“THERE’S A BOY I OWE A SUNRISE.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Doctor Who finished off the story it began in “The Magician’s Apprentice” this week, as Davros made his move against the Doctor as Clara and Missy searched the Dalek homeworld for him. There was some excellent groundwork laid in last week’s episode, so the question was whether or not writer Steven Moffat could stick the landing with the second half.
The short answer is yes. “The Witch’s Familiar” continues the more straightforward approach of the first half, digging deeper into the relationship between Davros and the Doctor and getting some pretty great moments along the way. Davros has been a part of the show for so long, but “The Witch’s Familiar” feels like the first time in awhile the character has been so engaging, switching between legitimate vulnerability one moment and menacing antagonism the next. And Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor was the lynchpin of it all as he struggled with not only how to deal with the Daleks, but in how he should treat a dying Davros.
Clara and Missy got more to do this week as well, as they infiltrated the Dalek homeworld of Skaro. Missy continues to be an enjoyable presence, and luckily the script gave both her and Clara moments to shine as they dodged Dalek forces on their search for the Doctor. While the bits of Dalek lore were nice, it’s the episode’s final moments where Clara’s purpose in the story is revealed and Missy gets a new status quo. There were a few nitpicks this time around—particularly in how loose the episode plays with the series’ lore—but the story is strong enough that they didn’t derail things in the slightest.
“The Witch’s Familiar” provided a satisfying conclusion to Doctor Who’s season opener, giving emotional weight to the conflict between Davros and the Doctor and, against all odds, finding something new to say about one of the Doctor’s oldest foes. Missy and Clara were better utilized this time around, and the whole affair was topped off with wonderfully offbeat scenes in classic Who style. Prospects for this batch of adventures with the Madman from Gallifrey are looking good.
Did enjoy seeing more of Skaro? Are you optimistic for the rest of Series 9? Tweet me @MaxMielecki. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
The Night Of: “The Call of the Wild” Review
Vice Principals: “The Foundation of Learning” Review
The Night Of: “Ordinary Death” Review
Joe Hill’s ‘The Fireman’ Review
How Speedrunning Changed My Perception of Games
Vice Principals: “Circles” Review
The Night Of: “Samson and Delilah” Review
‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ Review
Vice Principals: “Run for the Money” Review
The Night Of: “The Season of the Witch” Review