Arya Stark meets The Doctor ( Doctor Who Series 9 - Episode 5 and 6)

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Doctor Who Series 9 - Episode 5 and 6 – The Girl Who Died/The Woman Who Lived

The Girl Who Died

Written by: Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat
Directed by: Ed Bazalgette

Peter Capaldi - The Doctor
Jenna Coleman  - Clara Oswald
Maisie Williams – Ashildr
David Schofield – Odin
Simon Lipkin – Nollarr
Ian Conningham – Chuckles
Tom Stourton – Lofty
Alastair Parker – Limpy
Murray McArthur – Hasten
Barnaby Kay – Heidi

The Woman Who Lived
Written by: Catherine Tregenna
Directed by Ed Bazalgette
Peter Capaldi - The Doctor
Jenna Coleman  - Clara Oswald
Maisie Williams – Ashildr/Me
Rufus Hound – Sam Swift
Elisabeth Hopper – Lucie Fanshawe
John Voce – Mr Fanshaw
Struan Rodger – Clayton
Gruffudd Glyn – Pikeman Lloyd Llywelyn
Reuben Johnson – Pikeman William Stout
Ariyon Bakare – Leandro
Gareth Berliner – Coachman
Daniel Fearn – Crowd 1
Karen Seacombe – Crowd 2
John Hales – Hangman
Will Brown – Voice of The Knightmare

Quick Synopsis: “The Girl Who Died” - The Doctor and Clara end up captured by Vikings.  The Doctor tries to bluff them into believing he is Odin.  Suddenly, the image of an alien being also claiming to be Odin appears in the sky.  He sends an army of armored soldiers to attack the town.  All of the warriors of the town are taken, along with Clara and a young girl named Ashildr.  The Viking warriors are processed to allow “Odin” to drink their essence to strengthen himself.  “Odin” is from an alien race called The Mire.  Clara is able to bluff him to convince the Mire to leave before they start a war with powerful alien races.  But Ashildr is so upset by everything that happened, she challenges The Mire to war.  The Mire will send ten soldiers to Earth tomorrow.  The village with either stand or die.

Clara and Ashildr return to Earth.  Since all of the town’s warriors have been taken, the Doctor tries to convince everyone else to run. They are only farmers and fishers.  He is worried that if they stand and fight, The Mire will destroy Earth.  While he is about to leave, he hears a baby pleading for help, so The Doctor is convinced to help them make a stand.  He works with the villagers to set a trap for the Mire, managing to humiliate them and scare them off.  But Ashilda is killed in the process.  The Doctor uses Mire tech to revive her, which also effectively turns her immortal.

“The Woman Who Lived” – The Doctor is on Earth several hundred years later tracking an alien artifact.  He encounters Ashilda.  She is now operating as a Highwayman, and calls herself Me.  She doesn’t really feel a connection to her past or the name Ashilda anymore because she’s been alive for hundreds of years.  Her mind is still only human, and she has problems holding on to her memories for more than a hundred years or so.  She keeps losing people she loves and wants to see more of the universe.  The Doctor won’t take her with him, as he’s afraid what two immortals with limited moral compasses would do together.  The artifact the Doctor was tracking is a portal that can take Me to another universe.  But it requires the death of someone to power it.  Me is tricked by an alien being named Leandro to open a portal for invasion, but Me and the Doctor foil the plan.  Me decides to spend the rest of her time on Earth protecting those who end up getting cause in the Doctor’s wake, like she did. 


  • I think this is the first time there has been a two-part episode with completely different writers. It actually worked far better than I expected, probably because of how different the two episodes were.  For the most part, I have been watching the two-parters in one sitting so I can review them together, and the change in tone was a bit jarring when watched that way.
  • I was glad that Ashilda/Me was a completely new character.  Everyone was speculating “Is she The Rani? Is she Susan? Is she Romana? Is she Jenny?” It turns out the answer was none of the above.  And now Doctor Who has a new character who could have major impact on The Doctor in the future. 
  • The parallels between Ashilda and Captain Jack was nice way to wrap up the second episode.  And I actually laughed at the implication that she would probably run into Jack at some point.  The Doctor definitely seems to believe that Captain Jack will likely sleep with everyone on Earth at some point or another.  It might have been a little better if John Barrowman actually appeared in the episode, but that is a small complaint.
  • In the first part, we find out that the reason The Doctor chose this face when he was to remind him of the time he saved Caecilius and his family at Pompeii. The Doctor can make the choice to defy death and destiny. Though this time, it may have had big consequences…
  • Actually, that is kind of my biggest complaint here. This is a really weighty topic to deal with, but the consequences of The Doctor’s decision to save Ashilda were relatively small.  Me has some difficulty relating to people, but in the end, she still had a good heart.  She was driven more by a sense of exploration and a need to see more than any real evilness.  She was manipulated by Leandro into opening the Earth up for invasion.  I did love the idea of her memories issues and having to keep journals to remember what it's like to be human.
  • The opening episode was probably the better of the two.  I liked The Doctor being forced to come up with a plan using what he had at hand.  No technobabble or magic device pulled out at the last minute.  It was just using the resources of the village and human determination to live. I love when the Doctor is actually clever and the plot isn’t solved with some hand-waving solution. 
  • I am real curious why the Doctor was so obsessed with the idea of Ashilda needing to live.  She wasn’t all that different than many other people who had died after encountering the Doctor, and this seemed like a strange place to draw the line.  Ashilda wasn’t all that remarkable a character. In fact, she’s the one who put the village and Earth in danger in the first place.
  • Sorry Game of Thrones fans, but for all the hype for Maisie Williams, she didn’t go all that much for me.  Ashilda/Me never quite came off as all that interesting.  You never got a sense that she was all that torn up by all the terrible things she’s seen or that’s she’s done. I’m a thief.  I’m a killer.  Sorry, turns out I had a heart all along.  My bad.  And now I’m the anti-Doctor.  She just didn’t quite feel up to the role.  Especially since Clara wasn’t really in the second episode, and Me just never felt like a good alternative. Maisie wasn’t bad at all, I just didn’t feel much for her performance.  I do hope we see Me again, but I hope next time the performance has a little more depth to it.
  • There was a lot of great humor in these episodes.  The Doctor not having time to learn the villagers’ names so giving them all nicknames like ZZ Top and Heidi (which was a guy with a long braided beard who kept fainting at the sight of blood) was just hilarious.  And Rufus Hound as Sam Swift the Quick was great casting.  Sam was a rogue with a sharp wit and tongue, even when facing the gallows.  He managed to slip in some bawdy jokes, which you just about never get in Doctor Who.  Sam was a real refreshing character and brightened every scene he was in.
  • The aliens in these episodes were great.  Leandro looked like a real life Thundercat…who breathes fire!  And The Mire without their helmets looked real alien and unsettling.

  • Next Episode: The Zygon Invasion – Last time we saw the Zygons was in the 50th Anniversary Special.  The Doctor had forced them to work out a peace treaty with Earth.  But it seems like they decided to violate that agreement and try to take over the Earth again.  If you can’t trust giant rubbery alien shapeshifters, who can you trust??  The Zygons are a real cool Doctor Who villain, who are hugely underused.  These episodes also feature the return of UNIT, including Osgood who seemed to have been killed by Missy in last year’s season finale (I suspect it was probably her Zygon clone).
3.5 / 5.0