In a new feature on Blogtor Who, each week regular contributor Richard Unwin will be taking a more personal, in-depth and spoilery look at each episode. So, obvs, SPOILERS ahead if you haven’t seen Doctor Who Series 9, Episode 2.

Did you love that? We loved that.
After last week’s setup this episode delivered the meat of the adventure, and together the two parts make a (Dalek) supremely satisfying whole – a big bold proper Dalek/Davros epic that is a worthy addition to the canon. (And with the Special Weapons Dalek making an appearance, the addition of a worthy cannon.)

A lot of this story seems to be about contrasts and reflections. (We’re wondering if that might be a theme for the whole season, with the full list of episode titles appearing to come in mirroring pairs…) The balance between zany comedy and full-blooded adventure is breathtaking – expertly achieved here in a manner that only Doctor Who could ever really pull off.

This is perhaps best demonstrated through the Doctor and Clara’s individual acquisition of ‘Dalek Bumps’. The sight of Peter Capaldi gliding into the Dalek control room in Davros’ chair is an unexpected and hilariously striking visual, gloriously capped with an impossible cup of tea. (And further bolsters our theory that Steven Moffat wrote this episode while playing with Doctor Who dollies – isn’t pulling Davros out of his chair and sticking the Doctor in exactly what a child might do with action figures…?)

Clara’s confinement within one of the metallic monstrosities, however, is a different kettle of Kaleds entirely, playing out as tense and claustrophobic horror. (And calling to mind a similar predicament in Asylum of the Daleks – in which we assume the very specific Dalek speech restrictions introduced here must have been on the fritz…)

And then there are the distinct brands of evil on offer from the show’s two biggest of bads. Davros and the Master – here together for the first time – couldn’t be more different in their approaches to unpleasantness. Although both claim a twisted bond of friendship with the Doctor, only one of them truly means it. We love Missy’s resentful response to the assertion that Davros is the Time Lord’s arch-enemy, and the jealous poke in the third-eye that she gives him upon their eventual meeting – piercing his pomposity along with his his pupil.

It’s Missy who really steals the show here. Her ‘odd-couple’ pairing with Clara for most of the adventure is an absolute triumph. We’re so glad to have her back so soon – thanks to Steven Moffat for activating the fast return witch. We pity those fans that are still unable to accept her as the Master on the grounds of her gender – what bizarre short-sighted prejudice. (We’ll be honest – we used to be a little nervous about the idea of a female Doctor. Then we witnessed the frothing misogyny that sections of online fandom convulsed with when presented with the concept, and now actively long for a lady Who – specifically to explode the heads of that small minority of bedroom-bound bigots.) Missy’s final line about her ‘clever idea’ make us suspect that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of her this series… Hooray!

While we’re on the subject of inappropriate fan response… There’s a thread on a popular Doctor Who forum, in response to The Magician’s Apprentice, in which people are complaining about black actors being used to represent inhabitants of the planet Skaro. We kid you not. They are also very unhappy about ethnic minorities appearing in the crowd sections of the medieval sequence. All we can say to these people is that you appear to have completely missed the point of Doctor Who – you are the Daleks. Go away – go and watch something else – you don’t deserve this beautiful progressive inclusive work of art.

And it is beautiful. After all the antics and adventure, the security man made of snakes and the metal monsters choked with the sludge of their ancestors, we end with the Doctor rescuing a child from a warzone and proving to us all that mercy was always going to be the solution. Always mercy. Call us old softies, but this prescient message induced a little eye-leakage. Our vision was impaired.

And then we fell into a nest of vampire monkeys.

Previous articleDoctor Who Series 9: The Witch’s Familiar – What Did YOU Think?
Next articleDoctor Who Series 9: Under The Lake trailer
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Cameron K McEwan was the first owner and site editor of Blogtor Who since its creation in May 2008 until Dec 2015. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Cameron has also written two books, The Who’s Who of Doctor Who and Doctor Who: The Big Book of Lists, and directed a film all about Doctor Who fans throughout the years, Who’s Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans. Cameron also contributes TV and film news and reviews to BBC Radio London, Metro, Digital Spy, New York Observer and Den of Geek. He lives in London with his one trousers.

13 COMMENTS

  1. "We pity those fans that are still unable to accept her as the Master on the grounds of her gender" I don't accept her on grounds of her poor acting. Actually she was quite good in this episode. Horrendous in the other episodes though.

    "(…Then we witnessed the frothing misogyny that sections of online fandom convulsed with when presented with the concept, and now actively long for a lady Who – specifically to explode the heads of that small minority of bedroom-bound bigots.)"
    So basically you are just insulting anyone who disagrees with you calling them bigots. Very short sighted ad hominem to justify your opinions.

    People can have different opinions on a topic without being bigots. And thinking The Master should be male is not misogyny.

    I assume this will be moderated away as apparently opinions are not acceptable if they disagree with the author. I dislike the Missy character so must therefor be a misogynistic bigot.

  2. I'd also like to note

    "They are also very unhappy about ethnic minorities appearing in the crowd sections of the medieval sequence. All we can say to these people is that you appear to have completely missed the point of Doctor Who – you are the Daleks. Go away – go and watch something else – you don’t deserve this beautiful progressive inclusive work of art."

    Again your author being offensive and rude at a perfectly reasonable position.

    I suggest the site no longer associate with the author if they want a polite setting.

  3. Hi Troy – author here. Of course it's possible to object to a female Doctor/Master/Benton without being a bigot. I was specifically referring to the small minority of online fandom that clearly are frothing with misogyny – they're easy to find with a brief poke about the internet. They're frothing, I tell you, frothing!

  4. And what about this author?

    "They are also very unhappy about ethnic minorities appearing in the crowd sections of the medieval sequence. All we can say to these people is that you appear to have completely missed the point of Doctor Who – you are the Daleks. Go away – go and watch something else – you don’t deserve this beautiful progressive inclusive work of art."

    It is clear from your multiple instances of insulting those who disagree with you that you should not be allowed in a polite environment.

    There are ways to politely express your opinion without intentionally trying to be rude.

    If we are not allowed to be rude in the comments the author should be polite in their posts.

  5. Again – comments only directed at the few who were wailing and stamping their feet at the casting of minority ethnicities. Prioritising minor plot points of a TV sic-fi show over inclusive casting is racist, and and displays phenomenal over-privilage. I absolutely stand by my comments. (But you're right – I probably shouldn't be allowed in a 'polite environment' – I might do something awful, like express a belief in equality. And I'd probably eat the vol-au-vents all wrong.)

  6. Richard you did not express beliefs in equality you merely were rude that not everyone agrees with you as you attempted to caricaturize individuals with opposing views.

    Guess what a multi-ethnic cast in the medieval theme doesn't make sense. I chose to ignore it however you have intentionally been offensive trying to justify your bigotry by crying equality. It is amusing that the word you chose to use so accurately describes yourself.

    If you are going to be intentionally rude I see no reason we should be able to be intentionally rude about you.

    So I suggest to the website that you don't allow authors to behave in such a childish fashion.

  7. "Guess what a multi-ethnic cast in the medieval theme doesn't make sense."

    Arguably, a 2000 year old alien flying through time and space in a 1960's police box that's bigger on the inside "doesn't make sense". I think can all suspend our disbelief with that so maybe a multi-ethnic scene in a medieval scene is not worth getting in a tiz about?

    "Thinking the Master should be male is not misogyny" Not sure how you can justify that position. Why does the characters sex matter in this case? Is it crucial for the plot?! It's really a bit silly, again we're talking about a thousand year old Time Lord, why on Gallifrey wouldn't the Master regenerate as a woman?

    IMO It's a great development to have her as a psychopathic female. And Michelle Gomez is scene-stealingly brilliant.

    Equally I see no compelling reason why the next doctor couldn't be a woman.

  8. George Cort in the lore of the show it makes perfect sense. Multi-ethnic scene in a medieval earth really doesn't make sense in the terms of the show. I didn't find it that annoying. I just feel like the author shouldn't belittle those who it bothered.

    The position that thinking The Master should be male is not in any way misogynistic. I don't know how you can even twist it that way in your head. It is a valid opinion some have that Timelords should not change gender.

    I have no problem with the gender change. I would love a female Doctor in the future if they choose well. I simply have not enjoyed Missy. I'm unsure if it is the writing or the actor. I have no problem with the idea. I think it is interesting and adds depth to the story and universe.

    I have a problem with people insulting those with differing opinions.

  9. "There were many Asian and Black people living in Britain throughout the period covered by this exhibition (1500-1850). They formed an integral part of British society, whether labouring as servants in country houses, enlisting in the armed forces, marrying in parish churches, engaging with literary and artistic life, or challenging the repressive laws of the day. For many places in Britain, we cannot speak of a separate 'Black community' at this time – Black people were integrated in the wider society, working and living with their White compatriots."

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/blackhistory/intro/intro.htm

  10. Troy – I repeat – any rudeness from me is not directed at 'those with differing opinions' – just the small minority who have actively expressed racism and misogyny. You do not appear to fall into this category – so no need to take any offence!

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