• Cyruptsaram

    Unfortunately, I have to disagree with you. It balanced comedy and dark themes rather well, with stunning performances from all the main cast (standout from Peter Capaldi and Michelle Gomez). On top of homages to the First Doctor story, the Daleks (1963-1964), and links to the Doctor’s previous meetings with Davros, there were some really powerful scenes, and genius details from Steven Moffat, including the relationship that Daleks have with emotions and how Clara is almost unable to convince the Doctor that she is inside the Dalek – equally proving that the Master (or Missy) could never change from her merciless persona.

    One thing that disappointed me perhaps was how the Doctor double-crossed Davros by rejuvenating the Dalek graveyard under the city, and this being the demise of the Daleks. Outstanding otherwise.

    9/10

  • Owen Bush

    I again, have to disagree, I think The Witch’s Familiar was a step-up from the very bonkers, yet brilliant series premiere. The episode had a lot of very sincere, elegant and beautiful conversational scenes, and even that of Missy and Clara added an very-much-needed comedic balance. The whole episode was spectacularly written, and I do not think the show is fading but becoming something very much more intelligent.

  • Deus Ex Machina

    I always enjoy reading fairly negative reviews for otherwise acclaimed stories such as this one. It really gives it a different perspective. Personally I loved this opener, especially this episode. I get a strong vibe from this that you feel like the show has been in decline as of late. I couldn’t disagree more. In my mind, the show began to decline during season 6 and hit rock bottom in series 7a. 7b managed to regain some ground, but then series 8 pulled the series up to new heights, and by the looks of this opener, series 9 just going to continue that upwards trend. Moffat’s certainly not lost his touch if you ask me. On the contrary, I think he’s finally found his mojo again.

  • Edward Delingford

    I have to respectfully disagree. I thought this was a masterful (missyful?) conclusion to what are two of the strongest, most coherent, well written and acted episodes since the show’s return in 2005. The balance between drama and humour was handled beautifully and the scenes between Clara and Missy and the Doctor and Davros brought out many new insights into their characters without undermining the original template. The pacing was also superb.

    If anything, I have found that series 8 and now these openers demonstrates that Steven Moffat has found a new burst of creativity and freshness, doubtless due to being able to write for Peter Capaldi, the best actor by some margin to ever travel in the TARDIS and the one with the most nuanced and profound understanding of the character. I think that these pair of episodes are bound to go down as classics and will probably be as cherished and referenced as Genesis of the Daleks to which they paid respectful homage.
    I lost my faith in the show during the truly awful Tennant years where stories became excuses for Tennant to chat up female characters, preen and strut while shouting out that he was a God. This was miles away from the show I grew up with and too obviously pandering for new audiences and the lowest common denominator: dreadful hand waving finales, poor companion arcs and just very childish and sloppy writing. Series 5 and 6 were such a refreshing change with a properly Doctor-y Doctor, brilliant stories, satisfying arcs and a more mature and sophisticated sensibility behind the show, but felt that series 7 dropped the ball a bit, which in retrospect is totally understandable due to the demands of the 50th. The extraordinary run of episodes from Listen onwards demonstrated to me that Moffat was back at his best as both a writer and show runner.

    I do understand that such is the way of Who fans and for everyone who loves one part, another might abhore it. There are many who enjoyed and rate the Tennant years, even apart from the squee fangirl contingent and there are many of us who have loved Peter Capaldi’s turn in the Tardis. Just the nature of fandom I guess! With Who, you just have to wait for something more to your liking to come along and even in the very worst series (looking at you series 2), there will always be something to enjoy (Girl in The Fireplace, mainly for the brilliant and jewel like writing, costumes and Sophia Myles performance).

  • Charlotte Norburn

    I have to disagree too, I thought the two episodes were fantastic and I really liked Missy and Clara together, it brought a new dynamic. Because usually you just see the Master conversing with the Doctor but here I feel you get to see more of what he/she? thinks of the Doctors companions, “see that couple over there? You’re the puppy.” My favorite line. I want that on a t-shirt. And I loved the twist from Davors I felt it was really shocking and I rose from my chair to just get closer to the screen, desperate. I was also literally off the edge of my seat when the Doctor looked to be about to kill Clara in the Dalek, I loved Jenna’s acting there, that’s again gonna be one of my favourite sceens from probably the whole of Doctor Who.

  • TheCyberDoctor

    Great review! However, I have to respectfully disagree. To me, this episode is just incredible, and one of the best stories we’ve ever had (along with TMA). It managed to balance the drama and humour seamlessly, ranging from the profound and thought-provoking to the utterly hilarious. Praise has to be directed to the whole cast, with each giving truly outstanding performances, making this one of the best acted episodes of the revival. The scenes shared between the Doctor and Davros were simply electric, granting us even more depth to the characters, and even Davros’ betrayal contained some sincerity. Certainly the need to have a people, to have a home, and the need to protect ones own. Davros is very similar to the Doctor, each have fought to survive and have done what they think is necessary, and this highlighted that perfectly.
    This episode also cemented Missy as a brilliant Master, showing how deceptive and unpredictably she can be: threatening to eat Clara, pushing her down a hole, handcuffing her, sealing her inside a Dalek, and then try and convince the Doctor to kill her. Even if some of that was still funny, its still quite dark, giving us a sense of jeopardy as we simply didn’t know what she’d do next. And I love the fact that they’ve left her fate more open this time. I have a sneaking suspicion that she’ll be back quite soon, along with Davros, given the apparent arc. But who knows eh, who knows?
    A truly brilliant episode, delivering on so many levels, I really hope the series maintains this level of quality. And I hope you enjoy the next episode too! ;)

  • A well written review, but I fear I follow the trend of respectfully disagreeing with the viewpoint. I feel most negative perspectives on Familiar tend to come from pre-expectations of the 2nd half of the story as opposed to outright flaws. That’s fine if the story as a whole is being reviewed, but this is an analysis of Familiar, that is after all the title, so it seems a bit harsh to fault the story-telling on those pre-expectations. But hey, I’m not one for strict plot linearity, and the article is a good discussion starter on the matter, so therefore a good quality article indeed.