Doctor Who (Peter Capaldi) – The Witch’s Familiar, and Under the Lake

The Doctor (Capaldi) finds himself confronting a terrible choice when the cliffhanger caused by last week’s episode comes to its resolution in The Witch’s Familiar. Written by Steven Moffat, this episode first premiered on 26 September, 2015.

Davros (Julian Bleach) has apparently let the Daleks destroy Clara (Jenna Coleman), Missy (Michelle Gomez) and the TARDIS. So the Doctor travels back in time and confronts, for a moment, the very real possibility of killing the boy (Joey Price) Davros was, before he could become the madman he is… or does he?

But Missy simply used a vortex manipulator to escape, and took Clara with her. She sets up some nice exposition explaining how they got away, and also adds to the character’s layers.

Pairing Missy and Clara together makes for some great moments, and watching the Doctor confront the Daleks is great. But what if Davros has a plan that takes a lot of this into account? And will the Time Lord be able to put a stop to him once and for all?

I actually prefer this episode to the previous; the introduction of the Doctor in the previous part seemed a little goofy and silly. And despite some funny bits, this story is dark, smart, strong well-paced and fantastic.

While adding to the Time Lord character, it also adds more to the Daleks as well.

And Missy comes up with a plan that will see Clara dead, unless the Doctor can see through it. But it will definitely add a whole new level of anger to his relationship with the Time Lady.

For me, this was a great episode. There is so much going on, there’s world and character building and it raises the stakes for all of the characters. But the sonic sunglasses were a terrible choice.

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Under the Lake sees the Doctor and Clara arriving at an underwater base in this story penned by Toby Whithouse. Airing on 3 October, 2015, the story walks the fine line between spooky and fun as only Doctor Who can do.

It’s 2119, Earth, Scotland, and the underwater base has just discovered a crashed alien craft with a language on the wall the TARDIS won’t decipher, and with it seems to be a strange apparition that is stalking the crew.

As the crew begin to meet their ends, the Doctor and Clara find themselves in an unnerving mystery that sees the recently deceased returning as… ghosts?

The Doctor and Clara throw themselves into the mystery – and their encounters fire the Doctor’s imagination. It seems the apparitions are trying to communicate somehow, as they seem to be talking, though nothing can be heard.

The Doctor knows that the alien craft has something to do with it, as well as the sunken village that the base is surveying.

There’s a nice character bit with Clara and the Doctor featuring a series of cards she’s created for him to better allow him to empathise with those he interacts with. Or at least to appear so.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger that sees the base flooding, Clara and the crew trapped, and the Doctor travelling back in time to when the craft landed to investigate. But in the future, the Doctor appears as a ghost… implying he’s dead.

It’s a fun ride, and it shows that the ninth series is off to a great start. The story comes to a conclusion next week with Before the Flood.

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