Tag Archives: The Witch’s Familiar

Doctor Who Series Nine Review

Another series has come to an end, but what a great series it was. Seeing a more settled Peter Capaldi lead this series, he gets to show a superbly fun streak while keeping the deeply moving moments when needs to. From busting out guitar solos to heart-wrenching speeches, it was a fantastic series which built upon the 2014 run and came out high. Jenna Coleman may now have left, but we got some great episodes featuring Clara to show how much we shall all miss her. Plus, who can forget appearances from Reece Shearsmith, Maisie Williams, and even Ingrid Oliver coming back as Osgood.

  1. The Zygon Inversion by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat

Not by any means a bad episode (compared to series 8 which had a few weak episodes), but arguably I felt this conclusion to the Zygon two-parter lacked much substance to me. I felt at this point Clara was very much just being sidelined to make Osgood appear to be a replacement. The threat from the rogue Zygons never feels as grand as it should, there isn’t that worldwide ramification which is teased in the first part and to see Kate Stewart minimalised is a crime. But, the speech from Peter Capaldi does really stand out as one of the best acting movements from the Scottish actor.

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  1. Under The Lake by Toby Whithouse

Following on from one of the most thrilling two-parters ever, Toby Whithouse had to give a story which could keep the same attention as Steven Moffat had done for the previous two weeks. Though it seemed some of the cast was wasted to short parts, the characters of Cass and Lunn really make a good mark as the double act. But Morven Christie is superb as O’Donnell, it is just a shame that her great presence is then minimalised in part two. The tension builds nicely and makes for a great conclusion, which I will discuss later…

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  1. The Woman Who Lived by Catherine Tregenna

When we see Ashildr after so many years, we find that she is almost nothing like the Viking girl we met in ‘The Girl Who Died’. Maisie Williams proves to be the best guest star of series 9 with her appearances in the show. This one sees her very much become traitor as she looks to trick The Doctor to get away from earth and explore the world, but the alien Leandro looks set to make his own plans (I have to admit, he was a weak villain in an otherwise strong story). Also, it was nice having a companion-lite story and who would have thought Rufus Hound was cast so well? It may not be a classic, but Catherine Tregenna should come back!

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  1. Sleep No More by Mark Gatiss

This episode took me by surprise, making a twist to the found-footage genre and giving it a Doctor Who episode was definitely out of the ordinary. On first viewing, I was greatly impressed. But, the second time really was a killer. I still get a great chill from that last scene, as it really does infuse a horror element to the show with an effortless performance from Reece Shearsmith. The creatures themselves were a great invention, though I would think this story could be expanded upon and a follow-up could be better.

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  1. Hell Bent by Steven Moffat

The finale came and wow! First off, The Doctor is back on Gallifrey and is finally free from billions of years stuck in his confession dial. Though the Time Lords ask for his help, he merely despises for their actions and eventually dethrones Rassilon. The humour is great and to see many story strands conclude here is all well and good. But, as much as I loved Jenna Coleman, bringing Clara back really seemed to destroy the outstanding exit scene she was given just two weeks prior. On the plus side, we do get to see a second TARDIS and Ashildr returns.

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  1. The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness

The Zygons exploded back onto the screen this year, and they brought Osgood back with them too. With the fear of a fracture in the treaty between human and Zygon, The Doctor is called upon by UNIT to help stop everything going to hell. The choice to have a mostly female led cast was genius and highlighted the best in Doctor Who with Osgood, Kate and Clara. The cliffhanger may not be the most stunning in its history, but the Clara reveal was well played and really made the stakes high.

INVASION OF THE ZYGONS (By Peter Harness)

  1. Before The Flood by Toby Whithouse

A two-parter unlike any other, this second part saw The Doctor travel over 100 years to the past to see what happened to cause these ghosts to appear. As well as meeting the mole-like Prentis, we also get to see The Fisher King, one of the most haunting and creepy monster’s to appear in the show. The combination of three separate actors bringing The Fisher King to life was indeed impressive and how long will you be questioning if Beethoven really made his own music?

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  1. The Witch’s Familiar by Steven Moffat

Fighting the Daleks, stealing chairs and drinking a cup of tea from an unknown source was just the starters of this episode. Seeing two hero/villain double acts fill the majority of the episode was impressive. While Clara and Missy teamed up to save The Doctor, The Doctor and Davros were getting chatty and some serious and fun moments evolved from that. The joke about the only other chair on Skaro will be a long lasting one. Also, kudos to the special effects team, Skaro looked really cool.

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  1. The Girl Who Died by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat

Jamie Mathieson wrote the superb ‘Flatline’ last year, and it was not an easy task to follow on from that. But, he did so and more. A Viking village is attacked by alien race The Mire and young Viking Ashildr declares war against the warrior race. The Doctor and Clara then have just 24 hours to train the village to become warriors like those they have lost. Putting in many great jokes, some stunning action sequences and seeing The Doctor talk baby again. A winning episode which finally tells what helped the Time Lord get the familiar looking face he currently holds.

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  1. Heaven Sent by Steven Moffat

Imagine being stuck in a loop for billions of years, being chased by a creature that can’t die and won’t stop. Imagine being all alone with no companions and no exit. The Doctor literally punches his way out of this nightmare trap over the years and slowly wears a wall away until he is free. Seeing a vulnerable and frightened Doctor, it was a great in-depth look into the mind of our hero and a story which could never be replicated. A grieving Time Lord after losing his friend is a dangerous thing.

HEAVEN SENT (By Steven Moffat)

  1. Face The Raven by Sarah Dollard

We knew it was coming, but who would have thought the death of Clara Oswald would have been so moving? Jenna Coleman provides one of her greatest performances as she does her best to save friend Rigsy and tries to be like The Doctor. Learning the hard way she can’t be like the Time Lord, the ultimate price is paid for trying to be more than human. The Doctor physically and mentally is shaken by the series of events, and even looks to destroy former ally Ashildr after she sets up the trap which puts all these events into motion. Seeing Clara fall to the ground will haunt Doctor Who fans for many years to come…

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  1. The Magician’s Apprentice by Steven Moffat

To start off on such a massive high is a huge gamble, but started what was to be a fantastic series can’t be denied. With The Doctor missing, Missy and Clara working together and the best axe battle of all time, there was a lot to enjoy. The biggest surprise comes in the opening minutes when The Doctor meets a young Davros on a battlefield and leaves him to die. He then goes to hide, knowing that Davros survives the events and is looking to get him. With the pace being hectic, yet grounded, we have such a strong opener which floods the screen with references and characters. All perfectly placed, all pieces move towards what becomes the biggest ever cliffhanger in the history of the show!

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Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

 

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Doctor Who – The Witch’s Familiar. “Who’s going to tell me that Clara Oswald is really dead?”

So, we got Davros back to bring chaos to the life of The Doctor. We have Missy back to bring chaos to The Doctor. Two of the biggest enemies ever to cross the path of the heroic Time Lord and a planet full of Daleks is not a great situation to be in. On the last episode of Doctor Who, we saw Missy (who was on The Doctor’s side, kind of) and Clara EXTERMINATED by the Daleks as The Doctor was at the mercy of Davros. We have already discovered Davros is dying, and wants The Doctor to see him before he dies. We get a great game of who is tricking who (no pun intended) leading up to the finale, but I will save that for you to see yourself.

This episode changes the grand epic scale for a more grouped in and intimate romp for the second part of the series nine opener. The Doctor and Davros spend a lot of time talking to each other, learning more about each other. The scenes are intense, downright gripping in the interactions from two life-long enemies. The Doctor also gets to go for a ride in Davros’ chair, and I find it rather funny when he is eventually ejected from it and then told by Davros “You should feel privileged…the only other chair on Skaro” as he awakens back in the room which is keeping Davros alive. We may not be getting the grand adventure as we did in episode one, but to see Clara and Missy working together (even if Missy tries to get her killed by friend and foe alike) and see more from Colony Sarff as the dastardly helper to the grand scheme on Skaro. Seeing as this is only episode 2, we know The Doctor shall not die today, even though we had his confession last week. A new layer to the Daleks is revealed in the sewers and we get to see what happens when they “die”.

Peter Capaldi and Julian Bleach turn in possibly the best performances of their career so far in the sci-fi show. We kinda know where Davros is going in this episode, but Bleach gives such an endearing performance of a man who just wants to be accepted for who he is. The real eyes of Davros opening was something rather extraordinary. Peter Capaldi gives honest regret to his decision in episode one to abandon the young Davros on that battlefield, but be sure that wasn’t the only time you will see the child. Michelle Gomez and Jenna Coleman work well as a double act, fighting over a stick and stealing a Dalek casing is part of the fun they get in to. Jenna really gets to show her emotions in this episode, even when it comes to fighting impossible odds to avoid death. The explanation for their survival at the beginning of the episode was a bit convoluted, but I am glad we finally got an answer to how Missy/The Master survived death the last couple of times. The ambiguous conclusions for two characters will leave no doubt to the return at some point in the future. Who knew that Davros and The Master/Missy had never met before? I always thought they were actually working together till that point. Also I like the fact that we had Daleks from all different eras making an appearance, great way to bring the 52 years of Who together. I wonder how many people got upset with Missy saying Bitch on Doctor Who? Well, I hear a lot worse at much earlier times. Next week, we have ghosts! We go from Steven Moffat making his best scripts since ‘The Time Of Angels’/’Flesh And Stone’ to Toby Whitehouse with ‘Under The Lake’ and ghosts!

Truly a great episode, though I think it should have taken a few more risks. Top writing from The Moff, superb acting from Mr Capaldi and the greatest Doctor Who two-parter for five years!

Final Rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove