The Witches Familiar *Spoilers*

I was going to find a clever quote or a pun to start this review, but I think it’s better if I just start with a simple word, wow. This was Doctor Who at its finest, and Moffat back at his best, and this will most likely be a long review…

The episode started with revealing that both Missy and Clara were indeed alive (as if anyone thought they weren’t) and for once it was explained in a really clever way. It also explained to us how Missy survived in the previous finale, finally some answers from the Moff. Arguably the best scenes of the episode were between the Doctor and Davros, and their first of the episode was one of the best. We see an angry Doctor threaten to shoot Davros, and then rip him out of his chair to use it for himself against the Daleks. Very clever, witty, dark and exciting all at once. However it is not long before Davros and the Daleks wrestle back the advantage from The Doctor using Colony Sarffs ‘Colony’.

One thing that Moffat has arguably always done well is introduce little concepts early on that will then be pivotal towards the end, often saving the day, and in this case it was the Dalek sewers. I thought it was a nice idea to introduce the concept that Daleks don’t naturally die but decay over time, which kept the dark theme of the episode running. The next few scenes of the episode then allowed for some brilliant dialogue and dynamic between Clara and Missy; as they alerted the Daleks, killed one and placed Clara inside the machine. This was a rare episode in the fact that Clara didn’t continuously annoy me throughout, and I felt that Moffat finally found the right balance of mad within Missy’s character in this episode. Another clever ploy was to have the Dalek mechanism changing certain words and phrases e.g. ‘you are my friend’ into ‘you are my enemy’, which could become vital later in the episode…

The next 20 minutes or so truly belong to the Doctor and Davros, with some of Moffat’s best dialogue to date in my opinion, reminiscent of the 4th Doctor with Davros in the Genesis of the Daleks serial. In their scenes we are led to believe that Davros is actually dying, and is showing some repentance within his final moments. He opens his real eyes (making him look so much scarier), congratulates the Doctor on saving the Time Lords, and even says he wishes they were on the same side for once. However, as expected this is all one big trap, as when the Doctor goes to give Davros a tiny bit of regeneration energy, he steals all he can from the Doctor to renew himself and all his Dalek children on Skaro. For a brief moment Davros returns to his absolute chilling best, until Missy arrives to save the Doctor and quite literally poke Davros in the eye.

It turns out that all along the Doctor knew what Davros was doing, and allowed it. I felt this was a little annoying as it would have been nice for Davros to get one over on the Doctor for once. The Doctor then reveals that the regeneration energy also fed into the sewers and those Daleks were waking, breaking apart the city (a good, clean way to beat the Daleks unlike RTD’s usual big switch at the end). However there was still one chilling scene to come…

As the Doctor/Missy are escaping they run into a Dalek, but not any Dalek, the one with Clara inside. Clara is unable to say who she is as the Dalek mechanism changes her words and Missy tries to get the Doctor to shoot it dead. I thought this would be a brilliant, chilling way for a companion to leave, and would also elevate Missy as a truly terrifying villain. However, at the last second Clara is able to say the word ‘Mercy’, and the Doctor can work things out from there. The episode ends with the Doctor going back to save the child Davros, and just as the city is set to collapse, Missy has a bright idea… a perfect way to bring both her and the Daleks back. 9/10

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