Doctor Who ‘The Witch’s Familiar’ Review: As Long As There’s Mercy


WARNING: This review contains spoilers

The second part of the Season 9 premiere, ‘The Witch’s Familiar’, follows the events from ‘The Magician’s Apprentice‘. This time, the episode is divided into two parts: Clara and Missy, and the Doctor and Davros. Slightly weaker than the previous episode, ‘The Witch’s Familiar’ is all about the differences and similarities between friends and enemies.

Just as we expected, Clara and Missy survived the extermination. Just like in the premiere, the two of them keep having a lot of screentime together. This time, they team up against the Daleks to go back to the base. Missy has the idea of puting Clara inside a Dalek, which was a nice call-back to her first appearance. However, Missy is still Missy. Besides being incredibly rude, she betrays Clara by offering her to the Daleks in exchange for seeing Davros.

However, the Doctor and Davros duo was the relationship that really got to shine in this episode. To be honest, I was never really sure whether to take them seriously or not. Davros spends pretty much all episode talking about his story, the Daleks and their relationship. He plays the usual “you and I are not so different” card but the Doctor isn’t fooled. He did call his compassion “a cancer”, after all. Although I have to say that those last moments of Davros, especially the ones in which they’re both laughing as a couple of old men, got me slightly emotional. “You have slaughtered billions of my kind as I have slaughtered billions of yours”. Again, “we are not that different”.

doctor who - the witch's familiar - the daily fandom

Will we see Skaro again this season?

Still, best part of the episode goes to dalek!Clara trying to speak to the Doctor. It was pretty awesome to see how being a Dalek truly works. Who didn’t get chills when the Dalek system transformed an “I love you” to an “EXTERMINATE”? Oh, and I take back every single good thing I said about Missy. Just as he demonstrated in the premiere, she is BAD. Thankfully for our protagonists, the daleks did have some sense of mercy due to their love for their father.

Friend inside of enemy. Enemy inside of friend. Everyone is a bit of both. It’s a hybrid“. –Missy summarizing the episode.

As a matter of fact, ‘The Witch’s Familiar’ had one clear theme: friends and enemies, two sides of the same coin. This episode was far less interesting than last week’s and, as part of a premiere, it felt sort of underwhelming. But, to be fair, it was hard to top ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’.

For now, we are done with the daleks and Davros. As per Missy, it doesn’t look like she is not going to be redeemed anytime soon. And I have a bad feeling about that “clever idea”. Next week we are back to the “same old, same old” with the Doctor and Clara on the TARDIS living adventures.

Only thing I’m not so sure about (and searching around the web I see I’m not the only one) is the Doctor exchanging the sonic screwdriver for sonic sunglasses. Really, Moffat? Sure, it gives him that extra sassy look but… oh well, we’ll see how it goes. It also seems like the confession dial will remain a mystery all season. And don’t forget about Gallifrey!

‘Under the Lake’ premieres next Saturday on BBC. Watch the promo here:

 How do you feel about ‘The Witch’s Familiar’? Sonic sunglasses: Cool or Uncool?

About Author

24-year-old TV journalist. I especialize in fangirling over TV shows and anime. Currently fighting for fan studies to be recognized as a valid academic field.

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