Timey Wimey Talk: ‘Doctor Who’ Series 9 Episode 2 ‘The Witch’s Familiar’
Well another week and another stellar episode of Doctor Who.
It obviously came as no big shock to anyone that Clara and Missy were still alive thanks to some slick redirection of energy from the Dalek lasers. Credit to the writers on this one by coating the explanation with a story of how the Doctor escaped a similar situation. Aside from being a cool little narrative (the sequence where the doctor goes through a dark hall changing really worked) it made the deus ex machina easier to swallow.
Clara and Missy’s team up was quite an interesting dynamic. We knew Clara’s motives were clear–find The Doctor and get the Hell out, but Missy’s seemed ambiguous. Obviously Missy wants The Doctor too, but to save him or manipulate him? Clara clearly means nothing to him as she later tries to get The Doctor to destroy Clara when she’s trapped in the Dalek. The sewer/graveyard the two of them traversed was fairly disgusting, but in the midst of their banter did anyone else notice Missy mentioned she had a daughter? I feel that’s significant and she will probably show up later in the season. (Perhaps Maisie Williams character?)
While Clara and Missy were wading through the river of Dalek doo doo, The Doctor pow wowed with the head Dalek, Davros. I’m just going to say it, the scenes between Capaldi and Terry Malloy were some of the best in the 50 year history of Doctor Who. Davros in his final death throes becomes a sympathetic character, despite his murderous tendencies. The room he resides in is abysmal. As The Doctor says, “This is where you dump a smelly old Uncle.” Almost seemed like a commentary on elderly care.
Compassion flows from The Doctor. It’s one of the fundamental foundations of his personality–even for his enemies. Davros comments that “It will kill you in the end.” While that remains to be seen, compassion is what draws him to Skaro. He came because Davros asked. Seems more like something you’d do for a best friend rather than a hated enemy. That compassion is also what prevents him from committing mass genocide. Davros gives him the opportunity to rid the Universe of Daleks once and for all….and he rejects it utterly.
Compassion for The Doctor is also what prompts Clara to take the extreme measure of getting inside a Dalek tank in order to get by the Dalek guards. I’m not going to lie, I flipped shit when that moment happened. I thought, “Is this how it happens? Is this how the initial meeting with Matt Smith’s Doctor and Clara comes about?” Despite the fact that Clara gets out of the Dalek tank, it did interface with her brain, so I’m suspecting that the residual effects of that interaction will remain with that Dalek, and connect directly to The Doctor and Clara’s first encounter.
The most significant question raised by Davros, is one that Doctor Who fans have asked for years–Why did the Doctor run? And hey let’s call a spade a spade, he’s still running. It’s for damn sure not because he was bored as he said. It’s also a question that doesn’t bear out a concrete answer. It’s an answer we may never get. In any event fans already kind of know. The Doctor was running from his past, from the tragic events of the Time War, and the part he played in it. Except now we know that Gallifrey is still out there and his people are alive.
In the midst of Davros’ final moments I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more moving moment between The Doctor and his most hated enemy. To see Davros crying in joy that The Doctor’s people are still alive, to see him advise The Doctor to “take care of his own”, to see Davros actually CRY–man if that didn’t make you emotional as a fan you have no soul.
We have that emotional moment ripped asunder when Davros “tricks” The Doctor into giving Davros some of his regeneration energy to ostensibly see one final sunrise. Instead the machine traps The Doctor, gives Davros new life, and infuses the Dalek’s with more energy. This sets up a goodly amount of Dalek episodes in the future. It also raises questions: do the Daleks now have regenerative powers? Does this affect The Doctor long-term physically? Who or what is the supposed hybrid Davros’ mentions from the Gallifreyan prophecy? And maybe most importantly, now that the Daleks are resurgent and Gallifrey is somewhere out there in the Universe, will the Time War begin anew?
Of course in true Doctor fashion, he knew all along that Davros would try to trick him, so in addition to increasing the power of Daleks, he unleashed the power of the sewer Daleks allowing Clara and him to escape. AND OH MY GOD THE DOCTOR NOW HAS SONIC SUNGLASSES!!! So cool. Google must be ecstatic.
Even though Clara and The Doctor escape it’s unclear whether Missy does. Although I can’t imagine she doesn’t. Especially when she’s confronted by Daleks and has some type of epiphany. I wonder if now that the Daleks possess a bit of regenerative energy inside them, perhaps Missy can control them. Maybe she will become the new Davros.
This episode really sets up a lot of things for the rest of the season. Perhaps even for several seasons. And what exactly is the significance of The Doctor saving Davros as a child? Was he meant to do that all along. Will it change events in the future? I feel like Jim Carrey in Batman Forever, “Too many questions!”
All I know right now is that Series 9 is two for two and everyone better buckle up because this roller coaster hasn’t even hit the loop the loop yet.
On a scale of 0 to 10 Sonic Screwdrivers–err Sunglasses this episode rates at 10
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