14 questions we have after Doctor Who: The Witch’s familiar

Has the sonic screwdriver gone forever? Why were the Daleks regenerating? And how did the Tardis survive its apparent destruction?

Is the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver gone forever?

We’re a little concerned that the Doctor’s new love for “wearable tech” (aka his new Sonic Sunglasses, see below) might be a little more enduring than just this episode. After all, he made some pretty pointed comments about the screwdriver ruining the lining of his jacket, and the shades do have a certain aesthetic appeal (not to mention that Davros had his hands on the screwdriver for a few centuries).


So, will the sunglasses be a permanent replacement, or a one-off gag? We’ll have to wait until next week to see for sure…

How do the sonic shades work?

Look at them – they’re just sunglasses. No buttons, no flashy lights. Just plain ol’ sunglasses. So how can they possibly be sonic? Chances are that’s the entire point.

For when the sonic screwdriver was first introduced in 1968, it was seen more of a joke than the omnipotent, stakes-ruining tool it is today. It was, after all, just a screwdriver that made a noise. It’s safe to assume that the sonic shades are just Steven Moffat’s sly nod to that – not to mention a way for kids to run around pretending their sunglasses are sonic. (Plus, you know, they’re probably psychic or something.)

Did the Master used to have a daughter?

We know that the Doctor’s had family in the past; in his very first appearances (as played by William Hartnell) his granddaughter Susan was a companion, and in 2008 episode The Doctor’s Daughter he gained another family member in Georgia Moffett’s “generated anomaly” (and sort of Time Lady) Jenny.

However, dialogue in this week’s episode from Missy (Michelle Gomez) suggested that in her earlier days as the Master she might have been waiting along with the Doctor at the Gallifreyan school gates. Referring to a brooch she used to attack a Dalek, she said:

“Dark star alloy. Goes through armour plating like a knife through people… Pretty though, isn’t it? Got it in the olden days of Gallifrey. The Doctor gave it to me when my daughter…”

So what happened to the Master’s daughter in the “olden days” of Gallifrey, back when he and the Doctor were still apparently friendly. Could it have been a tragedy that turned the Master to evil in some way (perhaps the next word Missy was going to say was “died”)? 

Or was it just a gift for the daughter, perhaps after she was born? We may never know – but we hope to find out next time Missy faces the Doctor, possibly with the Daleks in tow. Speaking of which…

Is Missy now teaming up with the Daleks?

For a magical moment there, it seemed like Missy was actually trying to help the Doctor – and putting Clara inside an actual Dalek seeming like a stroke of mad genius rather than a ruse. In the episode’s final moments though, Missy goes back to black and tries to convince the Doctor to kill the Clara-Dalek (Clarek?) instead.

Upon realising, the Doctor leaves her at the Daleks’ ‘mercy’ – but as the murderous pepper pots close in, Missy exclaims she “has an idea”. Is she bluffing? Or is she about to team up with them to save her skin? She’s already ticked off a Cybermen Army off her list, after all…

Where did the Doctor get the cup of tea?

“Answer: I’m the Doctor, just accept it.”

Obviously this was a throwaway joke, but it’s not actually as baffling as it seems. The Doctor has been known to keep random junk in his pockets, including wind-up toys and celery stalks, and a thermos of tea would be quite in keeping with the Patrick Troughton get-up he’s been sporting throughout the episode.

The more fun explanation is that it was in Davros’s chair already. As the Doctor points out, he’s a refined genius among murderous toy tanks. He enjoys the Doctor’s company at least partly because it’s his only chance at an intelligent conversation.

And when the Doctor isn’t there, we like to imagine Davros stages little tea parties with his creations.

Davros: So what did you do this week Dalek Sec?


Davros: Well, I’m sure they all had it coming. And you, Dalek Jast? Have you been keeping up with your oboe practice?



Well it wouldn’t be the first time the Daleks had served as teaboys.

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