19 September 2015

DWO’s Spoiler-free preview of Episode 9.2: The Witch's Familiar:

The Doctor's trapped - a prisoner of Davros in the city of the Daleks. His two best friends in all time and space - Missy and Clara - have both perished in the cold blast of exterminations, and the TARDIS has been destroyed. As first adventures of a new series go, the Doctor's not having a particularly good day, is he?

If you think that the series is going to go easy on us after that opening, though, you'd be wrong. The Witch's Familiar continues to take the knife and twist it in the Doctor ever further, playing on his grief over abandoning the child Davros out on the battlefields of Skaro, and using his compassion to engineer possibly the biggest mistake the Time Lord has ever made.

As with the first episode of this story, it's tricky to tell you very much without giving the game away. You don't want to know how the Doctor escapes Davros' clutches (though trust us when we say it is brilliant - even if Davros might struggle to see the funny side), or what lurks in the sewers beneath the Dalek City, biding time until revenge can be enacted. It's another episode which works all the better simply if you watch the doors in the city slide slowly open on each revelation.

What we can say is just how brilliant it is to have Julian Bleach back as Davros once again. Whereas The Magician's Apprentice confined him to a deathbed, this episode gives him a chance to really *live* again, and there's some lovely flashes of the mania he displayed back in Journey's End. There's very few privileges in Doctor Who greater than watching Peter Capaldi's Doctor and Davros slowly counter each other, playing a great game of chess with the Daleks, and ancient Time Lord secrets, as the pieces. It's quite easy to believe with this pair that they could have, in another life, been the very best of friends, and it's great to see them given so much screen time.

Also given a turn in the spotlight this week are the classic Daleks. Fans who were disappointed when 2012's Asylum of the Daleks left them as largely background cameos will no doubt be far happier with this - even the Special Weapons Dalek gets a chance to shout a bit! How very Dalek!

Five Things to Look Out For;

1) A character gets to pay homage to a sequence from the very first Dalek story from 1963.

2) Why did the Doctor *really* leave Gallifrey, all those centuries ago?

3) 'Where did he get the tea? I'm the Doctor. Just accept it.'

4) How does the Doctor always manage to win?

5) Mercy.

[Sources: DWO, Will Brooks]

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