Doctor Who : The Witches Familiar
The very first thing that this episode told us was that Missy and Clara were not dead and had in fact materialised back onto the surface of Skaro. This was explained in a rather amusing little scene where Missy tells Clara a story about the Doctor so that she could work out why they weren’t in fact dead and when Clara worked out that she was very proud of herself.
Not that the Doctor was aware that Clara hadn’t died when she was seemingly exterminated in the first episode as was made abundantly clear in this episode.
One of the best sequences in the episode was when the Doctor basically nicked Davros’ chair and went to the Dalek control room in it and basically took the piss until Davros with the help of Colony Sarf was able to put a stop to his antics, but it was certainly fun while it lasted and Capaldi looked like he was having a whale of a time buzzing around in the bottom half of a Dalek which, I have to admit, would be pretty cool. Davros did look a little bit pathetic though lying on the ground without his chair.
The superb interplay between Missy and Clara continued in this episode and she behaved in a very Master like fashion by using Clara as bait without a moments hesitation, and then by locking her inside a Dalek housing and making her pretend to be a Dalek which scared Clara shitless, as it would do if you were trapped in something so claustrophobic.
We also got to learn that whatever Clara said wasn’t necessarily what came out through the Dalek speakers such as the Dalek saying she was a Dalek when she was telling them her name was Clara, or that emotional responses control the weapon systems and to open the casing simply think open.
There certainly seemes to be a great deal of room inside a Dalek enough for a small human to fit inside which is odd when you consider that the creatures inside them are not exactly large and not humanoid either.
Having said that they couldn’t have got Clara inside one if there wasn’t enought room, although Missy would probably have found a way to get her in there!
There were also some interesting ideas in this episode such as what happens to Daleks when they start to fall apart which we certainly hadn’t heard of before this episode but which proved to a very integral part of the denouement of the episode.
It was nice to see the corridors of Skara first seen in The Daleks more than fifty years ago, and it was also nice to see loads and loads of different Daleks, including the special weapons Dalek amongst others.
Julian Bleach was excellent at Davros in this episode and dare I say is actually a better Davros than Michael Wisher after his performance in this episode which is much more nuanced than his previous turn was.
He really had me convinced in those scenes when he was virtually pleading with the Doctor that he might have turned over a new leaf and I actually felt sorry for him at the moment.
Yes, I felt sorry for Davros, which was a odd feeling to have but he really convinced me. Then he turned it around and was back to his malicious and evil best when he thought that he had the Doctor.
It could be argued that the Doctor let himself be led along that path a bit to easily but, I reckon, that the Doctor was probably planning that all along to make Davros think that he had the upper hand over him even if just for a brief moment.
The final scene which answered the previous episode cliffhanger was a little bit surprising but in the context of the episodes and some of the scenes between the two of them probably not that out of context for the episode itself. Certainly the Doctor walking into the distance hand in hand with Davros is not an image anyone thought that they would see!
This episode was a lot of fun but I do think that a lot of it only worked for the die hard fans as I am not too sure that you would have got much out of it if you hadn’t watched the show for a long time and it would have been totally confusing if you had come to this episode as a complete newbie.
That is the only real criticism I have of this pair of episodes as I throughly enjoyed them and the series goes from strength to strength, which is nice to see!