Doctor Who – The Witch’s Familiar

What day is it? It’s Doctor Who Eve! At least it was when I started writing this post. It may well become long and unwieldy enough that I flail and run away and finish it on Saturday morning instead. In which case it is an even MORE exciting day: Doctor Who Day. (Actually it’s Sunday when I’m finishing this up and posting, since yesterday I had the joy of a migraine and MISSED DOCTOR WHO. I know, the horror, but the prospect of a long lie in a dark room was quite significantly less painful.)

But for now, let us revisit last week’s rather spiffy The Witch’s Familiar (spoilers, obviously, lots and lots):

      • Ah, a disorientating opening; THIS ISN’T A RESOLUTION TO THE CLIFFHANGER. I do like this direction though, that as we find out what’s going on, Clara stops spinning in dizzy upside-down circles.
      • I can’t think of anything PG-rated to say about Missy sharpening that stick, so I shall just leave it to your clean and shiny imaginations.
      • “Classic” Lols! Oh, fake Tom Baker! And Hartnell! Smashing.
      • Invisible android assassins, ha! Bet that was good for the budget.
      • “I might have to go hunting…there might be nothing to hunt.” There is so much goodness, there is the line, and the delivery, and the eyes, and the mouth, and the cheekbones, and I love her.
      • The way she tells the story makes me flail: admiration, jealousy, delight, exhiliration, frustration, exasperation. IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT.
      • Another super delightful thing is how much like the Doctor Missy is, and how easily Clara falls into companion mode with her.
      • “Come on, Clara, why don’t you get it yet?” SO DOCTOR, with Missy telling the story, and letting Clara work it out, and she even gets a compliment, of sorts (“not using you as sandwiches now”). I think a part of it is manipulation, and it’s part Missy’s nature; the Master’s always been gregarious, but she’s also a dab hand at using nearby people as bait/distraction/traps.
      • Ah! An explanation for Missy’s survival! Hurrah! And she nicked the idea from the Doctor, lolarious!
      • This bit is wonderful: Missy flailing abt how the Doctor improvised his escape plan, going through thousands of calculations, in less than a second, while Missy’s fake death/escape was something she carefully set up and planned. WHICH IS SO THEM. In my headcanon, when they went to the Academy together, the Doctor was a nightmare student, coasting by, never studying, and so messy; while the Master was a model student, conscientious, precise, and neat.
      • SO SWOT IS THE WRONG WORD. Minor annoyance. The envy is bang on though.
      • “Why does the Doctor always survive?” Interestingly, that seems like a genuine heartfelt question from Missy. That she already knows the answer to.
      • “He’s trapped at the heart of the Dalek Empire….” There’s no way I believe Missy didn’t practise that so she sounded as Doctor-ish as poss.
      • “Can I have a stick too?” “Make your own stick.” Lols!
      • Ah…and now we have opening titles…this is going to be a long post.
      • I do like how its not really a retcon, the Doctor meeting Davros as a child, since it fits in just fine with previously established continuity.
      • “Admit it, you’ve all had this exact nightmare.” I loled, and then I had guilt. Because omg, Doctor, OMG, that is A BIT HORRIFIC WHAT YOU DID THERE.
      • “How much of a drop would you say that is?” This could easily be a cut scene from Twin Dilemma, JUST SAYIN.
      • Where did you get that tea cup? It is A BIT SCARY when telly answers you. Btw, “I’m the Doctor, just accept it,” is a shit answer. I know this is filler, and it’s amusing filler, but I like filler best when it doesn’t do things like “I’m the Doctor, I’m so cool, and oh yeah, better.” Please keep such nonsense to Sherlock, ta kindly.
      • “Mini-tanks” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “little green blobs of hate”
      • Gaahhhh! Oh, there is nothing not perfect about that bit where Missy dares Clara to kill her.
      • Last time I watched this, I was rewriting these scenes in my head to Delgado!Master and Jo (because that is fun, OBVIOUSLY). But the way Gomez just delivered a line – “Daleks don’t make much in the way of waste” – was just so perfectly Doctor, this time I’m pretending she’s a future Doctor incarnation. Yes, this is how I get my kicks. Shusht.
      • The illusion often fails because she emphasises the wrong things, she takes tiny moments of sadistic pleasure, she’s too cruel, and there’s not a moment of compassion, or sympathy, or regret.
      • 42 (minutes)! Drink!
      • I am obv thrilled the Doctor’s holding out hope that Clara’s alive, but I’m also feeling…I am concerned Missy is hurt at the lack of mention regarding her. But then I assume the Doctor would assume of course she survived, because she always does, and yet.
      • Gomez’s expressions – she KILLS ME – the fascination as she listens to the Doctor demand Clara’s return.
      • “Conquest” – wtf is th Doctor conquering, Davros? THE BROADCAST SYSTEM?? Davros is so full of crap. I don’t mind, I quite like it really, just not when anyone pretends the crap isn’t crap *cough*Journey’s End*cough*.
      • “Tonight we entrap a Time Lord.” OH I MISSED THAT! And I’ve already seen this twice. Ahem. *shame*
      • Clara falls into trusting MIssy, AGAIN, and it doesn’t feel like she’s being an idiot. Which is lovely. Because she does need Missy. And also I like it so much when they are being a team, why is Clara and Missy not the spinoff?
      • And Missy is…right? Kind off? I mean the Doctor would have explained and asked, or made himself the bait, but it’s a plan he would probably basically go for.
      • “The Doctor gave it to me when my daughter…” Ahhhh! And why not? We know the Doctor’s had children.
      • And Missy telling Clara what to do and the “yes you can, yes you can” almost reassuring her that, yes, this plan will work, do your bit, human pet! And she does and it works and it’s horrible…maybe the Doctor wouldn’t go for exactly this idea…but so beautifully dysfunctional Doctor/companion, Time Lord/human relationship, ah! And she not only saves Clara, but shields her with her own body. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY BORING DAVROS SCENES.
      • Sorry, Julian Bleach is v good, and Capaldi is perfect, obv, it’s just…putting good scenes next to scenes that make me go OMG OMG ILU, does not lead me to being fair abt the good scenes.
      • Davros makes a joke about chairs! He does have a warped sense of humour, cf Revelation, dropping a statue on the Doctor’s head.
      • Oooh, look at me cables, Doctor! Closer, closer! ….hang on, this is exactly what Missy just did? Is that deliberate? Is this another subtle clue that Davros is NOT A NICE PERSON that I completely missed first two watches?
      • “Get in.” THE SMILE.
      • “My Daleks are afflicted with a genetic defect…respect.” When did THAT happen? See, Doctor meeting Davros as a child, I have NO PROBS with continuity-wise. Daleks giving a fuck about their creator? A design flaw Davros couldn’t eliminate? WHAT IS THIS???
      • Actually, why is this bothering me? Occam’s Razor: he’s lying.
      • It still does bother me though.
      • “Imagine, to hold in your hand the heartbeat of every Dalek on Skaro.” “Why yes,” says Moffat, “I was watching Genesis and I had the BRILLIANT IDEA, of turing that scene around. So this time Davros would check the Doctor’s actually, wait…that’s not right.””Such slaughter, not in self-defence, not as a simple/civil (?) act of war [but] genocide as choice.” Every time I’ve watched this bit I’ve cracked up. Because this is HILARIOUS. See, if Davros had just offered the Doctor a chance at Dalek genocide and this had been coated with that gleam of “ooh, moral dilemma! Opportunity to genoicde the Daleks? Will you take it, Doctor?? Kill, to save milions of innocents?” The answer would be MUCH LOLS. Because the Doctor has genocided the Daleks QUITE A LOT. So, instead, you address that, and Davros does: this isn’t just genocide, this is choosing genocide outside active/[declared?] hositilities. So now we’re in the ridiculous position of MORALLY SLICING UP GENOCIDE. Because there is obviously such a massive difference between committing genocide during war and…committing genocide. I’M SO GLAD WE’VE DECIDED TO MAKE THAT DISTINCTION.
      • The answer, I think, is not to present this kind of situation as any sort of test or challenge to the Doctor’s character. Once, it made sense to. Now, it’s just silly.
      • I like this bit though: “why do you hesitate? No-one would know.” Because Davros does not understand the Doctor.
      • “There’s no such thing as the Doctor; I’m just a bloke in a box.” & “I came because you’re sick, and you asked, and because on a good day, if I try very hard, I’m also that Time Lord who ran away: I’m the Doctor.” AHHH. But this, yes, this is MY Doctor Who, and my Doctor, lots and lots and it makes me v happy.
      • “I wouldn’t die of anything else.” MY DOCTOR.
      • I love how subtle Davros is (I shouldn’t mock, first watch I was DESPAIRING he might be genuine): “Compassion, eh? You’re still big on that then? Sure? Really? And you’re going to rely on that, yeah? Yeah? Really? Wouldn’t mind dying of it at all? No? Right. Good. Okay, so, Doctor, I’m dying (I’ve mentioned that right?)…I’d like to see…just….one….more…sunset…”
      • Ian had waaaaayyyy less trouble driving a Dalek.
      • There’s something super creepy about seeing Clara, of all companions, in a Dalek.
      • Ah, Missy’s complete lack of interest in whether she can even get back out again.
      • And Missy’s laughing, and it is funny, and it is weird, but it quickly becomes really horrifying (which I suppose sums up the Daleks quite well) and is a wonderful explanation of what we know about the Daleks: the deliberate, systematic destruction of words and concepts, so that even if you think them, you can no longer express them, no longer communicate them to others. It’s a particularly nasty vision of the ultimate goals of 1984’s IngSoc.
      • “Why did you leave Gallifrey?” BOREDOM IS A PERFECTLY GOOD ANSWER. “No-one runs the way you have run for so small a reason.” Omg, Davros, WHATEV. How would you know anyway? I am basically UNTHRILLED at the prospect of discovering a DEEP DARK SECRET BIGGER REASON, because I am v against DARKER AND EDGIER because if it’s not DS9 it’s mostly yuck.
      • “The Doctor’s confession.” I hope we never find out, unless it’s something funny, in which case, alright then.
      • “Gallifrey is back.” Ah, words to warm my fannish heart.
      • The best thing about these scenes between Davros and the Doctor is trying to decide how much each one is lying. I don’t believe Davros is happy for the Doctor.
      • Between “compassion grows strong within you” and “let me see you with my own eyes”, I’m getting some serious Return of the Jedi vibes here.
      • HIS EYES ARE CLOSED?! <—– my reaction the first time time I watched the ep. REALLY. I assumed he’d lost them is some attack on the Kaled dome, way back when.
      • But it’s oddly touching, and a wonderfully manipulative gesture, and I totally was buying this, and then he said, “Doctor, tell me…was I right? … Am I good man?” NO. And NO, Davros. OBVIOUSLY. (And, yes, I was still buying it, but I was also FANNISH RAGING, because wtf?) And you KNOW that’s what the Doctor thinks.
      • “You are not a good doctor.” I am quite yay at remembering Davros has a sense of humour, a TERRIBLE one, but still. And the Doctor doesn’t lie to him, doesn’t give him false comfort, (I *really* appreciate these scenes a lot more knowing he’s trying to get the Doctor to grab the wires), and doesn’t let him die.
      • “It is beautiful my world, is it not?” NOT DAVROS. IT’S REALLY NOT.
      • Oh, they made a new one. ALREADY SCARRED AND RUINED. Lovely.
      • But then there is a PERFECT moment (also a moment of MASSIVE RELIEF on first watch) where Davros starts with the EVIL MANIACAL LAUGHTER he’d been holding in. The genius bit though? The bit that I shall gleefully assume is a subtle yet awesome homage to him crushing the imaginary glass before he admits he would do it – he starts to laugh before the Doctor grabs the cable. Less than a second before, and that is just perfect for Davros. Massive kudos.
      • Love Julian Bleach’s manical gloating. It’s so…controlled.
      • “I have to find the Doctor.” Ilu, Missy. I love the “omg, what have you done now?”
      • I’m going to ignore this bit about a Dalek/Time Lord hybrid superwarrior. Because I don’t like prophesies, or chosen ones, or Dalek hybrids, or superwarriors.
      • Also, lols, at anyone thinking “Time Lords = warrior race”. DID BOB HOLMES LIVE AND WRITE IN VAIN??
      • FANNISH FLAIL: MIssy running in and shooting the place up to rescue the Doctor: DELICIOUS AND PERFECT.
      • Actually, I felt definite ennui at the whole “we are renewed and more powerful than ever” on first watch. Remember when that happened in Victory, and we never saw those guys again? Anyway, on rewatch, I get to just sit back, relax, and schadenfreude it up.
      • “I knew exactly what you were doing and I let you do it.” AND gave him the chance not to. Lots of chances not to. And, y’know, did another genoicide. But in that trickstery way of giving Davros exactly what he wanted. Davros just didn’t fully grasp the consequences, which makes sense given he refers to it as “Time Lord magic” instead of according it the scientific respect and study he should have to make sure there wasn’t a bit of a fuck up. (In Rememberance, I think the Doctor is a manipulative jerk; here, I feel like he gave Davros a chance.)
      • The dead rise to consume the living! Ahhh, it’s proper horror, really Lovecraftian, and also feels weirdly fitting: the Daleks are destroyed by their own hate, once again.
      • And excellent foreshadowing via Missy’s stabby Dalek murder.
      • How much is Missy loving being on the Doctor’s side?? QUITE A LOT. Oh, don’t do anything all out evil for the next ten minutes and you might get a TARDIS invite!
      • She poked him in the eye!! And that “Doctor-ah-AHH!” MORE GOMEZ PLEASE.
      • I do love this scene, I do, I do, BUT, Doctor, come on, are you no being a bit thick with the Dalek behaving a mite oddly and NOT SHOOTING QUITE A LOT?
      • Michelle Gomez is perfect. Again. “I’m a hero, Doctor! And compassionate! And I’ve got you all to myself now! Just kill it, for great lolarity….I mean, great justice! And we can run away together!” Oh, she is enjoying it so much, the prospect of hurting the Doctor by getting him to kill his friend; it’s such a pleasure for her, she can’t not do it.
      • Jenna Coleman is fabulous here: her terror, the tears in her eyes, but still keeping control, and then her relief as the casing opens and she can let go a little.
      • GOMEZ’S FACE as Missy half-heartedly tries to bluff it out: twas only a wee joke after all
      • I keep forgetting: Missy chose Clara as the Doctor’s companion; I think that’s part of why they get on so well – Missy picked someone she liked too.
      • “It wasn’t me who ran, Doctor; that was always you.” I wasn’t reading much between the lines there until we recorded last week’s Verity! And now it’s part of a bunch o wee things in this ep that make me hrrrm.
      • “Enemy inside a friend, friend inside an enemy.” Oh, Doctor! Come on, can’t you just admit you’re friends and all have adventures together! It’s not like you actually shot Clara, is it?
      • “Your sewers are revolting!” Mwaha! :D:D
      • HADS! Oh, I’m so easily pleased.
      • I love Peter Capaldi in sunglasses, I do, but I sincerely hope we never ever see those sonic sunglasses again. (I bet the toy manufacturers were THRILLLED to learn the Doctor no longer loves his sonic screwdriver.)
      • “How did a tiny piece of mercy get into the DNA of the Daleks?” Now, what I love most about this is there’s nothing to say that it actually had anything to do with the Doctor saving Davros. It might have done, and the Doctor is a better person for having shown mercy and gone back.
      • In conclusion, that was superb! Absolutely super! Davros was well used, we learned something new about the Daleks, and the scenes with Clara and Missy? Could not be better. Loved it lots. My complaints, such as they are, impacted very little on enjoyment, especially rewatches.
      • I give The Witch’s Familiar eight Daleks dancing.

And now I get to go watch this week’s ep, hurrah!

2 thoughts on “Doctor Who – The Witch’s Familiar

  1. Re: ““My Daleks are afflicted with a genetic defect…respect.” When did THAT happen? See, Doctor meeting Davros as a child, I have NO PROBS with continuity-wise. Daleks giving a fuck about their creator? A design flaw Davros couldn’t eliminate? WHAT IS THIS???”

    That’s Davros’ self delusion. As Missy would say: “you see that couple over there? You’re the puppy, Davros”

    In my world, Davros got the Daleks to clone him a new set of eyes just to improve the joke about the Doctor. You can imagine the planning meeting where the Daleks and Davros are absolutely pissing themselves with laughter at the prospect of fooling the Doctor. Ah, the Frat House of the Daleks, coming soon to a cinema near you.

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