The second half of the Doctor Who
premiere was full of brilliant acting, throwbacks, and classic Doctor Who
explanations. The episode opens with Clara tied up and hanging upside-down from a boulder while Missy sharpens a stick and tells her a story about The Doctor escaping from certain death by using the disintegration rays from his adversaries to charge up his wrist teleporter (thus also explaining how Missy escaped in the series 8 finale, and how both she and Clara escaped being exterminated in the previous episode). Now, where did the rope came from (or the stick), and what happened to the knife Missy is using to sharpen the stick? Total mysteries; but, the exchange between Missy and Clara is so well done that I simply don't care:
Clara: "Why are you sharpening that stick?"
Missy: "Well I've no idea how long we're going to be stuck out here. Might have to go hunting."
Clara: "So, why am I tied up?"
Missy: "In case there's nothing to hunt." *wink*
Truly, I would watch an entire show based around Missy with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. She's a delight to watch, and I'm thrilled to have a character who is able to so succinctly knock Clara down a peg.
So, while Missy and Clara try to figure out how to get to The Doctor, he's busy threatening Davros with a dalek gun, and stealing his iconic chair. The dialogue between Davros and The Doctor, like that between Missy and Clara, is a treat to watch. We get to not only see the two of them banter about the virtue of compassion like the old days, but we also get to watch two actors do what they do best.
Meanwhile, in yet another throwback to previous episodes, we got to see Clara stuffed into dalek armor. I rather liked the explanation of daleks processing emotions through the gun, and the armor automatically changing Clara's words to be more dalek-y. It didn't completely mesh with what we've seen previously, but Moffat isn't exactly a stickler for continuity so that wasn't all that surprising. It was also nice to see Missy continuing to play with The Doctor and Clara like a cat toying with her prey. I just hope that bringing both Missy and Davros back in such a spectacular way doesn't mean they'll be overused in the coming episodes. It's nice to have had new life breathed into these old foes, but (as much as I adore Missy) there is the danger of having too much of a good thing.
On to the elephant in the room: Sonic Sunglasses. They're ridiculous, and cheesy, and pretty much everyone seems to hate them. I don't disagree. I am willing, however, to let it go if they don't turn into a regular thing. After all, he was without his screwdriver after leaving it with kid Davros, so it makes sense that he'd fashion himself a replacement (and he was in party mode, so why not a ridiculous pair of shades?). Since he went back and saved the kid it stands to reason that he retrieved his screwdriver from him, so I see the shades as more of a gag than anything else. Hopefully, they'll stay that way.
Overall, I enjoyed The Witch's Familiar.
The dialogue was brilliant, the plot wasn't as weak as it has been in the recent past, and there were plenty of nods to old episodes for the fans. Here's hoping the rest of the series continues to improve.