Doctor Who – Series 9, Episode 2: “The Witch’s Familiar”

My “review” of this one is really just taking the form of a train of thought.

  • Yep, no messing around – we all know Missy and Clara didn’t die, so they might as well show us right away.
  • I like how in Missy’s storytelling, she just uses the current Doctor incarnation for convenience purposes even though it couldn’t actually have been that one.
  • Good job tying in the teleport to Missy’s apparent death at the end of Series 8, though many of us thought that was a teleport anyway – although, how exactly did Missy do it for Clara when she was already gone?
  • “Why does the Doctor survive?” Because if he really died, the show would be over? Until he was conveniently brought back?
  • Missy is ready to take on the might of the Daleks with a pointy stick – once again, she has a moment of sounding more like the Doctor than the Master.
  • I really loved seeing Missy and Clara’s interactions when they’re alone together, and how much Missy enjoys tormenting the poor human girl. Maybe there should be a Missy & Clara spinoff series.
  • Was that a Special Weapons Dalek from Remembrance of the Daleks?
  • “I’m the Doctor, just accept it.” And to Davros: “You keep not dying.” These two episodes have been displaying astonishing self-awareness.
  • The concept of the Dalek sewers is a good one. The idea of Daleks aging but never dying until they just disintegrate into still-living sludge really conveys how wrong and unnatural their existence is. Plus that death scene for the Dalek guard – one of the few times I’ve felt sorry for a Dalek.
  • Missy does have her moments in this episode where she’s more reserved and nastily manipulative and more like the typical Master – but she still balances it off with her own special insanity.
  • If the Daleks feel respect for Davros, why did they turn on him at the end of Genesis of the Daleks? Unless Davros added that factor later? Maybe when he says he was unable to eliminate the design flaw, he means he couldn’t avoid adding it?
  • The Doctor being tempted to take hold of the cables and finish the Daleks feels like yet another callback to Genesis.
  • Julian Bleach’s performance as Davros here is very chilling – though in some ways, it doesn’t feel quite right. Davros is too quiet; he doesn’t yell nearly as much as usual here, if at all. Guess he really is sick.
  • The idea of a human hiding inside a Dalek, which dates all the way back to the Daleks’ first appearance, is back – and it brings back terrible memories of Clara/Oswin’s first appearance on the show. No doubt the Doctor feels the same way when he sees Clara, though he doesn’t make a big thing about it. Plus I like how the Dalek translator works, though it reminded me a little of Stewie’s Peter-bot in Family Guy. (“Pardon me, you with the severe aesthetic deficiencies.” “Hey, ugly!”)
  • This episode manages to do quite a lot in a relatively small number of settings.
  • The scenes with the Doctor and Davros were really giving me a lot of food for thought. Would the Doctor’s compassion really stretch so far as to help Davros? Is it understandable for Davros to suddenly be unsure about his decisions given that he’s dying? How come Davros is suddenly able to open his eyes? These scenes were well-acted and powerful, but a tad confusing – so it did simplify things quite a bit to know that they were actually playing each other.
  • The Doctor seems to have as much control over his “regeneration energy” as the plot requires at any one time.
  • The scene where the Doctor almost kills Clara in the Dalek – that was really horrible. In a good way.
  • It’s a good twist that the cliffhanger at the end of the first episode is actually resolved at the end of this one. Moffat’s attempts to be clever don’t always pay off, but they do here.

I enjoyed this episode more than the first part – quite minimalist in some ways, with great acting, writing, and story twists. Rating: 4.5/5.


About velociraptor256

Hi, my name's Richard. I created this blog to talk about my interests - and I have quite a few of those. I love zoology in general, herpetology in particular (especially snakes!), writing (have won National Novel Writing Month nine times so far), reading, astronomy, palaeontology, and travel. Thank you for coming to my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you here!
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One Response to Doctor Who – Series 9, Episode 2: “The Witch’s Familiar”

  1. Screensage says:

    I don’t know why, but I just don’t like Missy. She felt out of place in these two episodes. This episode would have benefited from just focusing on the Doctor and Davros (which was the best part of both episodes in my opinion).

    Seeing Missy and Clara work together was interesting, but honestly the opening of this episode felt it didn’t blend well tonally with the overall story.

    Also does the Doctor now only have 11 regenerations left? It’s a question that will spark debate for quite awhile


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