Doctor Who: The Witch’s Familiar

Tonight we got to see the continuation of last week’s Doctor Who episode “The Magician’s Apprentice” which was called “The Witch’s Familiar“. As always, beware of Spoilers from this point onwards!!!

Can I just say one thing up front? I WILL NOT ACCEPT SUNGLASSES INSTEAD OF A SONIC SCREWDRIVER! NOT EVER! Puh, now that that is out of the way, I can continue.

What was it about?

The Doctor may be without friends, without the TARDIS and without his Sonic Screwdriver, but he can still manage to stay alive surrounded by who knows how many Daleks. He has an “honest” heart to heart with Davros, while really they just keep deceiving each other (seriously – who can think that far ahead except for the Doctor?). Meanwhile Clara and Missy of course aren’t dead, neither is the TARDIS lost forever. Everything ends with the Daleks basically destroying themselves. 

My thoughts?

Sorry for keeping the summary a bit short, but I am guessing you watched it already anyway and I wanted it to be more succinct than last week.

I thought we would jump in right where we left of, but instead that particular scene with young Davros is kept for the very end. I liked the Witch’s Familiar a bit better than the Magician’s Apprentice. It felt more focused and had some really nice surprises in there. The thing is, Moffat had to come up with some freaking good reasons as to how things could revert from the dire state of last episode and I am glad he took some time to explain. I thought the Clara and Missy teleporting-story was quite alright and the TARDIS was always capable of relocating itself I guess, so it made sense.

What I probably liked most about the episode was a more vulnerable and partially funny Davros. Even if it was only fake, it was still interesting to see him pose all those questions. In fact very similar questions to the ones the Doctor asked himself last season aka “Am I a good man?”. Also, pushing him about why he left Gallifrey in the first place and the constant references to the Doctor being the one constantly on the run made me curious.

I personally didn’t enjoy the Clara-Missy team-up very much; they have terrible chemistry – which could have something to do with the fact that Missy keeps trying to kill Clara. However, I did like the translation from human to Dalek. It was so interesting to see how their brains work and made me wonder if sometimes they have to say things they don’t actually mean. As for the end and the whole mercy-business though, I thought that was strange. Why was the Doctor so surprised that the Dalek knew the word “mercy”? They’ve used it before (watch proof by clicking here), maybe not in the same context but they have used it.

It felt like this time around the focus was more balanced between showing the Doctor and his companion(s). The story could have used some more depth every now and then (e.g. I was a bit confused about the Colony of Sarff’s role), but I think it was a satisfying conclusion. Now, if only we could keep exploring Twelve’s motives some more in the future. On a completely different note, I am assuming that the titles of the two episodes were referring to the Doctor being seen as a magician or witch, but beyond that I have no idea what their connection was to the actual content of the episodes. If you do have more insight on that than me, please enlighten me!

When it comes to the rest of this season, I am looking forward to finding out what’s in the confession dial. What about you? Thoughts on any of this?

In the Forest of the Night

As always it’s time for a Doctor Who review on Saturday! This time I’ll be talking about Series 8’s “In the Forest of the Night” and we all know what comes now: Spoilers ahead!

A lot happened this week, but it wasn’t at all like I expected it to be. There was global forestation over night, a solar flare that should’ve destroyed the Earth and some really great Clara/Doctor moments. I should say upfront that while there were some really sweet and amazing scenes in between, this again isn’t one of my favourite episodes. I want to clarify that that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it at all, I just liked others better. But since I seem to complain a bit too much about Doctor Who as of late, I’m trying to find some good things in there. So, let’s break it down:

  • I actually liked the message: Trees are our friends! But the thing was that they tried to sell me that I was supposed to be scared in forests, because of fairy tales and such, but I actually quite like them. Never felt uneasy there, but rather calm instead. What I am scared of though, is getting lost, which seemed like a real possibility during the episode. Also, it would have been way different if it all had played during the night. Everything can be scarier in the night and I will admit that I wouldn’t want to be alone in a forest in the dark.
  • There was some speculation that the episode might have something to do with William Blake‘s poem “The Tyger“, so I’m really glad that there was an actual tiger and that it made sense that he could be there. Cool reference in my opinion!
  • The kids were all great little actors and actresses! Often I’m a little anxious about episodes with loads of children, because they are often not very convincing, but the casting director of Doctor Who either has a ton of luck or chooses really well (I’m guessing a bit more of the latter). Abigail Eames, who played Maebh, did a great job portraying that seemingly troubled little girl and it was creepy when her voice mixed with the one of the “firesflies” (or “trees” whatever I’m supposed to call them).
  • If you’ve followed my blog the past weeks, you probably noticed that I am huge fan of BBC’s Our Girl. The woman who played Maebh’s mother, Siwan Morris, starred as Mrs Smurf/Smith/Candy on that show as well. Just seeing her in another storyline that involves losing a child made the story so much more emotional for me, just because the wounds of Our Girl are still so fresh.
  • I still wonder where Annabel, Maebh’s sister, was and why she ran away … assuming that she left home willingly.
  • I sort of doubt Danny‘s intelligence if he seriously believed that Clara didn’t meet up with the Doctor. He’s a great man, as this episode proved once more, but I just can’t imagine him not noticing that his girlfriend was spending time on the TARDIS, especially not after last week. Also, I just want him to tag along for an adventure and he seems so utterly unwilling to do that, that I’m starting to get tired of him. He has his reasons, and good ones too to be fair, but … I thought this might become more of a Rory-Amy-Doctor dynamic with a twist over time and that’s just highly unlikely now.
  • Twelve and kids is such a fun combination. I like it when they let him play the grumpy Scottish man!
  • Another glimpse of Missy that I could do absolutely nothing with. So glad next week will start to unveil what’s been going on!
  • I loved the scene when Clara told the Doctor to leave without them (although I am not sure if, at that moment, it really was wise to say that they should all die instead of saving at least a few people). Capaldi and Coleman just have this great chemistry and also conflicts with each other, most of the time their confrontations are my favourite part of the episode.

I guess that’s it for today. Concerning “Dark Water” next week … I’m scared to be honest, and not because the Cybermen will make their return. It’s the first part of the finale and I am always anxious about those, because I hate endings, but also because of what I saw in the promo. That just wasn’t like Clara at all and I’m going to freak if nothing was real!

What are your thoughts about “In the Forest of the Night“?

Flatline or the Adventures of Doctor Clara

Another Whovian Saturday! In this week’s episode “FlatlineJamie Mathieson/Steven Moffat were dead set on getting us scared of walls and giving Clara another opportunity to shine. As always you should hear River in your head by now: “Spoilers!

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After I’ve seen the promo for “Flatline“, I thought the episode had potential to be really creepy. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up liking it that much. While I really love Series 8 as a whole, I also have my issues with it. So far, there haven’t been any terrible episodes, but there also haven’t been any outstanding ones. I’ve been waiting for an episode to really wow me and excite me, like for example “Vincent and the Doctor“, “Blink“, “The Empty Child“/”The Doctor Dances” or “The Girl in the Fireplace” did. And those are just the examples I could come up with from the top of my head! Again, “Flatline” wasn’t bad at all, but I doubt it’ll stay in my memory forever. However, it did have it’s moments! Since the Doctor was stuck in the shrunken TARDIS, Clara had to do his job and defeat the monsters. Here are my thoughts about the occurrences of “Flatline”.

  • So, as I mentioned above, our weekly monster was a little different this time around. It started out in 2D, but quickly evolved to something more 3D by draining the TARDIS of its power. In my opinion, those creatures (Do they have a name? They remind me a bit of the Vashta Nerada to be honest) have the potential to be really creepy, but didn’t fully realise said potential during the course of this episode. In the end, they just looked like pixelated and glitching Zombies.
  • Clara was the center of attention once again. It’s not like I don’t like her, but come on. This is turning into the Adventures of (Doctor) Clara Oswald rather than Doctor Who. Is that just my feeling? Because I don’t remember the other companions being that much the focus of the show. Also, she’s turning more and more into the Doctor – the lies, her way of thinking …
  • Danny … oh poor Danny. Always having to worry about Clara. He’s not stupid! He clearly knew she was getting into trouble with the Doctor and she shouldn’t lie to him. If she’s getting into a dangerous situation, he needs to know that. At least, he said that that’s a deal breaker when they started dating.
  • Rigsy (Joivan Wade) was sweet and he looked like he had a crush on Clara. But why exactly did he want to sacrifice his life for no reason?
  • Did not like grumpy old man Fenton (Christopher Fairbank), but I suppose it was intended that we dislike him.
  • I like the use of psychic paper, even if it was beaten by utter lack of imagination.
  • Did I just imagine that, or did the TARDIS in siege mode look like the Pandorica? I know that it was Gallifreyan writing on the box, but it still very much reminded me of the Pandorica.
  • The Addams Family-hand reference was funny.
  • The Doctor, as always, is a mystery to me. On the one hand, he had hope that it was all just a misunderstanding with the enemy creatures and I again saw a glimpse of the man who finds every creature in the universe important and beautiful, but then he did not hesitate to destroy them. He compliments Clara for how she handled the situation, but at the same time tells her that his actions have nothing to do with being good or goodness. I still want to believe that the Doctor is a good man, but he himself seems to have stopped believing that altogether. However, I still like the scenes where we see that the Doctor cares about Clara and sometimes even is jealous, even if he doesn’t like that she’s becoming more like him.
  • Missy had her almost obligatory tiny appearance again. Tonight’s episode seemed to be another hint that she might truly have been the woman in the shop. She called her “My Clara” (wasn’t that Eleven’s thing?) and said that she chose her well, so, that just makes me assume she’s the one who gave Clara the Doctor’s phone number. After the torturous and slow build-up of her character I hope the season finale, which supposedly reveals everything, will be as good as I expect it to be by now.

What were your thoughts about this week’s episode? I’m already looking forward to “In the Forest of the Night” (which oddly makes me think about “Forest of the Dead” and the Forest people, although I doubt it has any connection to those things), because Danny will finally tag along on the TARDIS … even if it is with an entire group of children.