Doctor Who The Girl Who Died & The Woman Who Lived

Doctor Who 8

Doctor Who?
At the heart of Doctor Who is mystery…
Advanced aliens prey upon Vikings… and then 17th Century England… With only the Doctor to figure out how to save them…

Doctor Hmm…
When Doctor Who has a stumble…
I don’t think there’s a season of Doctor Who that doesn’t have one or more clunkers in it, so it was inevitable that we would get one in season 9. This is the first, and hopefully last, clunker of Season 9. Little about either episode worked for me. Modern Doctor Who has proven it can package humour, action, intelligence and horror into stories of substance and merit—just why we have to have ‘comedy’ episodes like this, I don’t know. Yeah, it’s nice to have a breather now and again, but this was just silly, and for me this was not even enjoyable silly, and not even funny comedy. One liners were belted out like a desperate comic in front of a tough crowd, and none of them hit the mark for me.

Amidst all the foolish characters and the silly antics the stories attempted to be poignant tales about the miserable realities of immortality. Doctor Who has done this, and while I’m up for another alien invasion or base under siege—events characters can be built around—I’m not really up for Doctor Who contemplating this particular navel again with characters and events as window dressing. Doctor Who has done this a few times now with the Doctor himself, and it’s not particularly an original idea in and of itself.

The Mire were quite impressive looking, but it was a shame they chose to head up the ranks with a panto Viking villain as it really robbed them of their menace. Leandro was little better, and just why he really needed Ashildr I don’t know—he would terrify the locals into doing his bidding. The Vikings being doomed never really came across, there was too much ‘funny’ and ‘silly’ being attempted, and while the Doctor being able to ‘speak baby’ has been funny before it’s attempt to be moving just fell as flat on its face as the jokes with me—and I’ve become a really soppy sentimentalist in my wobbly mid-life emotional years. The real hook for the emotions must surely have been Ashildr, her death, and her tortured life after death, yet they left me cold.

Now, I love Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones, she can act her socks off in that and I think I’ve believed everything I’ve seen from her as Arya in that, but I didn’t buy her in this. I can only think this is down to the director not getting the performance out of her I’m sure she’s capable of, and the writers not giving us a chance to care about her character before she is ‘cursed’ and whittled away by immortality. This was not a character arc, this was being told what her character is, with very little time with her to see it and feel it for ourselves. A montage does not a character make.

Doctor Well?
A show that can be different story to story will divide it’s fan base…
A failed experiment, using ingredients that should have delivered more than the disappointing unentertaining couple of stories I sat through. After the first part I seriously considered not bothering with the next, and on reflection I could have made better use of an hour and a half of TV time. Ashildr failed to hit the mark, and sadly we’ve not seen the last of her as she seems set to be retconned into Doctor Who lore (at least for now) potentially becoming another cookie cutter femme fatale foil for the Doctor with more style than substance. But, while I’m being pretty harsh about these stories, I’m clinging onto Doctor Who’s proven inconsistency, certain that with every dip there is a plateau and a peak coming to entertain me.

Oh, and was anyone else reminded of The Shadow from Blackadder the Third? This may have marginally ruined this story for me:


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