Doctor Who – The Girl Who Died

I chatted about this episode on Verity! so, really, do I need to write 2000 words of flail here? Do I? Yes, yes I do. I’ve started writing a post about every episode this season and I shall bloody well finish doing so or be terribly cross at myself for a lack of commitment to writing many, many words about Doctor Who.


  • Writing this, I’m mostly worried I’m going to repeat myself a lot. That recording of Verity! was about 90 minutes, y’know. Not saying anything I said there is going to be really tricky, so I’m not actually going to try at all. If any original observations are made, rest assured, reader, it’s blind luck.
  • This sort of mini-adventure prologue I quite loved; the feeling of going off on many an adventure and we don’t get to see them all is one I like greatly. Though it also feels like it’s a trad part of Moff companion swansong (even though it’s only been done once before, whatev) and OH MODERN DAY CLARA, how I have ACCIDENTLY GROWN TO LOVE YOU.
  • I don’t think the Cloister Bell should be used so casually. Times of exceptionally extreme peril only, dammit!
  • “Not a word about my spot on materialisation skills?” I do like it when we get a line and I can hear every Doctor saying it. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
  • “We’re time travellers, we tread softly.” There are lots of things I like about this scene, including the floofy no hard and fast rules and that Clara wants to know the rules, dammit. But time travel is art as well as science, hurrah! (And the comments on the police, and the doing the best he can, ahhh!)
  • “Don’t say that.” Sometimes, Peter Capaldi delivers lines with subtlety and layers that make me so happy. Never the Big Speeches (Rassilon, save me from the Big Speeches.)
  • Yeah, Vikings! Wearing space helmets for cows!
  • My favourite Viking is the one who broke the BLOODY SUNGLASSES.
  • I’m not happy with whoever told me Brian Blessed was meant to play Odin, not happy at all. All I see now is a slightly dodgy Brian Blessed impersonator. V SORRY NOT!BRIAN BLESSED.
  • Yay, Maisie Williams! She is quite great. I’d not seen her in anything except GoT prior to this so expected sortof!Arya, but no, turns out she’s a proper good actress, hurrah!
  • Love that the expense of a Viking Long Boat is avoided, yet image of Doctor and Clara on one is v clear.
  • “Remembering in the wrong direction.” Merlin did that! And the Doctor is Merlin, once. And I’m writing this up before I’ve seen part two, so am sort of hoping it’s confirmed Arya hung out with other incarnations of the Doctor.
  • The Doctor got premonitions too, when he was Jon Pertwee. Of the Daleks. (Frontier, and…that other one. Maybe. I forget.)
  • The yo-yo! Oh, that is a bit great and so…actually I could totally see Hartnell trying to bluff with a yo-yo – he’d be aces at that.
  • “Magic.” Ah! One word, said so beautifully.
  • You know who would NEVER try and bluff with a yo-yo? The third Doctor. I’m just saying. He’d be a patronising twit and they’d lock him up for three episodes.
  • This is much lighter than the past four eps. It’s excellent timing. The first two eps might be more delightful and witty, and the second two scarier and brillianter, but this fluffier, and we needed some fluff.
  • I like how the Mier (sp?) are a bit rusty. And they can get away with that annoying stompy sound, because they’re not Cybermen. And that looks like a proper spaceship interior too. Smoke! Mess! Metal bits!
  • Oh, Clara, transported away, and then she is totally Doctoring it up on that spaceship. She’s got her own companion, and she’s even wearing the Doctor’s clothes (sort of, he’s worn that style of spacesuit anyway), and I refuse to believe that’s a coincidence. (And then when she’s back to being Team!TARDIS, she gets a change of outfit.)
  • Most gloriously of all, she talks her way out of trouble, and the Earth out of being invaded. AWESOMESAUCE. (And her companion messes things up, for added delight, yes, brilliant. As is Maisie Williams’ delivery there, because it could so have been Arya Stark saying those words, but it wasn’t.)
  • “They took half the village!” “Yeah, and it was the good half.” Lols!
  • I do like these villains just want a fight and to mash people up into drinkies. It’s so…rubbish of them.
  • Ahhh! The Doctor so happy to see Clara back and his FAAAACE and their HUG. Oh. Why am I not Clara? So sad. 😦
  • Heh, 2000 year diary, lols. (It used to be 500, how time flies.)
  • “One of the most deadly warrior races in the entire galaxy.” I think I said something along the lines of “aye, right” here on first watch; but now I know that’s sort of the point, so I am instead nodding and going “ah, clever.”
  • It’s all gone Hartnell with this bit; “Just run away and come back later, hmmm? Oh do be sensible, my dear boy. What? Chatterton, these people aren’t listening, they still want to fight!”
  • He does walk ridiculously, Capaldi. More of that. MORE. Thank you.
  • “This is VIKINGLAND!!” Mwah.
  • Yay, Clara’s hand up for sword in battle fighting!! Also, it’s a horrid trick when Capaldi is holding up his hand becasue the Doctor has, but he hasn’t has he? I would like to see Capaldi actualfact sword-fighting, not with a spoon.
  • I think the understanding babytalk is, well, rubbish, and annoying, and it was funny for five seconds, several years ago. But it’s used for DRRRAMA here instead, which is slightly better. Though not much. (I do like the point being made re dulce et decorum est pro patria mori is utter bollocks though.)
  • Ah, and it was only at the end of the scene that the whole “oooh, he’s telling them to run, JUST LIKE HE DID” clicked. I assume this is A THEME this year.
  • “The Earth is safe, humanity is not in danger; it’s just one village.” Damn I love the Clara and Doctor scenes that are just all about who these people are and how they relate to each other, and the universe, and their adventures. The Doctor considering the ripples of a primitive village defeating an Awesome Space Warriors; the look on Clara’s face, the moments of silence.
  • “Beyond the folding of your smile, is there other kindness?” I think that’s what the line is anyway, and I DON’T LIKE THE BABY THING, but damn it if that doesn’t get me close to tears. It’s not my fault, it’s Capaldi’s, and the writers’. Gits.
  • Why are there no women fighting? Bullshit! If you’re going to get annoyed about historical dubiousness, get annoyed about that. Doubly so because they’re defending their village – women had to know how to defend themselves against raiders.
  • I like how much Clara knows about the Doctor’s modus operandi, and how comfortable she is with it, and how she’s clearly taken it apart and dusted it off and put it back together so she can use it herself.
  • Yeah, save money by knocking someone out and telling them what happened! They did that in GoT too.
  • “Weapon forges of the Mier.” Like battle drums!
  • “Fight you for her.” Ilu Clara. Also, omg, their conversation, “I have a duty of care”, SO GOOD. Feel free to just give us a two-hander, writer people, for it would be AWESOME.
  • “So, we meet again, fake!Odin.” Ilu, not!Arya. Oh, and there is lovely stuff with puppets and about story and really I just feel all fuzzy that, yes, this is a pretty light-hearted ep, but it has SUBSTANCE. Not that I mind just having lols, but every story since Capaldi started, even Robot of Sherwood, bothers with a thoughtfulness and weight that could be lacking, at least in a few eps, of previous seasons.
  • “There’s nowhere for me except here; this is my place. ” OH ASHILDR. This is a beautiful scene. And this is what makes me believe the Doctor would do what he does to save her – she’s showing him, in her kindness and intelligence and strength and pride, so much of what the Doctor loves about humanity, but then there’s that shift where she says “I’ve always been different” and the Doctor is almost afraid, because suddenly she’s so much like him, and could so easily be one of those humans he falls in love with, and she’s going to die.
  • Yes, I did look up where they lived, though I was RELATIVELY CERTAIN they didn’t hang around here. And no, I don’t care. Vikings made it to North America; they can make it to South America and bring back some fucking eels. EELS OF THOR. Or whoever the lightning god is, cause Thor is thunder.
  • Also, SKIENCE. Look at what amazing things electricity can do.
  • Also, I like how the Doctor is giving a tutorial on How To Defeat Bad Guys. That is v kind of him. I hope he is telling it to the sort of Vikings who did not invade my country because then I would be sad.
  • I want to make some sort of joke about the rubbish puppet pretending to be a monster here and the rubbish puppet pretending to by a Myrka in Warriors of the Deep but I cannot make the words work.
  • They made a giant eletromagnet powered be eels…I wonder if that is poss? Perhaps this episode will encourage some enterprising young student to find out, hurrah!
  • Yes, Doctor, reversing the polarity of the neutron flow DOES MEAN SOMETHING.
  • (I only know cause I looked it up once years ago, shusht, I was learning. Learning is good.)
  • Arg! And on rewatch, I notice the last thing Ashildr says to the Doctor before she dies is “I’m scared.” OH.
  • That CGI’s all right, isn’t it? And I’m more forgiving even cause it’s actually in-universe fake too.
  • “A story to save a town.” Ah, it’s quite a great plan really, and yay, power of story, there’s a theme that it will be SUPER LONG before I ever get tired of.
  • They get a bit smug, which I do not like. And I did sink a little at the Benny Hill theme tune cause ffs, really? But still. MINOR GRIPES.
  • Also, given how we normally get “oooh, tech, scary evil future tech stealing us away from human contact and making us colder/crueller/that ep of Black Mirror” it’s nice to see what is effectively social media tech being used as a means for the weak to defend themselves against the powerful.
  • And that is what you get for being too smug: your cute little person with the nifty imagination cops it. MAYBE IF YOU HAD CHECKED ON HER FIRST? It is a clearly mad thing the Doctor does here – make a human immortal? Dude! Firstly, Time Lords have laws about that sort of thing because they know, and we have ample telly evidence, that if you live long enough, you go utterly bugnuts and may endanger the universe with your crazy. Secondly, immortality is a curse not a blessing, WERE YOU NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR OWN TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL?? Thirdly, people die all the time on your adventures, and you’re like okay-ish about that.
  • HOWEVER, the tech to save her is RIGHT THERE. And if the whole room bursts into flames and the door is hammered shut, you don’t worry about the fact you’re on the tenth floor before you jump out the window (I mean, you might, but you’d still jump, probably). And it was his plan, so self-blame, and they were busy smugging it up instead of checking on her, so possibly actually his fault. And he loved her a little bit, and emotions are tricky, (and maybe if he makes an immortal person she will come back and be with him forever – which is horrid and selfish, but I can see a bit of him thinking that.)
  • It’s nice to see he’s no longer freaking out and running to the end of the universe to get away from immortal people though. I’m sure Jack will be v happy re that.
  • OH. Another ridiculously gorgeous scene btwn the Doctor and Clara, and the “not supposed to” and I’m SO GLAD the face is such a tiny detail and just a reminder that even if he can’t save everyone, he can always save *someone*.
  • “If anyone happens to be listening, if anyone has any kind of a problem with that…” Oh dear. Let’s just ignore the shouty Big Speech, yes? We will all be much happier.
  • Maisie Williams in that final shot though, her slowly changing expression – bloody brilliant, that.

And that was The Girl Who Died! I give it seven Viking longboats out of ten. V much enjoyed and terribly good, though not quite at the giddy heights of the first four this season. AND, now I’ve written this up, I get to see last week’s episode, hurrah!

Farewell, delicious readers!

One thought on “Doctor Who – The Girl Who Died

  1. If flailing be the food of inspiration … Yes. (I’ve only seen a very little of Game of Thrones, and those who know it seem divided between those who see Ashildr as Arya!Lite or a distinct character and performance. I suspect I’d be with the latter group rather than the former).

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