar” is; Missy is insane yet strangely endearing, The Doctor enjoys a cuppa, and the Daleks will probably live to fight another day, because, well,they are Daleks!
We left off with the Doctor on Skaro, seemingly in a state of despair, as his closest friend, and latest companion have been exterminated. Okay, let’s cut to the chase, Missy & Clara, not dead, big surprise. Instead of being death blasted, they were transported outside the city by the sadistically effervescent Time Lady. Clara, bound,  is dangling upside down, under the watchful gaze of Missy, nonchalantly whittling a stick for an unknown, yet undeniably important purpose. The next few minutes are full of exposition and many questions are answered, well many teleportation/fake death questions are answered.
The Doctor, assuming that Clara has been exterminated by his mutated foe, decides that his best course of action is to go for a joyride in Davros’ mobility scooter. I’m not sure about you, but playing dodgems with Daleks is not my idea of a good time. The Doctor, being the Doctor, with his last glimmer of hope, demands that Clara be returned to him, alive and unharmed, only for Clara’s untimely demise to be confirmed by the cyborgs. The Doctor’s opportunity for vengeance is ripped away as he is suddenly restrained by the agents of Snake-Face, who had been covertly hiding in the chair.

The Doctor awakens back in the infirmary with Davros, however, not punished, but rewarded for his actions, with the only other chair in Skaro. The confrontation between the nemeses, examines and investigate the major themes of the episode, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, and what it means to be a good man. We also discover that Davros is connected to the Daleks via some tubes, wires and probably a couple of scart connections. He is dying, barely surviving on the energy from his cyborg powered battery.
In the mean time, Missy and Clara trudge through the Dalek sewers, which as it turns out, is full of the congealed remains of fermenting Daleks, except, they’re not quite dead. Lest we forget, Daleks were engineered to survive. Missy skips through the jellified catacombs, stabbing the walls with her pointy stick. Causing the undead creature to destroy a fully fledged Dalek. With not so much of a nod, as an elbow to the ribs to Jenna Coleman’s first appearance, Clara almost willingly encases herself in the leftover Dalek shell. The dynamic duo continue on their way to save the Doctor, as he treats the terminal Davros, as the Time Lord is nothing if not compassionate.
Davros attempts and fails to have a heart to heart to heart with his arch enemy, eventually resigns himself to the fact that he will never see another sunrise, with his own eyes, before his death. The Doctor obliges this last request, only to discover that Davros is far too weak to open his eyes. With moments to spare, the Doctor uses regeneration energy to help Davros’ dying wish. Suddenly, as before, Snake-Face’s agents were hiding amongst the Skaro HDMI cables, trapping the Doctor and draining his regeneration energy in order to revitalise the dying race. Davros and the Dalek’s have been restored by the power of the Doctor.
Unfortunately, every Dalek has been restored, including the forgotten & deteriorated from within the sewers, and the sludge decided to revolt, attacking their caged friends and flattening the city of Skaro. Oh and as it turns out, the Doctor apparently knew the intricacies of Davros’ plan and for some reason, went along with it anyway.
Missy and the Doctor meet Clarek, trapped and unable to communicate who she really is. This was bordering on my favourite part of the episode. The Time Lady tries to convince her friend, that the creature before their eyes, was the very same creature that murdered Clara. The sadistic side of me really wanted the Doctor to destroy his companion. Partially because I like the idea of coming full circle with miss Oswald, arriving as a Dalek, and leaving as a Dalek, and partially because I would love to see the Doctor deal with the weight of those consequences. Long story short, Clarek manages to shout the word “mercy” a word unknown to the Daleks. The Doctor figures out that it’s her, sends Missy away, and they call the Tardis back with sonic sunglasses. Yes Really.
Fan Theory
Missy has been surrounded by Daleks, so unless she lied to Clara, she won’t be able to teleport her way out of this one. The Time Lady has a clever idea, and I have a sneaking suspicion that this idea may just be an alliance with her foe. With Missy as the leader, of course. The sunglasses will lose their charm soon and The Doctor will revert to his trusty screwdriver. Davros now knows that Galifrey still exists and it’s going to be a race against time to find the Doctor’s homeworld? That confession dial is important, I can feel it in my bones!
Answer Me These Questions Three

  1. What will be the Doctor’s personal repercussions for losing a chunk of Time Lord regeneration pixie dust?
  2. Will the rejuvenated sewer Daleks not only annihilate their more mobile kin and hijack their wheels?
  3. Where did the Doctor get that cup of tea?
Final Thoughts
The opening scene sets the dynamic for Missy and Clara throughout the episode, Clara is bound, restricted, Missy on the other hand, is in control, three steps ahead of the game, equal parts sagacious and sadistic. We definitely haven’t seen the end of Davros, he’s like a cockroach. There is something not quite right sitting with me this episode, I’m not sure what though. I definitely enjoyed its predecessor more. Hmm, anyway, I will see you next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel.

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