The Doctor and Davros face each other for the last time until, I’m sure, the next time as Missy and Clara (oh, shut up, you knew they were fine) sneak back into the Dalek city to offer a hand.
There was just so much gosh-darn goodness to be had with this episode. The scenes where the Doctor bantered with Davros were supremely well-written. So well written, as a matter of fact, that despite Davros’ malevolence and madness, you can almost agree with him at times. Can compassion be wrong? He makes a compelling argument… heck, he is a compelling argument.
The true star of this episode was Missy who is dangerously close to becoming my favorite incarnation of The Master ever. Watching her and Clara team up was just hilarious but, despite the funny moments that the team up generated, Missy never lost her claws and I never lost the genuine feeling that Clara was in incredible danger just being near the woman. Michelle Gomez can be fun, lovely, and charming while at the same time, simmer with just white-hot malevolence. The frienemy relationship that the writers have cultivated between the Doctor and Missy has become a great bit of characterization.
In the end, the episode comes down to a question of compassion and mercy and I think it was handled in a very satisfactory way… tying the end of the episode to the beginning was a nice touch. It’s rare that we see a story on television these days wrapped up in such a neat little bow.
While I’m sure that no one watching felt for one minute that Missy and Clara were actually exterminated or that the Tardis was destroyed, I still feel a little cheated by the early reveal… the five minute undoing of the cliffhanger, so to speak, I still feel as if “The Witch’s Familiar” did a more than adequate job of continuing the pace and promise of last week’s episode. It went to some interesting places, had several nice turns of the plot, and set up some things for the season that I can’t wait to see play out.
A bit of a step down, but not by much. Not by much at all.