Doctor Who Series 9 Episode 2  – The Witch’s Familiar.

So, a big start to the Series an a double episode that delivered. Very interestingly, being edited together for a Sunday afternoon movie-length rebroadcast.

I enjoyed it immensely, a near perfect balance to the opener in tone and story.

I loved Michelle Gomez and I enjoyed the scrapes she placed Clara in. We had an explaination for the ‘deaths’ in Death in Heaven and The Magician’s Apprentice in terms of turning blast energy into a teleport and it may yet appear again in this series. 

It is a quibble to say that Missy and Clara’s tale ran a little parallel to the meat of the story. We have a few more hints and tips on Missy, we know she’s unhinged and dangerous and we’re left under no illusions about her. Clara was exposed, vulnerable and certainly not the sassy know-it-all ‘super-companion’ that we have seen in other episodes. Putting her in a Dalek was a nice touch. We were teased a little with that one.

Capaldi shone in this episode, the duel with Davros was set up and given plenty of time. Julian Bleach must be praised too for a superb turn. The dialogue crackled, had light and shade and we even got to feel Davros and get a sense of him with ‘his children’. There wasn’t going to be a resolution and indeed, we left Skaro still with questions and the likelihood that The Daleks and Davros will return another day.

The Doctor won, he didn’t change time by saving Davros, but did implant ‘Mercy’ on Davros and the Daleks, which might yet be something the show returns to. 

I questioned whether Davros’ injury might be ‘A fixed point in time’ – I think there’s certainly a question there, but he could have been injured at a later point in the Skaro civil war, he might do it the next day for  all we know.

The Doctor did give away something. He mentioned Gallifrey and its survival. If there is something that the Daleks shouldn’t know, then I’d say it’s that. Davros certainly understood the importance of his home and his people to the Doctor, but, as significantly, the Doctor didn’t answer why he ran from Gallifrey. 

The Time Lord regeneration energy. A new-ish Doctor, a possibility that he could do that, maybe a stretch in some ways, but again, do we ever know the truth about The Doctor?

The energy also fuelled the Daleks. It may have led to the destruction of their city, but are we going to have a mutation of the Daleks with some element of the Time Lords in them, although the doctor seems to have balanced that with ‘Mercy’. What sort of Daleks emerge from Skaro next, a mix of the sewer conscious and the rebalanced Davros?

I don’t believe we’ve resolved what’s between Missy and The Doctor and there’s plenty left to explore. He planned to involve her by using the Confession Dial, was there anything on it amounting to his will? We can only guess at that. Is there a Gallifrey arc to be seen between them? 

She certainly intervened to free The Doctor, but maybe The Doctor had that already figured out. He wasn’t keen on Clara or Missy also being captured by Colony Sarff. Points to muse over, but not really anything like a plot-hole. Saving The Doctor was one thing for Missy, but her cruelty to Clara meant a twisted ending for her, but seemingly trapped on Skaro if she has again avoided a blasted death.

So in all, 9/10. TWF was ideal balance to TMA. The Doctor was in Karn when Sarff was looking for him, it’s possible he could follow him, see Skaro and figure a plan out before the meditation in 1138. We’ve been treated to a few good scenes in terms of visuals and in terms of dialogue and a movement along the story of The Doctor, he faced Davros and won, but did mention Gallifrey even if he planted a seed of Mercy in the future in-show Daleks.

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