Doctor Who: The Witch’s Familiar Brings It Up a Notch From Last Week's the Magician’s Apprentice

Sunday, 27 September 2015 - 5:23PM
Doctor Who
Sunday, 27 September 2015 - 5:23PM
Doctor Who: The Witch’s Familiar Brings It Up a Notch From Last Week's the Magician’s Apprentice
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Doctor Who series 9 premiered last week, and sadly it wasn't the breathtaking beginning Whovians were hoping for. While the first episode of the series, entitled the Magician's Apprentice, certainly wasn't a bad episode, it suffered the consequences of reintroducing a major villain much to soon and relying on plot devices that have already been overused. Thankfully, episode 2, the Witch's Familiar, really brought things up to the level of storytelling that fans can usually expect out of a show like Doctor Who, and topped it off by ending this two-part story with a great message. That being said, this week's episode was far from perfect, and there's still some things that need to be worked on if the show is to achieve its true potential. Check out what worked and what didn't this week in Doctor Who Series 9, Episode 2: "The Witch's Familiar."

The Bad

The Daleks are undoubtedly the Doctor's most popular enemies, but the general consensus regarding the grumpy cyborgs is that they're overused, and it's hard not to agree. Even with series 8 only featuring one episode including the Daleks, it's still hard for one not to walk away feeling just a tad bit tired of seeing them.

Speaking of overused enemies, it's still not OK that Missy's already back. The Master's appearance has always been a pretty special occasion in the new series, and it the fact that he was used only in those rare occurrences made his appearance that much more special. With a character that's as fun to watch as Missy, this would have been a perfect set up. Hopefully seeing Missy will become an extremely special treat to be enjoyed on rare occasions, and the show doesn't keep it up and end up overdoing it with yet another enemy.

There were also some ideas that just didn't seem to fly in this episode. The whole idea of the Dalek sewers being the same as their graveyard wasn't just strange, it was goofy. And while Doctor Who has a good reputation of making goofy work (his greatest enemy is essentially a crossbreed of a plunger and an egg beater), this seemed to be a convenient way to reach the climax of the plot instead of being a quality bit of sci-fi intrigue.

The Good

One of the greatest things about Doctor Who is seeing a hero who uses his brains instead of his brawn, and the Witch's Familiar definitely delivered in that regard. From the focus on how the Doctor used his intelligence to get out of a sticky situation at the beginning of the episode to the big reveal towards the end of the show that gave away that the Doctor really had the situation figured out all along, watching the Time Lord outsmart his enemies simply never gets old. And seeing exactly why the sunglasses were so special at the end of the show? Icing on the cake.

Likewise, the humor in this episode was pretty spot on. Missy was hilarious (as usual). The Doctor stealing Davros chair was equally as funny. Davros giving the Doctor the only other chair on planet Skaro was a good laugh as well. The humor really made a great addition to the show, giving it a fun feeling without ever turning the episode into something comical.

Just as well, no Whovian could ever hate when some timey wimey antics are thrown into the mix. It's extremely fun to watch the Doctor do something he's realized he already must have done in the past, and ultimately saving Davros when he was a child at the end of the episode not only confirmed that the Doctor is still as compassionate as ever, but also gave it that crazy, non-linear, Doctor Who feel that all fans of the show have come to know and love.

With the first story of the series officially over, things are looking up for series 9 of Doctor Who. While part 1 may have only been deserving of a 6.5 out of 10, the Witch's Familiar has earned itself a fair 7.8.

Check out next week's episode of Doctor Who, Under the Lake, next Saturday evening at 8 p.m. ET.

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