If the writing in The Witch’s Familiar is any indication, the new Doctor Who series is going to be seriously hilarious.
The second episode of the ninth series, which aired Sept. 26, made a sharp turn from last season. Companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) slipped into the background, while the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Missy (Michelle Gomez), Time Lady version of the Master, moved up front.
This may reflect the fact that Coleman will be moving on after this season, or that writer Steven Moffat recognizes that Clara is not exactly the most well-loved companion in the history of the show. Clara did not get a lot of lines in this episode, but members of the We Hate Clara Fan Club got much cause to cheer at the indignities Clara suffered this round.
In the opening, Clara is dangling from a rope tied to her ankles. Missy is casually sharpening a stick because she doesn’t know how long they will be stuck outside the Skaro city limits, and they might need to do some hunting. Clara is hanging in case the hunting doesn’t go well.
Missy frees Clara by unceremoniously dropping her on her head. Missy knocks Clara into a hole as a means of testing its depth. Missy handcuffs Clara to a Dalek surveillance camera as “bait.”
Finally, Missy gets Clara into a Dalek shell. Clara finds herself speaking through a translator allowing her say little more than “I am a Dalek” and “Exterminate!” Neither holds much promise for conveying that she is inside.
This episode is so heavily populated by one-liners that I was certain I missed some while laughing out loud. Funny how rewatching the episode with closed-captioning turned on and a heavy index finger on the remote “pause” button can improve my hearing.
Here are some of the other lines I captured.
(to upside-down Clara) Shh, now. Mummy’s talking.
(telling a tale of the Doctor) Doesn’t matter which face he was wearing. They’re all the Doctor to me. So, let’s give it to the eyebrows.
Not seeing you as sandwiches, now.
I love killing clever clogs. They make the best faces.
(as she’s skipping toward Skaro) Make your own stick!
(after skillfully retaking the deadly stick from Clara) In the future, if you’re gonna take my stick, do me the courtesy of actually killing me. Teamwork is all about respect.
(reiterating that she and Clara are a team, as they head into the Skaro sewers) Every miner needs a canary.
(preparing to attack a Dalek guard with a brooch pin) Dark star alloy. Goes through armor plating like a knife through people.
(when asked by Clara what she was doing) Murdering a Dalek. I’m a Time Lady. It’s our golf.
(to the Dalek, into which she had just poked several holes, inexplicably speaking in a questionably rendered southern US accent) You just got yourself a puncture in a bad neighborhood. Meet the locals, all blind and squelchy and out of their tiny minds. They can still feel! Nobody hates like a Dalek! Here they come! I think they want to steal your motor!
(to Clara, instructing her on how to move like a Dalek) To control the unit, you just have to think. Novel idea for you, but let’s try it.
(after being asked by a Dalek if she is a Time Lord) Time Lady, thank you. Some of us can afford the upgrade. Is it still the same old Supreme Dalek these days? I fought him once on the slopes of the Never Vault. Tell him the bitch is back.
(in response to being declared an enemy by her “secret favorite” Dalek) Anyone who is not a Dalek is an enemy of the Daleks, so that was an easy guess.
(in bringing the shell containing Clara to the Daleks) I brought you complete control of the Doctor, gift-wrapped — better, canned.
(as the Doctor was about announce how he had again bested Davros) Ooh. I know that face.
(just before poking Davros in his Dalek cyclops eye) It’s been an absolute pleasure to finally meet you.
(as she’s urging the Doctor to shoot the Dalek she claims killed Clara) This one’s a mad one, isn’t it? It’s almost like it’s proud.
(after Clara opens the Dalek shell to reveal her presence) Oh, look at that. Now, that’s a surprise.
(her final line of the episode, as she is surrounded by Daleks) You know what? I’ve just had a very clever idea.
Oh, yes, Missy will be back!
(as he makes his go-cart entrance in Davros’ chair) Admit it. You’ve all had this exact nightmare. So…Anyone for dodge ’ems?
Course, the real question is: where did he get a cup of tea? Answer — I’m the Doctor. Just accept it.
Proposition — Davros is an insane, paranoid genius who has survived among several billion trigger-happy mini-tanks for centuries. Conclusion — I’m definitely having his chair.
I’ve been at the heart of your empire for 42 minutes. And I own it, and I haven’t even got out of my chair.
If Clara Oswald is really dead, then you’d better be very, very careful how you tell me.
Davros! You’re up! Sorry, this seat’s taken.
(after Davros claims to be close to death) You keep saying that. You keep not dying. Can you give it some welly? Come on.
Well, they don’t have much respect for you, do they? Your kids. Have you seen the state of this place? I mean, this is exactly where you dump a smelly old uncle/family pet/genius scientist who couldn’t even invent legs.
(after Davros says he has something he has been longing to tell him) Yeah, well, if you’re gonna put your hand on my knee, it isn’t gonna go well.
(explaining to the Supreme Dalek why Skaro seemed to be experiencing an earthquake) First word, “moron”; second word, “sewers.”
Dalek Supreme, your sewers are revolting.
(after telling Clara he is about to reassemble the TARDIS without his signature sonic screwdriver) Oh, yeah. I’m over screwdrivers. They spoil the line of your jacket. These days, I’m all about wearable technology.
Beyond the quotable quotes aspect of the episode, the circular exchange between Dalek Clara and the Doctor: I am a Dalek/I know you’re a Dalek/I am a Dalek/I know you’re a Dalek reminded me of the old Abbott and Costello routine, “Who’s on first?”
I liked the final scene in which the Doctor completes the time-loop and mercifully saves child Davros. For a guy who refuses to use weapons, the Doctor demonstrated some incredibly precise shooting when he took out the hand-eye minefield with the Dalek gun.