When it came to the big fight, it was just a convoluted set of traps to kill some of the Mire, with others rigged to steal the helmets from others. Ashildr was tasked with putting one in which resulted in turning a basic hobby horse into a harsh, fast-travelling dragon that scared all of them off apart from Odin. The Doctor spoke some waffle about “Viewing reality through technology”, and with Clara’s help added The Benny Hill Show theme to a recording of all this that they’d apparently made (to which no-one questioned “recording”?), and he threatened to upload it “to the galactic hub” to make it go viral across the universe and make The Mire a laughing stock. And that got rid of this baddie?! Jeez.
Oh, and the helmet which Ashildr wore ended up giving her heart failure and killing her, causing the 2000-year-old man to complain: “I plugged her into the machine. Used her like a battery. I’m sick of losing people”, etc. He wished he could bring her back “But I’m not supposed to”.
But then came more filler as he thought back to his first episode in this current guise, Deep Breath, when he questioned “Who frowned me this face? What am I trying to tell myself?”, then to the Pompeii episode with David Tennant’s Doctor, and Donna (Catherine Tate), and realised he got his face from *that* chaacter, even though it was Capaldi himself who played him. Yes – anyone get the point of this??
Anyway, since he can’t get get over anyone dying, he’s earlier swiped a Battlefield medical kit from the Mire’s helmet and puts it on Ashildr’s forehead, which assimilates inside her brain and saves her. Hurrah! But it comes at a price, since he moans some more, this time at the fact that thanks to this bit of kit, she will never die, and barring accidents, she could become immortal. So he then compounds this by giving her a spare, since immortality isn’t “not dying”, it’s “losing everyone else”, so the spare is actually for someone else she can’t bear to lose. He declared she isn’t just human any more, she’s part-alien. She’s a hybrid. And he goes back to his morose behaviour, bemoaning ripples and tidal waves.
Oh, well, I guess it’s no worse than Kylie Minogue going from being Astrid Peth to becoming ‘stardust’ after the 2007 Christmas episode, Voyage of the Damned.
Add to this, before the big fight, yet another filler of The Doctor being worried about Clara, and because she’s also feisty, she tells him not to worry about her; plus an “All hail me” line from Ashildr as she told The Doctor earlier, “You tell me to run for my life. I tell you that leaving here would be death, itself“; and a bit of comedy as the Doctor had difficult remembering names so called the various vikings Lofty, Daphne, Noggin The Nog, ZZ Top, Heidi, and so on, depending on their attiributes. Oh, and throwing in him saying “Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I’m sure that means something. It sounds great” to fill time.
Next week: Maisie Williams is alive and well and is Dick Turpin! It can’t really get any worse than this averageness, can it? Moffat was clearly desperate to cram Ms Williams into Doctor Who, but he left her with a story that was severely wanting. In fact, you could say he took Maisie Williams and came up with a story that’s just… “Meh”. Like almost all of his stories since he became showrunner.
The Girl Who Died is available on the BBC iPlayer until November 16th.
Doctor Who Series 9 Part 1 is available to pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD, and individual episodes can be bought in HD and SD here. And click on all the images in this review for the full-sized version.
Director: Ed Bazalgette
Producer: Derek Ritchie
Screenplay: Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat
Music: Murray Gold
The Doctor: Peter Capaldi
Clara Oswald: Jenna Coleman
Ashildr: Maisie Williams
Odin: David Schofield
Nollarr: Simon Lipkin
Chuckles: Ian Conningham
Lofty: Tom Stourton
Limpy: Alastair Parker
Hasten: Murray McArthur
Heidi: Barnaby Kay
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.