I don’t know what happened to Steven Moffat. He hasn’t been this good in years.
‘The Witch’s Familiar’ is tight, fast-paced, compelling, sharply intelligent. Even knowing the final scene – not that it was spoiled, there was simply no other way for the prior final scene to resolve – even knowing that, we spent the whole episode on the edge of our seats. Julian Bleach as Davros had us one hundred percent convinced – and then not even remotely surprised.
I am a bit confused about the titles. “Magician’s apprentice” is somewhat self-explanatory, and given the magician references in the last year, suggests Clara. A witch’s familiar is typically an animal, such as the perennial black cat; if we take Missy to be the witch, and keeping in mind Missy’s comment in E1 about who/what Clara is to the Doctor, then we might again consider Clara. But the episodes aren’t really about Clara. They are about the Doctor – not in the center-of-the-universe way that S5 and 6 were about the Doctor, but in a heart-of-the-story way, a close personal way: this is who the Doctor is, and this is a little of what made him.
“I’m the Doctor,” he says in the S9 teaser. “I save people.” After last week’s ep, we were near certain that line came from this one. The man who understood himself enough to return, to instill mercy in the boy who would grow up to murder millions, because he saves people. He could do no other.