Doctor Who – The Woman Who Lived

Just finished watching last week’s ep, and now to TYPE, TYPE LIKE THE WIND. Will I finish my amazing thoughts before this week’s episode hits the telly box? Let us see! (Incidently, I can now recommend new eps of Doctor Who as an excellent way to take one’s mind off the pain generated by dropping an excessively heavy table on one’s foot.)

Spoilers ahoy. Obv.

  • Just having finished I am GIDDY AS A FOX THAT WAS DELISH. Like a superhero/supervillain origin tale of BEAUTY. And so very much like what I think  probs happened when the Doctor broke up with the Master. AND I was only slightly judgy at the lack of mention of Romana.
  • I want to cosplay highwayman!Me more than anyone ever in Doctor Who ever before AND I suspect that is the sort of costume I may be able to find an actual costumer sort to help me out with. (If you are or know of such a person DO CONTACT ME, and I will cheerfully discuss my costuming budget for such a thing.)
  • I love Maisie Williams. I am not hugely in love with Arya, I admit, SHUSHT, but omg, I love every bloody thing about Me. The poise, the confidence, the arrogance, the superiority complex, the dashingness, – this is the sort of DELICIOUS GOODNESS that is hardly ever given to female characters. AND IT IS SO DELICIOUS AND GOOD
  • Right…the rest of the notes will be made as I actually watch the episode again…expect FLAIL. Also capslock. And these things !!!!!!.
  • I had some series Blackadder the Third flashbacks during this robbery. Incidently, why has Miranda Richardson never been in Doctor Who?
  • The Doctor’s Weird Shit tracking gizmo is well less phallic than the one in The Time Monster. THANK GOODNESS.
  • Lols, bungled heist! Double-lols at the Zorro jibe.
  • “What took you so long, old man?” Ah, remember when we were totally realistically speculating that could’ve been Susan? (Tots justifed, omg; Capaldi mentioned her like EVERY INTERVIEW. Or in two, anyway.)
  • Catherine Treganna!! A WOMAN writer!!!!
  • Omg, yes, TELL her that you weren’t there for her, YOU JERK. V judgy at the whole “not bothering to check in for 800 years” thing.
  • Just cause this is a thing: the life expectancy is 35 because of high infant mortality, and women dying in childbirth like woah. If you made it to adulthood, and could avoid falling pregnant, then you’d have had a pretty decent chance of reaching seventy or so. It didn’t mean people were all dropping dead at 35, and no-one was old.
  • It is weirdly unsettling her past effectively vanishing into history, and all she has is her own writing to know who she’d once been. And often the Doctor’s loneliness/angst/long-life emo stuff I think nonsense and eyeroll, but Me’s is different: she wasn’t raised in a society of near-immortals, she wasn’t expected to have that lifespan. She has to build a life for herself knowing that everyone around her will die, and she has nowhere to run away to.
  • The Doctor being called the Doctor cause he can’t remember his name is a fan theory of many years old that I quite like.
  • “My own companion, singular, alone.” We get a v spiffy explanation of why the Doctor won’t travel with her later on (though, omg, how great would these two be for a whole series?) but the different facets of that fear are touched on all through the episode, which is quite great.
  • The music is really lovely for this one. There’s something haunting playing now, and there’s a smashing “sneaky house-breaker” theme later on.
  • “So why do you rob?” “For the adventure?” Another facet of the fear of travelling with her – the sort of adventures two immortals would find exciting, and the sort of adventures an immortal and their short-lived partner would find exciting would be v different things.
  • (There’s no way I’m not believing it was travelling with the Master that led the Doctor to these conclusions.)
  • “No-one would ever know that a mere woman helped end the 100 Years’ War. ” UM, WHAT?!! Joan of Arc??? Yolande of Aragon?? Joanna of Flanders?? Does nobody read any history???
  • (Why, yes, I’m upset by the suggestion that there were not numerous women crucially involved in the Hundred Years’ Way, but when it comes to electric eels in medieval Viking villages I care not.)
  • Incidentally, in the end, the Hundred Years’ War was a win for the French.
  • Oh, judgy at the Doctor for asking how many people she’s killed. Ffs! Look, dude, let’s just say after you attempt your first genocide, you no longer get to start judging others for killing. Esp when they’re a soldier in an army attacking another army.
  • I really, really want Me’s clothes.
  • “I’m really good at holding my breath.” I’m counting that as a Monkey Island ref.
  • “…a big fire that tears through London.” “Excellent, maybe I start it.” “No, that was the Terileptils.” I flailed and then I went “omg, WHATEV, DOCTOR.” He so started it, btw.
  • It took me aaages to notice Clara was missing, shusht. But Maisie WIlliams is SO GOOD, and she is SO VERY.
  • “Because I’m incredibly clever.” AHHH. Just, everything she is, we get so much the brilliant, genius, arrogant, moody Sherlock/House/SOMUCHTELLY, and it’s always, ALWAYS a male character, and here we have Me.
  • OH. The bit with the children. That was painful. AND THE DOCTOR’S FACE. I can’t believe he’s not reading those diaries and being just so “omg, fear, so could easily have been me.) “What can be worse than losing your children?” This is the sort of angst the is proper good, UNDERSTATED. And no overloud music.
  • Fuck, the firelight! Whoever’s directing is ridiculously good with the pretty lights.
  • Ha! The Doctor said “how do you know?” when I did. I LIKE TELLY THAT READS MY THOUGHTS. Even though it is a bit scary.
  • I was quite sad when it turned out the space lion wasn’t a Tharil, but a whole OTHER race of space lions. That ALSO came from a different universe.
  • Damn, I love the snarky house-breaking adventure bit. SO LOLS. Can we have another please? I would be SO DOWN with a whole season of Doctor&Me heistings.
  • “It isn’t right for you to be on your own.” Because she’s human, or because she’s immortal, or because she’s human *and* immortal?
  • What git fixed those sunglasses? Or does the TARDIS have a sunglass making machine? WHY WOULD SHE BETRAY ME LIKE THAT?
  • More Maisie Williams and Capaldi doing sneaky running!!! Omg, it is ridic.
  • Blunderbuss!!
  • “I never had this trouble with Clara.” Bloody hell – honestly I get freaked out sometimes because Moffat has somehow got ahold of the list IN MY HEAD of everything that irritated me during RTD Who and has just gone through it ticking stuff off. Except Treganna wrote this, so more rightly the props prob go to her. Anyway, one of the most horrid moments of New Who was in The Shakespeare Code when brand new companion Martha was made to feel like shit, thanks to the Doctor being characterised as a git. Here, we get a very similar line but DONE RIGHT, so I don’t feel like the new companion is being undermined, and wish the Doctor would sod the fuck off. Instead it works perfectly between these two characters and their relationship and it is quite wonderful.
  • They’re really milking this whole “they always leave” thing like woah. But it’s being done so decently I really can’t complain.
  • Oh, ffs, has someone been watching The Visitation?? Not enough time for a shot of Sam up the tree?
  • Also, lols at this interlude, because it is so lovely and silly, and I honestly want to think it is just crap, but I am ridic charmed. BAD PUNS! THE DOCTOR’S OFFENCE AT BAD PUNS! INCOMPETENT BANDITS! INCOMPETENT KNIGHTMARES!
  • (But really, are they spelling it Knightmare? If so, where’s my fucking Knightmare joke??? Damn it, people.)
  • “Killl him and you make an enemy of me.” He so said that to the Master during their fuck-up travels. Also, just, that having to pull her back by acting as her conscience, of having to lever their friendship and her regard for his abilities to get her to hold back from murder, *LOVE*.
  • “See, you do have a heart, you don’t fool me.” Yeah, I bet he said that to the Master too, once.
  • I’m not saying he’s creating a nemesis, though he certainly seems to be trying RLY HARD at quite a few points, but the LOVELY TENSION in this ep is all about that uncertainty: is this a superhero or supervillain origin story? And, gloriously, the answer is more complicated than either.
  • “Because it wouldn’t be good.” Seriously, that line, the delivery, I got goosebumps.
  • Space lion! I like that he has glowy eyes AND HE BREATHES FIRE. Smashing.
  • The stuff about names, Me’s insistence on not being called Ashildr, and the way that Maisie Williams’ delivery changes through the episode to reflect why she doesn’t accept that name.
  • LOVE the bluster from Space Lion, and the whole “yeah, sure, hang around, no interest in killing you, just going about my usual invasion business.” It’s nice to see a villain who has their priorities straight.
  • “Oh dear God.” ILU MAISIE WILLIAMS. Such delightful contempt!
  • “Clayton!” SO COLD. “You happened.” Oh, whatev, OWN YOUR DESCENT IN VILLAINY. (Really, on first watch I felt like there was no tipping back.)
  • Another great thing – (another great scene) – is Me has every right to be angry – the Doctor changed who she was and left her to get on with it. And, too often, New Who would stop there, no response to the accusation that the Doctor had caused hurt or damage or whatever. But here we get the Doctor being right too: “why should I be responsible for you?” he asks. Quite. He saved her life. She chose to make of it what she did. (And the people who travel with the Doctor, yes, they are affected by the experiences, but what they become because of those experiences is their choice.)
  • And he doesn’t give up on her; he doesn’t believe she can’t turn back, and on this watch I feel, ah, knowing what happens, I feel a smidgen of shame that I didn’t have the same faith in her.
  • I see we’ve picked up some comedy soldiers from Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Okay, I know they are strapped for cash, and normally they are QUITE BRILL at hiding it, but the Doctor horseride brings back FOND MEMORIES of Terry Walsh’s Jo Grant. (Too harsh? …maybe a bit.)
  • OH SAM. This stuff at the Gallows, it is both awful and brilliant. Huge kudos to the actor – the pathos of this condemned man telling stupid jokes, holding off the seconds until he’s made to hang, the brief flickers of terror we see on his face…arg! just, feelings, everywhere. It evokes a pity in me that I find horridly uncomfortable.
  • And Me killing him – appallingly gut-wrenching for a character who’s only been in two scenes – and what I thought was the moral event horizon for her.
  • BUT the HEART-WARMING LOVELINESS of the Doctor taking up the banter to buy him a few more minutes. And Me realising that she has made a HORRID MISTAKE and is not a villain after all. And SAVING SAM, and oh, I know Moffat Who is really v terrible about letting people stay dead bit SOD IT, so many Vikings got juiced last week, and the week before was extra sad, so I AM ONBOARD HERE.
  • Oh, boo, Cromwell. BOOOOOOO. (I do not like Cromwell.)
  • I might have loled when they decided to hang the Doctor instead.
  • OH. And I love that the doo-daa meant for someone she loves, someone she can’t live without, gets given to random annoying highway person.
  • THE SCENE IN THE TAVERN. HOW EVEN. SO GOOD. Everything about it, everything, omg. The Doctor and Me sitting across the table from one another, the tension, the feeling out the contours of their relationship, of who they are and who they are to each other, and the choices they make. The way the Doctor shows a particular type of vulnerability to her that he couldn’t to anyone else, and wouldn’t to the few who’d understand. And his own terror, of forgetting what matters. Of knowing how with another as long-lived as himself, they could have their own world, and everything that’s ephemeral would fade away, meaningless to them, until they were empty and cold, devoid of feeling. And Me, Ashildr, choosing to stay behind, to protect those the Doctor ends up leaving behind, and choosing to remain friends.
  • (Missy thinks they’re still friends too.)
  • Captain Jack Harkness is BURIED UNDER THE EARTH at this very moment, Doctor. She could go dig him up if you kept yourself better informed.
  • And the thing with the friends and enemies and friends, *that’s* come up quite a few times now this season as well. Srsly I am like flaily over where it’s going to go. Obv this season cannot possibly let me down, no, that would be silly.
  • Is the Doctor going to play guitar every ep now? Because if so I approve. I approve LIKE A LOT.
  • Omg, the photo! It was scary but also awesome, but also scary; is Maisie Williams coming back then? NO. NO SPOILER IF YOU KNOW. RHETORICAL.
  • And there’s AGES till the next up, whole hours! Anyway, I give The Woman Who Lived nine stolen amulets out of ten. This is getting worrying now…where is the cliff?

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