I’ve been on holiday (hence the blogging lull) and am jet lagged, so I don’t have the time or the energy for a review of The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar, but I will note that it’s a strange story, not so much a juxtaposition of horror and comedy as is common in Doctor Who, but, if you will, a hybrid where the comedy and the horror come from each other, like The League of Gentlemen (not that I’ve seen much of League of Gentlemen, but I guess it’s the obvious comparison given that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are long-term collaborators). Missy’s violence and her indifferent or joyous reaction to it, is both frightening and comic in its extreme moral disruptiveness and the idea of the semi-dead Dalek mutants eating the other Daleks is introduced as a joke, becomes a minor plot point and then turns into the cornerstone of the resolution.
It’s downright insane in places. Doctor Who is often insane, but there is a sense here that this only works because Steven Moffat is back on form as The King of Plot (which he hadn’t been for a while before this), with all the plot points dovetailing and a deft double twist whereby the Doctor manipulates Davros to think that he’s manipulating the Doctor.
I do wonder, though, if Clara could not have thought more laterally to get out of the Dalek. If she had said, “I teach GCSE English at Coal Hill School” would it really have come out as “I teach advanced extermination at the Dalek Military Academy”?