The Witch’s Familiar
Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Hettie MacDonald
“The Doctor is trapped. He’s a prisoner of the creatures who hate him most in the universe. Between us and him is everything the greatest warrior race in history can throw at us. We, on the other hand, have a pointy stick.”
There are places the Doctor should never go. Planets where his life would not be worth an hour’s purchase. When he finds himself in the very worst of these, without his Tardis, or his sonic, and with his best friends murdered in front of his eyes, he has only his wits to keep him alive. And perhaps something else. What is the Doctor’s confession? Why did he really leave Gallifrey all those centuries ago? And is it a secret he is willing to give up?
On the outskirts of the Dalek City, Clara awakens to find herself suspended upside down in the air by rope and Missy sharpening a stick nearby. Missy tells her they’ll probably have to hunt for food, hence the stick, and that Clara is tied up “in case there’s nothing to hunt”. She quickly explains how they survived being shot.
She recalls how the Doctor once faced Android Assassins who almost killed him had he not used the energy from their blasters to activate his teleport and escape. Missy then states the Doctor then found himself in another trap with vampire monkeys soon after but that it was a story for another day. Clara realizes Missy copied what the Doctor did with their vortex manipulators, except the results of which has burned them out.
Missy frees Clara from her restraint and both stare at the city, knowing they have to return to help the Doctor with just a sharp stick. As they begin to approach the city Clara asks if she can have a stick for herself only to be told to make her own.
Meanwhile the Doctor searches the infirmary and finds a gunstick, grabs it and threatens Davros, aiming directly behind his head. The Doctor tells Davros to get out of his chair, and soon the Daleks see on their screen that “Davros” is leaving the infirmary. As they inform Davros to stay in the room Davros call them for help and tells all Skaro Daleks to find the escaping Doctor. A Dalek finds Davros on the floor, as the Doctor rolls into the Dalek room in his wheelchair, stating that the Daleks have had “this exact nightmare”. He demands to know where Clara is, but is attacked by Colony Sarff, who hid in the chair, and knocks the Doctor unconscious.
Meanwhile, Missy and Clara are standing in another area on the outskirts of the City, having heard the Doctor’s call for Clara, they enter a Dalek sewers, Missy pushing Clara down into it; they wanted to find out how deep it was, which was 20 ft. As Clara reawakens, she finds Missy standing in front of her, grabs her stick and threatens her. However, Missy reclaims her stick and enters the main sewer area, explaining that all the “nasty stuff” they see on the walls are old decaying and angry Daleks that have been left to rot and liquify. Missy soon cuffs Clara to a security camera, which spots her and sends a Dalek to collect her. As a Dalek approaches, Missy attacks it, using her brooch to poke holes in the casing, allowing the old Daleks to enter it and kill the new Dalek as revenge.
Back in the infirmary, the Doctor awakens to find Davros back in his chair. Davros tells him to be grateful as the chair he sits on is the only other chair on Skaro, and that the Doctor should be privileged, but he quickly picks himself up. Unbeknownst to the Doctor, Colony Sarff is hidden amongst the tubes of Davros’ life-support. The Doctor learns that Davros is “vampiring” off the Daleks to stay alive; so long as the Daleks’ hearts beat, so does Davros’. Davros shows the Doctor that he took the confession dial and sunglasses, wondering why he came. The Doctor explains that he came because a sick, dying man asked him to. Davros asks to see the Doctor with his own eyes, shutting off the implant in his forehead and opening his true eyes. Realizing that Davros is indeed dying, both the Doctor and him have a laugh that he isn’t a really good doctor after all.
In the sewer, Missy has Clara sit in the Dalek’s armor, closing it and sealing Clara inside. She has Clara attempt to say kind things, but they all come out as “exterminate” or “I am a Dalek”; she then explains that, unlike the Cybermen, who cut out their emotions, the Daleks harness it to fire their weapons, and that they reload by saying “exterminate.” They proceed into the hospital, where a Dalek questions Clara as to why an intruder is in the city; however, Missy takes control, explaining to the Dalek that she is a Time Lord, and that it had better inform the Supreme Dalek that “the bitch is back”.
In the infirmary, Davros wonders about how both the Daleks and Time Lords fought in the Time War, but now only Gallifrey is gone. The Doctor explains that he saved Gallifrey, but cannot find it. Davros congratulates the Doctor, as he himself was not able to save his species. Davros begins to show remorse for all his terrible deeds and asks whether he was a good man. Davros says all he wants is to see one last sunrise, but cannot open his eyes now. As the sun looms on the horizon, the Doctor asks Davros “not to tell anyone that I did this” as his hand starts to glow with regenerative energy. The Doctor approaches Davros’ life support, intending to use a small portion of regenerative energy to revive Davros just long enough for him to see the sun rise. However, the moment he touches the life-support, Sarff binds him to the cables, and the machinery begins to drain more energy from the Doctor, transmitting it to the Daleks, renewing them. Davros laughs, commenting that regenerative energy is “The ancient magic of the Time Lords”, and remarking that he thought he would have to vivisect the Doctor to take it from him. He gloats that the Doctor’s compassion has driven him to open his veins of his own free will, allowing all Daleks to “Drink the blood of Gallifrey.”
In the Daleks’ command room, both Missy and Clara watch as the Daleks freeze and regenerative energy begins to leak from their casings. Missy runs off the infirmary, where she frees the Doctor. Davros gloats the Daleks have gained new strength, and his life has been prolonged; however, the Doctor has two words for him “moron; sewers”. At that moment, all the decaying Daleks, wakened by the regenerative energy transmitted into them by Davros, start attacking the city, causing an earthquake. The Doctor sets off to find Clara, and Missy follows after in forming Davros that it was a pleasure to finally meet him.
In the hall, Clara finds them, but cannot tell the Doctor that she’s inside the Dalek shell, due to it not speaking what she wants. Missy tries killing her, by tricking the Doctor into thinking that the shell killed Clara. However, when Clara begs to Doctor not kill her, she causes the casing to say “mercy”. The asks the Dalek why it hasn’t killed him, and when Clara causes the casing to say “I… show… mercy”, he lowers the gun and tells her to open the casing by thinking the word “open”, which Clara does. The Doctor glares at Missy for trying to trick him into killing Clara and tells her to run. After freeing Clara of the Dalek casing, they head back to where the TARDIS was destroyed. The Doctor then reveals that the HADS broke apart the TARDIS to save it; using his new sonic sunglasses, the Doctor brings it back together, allowing him and Clara to flee. Missy is caught by the Daleks, but tells them that she has an idea.
The TARDIS has materialized on a nearby hillside outside the Dalek city and the Doctor and Clara are standing watching the city as it suffers damage. The Doctor wonders why the Dalek shell was able to say “mercy”. He then realises what he must do. He returns to young Davros, shooting the Handmines with a Dalek gun, telling him it doesn’t matter what side anyone’s on so long as there’s mercy. He then begins guiding Davros back home.