Devious Davros, tricksy Missy and Dalek Clara delight in The Witch's Familiar
But please ditch the sonic sunglasses, Doc!
As Missy says in the opening scene “it’s a classic”. After last week’s cliffhanger, The Witch's Familiar sees the Doctor alone, sans the TARDIS and surrounded by Daleks.
Missy and Clara are predictably fine. Michelle Gomez (Missy) is on form again, hopping around like a demented Mary Poppins with a pointy stick. And she makes better use of Clara than the Doctor ever has: shoving her down a hole, using her as bait and finally plonking her into a Dalek carcass – something the impossible girl should know all about.
While Missy and Clara gallivant around Skaro, those hoping for more action from the Doctor will be disappointed as he spends most of the second instalment of this opener sitting around talking to Davros. Again.
Doctor Who, Season 9, Episode 2 – The Witch's Familiar. Pic credit: BBC
While it is not implausible that Darovs and the Doctor would become friends in the Dalek creator’s final hours, the switch-switchy-switcheroo is a bit far-fetched. If the Doctor knows the sewers will rise up, then why dosen’t he just hook himself up to the Dalek network straight away?
Of course, that would have cost viewers the silly, but amusing “arm and a leg” joke in an episode that was light on humour. Perhaps writer Steven Moffat exhausted his bad jokes arsenal in last week’s Bill and Ted moments.
Missy’s attempts to get Clara killed are much applauded by this reviewer, but a season wherein a devastated Doctor is tormented by having killed his companion might be a little too dark for most tastes. Instead we get the moral lesson of the day: mercy. OF COURSE the Doctor didn’t kill a small boy in a minefield. Hands up who thought he would.
The Doctor begins this episode all alone and surrounded by Daleks, and that’s exactly how Missy ends it. While the Doctor always assumes he will win, Missy is most certainly convinced to the bottom of both her hearts that she will, and more prosaically, she is far too good a character to kill off.
But before we hail this opening two-parter a success, there is one horror that must be addressed. Sonic sunglasses. Seriously! Sonic bloody sunglasses?! Wearables aren’t even a good idea in real life and they certainly have no place in Doctor Who.
The BBC’s marketing department may be to blame for such atrocities as Smarties-coloured Daleks, but taking the Doctor’s screwdriver is unforgivable.
Let’s hope someone realises that before the next episode. ®