The Witch’s Familiar – New Who Season 9 Episode 2 Review

We all know how we left off with the season premier, so then we move on to the second part.

As the episode starts we see that Clara and Missy made it out alive, with Clara dangling by her feet from a rope and Missy crafting a spear and acting all crazy… I see potential here.  We all knew they weren’t going to be killed with such little fanfare as the previous episode, but I expected we’d have to wait a little longer to see them.  But Missy decides to tell a story about the Doctor, and we get a cameo from certain “old timers” (which made us original Who fans happy) before “giving it to the eyebrows”.  Guess that’s the feature we’ll be fixating on for Capaldi’s version of the character… seems about right.

The story Missy tells is a convenient way to explain how they used modified vortex manipulators to teleport away from the Daleks as opposed to getting disintegrated by them.  I must admit that this was a more creative explanation to getting away than I’d expected as well.  Anyway, we get some clever quips about pointy sticks, which I won’t wreck for you in case you want to actually watch the episode, and all this before the opening credits.

This is the happiest I’ve been with an episode in quite some time… At this point I’ve noticed it’s an episode written by Moffat himself.

Cut to the Doctor and he’s *angry*.  He still thinks Clara and Missy have been exterminated and he seems to want to take it out on Davros.  Next thing we know Davros is laying on the floor and the Doctor is running around in his half a Dalek armor like he’s in a bumper car.  At this point I’m picturing a set of bumper cars where the cars are the bottom half of Daleks.  I implore the BBC to make this happen!

Back to Clara and Missy investigating the sewers (really a nearly-dead-Dalek burial ground) and we get more antics as Missy pushes Clara in to see how big the drop is.  Can these two *please* have their own show?  I could watch this all day.

After a bit of filler the Doctor demands that Clara be brought back alive and safe, broadcast out to all the Daleks.  No mention of Missy, and she actually looks kind of hurt.  The takeover was short lived, as Colony Sarff appeared to capture him.

In the meantime Missy uses Clara as bait to kill a Dalek.  I’m still entertained by their interaction, but I noticed Missy said something about her daughter…  Anyway, more filler while Davros tries to lure the Doctor into his little trap.  Entertaining filler, but filler none the less.  We do get a bit of insight into how human the Doctor actually is, or seems to be.

Back to the dynamic duo, Missy has strapped Clara into a Dalek and gives her driving lessons.  We’re a bit full circle here, if you remember souffle girl from Clara’s introductions.  Clara’s unable to say her name, only “I am a Dalek” comes out, and she doesn’t seem to have much control over her weapons as she gets upset.  A lot of phrases come out as “Exterminate” and now I’m wondering if the Daleks have tried to say nice things over the years and it’s been “translated” to Dalek-speak.

We have a heart-to-hearts between the Doctor and Davros, who finally learns that the time lords are still alive.  He surprises everyone by telling the Doctor to keep his people safe.  There’s some shared laughter, some tears, and the good man question appears again.  Davros claims to be dying, and we all know the Doctor probably isn’t going to let it happen.  Oh look, he falls right into the trap.  Are we surprised?  Not this puppy…

So the regeneration energy is flowing, the Doctor is trapped, and all that energy is flowing out into Davros and the Daleks.  Lucky for him Missy had strolled back into HQ with Clara in tow, just in time to save the Doctor from himself.  Unfortunately, the damage was done… only not the damage you’d expect.  The Doctor trapped himself on purpose to make the Daleks mortal.  It means the generations of Daleks that were mush in the sewers have now been regenerated and are coming back for revenge.

Missy tries to tall the Doctor that Clara (in the Dalek armor) is the Dalek that killed Clara.  Of course he sees something is off and shows her how to open the casing.  And away we go to try and make an escape.  Except for Missy, who was told to run.  No sonic screwdriver for the Doctor, since he left it with Davros years before, but he has sonic sunglasses.  Seriously?  I really hope this is short lived.

So he goes back and saves Davros as a child and teaches him the concept of mercy, so that Clara can use that concept to trigger the Doctor’s suspicions so he can save her.  It’s all very circular and tied together quite well.

All in all I was happy with this episode, even though it posed a lot of questions.  Does the Doctor now have unlimited regenerations?  Will we see Missy again? (of course we will) How long will those stupid sunglasses last?  And will we ever see a Missy/Clara spinoff?  I’d love to hear the opinions of others…

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Doctor Who Spinoff

The BBC has announced a Doctor Who spinoff.  I’m not sure how I fill about it.  Here’s the article:

BBC Three today announces Class – a new 8 x 45 minute Doctor Who spin off from the acclaimed YA author, Patrick Ness. Class is a YA series set in contemporary London. Incredible dangers are breaking through the walls of time and space, and with darkness coming, London is unprotected. With all the action, heart and adrenalin of the best YA fiction (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hunger Games), this is Coal Hill School and Doctor Who like you’ve never seen them before.

Steven Moffat says, “No one has documented the dark and exhilarating world of the teenager like Patrick Ness, and now we’re bringing his brilliant story-telling into Doctor Who. This is growing up in modern Britain – but with monsters!”

On his first television series, writer Patrick Ness says, “I’m astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself. There’s so much room there for all kinds of amazing stories, and to work with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin to find a place to tell one of my own has been an absolute joy. I can’t wait for people to meet the heroes of Class, to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your A-Levels.”

Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three adds, “We’re excited to give Patrick Ness this opportunity to work with us at BBC Three and the Doctor Who family. Patrick understands young audiences and I’m delighted he will use his incredible skills as a storyteller to delight audiences on BBC Three. BBC Three will always innovate and offer opportunities for brilliant new talent.”

Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning, adds, “I am thrilled that Patrick Ness is writing his first drama series for BBC Three. The combination of Patrick and Steven Moffat, is an exciting partnership that has created a brilliant Doctor Who spin off for our BBC Three audience.”

Class is executive produced by Steven Moffatt, Patrick Ness and Brian Minchin. It was commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, Controller BBC Three and Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning.

An 8 x 45 minute series produced by BBC Cymru Wales in association with BBC Worldwide for BBC Three.

The series will film in and around Wales from Spring, 2016 and be on air next year.

Now, if this is like Torchwood started off we can talk, but otherwise I’m a little leery…