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9/28/2015

Doctor Who: "The Witch's Familiar" Review





     'He's trapped in the heart of the dalek empire. He's a prisoner of the creatures who hate him most in the universe." - Missy


  I won't go to the trouble of detailing every little aspect of "The Witch's Familiar."If you're reading this chances are you have some knowledge of Doctor Who or you are interested in learning. For the sake or those who are simply curious about the program and whether or not they would enjoy it I will keep things relatively vague for the most part. This episode is an extremely dramatic and surprising thrill ride featuring the daleks, Davros and Missy/the Master. It's an exciting combination of the old and the new which manages to highlight much of what people love about Steven Moffat's writing and Doctor Who in general.



     When it comes to two part stories everything comes down to how part 2 builds from and ties up the story and ideas explored in part 1. Moffat knows this. He is a master of his craft who employs misdirection and the feels in order to manipulate whovians and sherlockians alike. A writer such Russell T. Davies would have most likely opted to move from the part 1 cliffhanger to some kind of direct conclusion (likely involving a deus ex machina, not judging just telling it how it is) but Moffat would rather leave us to think on the scene as the rest of the story unfolds before our eyes,


   Doctor Who is a franchise rich in story. The writer Neil Gaiman has called it a story machine. The TARDIS can go anywhere and the whoniverse is full of darkness and wonder. It would be difficult to compile a complete list of all the neat little moments in "The Witch's Familiar." Instead I have created a short list of things that really jumped out at me in the episode.



                     Episode Highlights 


1. The Doctor's new chair.






  I still can't decide if this was intentionally used as a metaphor. The Doctor stole Davros's chair and used its protective force field to get the upper hand on the daleks. This is a surprising solution which makes perfect sense given everything we know about Davros and the Doctor. I will say that I am surprised there wasn't a moment where the Doctor looked at a reflection of himself in Davros's chair and had some kind of major revelation about himself. 









2. The Dalek Sewers. 






   This is a neat if kind of gross idea. The sewer daleks reminds me a little bit of Torchwood: Miracle Day. I did not see their return at the end coming. 







3. Sonic Shades. 





   This is very interesting indeed. There has been a significant portion of the fan base expressing opposition to the continued use of the screwdriver lately. The Doctor has parted with his sonic before. These sonic shades could be a way to meet sonic fans and critics halfway. While I love Smith/Capaldi's sonic I must say the glasses are cool. I STRONGLY doubt this will be a permanent change. 









4. Davros's eyes.







  I can't be the only person who let out an audible gasp when this happened. I'm not sure I exactly understand why Davros never used his natural eyes in any other story but I like the symbolism. I'm curious as to whether or not Moffat will be expanding on this in the future.







5. Davros crying. 





  When Davros get the feels you know it's serious. Okay, maybe it was all just a show to try and trick the Doctor. I don't think so. Sure that was his goal but it really seemed like he was tapping into some genuine emotion. Davros's primary goal in creating the daleks was to put an end to the thousand year war between his people (the kaleds) and their enemies the thals. 








6. Missy!!!






      What can I say? She's just so fabulously evil. 







7. Dalek Clara, again.

            



      If the image above looks strangely familiar that might be because of the series 7 episode "Asylum of the Daleks". In that story Matt Smith's Doctor first encounters Clara. There's only one problem. It's not Clara. It's a dalek. Well actually it's Clara. It's complicated. It's actually a version of Clara (named Oswin Oswald) created by the Doctor's timeline who was been turned into a dalek. In "The Witch's Familiar" Missy comes up with a plan that conveniently requires Clara lock herself in a dalek shell. Little does Clara realize that Missy doesn't have the most noble intentions. Seriously, just a little bit of critical thinking on Clara's part would have told her that getting into a dead dalek and following Missy's orders was not a great idea. This all leads up to a very emotional scene in which Missy nearly convinces the Doctor to shoot his companion/best friend.


   If I was a gambling man I'd say that this won't be the last time Clara sees the inside of dalek armor. Perhaps Moffat is foreshadowing her exit from the show. This could either mean absolutely nothing or be extremely important. You decide!





                               The Final Verdict 

        "The Witch's Familiar" is a strong episode with a lot of interesting and original ideas. The cast are all wonderful.  Michelle Gomez and Julian Bleach really shine as Missy and Davros respectively. Clara is probably going to get turned into a dalek again. Maybe not. 


   I hope you've enjoyed wasting your time like this. If you haven't tell no one. If you have any thoughts about the episode, Doctor Who in general or you just want to flirt you can comment bellow. Remember to avoid sudden death. Please go away now.



9/26/2015

Doctor Who: "The Magician's Apprentice" Review






        "Listen, if someone who knew the future pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives, could you then kill that child?" - The Doctor (Tom Baker)


      This question, first asked by Tom Baker's Doctor in 1975 is at the core of the series 9 opener. The Doctor finds himself face to face with a young Davros ans is presented with a choice. He can either save the child begging for help or let him die, saving countless other lives in the process. When we put aside all talk of time travel paradoxes, reapers or all of time happening at once the problem becomes both very simple and infinitely complex. Is it morally correct to kill one in order to save trillions? If a good person becomes evil does that cancel out any value in there life from the beginning? Can one man be allowed to decide the fate of the universe? Regardless of moral rightness could the Doctor ever bring himself to murder a child?

      


Let's not pretend that anyone actually thought a Moffat series opener was going to be all doom and gloom. That's just not how the Moff rolls. After Missy (who naturally isn't dead) uses Clara to locate just where the Doctor is in time and space she zaps them both there via a vortex manipulator "cheap and dirty time travel."  They find themselves at in England in the early renaissance at a party thrown by none other than the Doctor himself. The Doctor rides in on a tank playing guitar. This is both very out of character for the Capaldi's Doctor and exactly the sort of thing you'd expect the Doctor to do. The Doctor has not made an entrance so perfect and surprising since the incident at Rory's bachelor party.



    The rest of the episode is not a rock and roll love fest. A strange new enemy known as colony Sarff shows up and forces the Doctor to go with him to see Davros the creator of the daleks. Neither Miss or Clara can leave well enough alone and let the Doctor sort things out for himself so they force Sarff to take them too. This so does not get both of them exterminated later on. Soon they find themselves inside what appears to be a space station/hospital. This is where Davros is residing as he prepares for death. Little do our heroes (and Missy) know but the "space station" is actually a building on a planet which has somehow been made invisible. The planet in question is Skaro which somehow still exists after being completely destroyed on multiple occasions. Soon after this revelation comes the sudden deaths via daleks of Clara and Missy.


  This prompts the Doctor to go back in time to when he encountered the young Davros and apparently shoot him with a dalek gun. The credits start rolling before anything actually happens so I think it would be a safe bet to say that's not what actually happens. Still you'll have to tune in next week to find out. Also you could just start a tumblr or talk to your unpopular friends.

     This episode is jam packed with fun and exciting bits and pieces. The following is a brief list of highlights.



 1. Colony Sarff


  This character is creepy in all the right ways. Not only does he feel menacing and evil but he is literally just a bunch of snakes in a cloak. I'm not even particularly afraid of snakes and he gives me goosebumps.

2. Davros's Return



  This character hasn't made an appearance since the series 4 finale "Journey's End." Davros is the kaled creator of the daleks and a Hitler stand-in if I've ever seen one. Julian Bleach plays him with the kind of macabre edge that makes you feel as if he is right there in the room with you. He's every unpleasant old person who has ever made you feel small. He's a reflection of human evil in a much more direct way than any of his creations.

3. The Shadow Proclamation



This intergalactic governing body has much like Davros not made a proper appearance since David Tennant's era, While the role they played in this episode was minimal it's always nice to see a reference to the past used to further the plot.

4. The Sisterhood of Karn


  This return will quite possibly be the one that most strongly effects the series going forward. The sisterhood are Time Lords (Time Ladies). This means that the Doctor and Missy are definitely no longer the last Time Lords in the universe. It should also be mentioned that the sisterhood helped the eighth Doctor regenerate into the war Doctor making the organization especially significant.

5. Hand mines




I couldn't possibly make a list of highlights from this episode without including the hand mines. They're hands that reach out from the dirt and pull people under. While the germ of the idea may have simply come from a clever play on words the hand mines are genuinely scary and an interesting piece of battlefield biotech, It's a shame we didn't see any of them in "Genesis of the Daleks"



   In conclusion the series 9 opener is a scary and exciting romp with a good bit of heart. It's high quality Who which allows Capaldi's Doctor to really shine. Considering everything I'd give it a rating of 8.5/10. Make sure to tune in tomorrow/later today for the conclusion of this two part series opener. I should have a second review up in the near future. Bye! Avoid sudden death.

9/12/2015

Sick Sentience Will Return!!





 I apologize for the lack of new posts recently. I'm very busy with school and being mentally disturbed. I hope to have a review posted for the new Doctor Who episode soon after it airs. Avoid sudden death.