The Girl Who Died
Written by Steve Mathieson
And Steven Moffat
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
“I am The Doctor and I save people. And if anyone happens to be listening and you’ve got any kind of problem with that. To hell with you!”
The Girl Who Died had a lot of buzz going in mainly to see who Maisie Williams would be playing. Back in the summer was the Doctor Who Series 9 trailer and at the end Maisie Williams said this to Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor, ‘What took you so long old man?” Now that made the interwebs abuzz with speculation that she was playing Romana, The Rani, Susan and Jenny. I myself was hoping for the Terrible Zodin as some thought it was a younger Missy. Guess what? You’re all wrong as she is playing an original character. Leave it to Steven Moffat to prop up an episode that in all fairness is not that good.
For a story that is the first part of a two part story that was mainly focusing on Maisie William’s character Ashildr and not a story that continues into the next part. For the most part we had a solution to the whole space Viking thing and the focus was on Ashildr as she is now an immortal. You see The Doctor takes the medical kit from the Mire’s space helmet. She’s an immortal and this is the buildup for the next part of the story which the trailer shows is in another time. This is the big reveal which probably made a bunch of fans disappointed that she wasn’t what they had hoped. Too bad and I applaud them for doing something different than doing the obvious what the fans would like. I actually had this predicted as I figured Moffat was pulling our chains to get fans talking about this story.
For the most part I did not like the story but did not overall hate it as we still have another part to go. After two stories that were dark and serious it made sense to have a light hearted story in the tradition of The Romans and The Gunfighters. But I found the story to be too silly. I don’t mind Doctor Who doing comedy but this story just seemed to be too silly. Right from the start when Odin appeared in the sky I was like, oh dear, we are in for a super silly one. Most of the premise didn’t really make sense as we have an alien race capturing men and taking them for testosterone. We have Clara actually almost convincing the Mire to leave when Ashildr starts a war with them. Then we have the rest of the story watching The Doctor looking defeated as he thinks the village will get slaughtered. Thank goodness that baby was able to tell him how to defeat the Mire if in a non-direct way. Electric eels really, had to laugh at that one as I’m not sure that has ever been done before or if people actually fish them. Have to say the way the Mire was defeated was a tad clever using the eels and such and then using Ashildr to project an image from the helmet to make them think there was a dragon. But then using a cellphone video and then threatening to upload it to a galactic type of YouTube. It seemed kind of meh to me and not really inspiring.
I really liked the part where The Doctor was sulking about the death of Ashildr. Lamenting on all the death he has to endure while saving everyone else especially since he was responsible for the death of Ashildr since he wired her up to the helmet. Peter Capaldi did a really good job with this performance as you could really see the pain in his face as he was explaining it to Clara. Then he turns around and explains why he has the face that he does and delivers that great speech before he goes off to save Ashildr. That was great and really saved this story from being a total clunker.
Now back to the face. Was it necessary? Did they have to explain why The Doctor looks like Caecilius from the David Tennant story The Fires of Pompeii? They didn’t explain it back in 1984 or 1985 when Colin Baker had the same face as Maxil from the Peter Davison story Arc of Infinity and Colin Baker was Peter Davison’s successor. Just another example of Steven Moffat pandering to the fans or as is most of the case proving that he is smarter than everyone and can do what he wants and make it seem clever. It doesn’t really matter why he has that face it was mainly the fans complaining about why he had the same face as Caecilius. It didn’t really matter to most fans as we have already experienced that happening in the 80’s and it didn’t really bother us.
While The Girl Who Died might have been highly anticipated it did not hit the mark with me as I thought it was too silly but it did have some good moments and I liked seeing the nods to the Troughton era like the diary and the funny run that Capaldi did. But none the less I did not wholly care for it and I am hoping the next part will be better.