Doctor Who: Season 9: Episode 2: The Witch’s Familiar Part 2 by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who review)

September 26, 2015 | By | 1 Reply More

As usual with these examination of ‘Doctor Who’ stories shortly after transmission, if you haven’t seen them, I’ll try not to give away too many unintentional spoilers, although I will give a quick resume of the plot. Much of the analysis will be about it so feel suitably warned.

In many respects, the second part of the opener to this latest season of ‘Doctor Who’ is probably the most cerebral. Most of the real action is with Missy and Clara, with the Time Lady getting so many good lines, you will end up wondering if she’ll get her own series, although I doubt if she’d entertain a companion for long. With the Doctor and Davros, it is more a battle of chat and one really get the feeling that Davros is on his last legs, if he had any. As you’ll see from this story, he clearly doesn’t any more. You’ll also have to recount the number of regenerations the Doctor has left because I doubt it was only one.


There is so much of this story that is spoiler and played like a chess game of wits with only the viewers not let in on the plan. If anything, its proof that the Doctor is always one step ahead except I’m puzzled as to why he would let Missy get involved, especially as it wasn’t in Clara’s best interest.

It was obvious from the start that certain people weren’t exterminated and even the Doctor didn’t believe what he saw. However, he has to deal with a dying Davros and knowing if he escapes, the Daleks will surely kill him. Meanwhile. Missy has her own plans and poor Clara appears to be taken in and conned every step of the way. If anything, that has to be seen as the biggest flaw as you would think by now that she wouldn’t be that foolish, especially with the Doctor’s worse enemy.


This doesn’t mean there aren’t some puzzles. I mean, why should the Emperor Dalek have three talk lights on its head for instance? It’s also a puzzle why aren’t all Daleks given the upgrades. Even Davros has no answer for what happened to Hand Of Omega bomb the McCoy Doctor destroyed Skaro with a couple decades back in ‘Remembrance Of The Daleks’. I mention that only because so much of the Time Lord and Dalek history is inferred in this story. Even the battle-tank Dalek makes an appearance. If you’re up on it all, then you’ll probably notice it. If you really want an odd comicbook comparison, it’s the Doctor and Davros sharing a joke a’la Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s graphic novel ‘The Killing Joke’ before resuming hostilities. There’s even some sewer humour.


Again, the cast do an outstanding performance. Special mention must also be made of to actor Julian Bleach as Davros. When he finally opens his eyes, the expression of pity is brilliantly played. Michelle Gomez does such an outstanding performance that you can feel her star is rising although I do hope Steven Moffat doesn’t over use her appearances. Saying that, I would love to see Missy and River Song in the same story just to see how they would banter off each other. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor does have a softer side now but capable of putting the shutters down as required.

Although the TV viewing figures for the opening episode appears to be down a couple million, I do agree with some verdicts that people are watching through the likes of the Net than the telly than anything to do with the performance. Whether the BBC will believe that or not is hard to say but they do need something comparable to show how ‘Doctor Who’ is doing compared to the other channels so watch on the TV if you can. I do think that the show is losing its younger audience the later into the evening it is put. Granted the junior set can catch it on repeat on Sunday but the BBC isn’t doing itself any favours doing this. ‘Doctor Who’ is supposed to be a family show after all and there isn’t that much pure adult to put them off.

Finally, expect a new prop in merchandise this December and hope no one thinks you odd wearing it in the middle of winter.

(c) GF Willmetts

26 September 2015


Category: Doctor Who, Scifi, TV

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (1)

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  1. Eamonn Murphy says:

    It was great BUT at the end the Doctor sees that something has happened so he goes back in his Tardis to make it happen. Mercy me. This sort of paradox as a get out is overused lately. It’s clever – as Robert Heinlein admitted when he first did it in ‘By His Bootstraps’ – but ‘cotton candy’ as he also said. Not really satisfying.

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