Doctor Who: The Girl Who Died/The Woman Who Lived
The vikings are coming! And the Doctor and Clara are trapped in the middle of a seemingly hopeless battle between these Norsemen and an alien threat who feed off testosterone and adrenaline, probably too much red meat in the diet.
The story that follows in this episode is a rather basic one that we’ve seen plenty of other times in different mediums such as A Bugs Life or the Magnificent Seven; A village is in danger so calls upon an outside force to help defend them against said danger. Speaking of A Bugs Life they even have a fake version of a creature to scare the aliens like Flick and the ants had with the bird for the grasshoppers!
The main theme underneath this story is one we haven’t seen in a while, however it is one that always resinates in Whovian culture and that is the consequences of the Doctors actions.
***Warning Entering Spoiler Country***
The Doctor has finally figured out why he has that face, a face that already has lines, already has a story; its a face to make him remember who he is and what he is supposed to do. Save people. After a fantastic performance from the lovely Maisie Williams which puts me in direct mind of how Arya Stark, her character from HBO’s Game of Thrones, acted during her time travelling with the Hound searching for her family she dies saving her village from their evil alien oppressors. This does not sit well with our old man of Gallifrey and he connects this event to the time he saved Claudius (A character that Capaldi played back when David Tennent was driving the TARDIS with Catharine Tate coming along for the ride) from the certain death that awaited him and his family due to the eruption of Pompeii.
Using a piece of alien tech he stole from the Mire during the conflict he resurrects Williams’ character, Ashildr, however has burdened her with a horrible curse; immortality.
How will she be when we next lay eyes on our viking maiden, has the Doctor created a brand new enemy for himself? Well it only took a week to find out.
The following episode picks up with Ashildr 800 year on, now going by the name Me, as she feel whatever names she has had before no longer feel attached to who she is now. She explains to the Doctor that she keeps diary to help her remember things due to having an infinite life span yet only a human size memory, unlike the Doctor who can still remember things that happened to him well over a millennium ago, which is highlighted when he mentions the Fifth Doctors adventure with the Fire of London.
Guilt is evident in the Doctor at this point when he sees what being on your own for so long can do to someone, in a scary retrospect Ashildr has live almost as long as the Doctor had back when the 2005 reboot happened. She has lost children like the Doctor, she has lost her people, like the Doctor, she continues to live as does the Doctor; however she has become tainted.
In cahoots with a scary space lion she intends to rip a hole open in time and space and escape from planet earth where she feels trapped and forgotten.
The episode end with the Doctor managing to remind ‘Me’ that she is still a good person and that she can redeem herself from all her faults and misdeeds, something that he has tried to do before with enemies such as the Master and even the beloved River Song however it hasn’t always went to plan.
We leave Me as she declares to look after those who the Doctor leaves behind calling herself the Patron Saint of the Doctors Companions which obviously leave space for her to return in future episodes and we also get a sneak glance at her in the back of a selfie that is meant for the Doctor
All in all I’ll give this serial 3.5 Viking helmets out of 5.
I feel some of the story telling was lacking and the acting could have been improved on from many of the cast members.