The Witch's Familiar was the second episode of the ninth series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. It probed the reason why the Doctor had fled from Gallifrey and gave a needed explanation as to why Skaro had returned after it was shown to be destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks. It also divulged how Missy had escaped her death in Death in Heaven, using the same technique to allow herself and Clara to survive the cliffhanger of the previous episode.
This story was further notable for exploring several new narratives with Davros. For the first time, Davros appeared seen outside his chair, revealing both a lack of legs and Dalek technology hooking him into the chair. Davros also opened his own eyes for the first time on-screen, and the possibility of him dying an indisputable death--as well as him regretting his actions--was brought up. This story was also the first to show Davros cry, as well as sharing a moment where he and the Doctor genuinely find something funny and laugh together. On the other hand, it was also the first time Davros and the Master encountered each other on-screen and had any interaction.
In that same respect, the mechanics of a Dalek were given an in-depth look, specifically how they control their casing functions, their weaponry and the filtering of their speech. It also gave an explanation for why they often shout "Exterminate!".
The Doctor is trapped in the place that is the nightmare of all Time Lords: Skaro, the home planet of the Daleks. Forced to keep Davros company, the Doctor will be tempted by the dying madman to trying to do something for the greater good of the universe; however, is this really what Davros had intended, or does he have something else up his sleeve?
Elsewhere, the Doctor's best friend and Clara Oswald are figuring out how to rescue him.
On the outskirts of the Dalek City, Clara awakens to find herself suspended upside down in the air by rope and Missy sharpening a stick nearby. Missy tells her they'll probably have to hunt for food, hence the stick, and that Clara is tied up "in case there's nothing to hunt". Clara is left confused as she's sure the Daleks killed them. Deciding it will help pass the time, Missy quickly explains how they survived being shot.
She recalls how the Doctor once faced 40 invisible Android Assassins without a TARDIS or companion, just a teleport device - "in short, the Doctor happy." At the moment that the androids fired on him, the Doctor used siphoned energy from the blasts to power the teleporter and escape. Clara is left impressed with the trick; the androids think the Doctor's dead and he escapes. However, Missy then points out this is the Doctor they're talking about; he's not that lucky. The Doctor fell into a nest vampire monkeys soon after "but that's another story!"
Clara immediately realises that Missy copied what the Doctor did back when she attacked with the Cyber-converted deceased; Missy used the energy from the Brigadier's attack to teleport away. To save them from being being exterminated, Missy repeated the process; since their manipulators were linked, it was an easy task. However, it would seem that the Daleks have a bit more energy in their blasts than Cybermen, as doing this has fried their manipulators to useless wrist accessories. Without them or a TARDIS, they are left stranded on Skaro.
Missy frees Clara from her restraint (albeit painfully for Clara) and both stare at the city; Missy states that standing between them and the Doctor is everything that the greatest empire in the universe can throw at them, but they have a pointy stick. She asks Clara where they start; Clara tells Missy it starts by believing that they can win. Laughing, Missy agrees to go along with her idea, but starts she was feeling a bit hungry. They walk off, with Clara asking if she can have a stick; Missy tells her to make her own.
Meanwhile, the Doctor searches the infirmary and finds a gunstick, grabs it and threatens Davros, aiming directly behind his head. Davros tells him it's ancient and inoperable; the Doctor quickly repairs the device, proving Davros wrong. The Doctor tells Davros to "get out"; Davros explains that he cannot leave. Increasingly angry, the Doctor yells for him to get out again.
The Daleks see Davros' signal leaving the infirmary; he calls for the Daleks to aid him. The Supreme Dalek orders that assistance be given, telling Davros to go back. However, Davros tells all Daleks to find the escaping Doctor. A Dalek finds Davros on the floor, as the Doctor rolls into the Dalek room in his wheelchair, stating that the Daleks have had "this exact nightmare". Davros calls for Sarff, who comes to his aid.The Daleks attempt exterminating the Doctor, but find him unharmed. Even more strange, is the Doctor is enjoying a cup of tea. He tells them "I'm the Doctor, just accept it." The Doctor explains that "Davros is an insane, paranoid scientist who has survived centuries around trigger-happy mini tanks", and thus has a personal force-field to keep them from killing him. Amused, the Doctor says he's keeping the chair. Threatening the Supreme Dalek with a gunstick, he asks if any Dalek is brave enough to admit Clara is dead; if she's not, she's to be brought to him.
Davros appears on the monitor, telling the Doctor that it's good to see him learn; that this desire for conquest is an improvement in his character. The Doctor taunts Davros, asking how he is, as he's not getting his chair back as it's taken. Davros smirks, saying that the chair is indeed taken by someone else; just not the Doctor. At that moment snakes emerge from the chair, causing the Doctor to lose grip on the gunstick; Colony Sarff has left agents wherever Davros needs them. The snakes wrap completely around the Doctor, causing him to pass out from a lack of oxygen.
Meanwhile, Missy and Clara are standing in another area on the outskirts of the City. After having heard the Doctor's call for Clara, they enter a Dalek sewers. In an attempt to find out how deep it is, Missy pushes Clara down into it, and the landing knocks her unconscious. Clara reawakens to find Missy standing in front of her, then grabs her stick and threatens her. However, Missy reclaims her stick and enters the main sewer area, explaining that all the "nasty stuff" they see on the walls are old decaying and angry Daleks that have been left to rot and liquefy. Missy soon cuffs Clara to a security camera, which spots her and sends a Dalek to collect her. As a Dalek approaches, Missy attacks it, using her brooch to poke holes in the casing, allowing the old Daleks to enter it and kill the new Dalek as revenge.
Back in the infirmary, the Doctor awakens to find Davros back in his chair. Davros tells him to be grateful and should feel privileged as this item was not easy to procure: the only other chair on Skaro. The Doctor quickly picks himself up, but Davros advises him not to try leaving again as the room has been sealed shut. Unbeknownst to the Doctor, Colony Sarff is hidden amongst the tubes of Davros' life-support. Examining the life-support system, the Doctor is able to deduce its function. Davros is "vampiring" off the Daleks; so long as the Daleks' hearts beat, so does Davros'. The Daleks allow this because of the one flaw Davros couldn't get rid of in them: respect for the one who gave them life.
Davros shows the Doctor that Colony Sarff confiscated the confession dial and sunglasses; the Doctor quickly takes his sunglasses, saying they are one of the few things that matter to him. Davros points out the Doctor still plays the part of the fool, which the Doctor says should still make Davros nervous. Davros asks why the Doctor came; the Doctor explains he came because a sick man asked him to. Wondering what the Doctor has confessed, Davros asks to be gifted with such knowledge before he dies; the Doctor points out Davros keeps claiming to die soon, but never does. "Give it some welly' the Doctor retorts.
Davros wonders why the Doctor left Gallifrey, to which they argue; the Doctor was bored there, but is homesick. The Doctor then wonders how Skaro came back, which Davros explains was due to the Daleks wanting a homeland; the Doctor points out that was actually Davros' longing for Skaro, which is in the Daleks' DNA. Amused, Davros points out that while his home and children are alive, the Time lords and Gallifrey were forever lost in the Time War. However, the Doctor explains that he saved Gallifrey, and it's safe from the both of them, somewhere out there. Davros congratulates the Doctor, as he himself was not able to save his species.
Davros begins to show remorse for all his terrible deeds and asks whether he was a good man. Davros asks to see the Doctor with his own eyes, shutting off the implant in his forehead and opening his true eyes. Realising Davros is indeed dying, both have a laugh that the Doctor isn't a really good doctor after all - anyone with decent medical training could tell when a man was dying.
In the sewer, Missy pulls the now-dead Dalek mutant out of its casing; she has Clara sit in the armour and sticks the telepathic circuits into her temples before sealing her inside; nano-tech heals the wounds. Clara learns whatever she says is spoken by the shell, something she finds weird; however, her own voice can't be heard outside of the shell. Amusing herself, Missy has Clara attempt saying her name, but gets "I am a Dalek" instead; she then has Clara try "you are different from me" and "I love you", but they come out as "exterminate". She then has Clara say "exterminate", causing the shell to spin and fire rapidly; Missy laughs as Clara regains control. Missy explains that unlike the Cybermen, who cut out their emotions, the Daleks harness it to fire their weapons, and reload by saying "exterminate."
Now understanding how the Dalek shell works, Clara heads back into the hospital with Missy. They are confronted by a Dalek, which questions Clara as to why an intruder in the city hasn't been exterminated yet. As Clara isn't able to think of a good excuse, Missy takes control of the situation, explaining that she's a Time Lady, and thus a prisoner of value; she tells the Dalek to inform the Supreme Dalek had better be informed that "the bitch is back".
Back in the infirmary, the Doctor connects Davros' chair to the life support system, and maxing out the life it can give the ancient scientist. Davros wonders why the Doctor is helping him, to which he hears the Doctor is doing something for the little boy he abandoned. Reflecting on the past, Davros says he wishes he and the Doctor had been on the same side; smiling, the Doctor tells Davros they're on the same side now. Davros says all he wants is to see one last sunrise, but cannot open his eyes now. As the sun looms on the horizon, the Doctor asks Davros "not to tell anyone that I did this" as his hand starts to glow with regenerative energy. Commenting that what he's about to do will "probably cost me an arm or a leg somewhere down the line", or just result in him being smaller in one of his future incarnations, the Doctor approaches Davros' life support as Davros chuckles softly behind him.
Grabbing one of the tubes with his glowing hand, the Doctor prepares to donate a tiny bit of regenerative energy to revive Davros long enough to see the sunrise. However, the moment he touches the life-support, Sarff binds him to the cables, and the machinery begins to drain more energy from the Doctor, transmitting it to the Daleks, renewing them. Davros laughs, commenting that regenerative energy is "The ancient magic of the Time Lords", and remarking that he thought he would have to vivisect the Doctor to take it from him. He gloats the Doctor's compassion drove him to open his veins willingly, allowing all Daleks to "Drink the blood of Gallifrey."
In the Daleks' command room, Missy walks up to the Supreme Dalek, calling it her "special favourite" and not to tell anyone. The Supreme Dalek declares her to be an enemy of the Daleks, but Missy pokes fun of its logic; the Daleks considered anyone who isn't one of them to be an enemy, so that was an easy guess. Missy offers to reveal where Clara Oswald is, to which the Daleks chant for her to reveal her information; Missy refuses, dancing to their chanting. Suddenly, all the Daleks freeze, with their casings seeming to shut down. Missy wonders if this was because she was boring them. Missy reacts with horror as the regenerative energy stolen from the Doctor begins leaking from their casings. Telling Clara that she needs to find the Doctor, Missy runs off to find Davros' room.
In the infirmary, Davros asks if the Doctor's true reason for leaving Gallifrey was because of a prophecy concerning the creation of a Dalek/Time Lord hybrid that he may be the catalyst for. Before Davros can pursue this line of inquiry any further Missy breaks in and zaps Colony Sarff with a gunstick. The Doctor is freed, though it is unclear if any of his remaining regenerations were consumed by Davros' attempt to harness his energy.
Elsewhere, the Daleks reactivate, gloating that they have been renewed, and begin chanting praise for Davros' experiment succeeding. Davros gloats the Daleks have gained new strength, and that his own life has been prolonged; however, the Doctor pays no mind to him, reclaiming his confession dial as he counts down from three. Missy recognises the Doctor's face, wondering what her friend has done this time.
At "one", the city begins shaking; Davros wonders what's happening. The Doctor has two words for him "Moron" and "Sewers". Missy begins laughing. The Doctor has used Davros' own plan against him; the regenerative energy Davros used to renew the Daleks was also distributed through the sewers beneath the city, and the decaying Daleks within have awoken and started attacking the city. The Doctor sets off to find Clara, and Missy follows after informing Davros that it was a pleasure to finally meet him. She pokes his eye implant, and runs off after the Doctor, laughing.
In the hall, Clara finds them, but cannot tell the Doctor that she's inside the Dalek shell, due to it not speaking what she wants. Missy lies, saying that Clara was killed by the Dalek casing in front of them, trying to goad the Doctor into using a gunstick to kill it. All Clara's attempts to tell the Doctor her identity come out "I am a Dalek"; Missy says that "the Dalek" is gloating. The Doctor asks the Dalek why it hasn't killed him. Begging the Doctor not to kill her, Clara causes the casing to say "I... show... mercy"; the Doctor lowers the gun and tells her to open the casing just by thinking the word.
The casing opens to reveal Clara, who was crying from fear. The Doctor glares at Missy for trying to trick him into killing Clara and tells her to run. Missy explains this is a metaphor as to why she gave Clara to the Doctor - to see the friend inside the enemy and vice versa. Reminding Missy to run after she concludes that "Everyone's a bit of both; everyone's a hybrid.", the Doctor is told that it was always him who ran; the Doctor begins helping Clara out. Continuing to run through the collapsing building, Missy is caught by the Daleks, but tells them that she has an idea.
After freeing Clara of the Dalek casing, they head back to where the TARDIS was destroyed. The Supreme Dalek demands to know what's happening, to which the Doctor says "your sewers are revolting." The Doctor then reveals that the HADS broke apart the TARDIS to save it; using his new sonic sunglasses, the Doctor brings it back together, allowing him and Clara to flee.
The TARDIS has materialised on a nearby hillside outside the Dalek city and the Doctor and Clara are standing watching the city as it suffers damage. The Doctor wonders why the Dalek shell was able to say "mercy". He then realises what he must do. He returns to young Davros, shooting the Handmines with a Dalek gun, telling him it doesn't matter what side anyone's on so long as there's mercy. He then begins guiding Davros back home.
- The Doctor - Peter Capaldi
- Clara - Jenna Coleman
- Missy - Michelle Gomez
- Colony Sarff - Jami Reid-Quarrell
- Davros - Julian Bleach
- Boy - Joey Price
- Voice of the Daleks - Nicholas Briggs
- Daleks - Barnaby Edwards, Nicholas Pegg
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- Missy mentions she had a daughter.
- Missy has a brooch made of a dark star alloy, which was a gift from the Doctor.
- Davros likens the Doctor's compassion to a cancer, that grows stronger in him and that it will kill him in the end.
- Missy references Elton John's The Bitch Is Back, when telling a Dalek those exact words.
Story notes Edit
- Missy is seen in a sewer. Previously, in the Doctor Who spoof The Curse of Fatal Death also written by Steven Moffat, an incompetent version of the Master was shown falling into an absurdly vast sewer three times and taking three hundred and twelve years to climb out each time.
- Davros says the Doctor is privileged to be able to use the only other chair on Skaro. This was similarly brought up in the spoof The Curse of the Fatal Death, where the Doctor and his companion were tied to chairs by Daleks; when his companion asked why the Daleks had chairs, the Doctor promised to "explain later."
- A dying Davros telling the Doctor that he wants to look at him with his own eyes is very similar to a scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi when Anakin Skywalker says he wants to look at his son Luke with his own eyes as he is dying, and, like Davros, has been hooked up to mechanical apparatuses after suffering crippling injuries, including a mask over his face as part of his Sith identity as Darth Vader.
- At one point, the Doctor is enjoying some tea. He says "Now the real question is this: where did I get a cup of tea? The answer: I'm the Doctor. Just accept it." This is a message to the audience, who try understanding how he's able to pull off his, often, hare-brained antics to save the day.
- On 27 September, the day after the episode's broadcast, the two-part opener was broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD as one single feature-length episode.
- This episode saw a rare use of the mild expletive "bitch" on the series, spoken by Missy. This is notable as the episode premiered pre-watershed hours on BBC One and Doctor Who is often considered a family-friendly television series. To further denote the rarity of this language on the show, the expletive was last heard in the twelfth episode of Series 1, in TV: Bad Wolf by Jack Harkness.
- Missy tells Clara Oswald a story about the Doctor that happened a long time ago, and told it didn't matter to her which incarnation it was, as they were all the Doctor, but told Clara to imagine "the eyebrows" (Twelfth Doctor).
- The Dalek sewers connect to the Dalek City via the Lower Level Thirteen.
- Davros, as a child, thinks that the Doctor might be a Thal.
- Missy says that murdering Daleks is like golf to Time Lords. This line was previously used in a different show Steven Moffat writes for - Sherlock - where the detective mentions that the activities of secret terrorist organisations are basically golf.
- Daleks have one genetic flaw that Davros was unable to eliminate; respect towards him.
- Missy said that Cybermen suppress emotion whereas Daleks channel it through their gun.
- Daleks are unable to say anything that betrays their basic function of hatred.
- Davros says that regenerative energy is "The ancient magic of the Time Lords", and describes it as "The blood of Gallifrey."
- Daleks are shown to be controlling their casing via telepathy.
- The inside of the Dalek-casing have a button that can open and close it.
- Davros mentions a Gallifreyan prophecy about a hybrid creature that was half-Dalek half-Time Lord.
- The Special Weapons Dalek speaks for the first time.
Filming locations Edit
Production errors Edit
- Because of a reflection in the sonic sunglasses, a camera can be seen.
- When the Daleks corner Missy at the end of the episode, none of their dome lights flash as they threaten her.
- The Doctor donates some regenerative energy to heal an injured associate. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan) It is unknown if an entire regeneration or more was used up. (TV: Journey's End) However, as the Doctor once speculated that he may possess an unlimited number of regenerations (TV: Kill the Moon), the question of how many were stolen by Davros may be irrelevant.
- Clara figures out while piecing Missy's Doctor-story together, that Missy escaped death in nano-seconds before being shot by a Cyberman (TV: Death in Heaven) as well as Missy's and her own "Extermination". (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
- When Clara said the Doctor assumes he's going to win, Missy asked what happens when he made a will (WC: Prologue) and threw himself a goodbye party. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
- The Doctor is seemingly again given the opportunity to commit genocide against the Daleks, but decides against it. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
- Davros said it took him a very long time to realise that it was the Doctor that was standing "at the gates of [his] beginning". (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
- Clara, trapped inside a Dalek, tries to identify herself to the Doctor, but actually says "I am a Dalek". A splinter version of Clara was locked inside a casing as well. (TV: Asylum of the Daleks)
- Control of the Dalek casing by telepathy is first referenced in TV: Death to the Daleks, where it is named telekinesis.
- The Supreme Dalek mentions that the Doctor is against the use of weapons.[source needed]
- Davros says that upon his arrival to Skaro, (TV: The Magician's Apprentice) Colony Sarff confiscated the Doctor's Sonic Sunglasses and Confession Dial.
- The Doctor said he left Gallifrey because he was bored. The Second Doctor previously said the same. (TV: The War Games) however Davros disbelieved him.
- According to the Master he left on a whim because an unlocked TARDIS was nearby. (AUDIO: The Light at the End) Clara Oswald told Robin Hood that the Doctor "was moved to steal a TARDIS [and] fly among the stars, fighting the good fight" because he "[found] the plight of the oppressed and weak too much to bear." (TV: Robot of Sherwood)
- Davros mentions how he swore to protect his own people.[source needed]
- When the Dalek casing Dalekanized Clara's words telling she was right there with them, it said "Affirmative". K9 always said this when in agreement. (TV: A Girl's Best Friend, The Invisible Enemy-Warriors' Gate, The Five Doctors, School Reunion, Journey's End, Invasion of the Bane-Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith, Regeneration-The Eclipse of the Korven), Dalek Thay (TV: Evolution of the Daleks), Handles (TV: The Time of the Doctor) and a Cyber-converted Danny Pink. (TV: Death in Heaven)
- When Clara is found inside the Dalek-casing by the Doctor, Missy says this was the reason she gave Clara to him in the first place. (TV: The Bells of Saint John)
- The Doctor says the TARDIS extrapolator shielding is still working. (TV: The Parting of the Ways)
- The screen in the infirmary shows the power the Daleks have, including the Extermination of betrayers. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
- Missy again points out that she'd rather be called Time Lady than Time Lord. (TV: Dark Water)
- The Doctor refers to his experience of witnessing Clara getting "Exterminated". (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
- The Doctor is surprised to know that the Daleks know the word "mercy", as they have previously failed to understand the concept of pity. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks) While one Dalek did previously beg River Song for "mercy", it did so when the Doctor was not present. (TV: The Big Bang)
- Davros asks the Doctor if he himself is a "good man". He also tells the Doctor that he's "not a good doctor". (TV: Into the Dalek)
- Davros ponders over the idea of "to hold in your hand," something precious. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
- The Doctor mention that he gave up his sonic screwdriver (TV: The Magician's Apprentice) as well as a reason.
- Davros is in possession of the Doctor's confession dial and his sonic sunglasses. (WC: Prologue, TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
- Davros utters the phrase "No. This cannot be correct!" upon learning that the Doctor has tricked him. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
- The Doctor reveals that he has replaced his traditional sonic screwdriver with a pair of sonic sunglasses. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
- The Doctor previously in his fifth incarnation pointed a gun at Davros and threatened him. (TV: Resurrection of the Daleks)
- The Doctor previously has had the chance to destroy all Daleks, but refused to do so. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks, The Parting of the Ways, The Day of the Doctor)
- Davros mentions the shame that brought the Doctor to him. Clara previously noticed he was ashamed. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
- This is not the first time the Doctor has gone for an extended period of time without his sonic screwdriver. (TV: The Visitation et al., TV: Doctor Who)
- The TARDIS' apparent destruction is revealed to be the work of the Hostile Action Displacement System. (TV: The Krotons, Cold War)
- The Doctor mentions that he's just some random guy in a box. (TV: Death in Heaven)
- The Doctor, Missy and Davros all mention how the Doctor ran away from Gallifrey. (AUDIO: The Beginning; TV: An Unearthly Child, The Name of the Doctor)
- The Doctor tells Davros that Gallifrey is alive and somewhere in the universe, and that he saved it. (TV: The Day of the Doctor, The Time of the Doctor)
- During the Doctor's first visit to Skaro, another companion of his (Ian Chesterton) disguised inside a Dalek casing. (TV: "The Escape")
- Missy tells Clara Oswald that the Doctor once fell into a nest of vampire monkeys (COMIC: Tooth and Claw) after escaping death.
- Though this is not the first time the Master/Missy has encountered the Daleks (TV: Frontier in Space), it is the Master's first encounter with Davros.
- Upon hearing the Doctor refer to Davros as his archenemy, a jealous Missy muttered that she would "scratch his eye out;" (TV: The Magician's Apprentice) as a parting shot after rescuing the Doctor, she pokes Davros in his eyestalk bulb.
- The Daleks operate their casing using telepathy. (TV: Death to the Daleks)
Home video releases Edit
DVD releases Edit
The Witch's Familiar was released on DVD as part of "Doctor Who: Series 9, Part 1" on November 2 in region 2 and November 3 in region 1.
Blu-ray releases Edit
to be added
- Transcript of The Witch's Familiar at Chrissie's Transcripts Site
- The Witch's Familiar at The Locations Guide