Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: The Witch's Familiar – And The Killing Joke? (SPOILERS)

Doctor Who: The Witch's Familiar just aired on BBC1.

1. "It's Better In Black & White"


That's a lovely set-piece to start the show, to highlight a moment from the past, some long distant past, when the show was still in black-and-white…


…until he meets the next of vampire monkeys, obviously, and it all goes a bit Pertwee.


2. Away, Pet


But it's also the idea that the animal sees the world in black-and-white, Missy referred to Clara as the Doctor's pet. And here we see her strung up, fit for the eating. Used as a worm to hook the Daleks, and finally encased in close and cruel Dalek conditions. She's certainly an abused pet. But the title of this episode does suggest more – still a pet, but one that inspires, one that points the way, one that shows what need to be done, whether for the witch – or the magician.

3. Fairground Attraction


"Anyone For Dodgems?" The art of Doctor Who since the revival is not just acknowledging the jokes and criticisms made about the show but embracing them and joining in. As he says, post cuppa, "I'm the Doctor, just accept it." That is what we, as an audience are encouraged to do. Let go of the nitty gritty, hold the Doctor's hand and let's run through the exploding Daleks together.


And leave the nasty disabled man behind after nicking his wheelchair? Hmm.

4. Doctor Poo


The Daleks are their own waste product, but their consciousnesses remain in the goop. A good way to get rid of one Dalek… and the rest.

Still, with "the Doctor gave it to me when my daughter…" Looks like the Doctor isn't the only one with a daughter or two out there.

5. Inside The Machine


Mind And Body. Every sentient being (the ones we know of at least) has a disconnect between their thought patterns and how those thoughts express themselves externally. It's just that it's harder for a Dalek. Mercy was something the Daleks didn't understand back in Genesis, but one did in the revived Dalek. Maybe it's a matter of the right Dalek at the right time…

6. Snakes On A Skaro


Okay, so my youngest seven year old daughter saw this before I did. The snake patterns on the cables. Of course it is going to be Colony Sarf. I am clearly getting old.

7. The Killing Joke


Two mortal enemies at the ends of their stories, becoming more honest with each other, and finding laughter in their last moments.


What does that remind you of?

When Batman Killed The Joker At The End Of The Killing Joke – Grant Morrison Talks To Kevin Smith  Of course they are both lying…

8. Regenerate Or Exterminate?


The boost to the Daleks and Davros may help whomever survives. But it's not the only time Daleks and Time Lords have mixed. Turns out there's a prophecy to that effect too. I always liked the idea that humans eventually evolve into both the Daleks and the Time Lords, but that's my own fanwank bubbling to the surface.

9. The Latest in Wearable Technology


Sonic sunglasses. Hands free technology. What Google Glass can't do, the Doctor can. Which, yes, it
means he'll be whopping out the shades given every available opportunity. He's not so much Bill or Ted, as Rufus. The future's so bright… and we get the return of HADS as well, with a little more pizzazz. And Displacement replaced by Dispersal…

10. Hands Up


Usually when the Doctor is holding a gun it means something has gone very wrong indeed. Tonight, for the first time, it meant something had gone very very right.

Bonus Thought:

Nothing about the Confession has been resolved. Will that be the connecting plot for the new series? And what was the Doctor running away from?

So. What did you think? A rare example of a second episode even better than the first?


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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