The Witch’s Familiar

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    Craig @craig

    witch's familiar

    Part two. No TARDIS, no sonic, no Clara, no Missy. The Doctor is trapped on Skaro, alone at the heart of the Dalek Empire.

    Even better than the opener, this focuses almost completely on The Doctor and Davros as they have a lengthy, compelling face-off. There’s a real emphasis put on the writing and performances.

    And Capaldi once again is great, it’s possibly his best performance so far, as Davros dangles perhaps The Doctor’s greatest temptation before him. ‘Are you ready to be a god?’

    This two-parter bodes very well for the rest of the series.

    DoctorCapaldi @doctorcapaldi

    Wow! What has happened to Missy though? I can’t be the only one who thought Clara would be lost to the Daleks?


    Is there no chance of a First Look episode like some Channel 4 programmes!!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Oh, neat.

    And it loops right back to The Big Bang, when the Dalek begs for mercy. Which the Doctor, of course, didn’t see.

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    He gave it to her when she had her daughter?!?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Now, any bets that Susan was the Master’s granddaughter as well as the Doctor’s? Or even that Susan WAS that daughter?


    Liam.G.H @liam-g-h

    I’m going to have to give that one a double take. Great stuff.

    DoctorCapaldi @doctorcapaldi

    Did anybody else think “YES, that makes sense” when Missy said she had a daughter?


    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Wow what an episode. Loved the wearable sonics lol. Now did they try and slip in the origins of Susan there. Though the 1st law of the Doctor comes to mind and I suppose it should be amplified a gadzillion times for the master/missy so anything he/she says should be considered an outright lie. Hmmm need to cogitate, ruminate and generally review the events before any more thoughts.

    Liam.G.H @liam-g-h

    It may seem slightly obvious too but at one point Missy said “shush now; Mummy’s talking”


    ardaraith @ardaraith


    and that throw-away…You’re the one who keeps running away.  ouch.

    Shush…mummy’s talking

    I see family issues all over this!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Or Clara is a copy and/or descendent of the daughter, yes.

    Though Missy’s attitude to Clara was very much a kind of Spartan mum one. ‘I expect you to survive, if you don’t – you’re not worth keeping anyway.’

    I also noticed how the Doctor’s ‘you always look the same to me’ in Last Christmas was echoed by Missy’s ‘he always looks the same to me’ tonight, and that Clara’s survival is becoming increasingly important to the Doctor.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    The freaky time echo of Oswin dalek in Clara dalek was really nice. The Doctor must come across that sort of disconcerting time-wrinkle all the time, and it was fun for us to be able to experience one too.

    Missy’s daughter and the Doctor’s gift on the occasion of… was definitely an intriguing tidbit @ardaraith ! The complexity of their long relationship being woven in this iteration is full of possibilities. I love it. Michelle Gomez is a treat in every scene.

    Still, revolting dalek drains or not (and I’m as fond of zombie dalek slime as the next person) there is now a somewhat regenerated Davros spinning his wheels out there, in possession of the knowledge that Gallifrey is still out there too. So, despite the addition of pinch of compassion, the embers of the Time War smoulder on.


    Tennantmarsters2013 @tennantmarsters2013

    Love how Moffat has us questioning if missy is who she says.


    And if she is who she says she is that means Clara isn’t who we think she is…mind blown! Everything in past 3 seasons that we thought we knew could be a lie đŸ˜±đŸ˜±đŸ˜±đŸ˜±đŸ˜±đŸ˜±


    Also that bit where Clara was trying to convince the doctor she was alive got me in the feels and screaming at the doctor

    Hudsey @hudsey

    Really liked the doctor and Davros interactions… thought it was the end and redemption of Davros! But the doctor giving up regeneration energy to allow the dead liquidised Daleks to rise up and turn on the younger daleks???!! Er… What? Why would they do that? And how exactly are bits of slime supposed to destroy all the daleks when they can fly?? Why didn’t it all just turn into a huge firefight with all the daleks freaking out and exterminating everything?

    This could have been one of the greatest ever episodes but instead they played it too safe in my opinion and as a result nothing has really changed. Davros is still kicking about, he is still evil and will no doubt get away again.. The same with Missy –  and the doctor and Clara just go on as always as if nothing has happened.. Doesn’t feel like anyone’s character really developed as a result. And the confession dial is seemingly not important, albeit a link to a secret and a seed for a future story. Felt like they just put it in at the end. Just to keep us guessing probably.. It was a good episode, but felt sugary enough to be a xmas special and it didn’t live up to be anywhere near as good as some of the theories.. Bit of a shame really…

    Would have much preferred it if at least the regeneration energy had turned Davros into a young man, a revitalised Davros would have been at least a consolation and could have given his character somewhere to go?



    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Just how good was Bleach in that!? I thought his performance in Stolen Earth\Journey’s End was the best since Michael Wisher and did something I thought would be impossible. It combined ticks from all the performances before it. I think this is where he delivers a definitive performance of his own. He almost had me convinced this was his redemption moment, and then….

    Yep, still the malicious, conniving, twisted son of a mutant we know and tolerate! Brilliant. 😀

    I think everyone was on top form for that. Gomez just gets better, Capaldi just looks like he’s having the best time of his life and Coleman is delightful as a foil, selling both the comedy and the darker stuff. There was a definite flashback to Asylum of the Daleks with her trapped in the Dalek.


    – The Master had a daughter. That’s new. Let’s add her to the list for random speculation over the identity of female guest stars. The Susan\Romana\Jenny\River calls need more variety.

    – the Doctors confession and secrets about why he left Gallifrey may be a thing this series? Anyone think this could be a new ‘Name’ scenario and will be misdirection to talk about some other theme?

    – Dalek\Time Lord hybrids are foretold? That’s also new. A way to heal the Time War? Or new big bad territory?

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Oh.. just wow!!

    Loved it!

    Is it safe to come out from under the sofa now…?!  Proper scary that was.

    Yup – loved the callback to Big Bang  – Moffat retconning his own stories now? 😉  And Asylum. Chills with Clara being forced into the Dalek (also call back to the very first Dalek story when Ian impersonated one). Who’d have Missy as a mum – fearsome.

    So who was it on here who called out the sunglasses (from the trailer) as wearable tech?! (Sorry, can’t remember who, but kudos)


    ScaryB @scaryb

    I don’t remember Dr Who EVER having this quality of acting all round, ever (and that’s not to criticise it before). Every single person exploding it out the park, with nuances and multiple layers. You don’t know who to trust.  I very very nearly felt sympathy for Davros. Talk about raising the bar.

    phoebe-phire @phoebe-phire

    Er was it just me, but the Doctor seems to have acquired a ring on the third finger of his left hand this series?

    Would be totally Moffat if Clara turns out to be Doctor/Missy daughter. I guess if the sonic screwdriver is expendable he’ll soon be retiring the TARDIS too.




    ScaryB @scaryb


    The Master had a daughter. That’s new. Let’s add her to the list for random speculation over the identity of female guest stars. The Susan\Romana\Jenny\River calls need more variety.


    Assuming Missy’s telling the truth of course.

    And… we’ve all assumed the Doctor left cos the Timelords were stuffy… the 60s counter culture and all that… but to avoid his destiny…  bit Cartmel masterplan being retconned as well perhaps?

    Very very clever, very scary, gripping… loved it

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    nothing has really changed.

    Everything has just changed. Everything.

    The Daleks have a concept of mercy. Hidden away inside them, like the tiny seed that can grow into a giant oak.

    The Daleks aren’t, by nature, totally evil. They want to rebuild their home – so they understand ‘home’. They understand ‘parent’ (and show care for their parent). They have a concept of ‘mercy’. And if they have a concept of ‘mercy’, then (for all Davros insists it’s wrong), they can understand ‘compassion’ and ‘forgiveness’. When the evil engineering is switched off, they can understand beauty and understand that their own culture is evil.

    This two-parter is a pair with Into The Dalek – and between them, they’ve just radically changed the entire concept of the Daleks.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    <span class=”useratname”>@phoebe-phire</span>

    Retire the TARDIS… nah! That I don’t believe.

    (They spent a sh*t load of money on the new model apart from anything else!!)

    And she’s been with him right from the start. Just a wanderer in a blue box.

    ScaryB @scaryb


    It’s typical of a Moffat retcon – on the surface apparently nothing has changed, and yet fundamentally everything has. It’s very very clever. I love it!

    If you’re a casual viewer you can shrug and think it’s business as usual. For those of us who care deeply it’s a beautiful, subtle development.

    ScaryB @scaryb


    Also the fact that when Clara (wired into the Dalek) shows emotion or tries to say her name, but it comes out as “I am a Dalek” or “Exterminate”, shows how strong the programming is. Who’s to say what feelings lurk in the living creatures locked into the “tanks”.  As you say, it harks back to Into the Dalek.

    Oh my giddy aunt!!

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Snap with you and @juniperfish on the creepiness of the Asylum take.

    Assuming Missy’s telling the truth of course.

    Maisie Williams Pond, Missy’s daughter! Let’s kick off a speculation trend!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Er was it just me, but the Doctor seems to have acquired a ring on the third finger of his left hand this series?

    He had it last series as well, but they seemed nervous of showing it until they’d referenced River. After that, they’re fine with it.

    The actual explanation is that Peter Capaldi hates taking his wedding ring off in case it gets lost or stolen – so they covered it up with a more Gallifreyan looking ring.

    phoebe-phire @phoebe-phire

    @ScarB I’m sure you’re right, just never quite trust Moffat to keep with the norm, ie gender switching Time Lords were once not even on the radar.

    Episode also made me think of ‘Inside Dalek’ both with Clara being inside a Dalek again, and the possibility of a good Dalek – Clara was a good Dalek

    Didn’t get to see any more of the human Dalek who discovered the TARDIS.


    phoebe-phire @phoebe-phire

    Ah that’s understandable @bluesqueakpip , I’d just not noticed before and with all the Missy stuff going on wondered if I’d missed a sneaky Mof.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    I had Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” playing in my head as Davros and the Doctor got the giggles together (really loved that part). Then Davro’s line “Am I a good man?” held up a mirror, re the Doctor’s own line to Clara last series and the chill was back.

    If Who ever does a musical episode (oh go on, please) Davros and the Doc just have to rock out to “Let’s do the Time Warp Again”.

    The sweep and scope of time, such that Davros and the Doctor have a relationship, of sorts, over the bodies of their countless war dead, just as Missy and the Doctor also have a friendship, of sorts, despite the Master’s nefarious trail of destruction, was really stirred into the mix by a lovely trio of actors. Agree @scaryb and @phaseshift the acting was top.

    As for Missy’s line about giving Clara to the Doctor, as an enemy inside a friend, a friend inside an enemy… that really does sound like an adult joke which would indeed indicate Clara is some kind of Master/Doctor progeny. We’ve seen her with one parent as an “apprentice”, then with the other as a “familiar”. Remember all that name speculation about Clara, way back when. Oswald means “divine ruler” and all that…? Perhaps she’s going to end up a the President of New Gallifrey…



    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Ha ha – the advert pasted into @danmartin ‘s recap over on The Grauniad is “Boss – for men”. Capaldi’s Doctor would be so wonderfully, witheringly rude about it. “Smells like what? Boss? The boss of Who, exactly?” No doubt some dalekian tracker algorithm placed it there.

    DoctorDoctorWho @doctordoctorwho

    “I do love killing clever clogs, they make the best faces”


    Why do I get the feeling that’s something to do with regeneration.

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    Am I the only one that doesn’t like the idea of no screwdriver? Sonic Sunglasses just sounds far too cheesy for my liking.

    I cannot praise the acting enough. Bleach, Coleman, Gomez and Capaldi over the two-parter have given a masterclass in how to make captivating TV with a small ensemble. The Davros/Doctor scenes had me on the edge of my seat, I truly thought this would be the redemption of Davros. and then the contrast of that with the humour the Missy/Clara scenes  brang. And then the parallels with Asylum, especially when Clara came round the corner at the end, because it looks like they might have used the same set, only cleaner. I feel like I need to sit down for a bit and just let the perfection sink in to my mind.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @hudsey I think Missy made it clear earlier on that the slime were, understandably, resentful of the still functioning Dalek who still get to move around in cases
 and the confession dial came in throughout the two episodes
 yes sometimes here the theories are more insane than what is actually happening, but as @bluesqueakpip says, a lot of this episode challenges the idea that Daleks have to be entirely evil- which is something Moffat has been doing since Into the Dalek. They are designed and programmed to be evil, but it can be defied.

    Davros’ comment about seeing the sun even reminded me of RTD’s first Dalek episode. a lot of it was talking to the watchers, though. ‘How did I get a cup of tea? I just did.’ ‘I’ve just had a brilliant idea’. a lot of good use of bathos. ‘conclusion: I’m totally stealing his chair’

    I think this was set out well. We learn that Davros could not eliminate respect for a leader. Nor, we discover, could he eliminate the concept of mercy. ScaryB- shuddering, I wonder what the Daleks were really saying to River- if it’s possible that for all Daleks, much of what they say is translated.

    What do we think about the ‘upgrade’ comment? Does put me in mind of Ramona

    @phoebe-phire- to be fair, nor were gender transitioning humans, at least in the mainstream

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    The line that gave me chills was ‘That was why I gave her to you’. That sounded so very like Mum explaining to Dad why she gave him custody …

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @bluesqueakpip  A good thing 🙂 I’d be disappointed if Clara’s discovery of the Doctor’s cot in the TARDIS way back when was just a throw-a-way gimmick, rather than a narrative thread. But Clara was very much associated with being a Pond earlier on (the blowing in on a leaf, the knowing the magic word “Pond”, River’s interesting psychic connection with her).

    Maybe the Doctor, River and Missy had a three-way relationship at one time, and three-way reproduction works perfectly well for Time Lords.

    The Doctor deliberately creating his own form of “sunrise” by channelling his regeneration energy to raise an army of zombie dalek slime, using compassion as a double bluff, was definitely the act of someone who picks dangerous people as frenemies for a reason.




      and the doctor and Clara just go on as always as if nothing has happened..

    That is a huge assumption not supported by the text…


    On the subject of the Master/Missy’s daughter I have just a few words for you to consider: “What you kept you old man?”

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Okay, still talking about Missy and Clara, and an interesting point:

    WHY does Missy cover Clara with her own body when the Dalek explodes?

    I mean, I get that she needs Clara to operate the Dalek – but for someone who’s being so cavalier with Clara’s life at every other point before then, it’s odd. You’d expect her to use Clara as a shield, not shield Clara herself.

    Anonymous @

    It was good, very good, maybe didn’t quite hit the mark. Thoughts later.

    But the existence of the episode, and indeed the existence of Doctor Who as a whole, could be justified solely by the Doctor riding and spinning around in Davros’ transport!

    OodAus @oodaus

    So I want to know is Clara still inside the Dalek? We never saw her actually come out and the Doctor apologised to her!

    DoctorDoctorWho @doctordoctorwho

    So has anyone worked out the arc of this series yet?

    OodAus @oodaus

    Who we see now as Clara could be anyone; an image even

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    So I want to know is Clara still inside the Dalek?

    Probably not – though if you want to float a bonkers theory that everything that happens in the rest of this series is Clara’s fantasy as she’s slowly turned into a Dalek, we’ve already had it (Series 7, only it was the Doctor’s fantasy). But feel free to revive it. 😉

    Realistically, I suspect the reason we don’t see her get out of the Dalek is the same reason we don’t see her get into the Dalek – because it takes a team of technicians to ease Jenna Coleman past all the radio controlled special effects and into/out of the seat.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    If Who ever does a musical episode (oh go on, please) Davros and the Doc just have to rock out to “Let’s do the Time Warp Again”.

    I think the predictable wails of “ripping of Joss” would prevent this, but I do think it could be remarkable fun….especially if they could get Bleach to do some unhinged songs for it.

    For those who don’t know, Bleach is an actor, musician (associated with Philip Glass) and award winning cowriter and MC of the musical Shockheaded Peter. Talented git.

    If nothing else, it would be a fun idea on the music thread perhaps. What songs could you imagine various characters singing. I could imagine a really twisted version of Summer Lovin between Capaldi and Gomez.

    ardaraith @ardaraith


    What is that quote?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    One that belongs in the BBC Spoilers section. Naughty @pedant!


    Oh crap, yeah – you’re probably right. Bamboozled by the actor in question being mentioned up-thread.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    One interesting thing about this two partner from a personal perspective.

    For the last couple of years we’ve been running the BG retrospective of Doctor Who. Every time Tom Baker has come up for nominations for a story, there it sits. Genesis of the Daleks. An undoubted classic, but one that many old fans have discussed to death. We’ve always rebelled and selected something else. I think @bluesqueakpip even joked that perhaps we could be the only Doctor Who site that never discussed Genesis. At the time I agreed.

    I think this two partner has made me want to explore it again in context with this, to evaluate the parallels and mirrors. I think the desire to do that is remarkable in itself. What is old could be new again. Very Timey Wimey

    lisa @lisa

    That was so freaking WOWSER!!! I’m trying to wrap my head around
    it now so I will have to speak my thoughts later when I can do
    it more coherently. But for me really an excellent opening to
    the Doctor Who season.

    ichabod @ichabod

    Great starter — fantastic whiplash effect of the final quarter — headspin!  I kept thinking we were going to somehow segue right into “Souffle Girl”.

    lisa @lisa

    I feel a bit distraught about the Doctor giving up so much regeneration energy.
    My concern is how it effects his future.
    Daughter revelation – If the Doctor gave the gift to Missy’s daughter then how
    is it that she still has it and not the daughter?
    Poking Davros in the eye and riding around in the Davros chair!
    Missy to Doctor “This is why I gave her to you – everyone’s a hybrid”.
    Sounds like she wants to make the point about her own relationship to the Doctor
    but it has to have more meanings.

    Just my first impressions

    lisa @lisa

    Just re watched the bit about the daughter and it appears the .gift was to Missy.
    So my question becomes was she the daughters mother or father?

    Good to see the Doctor continue to outwit. Had me going there for a nano second!
    But as usual he is 1 step ahead. How could I have ever doubted that??

    So Davros betrays and so does Missy but “I have to find the Doctor” she still goes
    to save him. She is powerfully connected to him but powerfully jealous of Clara.
    I wonder if she was jealous of affections given her daughter possibly from the Doctor?
    Instead of running Missy could of beamed out. But then I guess we wouldn’t have been
    able to see her clever idea.

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