The Bitch is Back and Why Davros Deserves a BAFTA [CONTAINS SPOILERS]

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So remember that thing I said last week about how badly I want a spinoff where Clara travels with Missy? Well, I still want it. Michelle Gomez and Jenna Coleman are a dream team, and I’ll never get bored of watching Missy find exciting new ways to kill Clara. And who knows? One day, Clara might just surprise her.

Missy does seem to let on just the tiniest bit that she’s occasionally impressed by Clara. She’s annoyed by it, of course, but she knows the other woman isn’t stupid. If nothing else, it makes the game more challenging and she likes that. But does it also sting a bit, do you think? We know the Master loves to “play” with the Doctor and his friends. It’s always a game.  But Missy also obviously cares about the Doctor in her own convoluted way. Is she perhaps jealous of the Doctor’s relationship with Clara, given that Missy is the one responsible for it in the first place?

The teleport thing wasn’t a huge surprise, was it? I mean, when the Daleks exterminate you, there’s always a body left behind. Presumably, that’s why the Doctor continued to ask whether or not Clara was alive. Funny how he never asked after Missy. Either because he knew she would survive (because when doesn’t she?), or because he didn’t care. Is that why Missy stuck Clara inside the Dalek? Where she knew Clara should have been unable to give any clues as to who she really was. Make your own judgement there.

While we’re on the subject of Missy, I’d also love to know what she’s been up to. We know now that she’s met the Supreme Dalek before and thwarted him in some way.

“Tell him the bitch is back.”

I’d like to see that particular adventure. Immediately.

Learning how the Daleks work was interesting, I thought. Though they seem to be emotionless creatures on the outside, we now know that they are far more complex than that. The Cybermen are terrifying because they erase their emotions. The Daleks are even more terrifying because they weaponize them. Absolutely brilliant.

I will say, quickly, that I was a little dismayed by that particular scene. I thought it was well done, but trapping Clara inside a Dalek is hitting far too close to home to NOT have a more significant call back to Asylum of the Daleks. If Clara doesn’t remember what happened to Oswin at the Asylum, fine. But the Doctor sure as hell should have.

The Doctor stealing Davros’ chair was genius. It’s such a classic Doctor move that I could seriously see any incarnation doing that to them just to screw with them. Because why not? And do I care where he got the cup of tea? No. I just accept it.

Clearly, though, the Best Actor Award has to go to Davros this time–and in reality, Julian Bleach, because everything he did in this story was absolute perfection. Davis has grew exponentially as a character, and in a way that is still totally valid, even knowing that it was an act. He’s funny. He’s actually funny.  Getting the Doctor the only other chair on Skaro? And he cries. His reaction to the Doctor’s revelation about saving Gallifrey is shatteringly beautiful. And for a few moments he’s not only a character we can feel some sympathy for, but he’s likable. Who honestly saw that coming? The moment he asked the Doctor if he was a good man just floored me, and I like that it was a play on the entire premise of last series’ Into the Dalek. I think it was a very brave move on Steven Moffat’s part to write him that way, and the payoff is tremendous. It all made me very very happy.

“You weren’t bored. No one runs the way you have run for so small a reason.”

And, true to form, Mr. Moffat has thrown us a fairly large number of what are presumably red herrings–most of them from Missy. One that I suspect is not a mere distraction, however, is the prophesied Hybrid. The Doctor is worried about it, even when he is being flippant. I don’t think his statement to Davros was once-sided or a throwaway line.

“Gallifrey is back. And it is safe from both of us.”

So what do we make of this? It’s obviously going to be a thing. I’m not worried about the “how” at the moment, but it does leave me wondering. Will it be something new and different? Does it somehow relate to Caecilius and Frobisher? Could the Hybrid somehow be the Doctor himself? Will this be the Valeyard? And, though the Time War has passed, the term “Nightmare Child” keeps coming back to me as well. Is this the big story arc for this season?

The meat of this story though, is in the interplay between the Doctor and Davros as they continue to outmaneuver each other.

” You have slaughtered billions of my children as I have slaughtered billions of your race. We have exhausted the conventional means of communication.”

The argument over compassion being the Doctor’s great downfall is valid on both sides. Yes, it will be his end one day. But that’s what he wants. And Davros knows that and uses it to his great advantage. But just when we think all is lost, the Doctor still manages to pull through and defeat him. It has to go that way, because it’s Doctor Who, but the ride getting there was a lot more harrowing than it often is. The Doctor knows who he is this series, and goes on to prove it further by saving young Davros at the end, as we knew he must do, thus ensuring the Daleks would understand the concept of mercy.

Based on this frankly epic opener, I can’t wait to see what comes next. We all know the end is coming for Clara, but the how of it remains to be seen. If we continue like this, I think we’re in for one hell of a ride.

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