Welcome back, trusty companions! We’re now entering the second half of the Season 9 premiere of Doctor Who. Clara is exterminated and the TARDIS no longer exists. Our favorite Gallifreyan is surrounded, sonic screwdriver-less, by his worst enemies – the Daleks. What’s a Time Lord down on his luck to do? Is he really without hope? Time (heehee) to find a wormhole and jump right in! Remember, spoilers are everywhere on Skaro, so proceed with caution.
We open with a topsy-turvy view of Skaro. Clara (Jenna Coleman) opens her eyes to find she is perfectly alive. She also discovers she is trussed up by the ankles, spinning upside down. We see Missy (Michelle Gomez) sitting quaintly beside her, sharpening a stick. If anyone can quaintly sharpen a stick, it’s our Time Lady. Clara inquires of their whereabouts, but Missy shushes her. She tells Clara an allegory, one starring The Doctor. Your typical Doctor story – on the run from powerful foes, trapped with seemingly no way out. His teleportation device is on the fritz. He is caught in the middle of a stream of deadly laser blasts, all heading toward him. Missy asks Clara how The Doctor escapes alive. Clara, being the Nancy Drew she is, says he holds up his teleportation device to deflect the laser blasts and simultaneously recharge said device. Thus, he teleports.
Now, the real question is: why does The Doctor always survive? Missy rephrases her question as she releases Clara from her spinning trap. Clara mulls this over. She answers passionately that The Doctor always assumes he is going to win. So, our duo decides to take their pointy stick and march into the fray of Skaro to save The Doctor, with the assumption they will win. I’m sensing a Thelma and Louise-esque crazy caper here. I know Missy tried multiple times to kill Clara, but I think these two could get on well together.
Meanwhile, The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is devastated over the loss of his friend. Davros (Julian Bleach) takes this loss as a lesson – that compassion for others is a sign of weakness. Our Gallifreyan, in desperation, grabs a Dalek gun that’s sitting about collecting dust and aims it at Davros. The Doctor, threatening others with a weapon? Seems uncharacteristic for The Doctor we know. Maybe this is a glimpse of his past self, The War Doctor? Davros dismisses the weapon, telling The Doctor it’s useless. However, a blue light ignites on said gun. Our Doctor is a fixer, after all. He points the gun at Davros, demanding the latter get out of his chair.
Then, an alarm goes off. This warns Davros’ Dalek children of the danger their creator is in. They all flee en masse to the room Davros is in. We see a horde of Daleks fly upward outside Davros’ home base, chanting “Exterminate!” Clara and Missy notice this and realize The Doctor is most certainly in danger.
Meanwhile, we hear Davros call for help. His Daleks have every intention of heeding his call, until an unexpected visitor arrives. We see The Doctor make his grand entrance in a new set of sweet wheels. He is seated in Davros’ scooter chair. Motor wheels? Not sure of the official Whovian term. Regardless, whoever sits in the seat of power has the power. There’s a new Sheriff in town, folks! Then, Davros shouts for Colony Sarff (Jami Reid-Quarrell), who slithers to his beck and call. Suddenly, the Daleks “exterminate” The Doctor, and a bright white light washes everything out.
Later, Clara and Missy are now inside the heart of Skaro. They are looking into a deep hole. Missy reveals to Clara that Daleks have sewers, and they will reach The Doctor through said sewers. Our Time Lady also informs Clara that the sewers are “alive.” Missy asks Clara how far down the hole goes, and puts that question to the test by giving her a push. Oh, Missy. Always pushing boundaries, but in the best way.
Meanwhile, the Daleks are taken aback to see The Doctor alive and well after the extermination. The Doctor simply sips a literal cup of tea, like a boss. I can’t help but be reminded of that Kermit the Frog meme. Anyway, he snatches his new favorite toy, the Dalek gun, and points it at everyone in the room. Again, his enemies are taken aback at his use of weaponry. How very un-Doctor of him.
Later, Clara wakes up on the ground floor of the Dalek sewers. Shit (pun intended), that had to be a massive fall. She sees Missy, lunges for Mr. Pointy (the stick – also Buffy reference, y’all) and brandishes it at Missy. My Thelma and Louise dream is falling apart at the seams. Missy taunts Clara, demanding the latter kill her. When Clara falters, Missy snatches back Mr. Pointy. Large and in charge. She then explains to Clara the sewers are composed of living Daleks, just ones whose bodies have decomposed. Missy pokes a section of the wall with Mr. Pointy. We hear a muffled moaning sound, akin to a Dalek. Creepy as hell.
Meanwhile, The Doctor turns on a loud speaker of sorts in Davros’ chair and says he wants Clara alive and well. Clara hears the message deep within the sewers. Missy knows the power of The Doctor’s rage, commenting that he will burn everything to the ground, including them. Then, the Supreme Dalek informs The Doctor that Clara is dead. Uh oh. Big mistake, tank dude. Suddenly, Davros appears on a screen and divulges how secretly turned on he is by The Doctor’s lust for revenge. I say “turned on” because really, I think he is. But in spite of this, The Doctor wronged him and must pay. We see a horde of snakes entrap The Doctor. Colony Sarff, that bastard!
Later, Missy and Clara roam the sewers in search of an escape, one that would lead them above ground. Missy notices a circular object on the wall and makes Clara look deep within it. We hear the message “Intruder Alert!” blare within, and Missy handcuffs Clara to the now obvious camera. Missy plans to use Clara as bait to kill a Dalek. One comes calling, in response to the alarm. Missy uses her brooch that can cut through damn metal to puncture holes in our tank dude friend. He appears to implode, then explodes. Missy yips in delight, perhaps enjoying the explosion more than a normal human would. Although, to be fair, explosions are cool.
Meanwhile, The Doctor wakes up from a dream regarding when he first met Davros – the scared little boy, alone on a war-torn field. Davros insists their time is coming to an end, that he is truly dying. The Doctor encourages him to give it some effort. Ah, I love his twisted sense of humor. Davros tells The Doctor to look at the cables that help keep him stabilized. We see a pair of eyes materialize in one of the cables. Colony Sarff, you trickster!
Then, Clara and Missy dispose of the “guts” inside the now dead Dalek. Missy demands Clara get inside. What? How very “full circle” of you, Moffat. Recreating Oswin Oswald the Dalek. Sneaky bastard.
Meanwhile, Davros explains to The Doctor that his life force is connected to the Daleks. His heart beats, their hearts beat. He created his children with one major blemish – respect and mercy for their creator. Davros eggs on The Doctor to touch the cables and feel the heart beat of every living Dalek on Skaro. He persuades our Time Lord to commit Dalek genocide and kill him in one fell swoop – all it takes is a little severing of the cables. So simple. The Doctor even appears to consider it briefly, as Davros guides his hand to them. He tells our Doctor he will be a “god.” Then, The Doctor pulls away.
Now, Davros wonders why The Doctor hesitated. Clara is dead, right? Surely he wouldn’t give a shit? “Compassion, it grows fierce within you. Like a cancer,” Davros tells him. “I hope so…I wouldn’t die of anything else,” The Doctor responds. Compassion is his strength. He came to help Davros because the latter asked, with no ulterior motives. Please excuse me while I sob my face off. This is The Doctor I know and love.
Later, Missy is getting Clara situated in her new Dalek home. Aw, she fits perfectly inside it! Look at the adorable little murder machine! Missy tells her to use her mind to close the body. Anytime she speaks inside it, her voice projects outside the body, all Dalek like and such. Then, our Time Lady has her say things like her name, which translates from “Clara” to “I am a Dalek.” Clara’s emotions get the best of her and she fires the gun. Missy informs her emotions fuel the Daleks, especially when using their weaponry. “I love you” is “Exterminate” in Dalek speak. I’m going to tell my loved ones “Exterminate” from now on instead. Anyway, they soldier on through the sewers.
Meanwhile, Davros tries to get to the root of why The Doctor ran away from Gallifrey. He also recovers The Doctor’s confession dial. Just what is The Doctor’s confession?
Then, Clara runs into a real Dalek and acts as if she found humanoid Missy roaming about the sewers alone. After freezing when asked why she didn’t exterminate Missy on the spot, the other Dalek identifies Missy as a Time Lord. Missy tells the Dalek to let the Supreme Dalek know “the bitch is back.” Indeed she is, Missy. Indeed she is.
Meanwhile, The Doctor reveals to Davros that Gallifrey still stands – that he found a way to save his people. He doesn’t know where Gallifrey is located though. Davros is touched, and encourages The Doctor to find his people. Everyone deserves a home base. The old man cries with joy for our Time Lord. Aw, how sweet. Davros has a gooey center. The Dalek creator opens his rheumy eyes, which up until now have been closed. He begins to feel weak again, hoping his body would hold out so he could witness one last sunrise. The Doctor conjures a plan to make this happen.
Later, Missy and Dalek Clara make their way to the Supreme Dalek. Missy starts rattling off demands to the Supreme Tank Dude. She wants an audience with Davros, and has a gift for the Daleks if they grant this request – Clara Oswald. Oh, Missy. Forever the Alliance Flipper.
Meanwhile, Davros is sitting in front of a window, admiring his planet. The Doctor hooks up the cables again to his chair. Davros feels he doesn’t have the strength to keep his eyes open as the sun begins to rise. The Doctor harnesses a smattering of regeneration energy in his hand, in an attempt to create a “sunrise” for Davros. He claims this will cost him “an arm and a leg somewhere down the line.” You know, as you do. Our Time Lord runs to touch the cables briefly to give Davros a jump start but that damn Colony Sarff traps The Doctor once again. He is unable to release the cables and is simultaneously losing his regeneration energy. The Doctor lets out a scream.
Then, Missy hears the wails of pain and runs to The Doctor’s aid. She has the Dalek gun and shoots at the cables, which snap, allowing The Doctor to release them. He falls.
Suddenly, the Daleks awaken after the Time Lord power surge, refreshed and renewed. Time for world domination, y’all!
Meanwhile, Davros revels in his children being re-energized. The Doctor realizes something Davros doesn’t. All Daleks were energized from his Time Lord powers – including the sewer Daleks. They are fully awake now, coming up the pipes and any other outlet to the surface. Our new favorite sewer friends will overcome Skaro like the flu. In short, Davros is screwed. The duo bids farewell to the dying man and prepares for escape.
Later, The Doctor is running (not unusual) through a corridor. We hear the sounds of the sewer Daleks attempting to swallow Skaro whole. The Doctor notices the liquid little buggers seeping through the vents. Suddenly, Dalek Clara approaches The Doctor, who obviously assumes she’s the real deal. Missy sidles in, telling The Doctor that the Dalek in front of him is responsible for Clara’s death. Missy, my Missy…sometimes you are a cruel Mistress (get it?). Dalek Clara tries her damnedest to communicate with The Doctor, to let him know she’s alive. Of course, the Dalek language barrier stands tall and strong between them.
The Doctor raises his Dalek gun at Clara, who begins pleading for her life. She says, “Please don’t,” which translates to “Mercy.” Our Time Lord is taken aback by this. Daleks shouldn’t know that word exists. He tells Dalek Clara to open her tank. She does this, revealing herself to The Doctor. Clara is sobbing. He turns to Missy, all fire and rage, telling her to run far away from him. Eh, this is their foreplay, right? They want to kill each other one minute, then they are best friends the next. He releases Clara from her Dalek prison.
Later, the duo ends up in the room where the TARDIS used to be. The fortress around them is crumbling due to the living Dalek army rising from the sewers. Our Gallifreyan is struck with a thought. His TARDIS didn’t explode, it’s impenetrable. He puts on his sonic sunglasses (the new sonic screwdriver) and toggles them. We see bits and pieces of the TARDIS (from when the Daleks blasted it) mend together to create a fully formed spaceship again. It forms around Clara and The Doctor. The surrounding Daleks attempt to blast it, but the TARDIS force field cannot be broken. They escape! Woo hoo! Victory is theirs!
Meanwhile, Missy is running along a corridor and is thrust into a horde of our favorite metal tank dudes. Just when all seems lost, she is struck with an idea. What is it? Inquiring minds need to know! However…
We see Clara and The Doctor standing outside, observing all of Skaro falling to ruin. Our Time Lord is still befuddled by how a Dalek could know the word “mercy.” He mulls it over with Clara. Suddenly, he too is struck with an idea (lots of those going around). Clara calls after The Doctor as he makes a break for the TARDIS.
Later, The Doctor returns to that war torn battlefield. We see the young Davros still standing among the Hand Mines, afraid to move. He is surprised to see The Doctor return. Our Doctor starts blasting the dreadful Hand Mines with his Dalek gun. He strolls over to the young boy and grabs his hand. Young Davros asks him what “side” he’s on. His new friend responds that it doesn’t matter, “as long as there’s mercy. Always mercy.” Right in the feels.
I thought this was a terrific conclusion to a fantastic two-part season premiere. Peter Capaldi is without question my favorite Doctor of the New Whoniverse. He is a delightful mixture of Classic and Modern Doctors. Highlight of this episode: The Doctor and Davro’s scenes were not only beautifully acted, but incredibly poignant. We saw our Doctor in his best form, showing mercy to a lifelong enemy.
Now, onward and upward! I intend to keep this gravy train rolling so please tune in for the rest of the re-watches/recaps for this season. Till next time!
Doctor Who Season 10 premieres April 15th, 2017 on your BBC affiliate.
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