8 questions for Doctor Who Series 9

What watching Doctor Who feels like at the moment.

What’s Missy’s “clever idea”?

The sewers were revolting. The Daleks were going berserk. The Dalek city was crashing down upon itself. Amidst all that, the last we saw of Missy, she was being ganged up on by a bunch of tough-looking Daleks. Scared? Not Missy. The Time Lady broke into a cheeky, knowing smile and declared, “You know what? I’ve just had a very clever idea.” Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Missy and her diabolical schemes this series. Is she about to team up with the Daleks? A Missy-Dalek alliance might seem a bit repetitive after her collusion with the Cybermen in Series 8, but surely something momentous is going to come of this? Perhaps the Doctor will regret making his childhood friend jealous before the close of the series.

What did the regeneration energy do to the Daleks?

Speaking of the Daleks, what actually happened to them when the Doctor channelled his regeneration energy into them? The Supreme Dalek exulted, “We are renewed. We are more powerful.” Is this just like pumping the Daleks with steroids, or did the regeneration energy fundamentally change them in some way? Doubtless we’ll find out in good time, given whatever Missy’s “clever idea” turns out to be.

Was Davros being sincere?

We know Davros’s bromance with the Doctor was all a ruse to trick the latter into yielding up some regeneration juice, but was anything about Davros’s emotional catharsis sincere? I’d really like to think so. It would be extremely difficult, surely, for a creature of Davros’s age and decrepitude to produce fake tears at will, without really feeling it. I think, at least, that Davros’s teary elation over the news of Gallifrey’s salvation was genuine. That, at least, fits with his character. Davros may have a twisted and horrible morality, but he still has a morality, one dominated by fanatical nationalist and xenophobic principles. After all, as he admitted, it was what drove him to create the Daleks, which he still seems to see as his own people, his own Kaled brothers and sisters. I’m sure, in the warped nationalist worldview that guides him, Davros was genuinely happy that the Doctor had got his people and his home back.

Does the Master have a daughter?

maisie“It’s pretty, though, isn’t it? Got it in the olden days on Gallifrey. The Doctor gave it to me when my daughter—”

If you were watching The Witch’s Familiar with one eye on Twitter, you would have missed this mini-bombshell. It’s a very Moffat thing to do, dropping a fairly large new tidbit of mythology casually into dialogue like this. We know the Doctor has had children and grandchildren, including his genetic transfer-created “daughter”, Jenny, but this is the first time we’ve heard about the Master having had children. Will we get to meet her? Maybe—and this is a pretty wild and recklessly optimistic conjecture—maybe that’s who Maisie Williams’ character is?

How did Missy escape Gallifrey?

Seriously, are we ever going to learn how the Master can be in the universe now when (s)he was supposed to be trapped in Gallifrey’s pocket universe? I thought we might’ve learned how she did it in the series opener, but it wasn’t to be, it seems. Has Missy already told the Doctor offscreen?

Is the sonic screwdriver gone for good?

Capaldi rocks those sunglasses like a boss, but I don’t think I’m all that enamoured with them as a replacement for the reliable old sonic. The sonic screwdriver is a familiar staple of the show, and black sunglasses are just a bit too cool for the Doctor (unless he’s wearing them ironically). That said, I doubt the sonic is gone forever. I have a feeling this is about giving Capaldi a new sonic screwdriver, which I’m sure we’ll see him with by the end of the year. His old one, the one he gave to little Davros, was a leftover from the Matt Smith years, after all, and I’m sure Capaldi doesn’t want to feel like he’s acting under the shadow of his predecessor.

What is the Doctor’s confession?

One of the most intriguing things to come out of the Series 9 opener was that the Doctor apparently had some dark secret, which he’d committed to a confession dial, a Time Lord will, possibly relating to the reason he left Gallifrey in the first place. That this question, of what drove the Doctor to flee Gallifrey and continue running for the rest of his life, is going to be a theme or arc of this series really excites me. I can’t help myself, I’m a mythology buff, especially when it concerns the Doctor himself. I’ve come up with speculative headcanon about this mysterious subject, but I’ll be glad to learn the real answer.

The only clue the episode gave was that the Doctor’s secret may or may not involve a legendary “hybrid” creature of some kind, which the Doctor had some part in creating. Davros mentioned it, assuming the Doctor was referring to a Time Lord-Dalek hybrid created with the Doctor’s regeneration energy, but that theory seems pretty bust. The reason we can’t dismiss what Davros said, though, is because Missy also mentioned it. Whether the hybrid thing really is the Doctor’s confession remains to be seen. The only idea I have is that it sounds a little like a fan theory that’s been circulating for some time that posits that the Meta-Crisis Doctor we saw created in Journey’s End, half Time Lord and half human, became the Valeyard, the “evil” incarnation of the Doctor who persecuted the Sixth Doctor in The Trial of a Time Lord, driven mad after tragedy prematurely destroys the perfect life with Rose in the parallel universe that the Meta-Doctor was supposed to have.

It’s a pretty big stretch, but the only reason I mention it is that David Tennant was spotted visiting the Doctor Who studios in Cardiff during filming. I don’t think that’s it, though. It would be cool if it turned out to be what the Doctor’s “hybrid” was, but I don’t think Steven Moffat would want to “ruin” Rose’s happy ending like that. (On the other hand, he’s Moffat…) And fan theories have a habit of being laughably wide of the mark.

What’s with the episode titles?

The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar have surely got to be vying for the episode titles most seemingly unrelated to their actual episodes. No one can agree whom the titular “apprentice” and “familiar” is/are supposed to be. Okay, the “witch’s familiar” is not too ambiguous—Clara played the role of familiar, or companion, in the entertaining Missy-Clara double-act, following Missy around and doing what she said. Clara seemed especially like a witch’s animal companion (“familiar”) when she hopped into that Dalek shell.

Who the “magician’s apprentice” is supposed to be is less obvious. I have a feeling little Davros is supposed to be the apprentice, and the Doctor the magician, especially given that final scene of The Witch’s Familiar, where the Doctor takes little Davros in hand and imparts to him the importance of mercy, hoping to influence Davros and, indirectly, the creation of the Daleks, for the better.

I also have a feeling (or maybe a vain hope) that there’s more to “the witch’s familiar” than first appears. If Clara is the familiar, and Missy the witch, I’m hoping more details of the “woman in the shop” mystery will be revealed before Clara departs. It would be very like Moffat to drop a big hint like that that no one figures out until it all becomes clear later on. That’s assuming that the “explanation” offered in Death in Heaven, which I found wholly unsatisfying and infuriating, isn’t the whole picture. I mean, there has to be more to Missy’s bringing the Doctor and Clara together than “I thought you two might hit it off”. Please let there be more.

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6 thoughts on “8 questions for Doctor Who Series 9

  1. To address all 8, here are my theories:

    I think Missy’s clever idea has less to do with controlling the Daleks, and more like using them (maybe) to get the Doctor back. It’s that whole love-hate thing that Missy/Master and the Doctor have had. It could even be that her idea is to use the Daleks to start the Time War. I’m not sure, but her clever ideas usually end up pretty bad for both the Doctor and Earth lol

    I think the regeneration energy just gave all the Daleks, including the ones in the sewer and Davros a bolt of revitalization, bringing back those that were dying sort of thing. I don’t know if it will have repercussions, I’m just thinking that maybe it’s a reason to keep Davros alive for something important later. However, it doesn’t matter to me…Missy poked him in the eye, and that was just brilliant 🙂

    I think Davros was being sincere. Since he and the Doctor first met, there has been little (that I’ve seen) where Davros wasn’t being sincere with the Doctor. That’s what makes him such a great villain (IMHO): he’s sincere with the Doctor and as a result, gets the Doctor to be sincere with him, almost forcing the Doctor to make “stupid mistakes” each time (although somehow the Doctor always has a contingency on his stupid mistakes). I think what we saw was the real Davros – the man behind the monster, which is always the way he is with the Doctor.

    I missed the word “Daughter” in that scene…. wow. Mind bender!

    I think Missy escaped Gallifrey because she wasn’t there. I think Missy’s been running longer and harder than the Doctor ever did. I think (s)he took off before the war started on some scheme or other, and therefore missed it. Probably knew it was happening, but didn’t want to be involved, therefore she escaped. However, there’s another theory that I have: maybe she was there and she did escape. It happened with Dalek Khan (who went mad), and maybe Missy too (she’s slightly mad, no?) It’s just a theory though.

    I don’t think the screwdriver is gone for good. Although there have been a few Doctors in the past that didn’t carry them, my feeling is that it will come back. If for no other reason than they can charge $30 for a sonic, but no one will buy $5 sunglasses for $30 because they make a noise. Plus, I REALLY don’t like them, so I hope the sonic comes back.

    The Doctor’s confession dial is confusing, I agree. It could be any number of things. I would, however, assume that it’s things that he regrets. And since it’s twelve’s confession dial, I doubt his destroying all his people would be on there because he saved Gallifrey. I think it probably has something to do with his companions over the years, the ones that he didn’t do right by, or couldn’t. Also, he sent it to Missy rather than Clara, so it would also probably be a “transfer of title” for the TARDIS. That’s just a thought.

    I think what you say about the titles may be true, but I also think they both have to do with Missy. In these episodes, Missy came to Clara trying to save him, and was working to do just that. So she’s his apprentice; but in the second episode, she was the witch (as he introduced her in the beginning of the first ep, “the wicked witch”), and Clara was the familiar. Dunno if that’s what was meant, but it’s my theory. Either way, they were great titles, even if they have no direct correlation to the stories as far as the audience can tell.

    As a final note, I think that Missy was the woman in the shop, and her plan may have had something to do with the Doctor ultimately killing his companion. If you look at the history of Clara (this version), she has done things, and he’s had her do things that could have or should have killed her pretty consistently. In this plot, Missy runs Clara through the steps to make sure it comes out Dalek, then hands the Doctor a weapon and says it was the Dalek that killed Clara. Missy probably wanted him to kill Clara, and when he didn’t, she looked annoyed, like her plan failed.

    Again, these are all just my silly notions. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You could be right about that final theory, about Missy making the Doctor kill Clara. Maybe that’s how Clara will leave at the end of Series 9. Moffat did say that Clara’s exit will be “heartbreaking” (or some equally evocative word to that effect).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not sure that will happen thought. That’s what I think Missy wanted, in that moment in “The Witch’s Familiar”, to break-down the pieces so she’d have the ability to pick them back up. You know, best friend things. If she can get him to do something like that, the Doctor would be more like her. But now that the moment has passed (“mercy” and all that), I don’t think she’ll try that again. The Doctor, killing his companion, is not the right feel. Know what I mean? He’s OK with the genocide of warrior aliens, but not OK with one human death. What I do think, at this point, is that Missy will have something to do with Clara’s death, as she did with Clara coming into the Doctor’s life. Full circle.

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