Sunday, September 27, 2015

In Which I Review Doctor Who (9x2)

If you are a god and you find yourself at the end of your very long and very tiring life, what do you do? You go home, of course. While this week's episode "The Witch's Familiar" was a bit funnier and less fast paced than last weeks first part, particularly with Clara and Missy, the conversation and interaction between the Doctor and Davros were well worth the somewhat bizarre ending of poo-Daleks (no, really, what was that?). Last week I spoke quite a bit about the cycle of history with villains and heroes and how each character creates the other to the point where the existence of the other is necessary to survive as a cosmic good or cosmic evil. I must have been on the money, because all those themes were emphasized this week yet again. Around and around Davros and the Doctor go; they will always wind up back at square one: enemies, friends, and two lonely gods who want to go home. Grab some old, dying, and decaying Dalek bodies (ew) and let's go! 

The real meat of this episode lies in the conversation and almost interview like tet-a-tet between the Doctor and Davros. The conversation moves seamlessly from one topic to the next, mostly on the differences between the Doctor and Davors's world view and their long history. This shouldn't surprise us; it's the same conversation they've been having for centuries. We know by episode's end that Davros is tricking the Doctor into giving up some of his regeneration energy to fuel a new Dalek race, but I can't help but wonder if some of what Davros says in these tender and oddly heartwarming conversation moments is true. Davros might be a maniac but he's still as world and time weary as the Doctor. Look at how much Davros has gone through in his life; granted, he chose to become the grand evil we know today, but he got there not because he was born a flawed and hateful man, but because of the circumstances of his life. Had he been born on any other planet, with any other story, would he have turned out this way? While Davros is a master manipulator (much like his Hero counterpart in the Doctor) I do think he's having some genuine heartfelt feelings while waxing poetic about "how far we have come to go home again." I think Davros does want to see the sunlight and be a "father" to his children; the issue lies in that not being enough; Contrast with the Doctor who knows going home might actually be enough, but he knows that for his people, it's better if he does not. The Doctor knows these things about Davros; he's willing to play Davros's game because he knows it's not totally a trick. There is a measure of truth there. How do we know? Because the Doctor feels the same. He might still be running from Gallifrey and keeping it safe from both he and Davros, but that does not mean that he doesn't long to go home. Of course he does. How could he not? There's no place like home and it is because the Doctor knows this that he's willing to play Davros's game as far as he does. The Doctor knows he will win--he always assume he'll win--but he'll sit with his old friend and enemy and watch a sunrise because at the end of the day, they get each other. Missy drops a very vital truth bomb on this whole scenario when the Dalek-Clara is trying to convince the Doctor it's really her: "the friend inside the enemy. The enemy inside the friend. Everyone is a bit of both." Missy, have you been reading my blog? But that's the heart of this episode: friend and enemies don't really matter as long as there is mercy. The Doctor can be merciful to Davros because he empathizes with the mad man. The Doctor can be merciful to Missy and let her saunter away because it's the right thing to do and moreover, is the merciful thing to do. As long as there is mercy, I don't know that friends and enemies matter.

Briefly, on the flip side of all this, we have Missy and Clara, the miner and the canary, trying to rescue the Doctor and being forced to work together. While I would have preferred that the plot stay on Davros and the Doctor, I must admit to this having some good laughs. Also, Missy is far and away becoming one of the best parts of the current Who season. I was annoyed with her early on in season 8 when the "heaven" theme was taking forever to go anyplace, but it turns out that she's delightful. Bananas, but delightful. Missy and the Doctor are a lot like Davros and the Doctor. Because these two enemies are created alongside the Doctor, they all get each other. Missy knows just how the Doctor thinks (just like Davros). She can read his actions and his mental status instantly because while they might be enemies, they are also friends. Best friends. Soul mates in a truly weird and bizarre manner. It's not love; it's something deeper. It's knowledge of a person on a level that no one else will ever have. Clara's coming close; she gets the Doctor and how he acts and responds in situations, but with her it's a process. With Davros and Missy, it's a given. Missy might have scampered off into the night, but we'll see her again. The "bitch" will be back, make no mistake. The real question is not even how the Doctor will react. He'll roll his eyes and think "oh here we go again" but those two will tangle with each other until the end of all things. Just like the Doctor and Davros. Friends. Enemies. It doesn't matter. Everyone is a bit of both.

Miscellaneous Notes on The Witch's Familiar

--Sorry this one is rather brief but I covered so much of these themes last week that I feared being redundant.

--"Doesn't matter which face. They are all the Doctor to me."

--Seeing Tom Baker, no matter how briefly, will always get a round of applause from me. 

--"We, on the other hand, have a pointy stick." That is going down as one of the best lines on Doctor Who ever. Don't attempt to change my mind.

--"Are you ready to be a god?" Just like Tom Baker back in "Genesis" the answer is no.

--"I'm just a bloke, in a box, telling stories."

--Um. Davros is blind. That's it goes. I did not need his eyes to open one more time. Also, please tell me that the Sonic Screwdriver isn't gone for good. I'm not going to enjoy that.

--Will the prophecy about a hybrid Time Lord and Dalek come back into play this season? I rather hope not. Let's stick to the search for Gallifrey, please. And speaking of that, why do I get the impression the Doctor isn't going to go look for it at all?? This displeases me.

--Dalek poo.

No comments:

Post a Comment