Published: Monday, 28 September 2015 | Written by SciFi Vision
Following the review is a very detailed recap of the episode, including quotes (yes I went overboard again).
Compassion and choices. That's what the premiere of Doctor Who is really about in the end. Does the Doctor still have compassion; is he a good man? He struggles with these questions throughout the premiere - his leaving of Davros as a boy could very well have made him the monster that he is, yet his change of heart to later save him gives Davros and the Daleks the understanding of mercy.
Davros questions The Doctor towards the end of part two if he could commit genocide - as a choice, not as self-defense but a choice. This is actually a resurgence of a similar choice, as The Doctor faced the same predicament in "Genesis of the Daleks" in the original series. He then, as well as in this episode, chooses the higher road. Though Davros has shown his compassion not to always be a good choice, saying it might kill him in the end.
His compassion is a big part of what makes The Doctor who he is, rather than someone like Missy: he is a good man, whether he accepts the fact or not.
These themes play out throughout the episode in both dialog and actions. Overall I loved this, although upon watching "The Witch's Familiar" for the first time, I had mixed feelings. The episode was definitely a great one, but it didn't live up to part one in my opinion.
There are parts of the episode I absolutely loved. I loved the emotions that Peter Capaldi showed in this episode, and his declaration of lost hope should Clara really be dead was heart-wrenching. Also, the thought of The Doctor not recognizing Clara as the Dalek was worrisome: her sealed inside the tank gave me a very claustrophobic feeling that it did not in "Asylum of the Daleks," which really added to the creepiness factor of the episode and was spot on. Though I really expected The Doctor to somehow have a memory of the episode, of finding out Oswald was inside the Dalek, and somehow connecting it to Clara. Even so, it was an interesting parallel between the two "versions" of Clara.
Michelle Gomez once again stole the show during certain scenes. Her story of The Doctor's escape from the androids was great, as well as the reveal of how she saved them from the Daleks, and even her comments on eating Clara. I even enjoyed her shrewdness as she tricked Clara more than once, yet at the same time still working with her.
Missy is brilliant when she is a smart-ass bitch, and I love it, as much as I appropriately hated her by the end of the episode. I appreciate the fact that as much as Missy is such a fun character, the writers were sure to remind us that she is indeed evil, and we shouldn't forget that any time soon. I did find her comment about friends and enemies to The Doctor, that everyone is a hybrid interesting. I feel she was talking about herself - everyone has good and bad inside of them.
I loved the scenes with The Doctor in Davros's chair. I'm confused how he could fit in it, considering Davros only had a top half, but I can live with that nitpick. Capaldi zooming around was priceless. This also led to one of my favorite lines of the night, with his explanation of how he got a cup of tea: "I'm The Doctor. Just accept it." That's the only explanation we ever truly need.
It is towards the end where I had mixed feelings upon first viewing. While Capaldi's acting was brilliant as always, and I felt his emotions along with him, I didn't get Davros opening his real eyes. I assume it was to help humanize him, but I found that slightly annoying for some reason. I also didn't buy Davros's crying. I felt the anguish of The Doctor, but I never believed Davros or found him sympathetic. That being said, with the reveal that he was playing The Doctor, it suddenly made sense, and of course the fact that The Doctor knew it the whole time made it even better. The truth is, the scene is, as I mentioned above, about The Doctor's compassion and what it often costs him, which is what really saves the scene.
I'm also interested where the story is heading with The Doctor's confession dial. It seems there is a story there about why The Doctor really ran from Gallifrey, and we've only scratched the surface.
I also loved the reveal of how the Dalek's added mercy to their vocabulary. I did see it coming, but it just goes to prove that as much as The Doctor's compassion can at times make him vulnerable to evil, in the end, it's a part of him that is what makes him who he is. As he states himself, he's just a bloke in a box, yet on good days, he's The Doctor.
The one main thing, however, that I am unsure about, is his new sonic sunglasses. I really don't like the idea of The Doctor without his trusty screwdriver, no matter how cool Capaldi looks in the glasses. It's like taking a wand from a wizard, it doesn't work for me, at least not for any extended period of time.
Overall, however, looking back at the episode, and also the two episodes as a whole, the story was quite epic, the writers taking on integral parts of Who history and weaving it together into a fun narrative. I'm not sure where the prophecy of a Time Lord/Dalek Hybrid fits in, as I haven't seen much of the original series yet, but I'm excited to find out, and excited to learn more from the old episodes which have recently began to air on BBC America.
The scene opens with an upside-down view, revealing that Clara is tied to a rock by her feet, hanging from a rope. Missy is sitting nearby on another rock, sharpening a stick.
Missy proceeds to tell Clara a classic story about The Doctor on the run without the TARDIS, without friends to help him - in her words, happy. She says that it doesn't matter what face he has, they are all The Doctor to her, so they will go with the eyebrows.
The scene shows Twelve in black and white as Missy describes the scene: The Doctor was traveling by teleporter, but unfortunately it's out of power, and there are invisible indestructible android assassins chasing him.
Clara interrupts her.
CLARA: Why are you sharpening that stick? MISSY: Well I've no idea how long we're going to be stuck out here. Might have to go hunting. CLARA: So why am I tied up? MISSY: In case there's nothing to hunt.
Back to the story: The Doctor is surrounded, outnumbered, and outgunned. He has a few nanoseconds to live. She asks Clara how he survived.
Clara asks where he got that "teleport thingy." Missy tells her he stole it from an android. Clara guesses that it would use the same energy as the androids' weapons.
MISSY: Not seeing you as sandwiches now.
Clara surmises that he used the energy wave from the androids' weapons to recharge the wrist teleporter, and at the exact same moment he is supposed to disintegrate, he teleports.
Clara realizes that that is how Missy saved them. Missy confirms that she modified the same principle for their vortex manipulators, though it blew them off. The Doctor, however, improvised; he must have gone through several thousand calculations in the time it takes to fire off a disintegrator.
Clara guesses that the androids then thought he was dead, and he escaped. Missy tells her she is wrong - he fell into a nest of vampire monkeys. But that's another story.
Missy unties her and asks her why The Doctor always survives. Clara's first guess is that he's clever, but there are clever dead people as well. She then realizes it's because he always assumes that he's going to win. He knows there is a way to survive; he just has to find it. Missy tells her however, that this time he made a will and threw himself a goodbye party. If he assumes he is going to die, what happens then? Clara's answer is, "We do."
Missy says that he is trapped in the middle of the Dalek empire, and between him and them is everything the Dalek race can throw at them, and all they have is a pointy stick. Clara just says that have to assume they will win.
MISSY: Oh. Pity, really. I was actually quite peckish. CLARA: Can I have a stick too? MISSY: Make your own stick.
Back in the city, Davros tells The Doctor that it took him a long time to realize that it was him standing at the gates of his beginning, and now he is here at the end, but this time The Doctor is at his mercy.
The Doctor grabs a Dalek gun. Davros says it is ancient and inoperable, but he gets it to work. Davros questions that he would threaten him when he is dying and has suffered. The Doctor tells him to "get out," knowing that the chamber sustains him.
The Daleks realize that Davros is leaving the infirmary. He yells for his children to help him and to find The Doctor. They yell back that they will seek, locate, destroy, and exterminate The Doctor.
Outside, Clara questions that he is in the middle of what is happening when they hear the Daleks yelling. Missy just says oddly that that is what they need, without explanation.
Knowing that Davros is approaching, the Daleks keep yelling to assist him, but they find him lying on the floor, revealing that Davros only has a top half, the bottom of him made of hanging wires, as is his one hand.
The Doctor speeds out in Davros's "chair."
DOCTOR: Admit it. You've all had this exact nightmare.
Davros yells to get Sarff, who comes.
DOCTOR: So anyone for dodge 'ems?
The Daleks simply want to exterminate The Doctor, and they shoot at him.
Meanwhile, Clara and Missy have arrived at the entry to the Dalek's sewer system, which Missy says is ever so slightly alive. She questions how far down the drop is, and Clara suggests they can throw a stone down. Missy agrees and shoves Clara forward into the hole. After she hears her hit the bottom, she guesses about twenty feet.
The Doctor sips tea from Davros's chair. The Daleks surround him.
DOCTOR: Course the real question is, where did he get the cup of tea? Answer: I'm The Doctor; just accept it.
The Daleks are surprised that he is unharmed. The Doctor makes a proposition, similar to how he did in "Listen."
DOCTOR: Proposition: Davros is an insane, paranoid genius who has survived among several million trigger-happy mini-tanks for centuries. Conclusion: I'm definitely having his chair.
The Doctor pulls out the gun, guessing that the personal force field only works in one direction.
The Daleks think that he doesn't use weapons, but he implies that they could be wrong.
Clara wakes up in the sewer. She grabs the sharpened stick and points it at Missy, who doesn't believe she will use it. She says she can't survive down there alone, to which Clara replies that she won't survive turning her back. Of course, however, Clara doesn't use it. Missy says she is dull and grabs it back, saying that in the future if she is going to take her stick to have the courtesy of killing her.
MISSY: Teamwork is all about respect. CLARA: We're not a team. MISSY: Of course we are. Every miner needs a canary.
Missy tells her to look around. The walls are gross, slimy, and drippy. Missy says that Daleks don't generate much waste. They can't die; they are programmed to live no matter what, but they still age. Their bodies die and liquefy - the Dalek word for sewer is the same for graveyard. After some poking by Missy, the two start to hear the screeches of the suffering Daleks.
Meanwhile, The Doctor tells the Daleks to ask him what he wants, but they say it is irrelevant; he will not succeed. He tells them that he has been at the heart of their empire for 42 minutes and now owns it and hasn't even gotten out of his chair.
After prompting them to ask again, The Doctor reveals what he wants. Clara and Missy can hear him from the sewer.
DOCTOR: Clara Oswald. I want Clara Oswald safe, alive, and returned to me immediately. You bring her back. You do that. You do that now. Unharmed, unhurt, alive. DALEK: Your associate - DOCTOR: I saw what happened. I was there. And I'm hoping for all of our sakes that it was a trick. DALEK: It was not a deception. DOCTOR: Because of Clara Oswald is really dead, then you better be very, very careful how you tell me.
Back in the sewer:
MISSY: Listen to that. The Doctor without hope.
The Doctor questions who is going to go first to tell him, and Missy says to Clara that nobody is safe now.
The Doctor tells the Daleks that all the power Davros had is now his, and questions again who will tell him of Clara's fate.
Missy tells Clara that he will burn everything, including them.
Dalek Supreme finally tells him that Clara is "not alive."
Davros starts talking from a porthole in the side of the wall. He tells The Doctor that this urge for conquest, it is gratifying to see him learn.
DOCTOR: Davros, you're up. Sorry, this seat's taken. DAVROS: Indeed, but not by you.
Suddenly Sarff's snakes are wrapping around the doctor, covering him. Davros says that Sarff's agents are everywhere.
From the chamber, Sarff asks Davros if he is ready. He is, but tells Sarff to be subtle. Tonight they entrap a Time Lord. Sarff "unwraps" himself as he starts to transform.
Clara sees what she thinks is a lift, but Missy tells her to forget about it and look at the thing on the wall. Clara once again falls for her trick as Missy gets her to stand in front of and be seen by the camera. She handcuffs Clara to the wall and tells her that they need to trap and kill a Dalek. She is the bait and Missy is the hook.
Missy takes off her broach and says that it is made of a dark star alloy and goes through their armor plating like "a knife through people." She starts to say something about the Doctor giving it to her and about her daughter, but Clara cuts her off, saying that she can't kill a Dalek with a broach, but she assures her that she can.
A Dalek finds them and starts scanning Clara. Missy stabs it with the pins multiple times, making holes. Steam escapes.
CLARA: What are you doing? MISSY: Murdering a Dalek. I'm a Time Lady. It's our golf.
The Dalek says that the damage is insignificant, but Missy says that it is forgetting that it is surrounded by very old, very angry Daleks. Those Daleks begin to screech again.
MISSY (in a southern accent): You just got yourself a puncture in a bad neighborhood. Meet the locals - all blind and squelchy and out of their tiny minds. They can still feel! Nobody hates like a Dalek.
She proceeds to say she thinks they want to steal its motor.
The liquefied Daleks are winning. Missy unhandcuffs and grabs Clara, pulling them away as there is an explosion.
There is another flashback of The Doctor and Davros, until The Doctor wakes up from his dream. Davros is in his own chair again and makes a comment about The Doctor being privileged to get the only other chair on Skaro.
Davros tells him that they are sealed in the chamber; he doesn't have his sonic device. He just tells Davros that he gave it up because of bad memories.
Davros tells him that he is dying.
DOCTOR: You keep saying that. You keep not dying.
Davros tells him that it's time to conclude their business together. He tells The Doctor to look at the cables that are supporting him and to understand what they are and what they can do. The cables appear to be made of snakes - of Colony Sarff.
Meanwhile, Missy opens the destroyed Dalek and pulls out the organic part, throwing it. She tells Clara to get in the tank.
The Doctor starts talking about Davros' children not caring about him.
DOCTOR: This is exactly where you dump a smelly old uncle slash family pet slash genius scientist who couldn't even invent legs. Seriously, how do you boys take it when everyone else has got two eyes?
He then proceeds to look at the cables and says that it is a hyperspace relay with some kind of genetic component. Davros tells him that it connects him to the life force of every Dalek on the planet - they have kept him alive. The Doctor mocks him, telling Davros that he is surprised the Daleks allowed it. Davros, however, tells him that they didn't have a choice, because they are afflicted with a genetic defect - respect, and mercy for their father. It's a part of the design flaws he was unable to eliminate.
The Doctor looks closer at the cables again, and Davros realizes he now understands how the cables work, baiting him to touch them.
DAVROS: Imagine, to hold in your hands, the heartbeat of every Dalek on Skaro. They send me life. Is it beyond the wit of a Time Lord to send them death?
Davros says that with a little word it could be done. The Doctor asks why he is telling him that. Davros says that it would be genocide in a moment, slaughter not in self-defense or as an act of war, but as a choice. He asks if he is ready to be a god. He lifts The Doctor's hand towards the cables.
The Doctor hesitates. Davros continues to bait him: no one would know. Clara is dead. He asks him if it is the conscience of The Doctor or his shame that brought him there.
DOCTOR: There's no such thing as The Doctor. I'm just a bloke in a box, telling stories.
The Doctor continues on to tell him that he didn't come because he was ashamed, though a bit of shame never hurt anyone. He came because Davros was sick and asked him to.
DOCTOR: And because sometimes on a good day, if I try very hard, I'm not some old Time Lord who ran away; I'm The Doctor.
Davros says it's because of compassion then. The Doctor says simply, "always." Davros tells him that it grows strong and fierce in him like a cancer and will kill him in the end. The Doctor says he wouldn't die of anything else. Davros responds, "You may rely on it."
Missy hooks up Clara inside the Dalek, explaining to her to use her thoughts to make it move. Clara understandably freaks out a bit when she closes it on her.
Missy then messes with Clara, getting her to say things, causing the Dalek to say something different. If she says her name, it only says "Dalek," and when she says something like "I love you," or "You are different from me," it comes out only "Exterminate." Missy is loving it until Clara gets emotional and the gun starts going off. She explains to Clara that Cybermen suppress emotion; Daleks channel it through a gun, which is why they keep yelling "Exterminate!" It's how they reload.
Davros asks The Doctor a question he has longed to ask him. Why did he leave Gallifrey? He stole a TARDIS and ran and ran. The Doctor says simply that it was a boring place. Davros knows though that he would love to return. The Doctor says he is just inconsistent, but Davros says that it is always the same lie - he wasn't bored. No one runs the way he ran for so small a reason.
Davros brings up that Colony Sarff confiscated the confession dial upon their arrival. He wants The Doctor to tell him his confession and send him to the grave with the knowledge. Davros goes to touch the dial, and The Doctor says, "Don't you dare," and Davros thinks he has touched a nerve. The Doctor tells him that some things matter to him, not many but a few, and not to put his fingers near it. The Doctor then reaches for the box Davros is holding - and takes out the sunglasses.
DAVROS: Still, you play the fool. DOCTOR: Well, by now that should make you nervous.
Missy and Clara the Dalek are approached by another Dalek. It asks Dalek Clara why the intruder has not been exterminated. Missy saves them when Clara falters, saying that she is a prisoner of special significance and to count her hearts. She talks about fighting the Supreme Dalek before, and to tell him "the bitch is back."
Meanwhile, Davros is still asking The Doctor why he left. He questions why he is asking him a personal question after so long. Davros says that The Doctor has slaughtered billions of his children, and he similarly has slaughtered billions of his race; they have exhausted conventional means of communication.
The Doctor admits the truth - his people are alive; he found a way to bring them and Gallifrey back. He may never know where it is, but it is back and safe - from both of them.
Davros congratulates him, saying that it's wonderful news. The Doctor is confused. Davros says that every man should have a race, an allegiance, and should belong. He is happy for him. Davros starts to tear up and tells him to come closer to let him see his face - with his own eyes.
Davros then turns off his electronic eye and opens his human ones. He tells him that if he has redeemed the Time Lords from the fire, not to lose them again, even if he has to take the darkest path into the deepest hell, protect his own, as he has sought to protect his.
Touching The Doctor's hand, Davros asks The Doctor if he did right. He needs to know before the end, and asks, echoing The Doctor's own previous question to Clara - is he a good man?
The Doctor realizes that Davros really is dying. Tears on his face, Davros questions that he doubted it, which he did. Davros tells him then that they have established one thing only - he is not a good doctor. They both laugh.
Davros's laughs turn to sobs, and he tells The Doctor that it is a pity; he had hoped to see the sun one last time with the eyes of his true self.
Outside the chamber, Missy is brought into the room with the Daleks. The Supreme Dalek tells Missy that she is their enemy. Missy quips that anyone who is not a Dalek is an enemy of the Daleks, so that was an easy guess. It threatens to exterminate her, but first, she wants to see Davros, and she has a gift for them if they take her to see him right away. Dalek Supreme says they don't negotiate, but she says that she brought them complete control of Clara Oswald - canned.
Being the man that he is, The Doctor starts messing with the cables to help Davros. While he's doing that he asks Davros how he got back Skaro, and he tells him that the Daleks remade it; like him they have a strong concept of home. The Doctor denies they are alike, saying that the Daleks are like their maker, but Davros says perhaps like both of them - they have both gone far to come home again.
The Doctor is now replugging the cables into Davros who is closer to the window. The Doctor tells him that he will try to pep it up, but he's been gone a long time - every Dalek on Skaro isn't enough anymore.
Davros says it's so good of him to help him, but The Doctor replies that he isn't helping him, but a little boy he abandoned on the battlefield who he owes at least a sunrise.
Davros tells him that he has always admired him and wishes that just once they had been on the same side. It's obvious he is dying as The Doctor tells him that they are on the same side now, and to look because the sun is about to come up. Davros tells him that he regrets he can no longer open his eyes.
The Doctor tells him not to tell anyone he did what he is about to do, and then makes his hand glow, intending to touch a cable and give him a bit of regeneration energy. While he does this, Davros laughs out of The Doctors view as he plays into his trap.
The Doctor touches the cables, but then can't let go of them as Davros tells Colony Sarff to hold him. The Doctor yells as the energy is pulled from him. Davros says that he thought he would have to tear him apart to take the regeneration energy from him, but as always his compassion is his downfall. He gave it of his own free will and all the Daleks will drink the blood of Gallifrey and shall rise stronger than ever. The Doctor continues to scream.
Meanwhile, the Daleks are demanding Missy tell them where Clara is when suddenly they stop. Then they glow as regeneration energy flows through them. Missy is distraught, asking aloud what The Doctor has done and runs to find him, leaving Dalek Clara there.
Davros says that there was a prophecy on The Doctor's own world. It spoke of a hybrid creature - two great warrior races forced together to create a warrior greater than either. He asks if that is what he ran from, his part in the coming of the hybrid: half Dalek, half time lord.
Missy runs in taking the gun from a Dalek. She shoots out a camera and then the cables that are holding The Doctor. The snakes drop, hissing.
All the Daleks are still for a moment. The Supreme Dalek says that they are renewed and more powerful. The experiment has succeeded. All the Daleks say, "All praise Davros." Outside Daleks fly into the air.
Missy slaps the unconscious Doctor to wake him up. He starts asking where Clara is. If Missy is alive, he surmises that she must be as well. Missy of course is annoyed with this and doesn't answer.
Davros says that thanks to The Doctor, his creations will grow to a greater supremacy and that his life is now prolonged. He says that it is the finale defeat of the Time Lords. He questions that The Doctor has nothing to say.
The Doctor counts down from three, taking back his confession dial. Missy says that she "knows that face," indicating that The Doctor is up to something. As he reaches one, the ground shakes and the Daleks start yelling that they are under attack and to explain.
The Doctor tells Davros that he knew exactly what Davros was doing and let him do it - he transmitted energy to every single Dalek on the planet, including those in the sewers. Generations of Daleks are waking up very cross and coming up the pipes - or to put it another way, "bye."
Missy sarcastically says that it was a pleasure meeting Davros and goes to shake his hand, instead poking his third eye. She then leaves, chasing after The Doctor.
The Doctor runs down the corridor and sees Dalek sludge running down the walls from a grate in the wall. It's starting to cover the Daleks as well, impairing their vision.
A Dalek calls out to The Doctor, who stops, telling it that the city is about to be sucked into the ground, the sewer about to consume them - it can't win, and there is nothing it can do. He just wants it to tell him where Clara is, but it just keeps saying to him, "I am a Dalek," and it becomes apparent to the audience that Clara is inside.
Missy comes up with a gun and says, "It's you," and proceeds to tell The Doctor that Clara is dead. She tells him that the Dalek in front of him is the one who killed Clara and tries to get him to shoot it. The Doctor knows something is off. It tells him not to kill it. He asks it if Clara is dead, but all Clara can say through the Dalek, is that she is a Dalek and is alive. Then she asks for mercy.
The Doctor says that a Dalek shouldn't be able to say mercy; it shouldn't exist in vocabulary, and questions how it is able to. He also questions why it is not trying to kill him. Inside the Dalek, Clara says that he is the last person she could ever kill, but the Dalek says, "I show mercy."
Recognition grows on The Doctor's face, and he tells the Dalek to open its casing by thinking the word "open." The tank opens to reveal Clara.
Missy pretends badly that she is surprised. She then says that this is why she gave her to him in the first place, to make you him see the friend inside the enemy, the enemy inside the friend.
The Doctor apologizes to Clara. Missy continues that everyone's a bit of both; everyone's a hybrid, perhaps talking about herself as well. No one is all good or all bad.
The Doctor, very angry, yells at her to run, insinuating that he will hurt her if she doesn't get away from him. She tells him that it wasn't her who ran, that was always him. She leaves.
In the other room the Daleks are yelling that their control is compromised, as the floor starts to split apart. Dalek Supreme demands The Doctor explain, and he replies that the sewers are revolting. The Dalek demands they help or be exterminated.
The Doctor tells it to go ahead, and the Dalek shoots at him; however it has no effect. He tells it that the TARDIS force field is still there: they get in; the Daleks don't. The TARDIS was not destroyed but rather redistributed herself for a moment, and a blast with his sonic will make her reassemble where they are.
Clara comments that he doesn't have his screwdriver.
DOCTOR: Oh yeah, I'm over screwdrivers. They spoil the line of your jacket. These days I'm all about wearable technology.
He picks up his sunglasses and puts them on. Clara is surprised. "Seriously?" she asks.
The glasses make a sonic noise and the Dalek asks what happened. The Doctor says it's the same old same old - just the doctor and Clara Oswald in the TARDIS, which reappears around them.
Elsewhere Missy runs, but is stopped by the Daleks, yelling that a humanoid is detected and not to move. Missy, suddenly unconcerned, says that she's just had a very clever idea.
Outside, from a safe distance, The Doctor and Clara watch as the city collapses on itself. She supposes that he won't tell her what is on his confession dial. He just chuckles and puts in in his pocket.
He then says that it doesn't make sense how she was able to say "mercy" while in the Dalek; it shouldn't have understood the concept; she shouldn't have been able to say it. He questions how a tiny piece of mercy got into the DNA of the Daleks. It's then that he realizes what he has to do, looking down at the Dalek gun in his hand.
The Doctor runs back to the TARDIS and arrives again to see Davros the boy, in the same scene that aired at the end of the previous episode. Davros is confused how he moved, and The Doctor tells him that he is from the future, there to save his friend the only way he knows how.
He then yells, "Exterminate," but The Doctor shoots all the hand mines, saving the boy. He tells him he will take him home. Davros asks what side he is on. The Doctor tells him that he's not sure any of that matters anymore, friends or enemies, so long as there is mercy. Always mercy.