'He's trapped in the heart of the dalek empire. He's a prisoner of the creatures who hate him most in the universe." - Missy
I won't go to the trouble of detailing every little aspect of "The Witch's Familiar."If you're reading this chances are you have some knowledge of Doctor Who or you are interested in learning. For the sake or those who are simply curious about the program and whether or not they would enjoy it I will keep things relatively vague for the most part. This episode is an extremely dramatic and surprising thrill ride featuring the daleks, Davros and Missy/the Master. It's an exciting combination of the old and the new which manages to highlight much of what people love about Steven Moffat's writing and Doctor Who in general.
When it comes to two part stories everything comes down to how part 2 builds from and ties up the story and ideas explored in part 1. Moffat knows this. He is a master of his craft who employs misdirection and the feels in order to manipulate whovians and sherlockians alike. A writer such Russell T. Davies would have most likely opted to move from the part 1 cliffhanger to some kind of direct conclusion (likely involving a deus ex machina, not judging just telling it how it is) but Moffat would rather leave us to think on the scene as the rest of the story unfolds before our eyes,
Doctor Who is a franchise rich in story. The writer Neil Gaiman has called it a story machine. The TARDIS can go anywhere and the whoniverse is full of darkness and wonder. It would be difficult to compile a complete list of all the neat little moments in "The Witch's Familiar." Instead I have created a short list of things that really jumped out at me in the episode.
1. The Doctor's new chair.
I still can't decide if this was intentionally used as a metaphor. The Doctor stole Davros's chair and used its protective force field to get the upper hand on the daleks. This is a surprising solution which makes perfect sense given everything we know about Davros and the Doctor. I will say that I am surprised there wasn't a moment where the Doctor looked at a reflection of himself in Davros's chair and had some kind of major revelation about himself.
2. The Dalek Sewers.
This is a neat if kind of gross idea. The sewer daleks reminds me a little bit of Torchwood: Miracle Day. I did not see their return at the end coming.
3. Sonic Shades.
This is very interesting indeed. There has been a significant portion of the fan base expressing opposition to the continued use of the screwdriver lately. The Doctor has parted with his sonic before. These sonic shades could be a way to meet sonic fans and critics halfway. While I love Smith/Capaldi's sonic I must say the glasses are cool. I STRONGLY doubt this will be a permanent change.
4. Davros's eyes.
I can't be the only person who let out an audible gasp when this happened. I'm not sure I exactly understand why Davros never used his natural eyes in any other story but I like the symbolism. I'm curious as to whether or not Moffat will be expanding on this in the future.
5. Davros crying.
When Davros get the feels you know it's serious. Okay, maybe it was all just a show to try and trick the Doctor. I don't think so. Sure that was his goal but it really seemed like he was tapping into some genuine emotion. Davros's primary goal in creating the daleks was to put an end to the thousand year war between his people (the kaleds) and their enemies the thals.
What can I say? She's just so fabulously evil.
7. Dalek Clara, again.
If the image above looks strangely familiar that might be because of the series 7 episode "Asylum of the Daleks". In that story Matt Smith's Doctor first encounters Clara. There's only one problem. It's not Clara. It's a dalek. Well actually it's Clara. It's complicated. It's actually a version of Clara (named Oswin Oswald) created by the Doctor's timeline who was been turned into a dalek. In "The Witch's Familiar" Missy comes up with a plan that conveniently requires Clara lock herself in a dalek shell. Little does Clara realize that Missy doesn't have the most noble intentions. Seriously, just a little bit of critical thinking on Clara's part would have told her that getting into a dead dalek and following Missy's orders was not a great idea. This all leads up to a very emotional scene in which Missy nearly convinces the Doctor to shoot his companion/best friend.
If I was a gambling man I'd say that this won't be the last time Clara sees the inside of dalek armor. Perhaps Moffat is foreshadowing her exit from the show. This could either mean absolutely nothing or be extremely important. You decide!
The Final Verdict
"The Witch's Familiar" is a strong episode with a lot of interesting and original ideas. The cast are all wonderful. Michelle Gomez and Julian Bleach really shine as Missy and Davros respectively. Clara is probably going to get turned into a dalek again. Maybe not.
I hope you've enjoyed wasting your time like this. If you haven't tell no one. If you have any thoughts about the episode, Doctor Who in general or you just want to flirt you can comment bellow. Remember to avoid sudden death. Please go away now.