Doctor Who Round Table: Mercy For All

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Missy and Clara live!!! Was there any doubt they'd survive the extermination?

Still, the Doctor was trapped in the heart of the Dalek city and it was up to his besties to save him. The Mistress/Clara team up proved hilariously fun, though Missy's twisted game upset the Time Lord. Plus The Doctor showed mercy, as we expected him to.

Join TV Fanatics Carissa Pavlica, Kathleen Wiedel, Hank Otero and the brilliant Tom Gardiner from, as we chat about Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 2 in our latest Round Table discussion...

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What did you think of the Missy/Clara team up? Why was Clara so trusting of The Mistress?

Carissa: Of course I loved the team up. I kept thinking I would have loved to see Michelle Gomez as the latest Doctor with Clara as her companion. As for why Clara was so trusting? I have no idea. Honestly, I saw a lot of what was written on the wall, such as when Missy asked about how deep the sewers just knew Clara was going to be the litmus test for that! But still, so freakin' enjoyable.

Tom: I'm with Carissa on both loving the team up and having Michelle as the Doctor. I'd even settle for a spin-off starring Gomez as Missy because at this point I'm certain she could carry a show on her own.

I think Clara trusted Missy because she learned in the first episode the two Gallifreyans are best friends. Since their goal was to help the Doctor, Clara knew Missy could at least be trusted to work toward that goal. Now when it comes to standing next to an open hole, Clara should've known better!

Kathleen: Like Carissa and Tom, I found the team up very entertaining. Like River Song, though, I think that Missy is best in small doses. As for why Clara was so trusting of Missy... well, it's not like she was big on options at that point. And as Tom pointed out, Missy seems at least motivated to save the Doctor because of her claim of friendship. Though Clara really shouldn't have been so surprised when Missy pushed her down that hole. I was all like, "Yep! Saw that one coming!"

Hank: The team up was immensely entertaining! I agree with what everyone said above, though I'd opt for a Missy spin-off rather that take her in small doses. While there were incredible moments between the Doctor and Davros, all the really fun stuff came from Missy. As far as why Clara was so trusting, it's got to be what Tom said the fact the Time Lord & Lady are besties. She should only trust Missy as far as she can throw her though.

How did you feel when Clara found herself locked inside the Dalek?

Carissa: Honestly, this entire season is going to be so terrible for me, always expecting Clara to go gently into the night. I wouldn't have been at all surprised if she had her denouement as a Dalek, bringing her story full circle with viewers at the hands of a very nasty (and still very enjoyable) Missy. I would have bought that arc hook, line and sinker, especially because it would have set up a very tasty new conflict between The Doctor and The Mistress. In short, it was probably the most uncomfortable I've been in a long time.

Tom: When I first watched it, I found myself hungry for souffle. Now that Carissa's reminded me that Clara will be departing at an undisclosed time I, too, am feeling uncomfortable. I also want to know how they do the close-up face shots when she's inside the Dalek.

Kathleen: The sequence felt like a definite call-back to Oswin Oswald, the Clara-echo from Doctor Who Season 7 Episode 1, "Asylum of the Daleks." In that story, poor Oswin really was a Dalek but kept insisting that she wasn't. Here, Clara wasn't actually a Dalek but could only insist that she was.

Hank: Like Kathleen, I immediately flashed back to "Asylum of the Daleks." I thought it was a nice way to connect the two series, but I never thought Clara was in any real danger. It's just too early in the season for that. If this were Episode 9 or 10, I would have been much more concerned.

Did you suspect Davros was up to something all along? Is the Dalek/Timelord "Hybrid" still in play?

Carissa: I suspected Davros all along only because the cables he was asking The Doctor to inspect were snake colored. Who has snake colored cables? I expected them to reach out and grab The Doctor as soon as Davros asked him to really think about what they meant to the overall scheme of the Daleks. I also thought the hybrid thing came into play because those things sucked some of the energy out of The Doctor and inserted it into the lifeblood of the Daleks, but apparently compassion was introduced because of what The Doctor did earlier in Davros' life? Huh. Either way, still in play, in some timeline, maybe.

Tom: Well, he's Davros. If you don't suspect he's up to something you're going to be wrong ... and then dead. I do think, however, that when he spoke to the Doctor about being happy for him that Gallifrey had been found he was sincere. His "protect your own" speech came straight from where his heart would be if he had one.

This is the age of Moffatt, the hybrid idea is definitely going to come back at some point. What has me more intrigued is what was Missy's "very clever idea" at the end of the episode when she was surrounded by Daleks? Finding out how she wriggled her way out of that is going to be interesting.

Kathleen: I was practically screaming at my TV during that scene. The Doctor knew that the entire meeting was a trap - this was explicitly established in the previous episode. Yet he blunders right on into it anyway. And, as Tom pointed out, we're dealing with Davros here! One of Davros's defining characteristics over the years is his total lack of morality. Remember the last time he and the Doctor met (Doctor Who Season 4 Episode 13)? The dude tried to annihilate the multiverse! Of course he's up to something! And I really hope the hybrids are no longer in play, because I don't really have fond memories of the last time we saw Dalek hybrids in "Evolution of the Daleks," Doctor Who Season 3 Episode 5.

Hank: Though I wanted to believe Davros was being genuine, I had a bad feeling he was up to no good. As Tom mentioned, the "protect your own" speech was powerful. I'm big enough to admit Davros had me fooled and totally confused. I'm not sure what to make of the hybrid and didn't understand why the Doctor would take such a huge risk with his regeneration energy.

What was your reaction when The Doctor used his regeneration energy?

Carissa: See above. I thought he was getting a little of The Doctor into his line of monsters, which seemed appropriate, given everything the two had been through. I'm not sure I liked the story, though. It seemed a little overdone. Forced. Too much.

Tom: I balked at the very idea, to be honest. Helping Davros to supposedly see a sunrise is one thing, but giving your very life force for him? Why wouldn't the Doctor have used this shortcut to save worthier beings in the past and why choose to use in on the creator of your greatest enemy?

Kathleen: I agree with both Carissa and Tom. It really didn't work for me.

Hank: I'm pretty sure I shouted out loud... What?!? As I mentioned above, I'm still confused not only that he used his very life force on Davros, but by the idea of a Dalek/Time Lord hybrid. I agree with Tom that the hybrid thing is definitely coming back to haunt the Doctor this season. Otherwise, why even throw it out there? I did enjoy the story overall, and the implications moving forward.

The Doctor and Clara on Skaro - Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 2

Share your thoughts on The Doctor planting that seed of "mercy," ultimately leading to the Dalek flaw.

Carissa: I'm getting confused on what was planted when, to be honest. The whole timey wimey ness of it. Whose to say Clara's determination and love didn't have some say over what went on inside that Dalek? It wasn't a Dalek crying mercy, it was Clara. Dalek's are little gooey, octopus like creatures inside a machine, aren't they? Isn't it a combo deal? 

Tom: I thought it was clever. The Doctor's thinking, which we viewers were all in sync with, was if he let young Davros die, the Daleks would never be created. But he could also not bring himself to kill an innocent child, even knowing what death he would eventually bring. Ironically, it was also what saved the Doctor's own life, because he may have been the only person to ever show mercy to Davros.

Kathleen: When Clara managed to get out "Mercy," I recalled instantly an actual Dalek begging for mercy, from River Song in Doctor Who Season 5 Episode 13 ("The Big Bang"). River did not give it mercy. I'm not sure if this episode's case is a call-back or a continuity error, though. But, hey, wibbley-wobbley and all that. Anyway, we'll just have to see if this flaw actually causes some tangible effects down the road in future episodes.

Hank: I was curious how the Doctor would manage to save the day without killing the boy. The simple mention of "mercy" stuck with Davros since the Doctor saved him as a boy. The Dalek was changing all of Clara's good words to exterminate. I don't think she would have been able to get the word mercy out without that flaw in the programming. I really liked the way everything tied together in the end.

*Bonus: Sonic shades; yay or nay? Have they really replaced the screwdriver?

Carissa: No on the shades. It's a Capaldi thing, not a Doctor thing. Sure, he thinks they're cool, but I simply don't. It's not as fun to attempt to aim your head at something as it is to dramatically wave your "magic wand" a la sonic screwdriver at a problem. Wearable devices my ass.

Tom: I'm with Carissa 101% on that. Permanently ditching the sonic screwdriver would be tantamount to repairing the chameleon circuit. It's simply not something you do on/to/with Doctor Who! We need a sonic screwdriver, or nothing at all, at least for a while. What we don't need is Gallifreyan Google Glass.

Kathleen: No. Just no. While they've gone without the screwdriver for significant periods in Classic Who, I think the sunglasses seem silly.

Hank: I could not agree more with everyone else... thumbs way down on the sonic shades. Bring back the screwdriver ASAP Moffat!!!

Take a look at the promo for Saturday's Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 3:

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Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 2 Quotes

We need to trap and kill a Dalek. You're the bait, I'm the hook.


He's trapped in the heart of the Dalek empire. He's a prisoner of the creatures who hate him most in the universe.