Who Reviews: The Woman Who Lived
Written by Catherine Tregenna
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
“I just wanted to save a terrified young woman’s life.”
The Woman Who Lived is the second part of The Girl Who Died but in a roundabout way that it isn’t the continuation of a story that is taking place but instead the continuation of a characters story. In The Girl Who Died we were introduced to Ashildr who ends up dying. The Doctor brings her back by using an alien med kit. Now Ashildr is immortal and The Doctor runs into her again in 1651 and she has now changed and in fact is a Highwayman known as The Knightmare but more to the fact that her persona and her attitude towards life in general has changed. This disturbs The Doctor and more worrying is that he is responsible for this.
I liked The Woman Who Lived more than I did The Girl Who Died. While The Girl Who Died was a bit too silly and just didn’t click for me I did get what they were trying to do in The Woman Who Lived. They mostly told a story about the consequences of The Doctor’s actions and how it affects those he helps. In this case we see what happens to Ashildr. She becomes bitter and jaded as the people she loves grow old and die or in the case of her children die of disease while she is powerless to help them. I enjoyed this part of the story and it is good to have a story that explores what happens when The Doctor interferes. Doctor Who should have more stories like this because it can’t be all roses and sunshine after he messes with people’s lives.
I really enjoyed seeing an episode with Peter Capaldi going solo. Once Jenna Coleman leaves this series I wouldn’t mind seeing him go sole for a while before they pair him up with the new companion. It just shows how great an actor Peter Capaldi is as he can carry the show on his own without a companion to bounce off of. It does help that his co-star is very talented and one of the better young actresses around - Maisie Williams. The chemistry between the two was fantastic and it is a shame she is on Game of Thrones as it would be good to see them paired up again. Well I think they will as I do not think Ashildr’s story is over.
With that being said the clues are all there for Ashildr’s return including the obvious selfie picture from Clara. It seemed that Ashildr knew too much about The Doctor without him telling her about it. She obviously hit a cord with The Doctor especially the way she talked about the past companions and mainly Clara saying will she turn to dust also. There is a lot here to suggest that she will be coming back and I’m going to guess we will see her again in Series 9.
What I did not care for was that in other words a pretty decent story so far was the conclusion. It just went to pieces when they decided that they needed a protagonist. So Lenny the Lion decides that he needs to open a rift and to do that they need Rufus Hound’s character to die to open it. Not a bad set up as Sam Swift was introduced into the story earlier on and so it made sense for him to get captured. But it just seemed rushed to get to a conclusion and too convenient to use the other medi kit to save him. Sometimes I just wish there was more science in the science fiction and not the mediocre mumble jumble explanation.
In all, the whole story The Girl Who Died/The Woman Who Lived was just mediocre and did not do all that much for me. While the story did have two writers you were given two different styles for this story and it did work for the most part. While The Woman Who Died was the stronger of the two stories it failed in the fact that the ending was uninspiring. In its favor it did set up a storyline for later in the series and something for the fans to speculate on. Maisie Williams was a superb guest star and it will be good to see her return. The Woman Who Lived did give us an interesting plotline one that is rarely used in Doctor Who which I enjoyed and hope we see more of in the future.