After an incredible, and thought provoking, opening episode to the new series, the second episode kept up in many ways, and surpassed it in others. “The Witch’s Familiar” is a standout episode for Capaldi’s run, as he showed off not only his acting chops, but showed a very different side of the Doctor numerous times.
So let’s recap where we left off ok? Missy and Clara? “Dead”. Skarro? Revived. Davros? Dying, and seeking his final victory against the Doctor.
Naturally, the first one was a ruse, but in a very good way as it would turn out. As the “reveal” as to why they’re alive tied back into the season finale from last series, something that I’m glad got resolved. This led to some very fun interactions between Missy and Clara, the former of whom may be having WAY too much fun, and the latter of whom once again got the shaft a bit, but did have some key moments to herself. Hopefully with Missy not around in the next episodes, Clara will shine again.
But truly, this episode was all about the Doctor and Davros. Two enemies, with generations worth of history, now needing each other for some reason or another. One for peace of mind, and the other for satisfaction…the fun was that it wasn’t clear at times who was wanting what.
The Daleks and Davros are timeless Doctor Who villains, so when writers try to put a new spin on them, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. With this version of Davros though, we got to see something we’ve never seen from him before. Sadness, regret, gratitude towards the Doctor, even mercy in some ways. He even praised the Doctor for somehow saving Gallifrey from the Time War. Why? “Because every man should have a people.” Not unlike how he thought about it when he created the Daleks. Also, the “Am I a good man?” part was brilliant, as was the “you’re not a very good doctor”. Classic moment right there.
Now sure…it was all a lie to try and re-engineer the Daleks into some prophecy of a Time Lord/Dalek hybrid, but that was quickly abashed in true Doctor style, “Two words…moron…sewer!”
But leave it to Moffat to again tie past, present and future, as Missy’s attempt to have The Doctor kill Clara (who was in a Dalek shell) backfired into showing what he needed to do to “save” Davros.
With Skarro burning, the Daleks again defeated, Clara and the Doctor safe and in the Tardis (with the sunglasses!) it seems the season is well underway towards something special. If this series can keep up the momentum of the first two episodes? We’ll be in good hands.