Doctor Who: “The Girl Who Died”/”The Woman Who Lived” Reaction/Review (8/10)

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Well it’s hard to believe folks, but this is my 100th post on my blog! (Wow, I cannot believe I have made that many) What better way to celebrate my 100th post then with my review of the last two episodes of my favorite show Doctor Who!

 *WARNING MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*

Doctor Who has had to deal with a lot of criticism while Steven Moffat has been the executive producer of the show since 2010, and while some of it is fair, a lot is unfair. Yes, some of the seasons have had huge story-lines that didn’t have a big payoff, but Moffat has created two Doctors, who have had amazing character development and have earned their spots in the list of great Doctors.

Despite all the criticism, I believe Series 9 to be one of the best series of Doctor Who, and the whole two-part story format has a lot do with that. Some stories need room to breathe, time to establish their characters and create some suspense and drama, which is why I think Matt Smith’s episodes suffered from bad writing, they were too short.

Okay now rant over, time to talk about the episodes!

“The Girl Who Died” takes place during the time of the vikings and The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) find themselves smack dab in the middle of a conflict between aliens and a viking village. One of the members of this viking village is a young girl named Ashildr (Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones).

Ashildr foolishly challenges the Viking God “Odin,” to a battle between his best soldiers and her village’s best soldiers! The Doctor is forced to train a bunch of farmers and a black smith to fight to be able to defend themselves against the alien threat known as The Mire. The montage of The Doctor training the villagers how to use weapons is pretty funny and reminded me of the training montage from the 1992 horror/comedy film “Army of Darkness.”

The Doctor for the first time in awhile has no plan to defeat The Mire, until his ability to speak baby sparks the idea of using electric eels to neutralize The Mire soldiers! The Doctor manages to trick Odin (who is using a hologram to appear as The Viking God) and black mail him (using a video Clara recorded on her phone complete with The Benny Hill Theme to add hilarity to the embarrassing encounter), promising to upload the video to the galaxy, ruining The Mire’s reputation who pride themselves on being the most feared beings in the galaxy. Sadly Ashildr dies having worn a helmet used to control one of the Doctor’s contraptions and The Doctor is visibly upset.

The Doctor has a powerful moment with Clara talking about being tired of losing people and that he isn’t supposed to change things because Ashildr died and that’s the way it is supposed to be. Suddenly The Doctor touches his face and remembers where it came from and we see flashbacks of The Doctor from “Deep Breath” looking into the water asking “Who frowned me this face?”

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The Moment The Twelfth Doctor remembers from the time he saved Caecilius and his family during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii.

Twelve suddenly figures out why he chose his face and says this:

” I think I know why I chose it. I think I know what I’m trying to say. Then we see a flashback to Donna pleading with The Tenth Doctor to save someone in Pompeii, and The Tenth Doctor appears in his TARDIS offers his hand to Caecilius (Peter Capaldi) and says “come with me.” I know where I got this face and I know what it’s for.To remind me. To hold me to the mark. I’m the Doctor. And I save people. And if anyone happens to be listening, if you have any kind of a problem with that, to hell with you!”

Twelve then modifies a piece of Mire technology that is designed to keep repairing tissue, and he places it on Ashildr’s forehead until it is absorbed into her body! Ashildr is revived and thanks The Doctor!

The Doctor and Clara leave and we see Ashildr as time goes by and she seems to be getting dark because of all the destruction she is seeing around her! Uh Oh, maybe The Doctor made a mistake, and it will have some serious consequences!

“The Woman Who Lived” takes place 800 years later in 17th century England, where The Doctor encounters Ashildr, who has now become a Highway Man known as The Nightmare, who robs carriages and lives alone.

Ashildr has changed considerably since Twelve last saw her and she had gone through quite a lot claiming not to remember her real name and says

“..No. I call myself, Me. All the other names I chose died with whoever knew me, Me is who I am now. No one’s mother, daughter, wife. My own companion. Singular. Unattached. Alone.”

Wow that is intense and pretty deep and profound! This seems exactly like The Doctor and why he doesn’t go by his real name anymore.

Ashildr claims that she needs The Doctor’s help to acquire an alien artifact known as “The Eyes of Hades,” however Ashildr has been plotting with an an alien lion creature named Leandro who claims he will open a portal to another world and take Ashildr/Me with him. There is a catch the artifact needs a life in order to activate it, and when Me finds out that a rival Highway Man known as Sam Swift is about to be be sentenced to death, she believes it is the perfect time!

The Doctor tries to delay Sam Swift’s death (leading to some silly lines exchanged back and forth between the two of them). Finally Me shoves the artifact into Sam’s chest killing him and opening a portal, but the portal leads to the planet of Leandro’s people who plan to invade and conquer Earth! Ships are opening fire on the people and Me pleads with The Doctor claiming she does care and realizes she made a mistake!

The Doctor tells Me to put the other immortality chip into Sam Swift, believing it to be the only way to save everyone!

Sam Swift is revived and it stops the lion aliens from destroying everyone and the portal is closed!

Ashildr once again asks The Doctor if she can travel with him, but they both realize they have different perspectives and she promises to become the “patron saint of all The Doctor’s leftovers,” meaning she will take care of those that The Doctor forgets about after he or they decide to stop traveling with him.

The episode ends with The Doctor meeting with Clara, who was too busy teaching seventh graders (year sevens) Tae Kwondo to join him in his current adventure. Twelve admits that he missed Clara and Clara shows him a selfie she took with her students. The Doctor looks at the picture and zooms in and notices Ashildr/Me lurking in the background behind a fence! Oh boy, this isn’t looking good folks! Is she going to be responsible for Clara’s demise? This season is getting interesting to say the least!

“The Girl Who Died”

What I liked:

The Viking setting

The Doctor’s 2000 year diary

The Doctor with a a yoyo (a clear reference to The Fourth Doctor)

The Doctor pretending to be Odin, that was pretty funny

The Doctor coming up with nicknames for the different Viking villagers. 

The whole training montage, it was hilarious 

Maisie Williams, her character was interesting 

The Doctor defeating The Mire and The Benny Hill Theme used in the video, that was awesome

The Doctor talking about being tired of losing people making him remember why he chose his face.

The Doctor remembering where his face came from and what it is for leading to a flashback of Donna and The Tenth Doctor from “The Fires of Pompeii” 

The Doctor realizing that he chose his face as a reminder and his affirmation “…I’m The Doctor and I save people!” 

The Doctor reviving Ashildr and making her immortal 

What I disliked:

The Mire and Odin, they were over-hyped and pretty forgettable villains

The reason The Doctor chose his face felt shoehorned in the episode. I hope they elaborate on it.

“The Woman Who Lived”

What I liked:

Seeing how immortality has had a negative effect on Ashildr/Lady Me.

The fact that Lady Me is immortal, but has a normal sized memory, so forgets things that have happened to her.

Seeing the age and wisdom in Ashildr/Lady Me and believing she has seen a lot and dealt with a lot throughout her long life

The Doctor and his conversation with Ashildr/Lady Me about immortality and him referencing Captain Jack Harkness!

Lady Me promising to be the patron saint of The Doctor’s leftovers.

The Doctor noticing Ashildr/Me lurking in the back of Clara’s selfie

What I disliked:

Leandro, he was a weak and forgettable villain

How quickly the villain was dealt with and how easy the the problem was resolved.

The ending of “The Woman Who Lived” is very intriguing and is leading me to believe that Ashildr will be responsible for Clara’s demise, which will make The Doctor indirectly responsible for her death.

MY FINAL RATING “THE GIRL WHO DIED”/”THE WOMAN WHO LIVED” IS AN 8/10!

What say you? Did you enjoy these two episodes? Did you like Maisie Williams? Do you think Ashildr is the villain of the series? Whatever your thoughts let me know!

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