Season 9 Episode 5 of Doctor Who guest stars Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones! Check out Josh’s recap, followed by our thoughts on the episode The Girl Who Died,!
Don’t need the Doctor Who episode recap for The Girl Who Died? Click here to jump directly to Violet’s thoughts on the episode!
To see Josh’s thoughts on this week’s Doctor Who episode, The Girl Who Died, click here to get directly there!
Episode Recap of Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 5: The Girl Who Died
This episode opens with Clara stuck in space, and she seems to have something stuck in her space suit–some sort of spider from their last adventure. The Doctor is yelling to her through a communication device, and Clara is freaking out. But the Doctor gets her back in the TARDIS and saves her from whatever was in her suit. Clara asks how it went saving whoever they were saving, and the Doctor seemed a bit unconcerned with it. They discuss their role as time travelers, but they are interrupted rudely by Vikings. The Doctor tries to threaten them with his sonic sunglasses, but they aren’t impressed, breaking them, and taking them captive.
The Vikings with the Doctor and Clara return to their village, and it seems to be victorious from some sort of battle, as the village is happy they all came back alive. Clara asks the Doctor about escaping, but he catches the eye of someone. Clara notices and the Doctor says he’s never met them, but tells Clara a side effect of time travel is “premonitions.”
When he meets the leader of the village, the Doctor tries to play himself as Odin, trying to impress them with a yoyo. It doesn’t seem to work. To make things worse, someone appears with an illusion in the sky, claiming to be Odin. This illusion then sends some robotic-looking soldiers down to “choose” people to go to “Valhalla.” Clara wants to help, but the Doctor seems to just not want to get chosen by these robotic looking soldiers. Clara tries to help the girl that the Doctor had the premonition about earlier, which gets both Clara and the girl taken. They are transported on what looks to be a spaceship, and the walls begin forcing the captives into an area where they will be zapped dead. Clara and the girl try to pry open a door before the machine zaps them, but it seems to be too late.
Clara and this girl seemed to have lived. But then “Odin” shows up, talking to Clara and this girl. Clara tries to bluff this guy saying she has back up that will be coming to help very soon. This “Odin” then reveals what he does with his captives–he takes their adrenaline and testosterone. Clara seemed to have bluffed them pretty well, but the girl, who reveals her name as Ashildr, tells this “Odin” she wants to fight him. Odin accepts the challenge, and sends Clara and Ashildr back so they can prepare their warriors.
Back on the ground, the Doctor tells the rest of the villagers that he is not Odin, nor is the man in the sky. Then Clara and Ashildr show back up, and the Doctor is excited to see that Clara is ok. The Doctor researched these aliens and discovered they are the deadliest warriors in the galaxy, and the village and the Doctor are concerned since Ashildr basically declared war.
At a village meeting, the Vikings want to fight, but the Doctor doesn’t have much faith in them. It looks like the people left in the village are the non-fighting part of the Vikings. Then a baby begins crying, and the Doctor begins translating. The baby says it is afraid, and wants to be held by its mother. The Doctor tells these soldiers they are hopeless. Ashildr asks the Doctor to stay and help, but he refuses. Clara confronts him though, and the Doctor tries to reason why they have to save this village. After translating more of the baby, which is still afraid, the Doctor decided to stay and help.
The Doctor begins training the Vikings to fight, and they are using wooden swords. They ask why, and it is because they can’t be trusted with real swords. Clara and Ashildr watch, and think that he will come up with a plan eventually. The Doctor then decides to train them with real swords again, and the Vikings basically destroy their village through their terrible use of the weapon, and a chain reaction of catastrophes.
The Doctor and Clara talk, and he still has no plan other than these Vikings dying a “good death.” Clara tells the Doctor to figure out a plan rather than being a “fake soldier.” The Doctor stumbles upon Ashildr who sees her sparring with a puppet, “Odin.” Ashildr seems certain of death as well, she tells the Doctor. But through their talk, the Doctor figures out that there is a way to win. The Doctor plans to use some electric eels to take down the enemy soldiers. The people of the village begin working, creating whatever device that the Doctor has thought up. He reveals they need to get one of the enemy soldiers’ helmets for their plan to be successful though.
The next day comes, and the alien soldiers come down. They find the Vikings having a party. The Doctor says they can’t open fire on unarmed civilians. But one of the Vikings throws a metal ring at the soldiers. Then, using magnets powered by the eels, the alien soldiers’ helmets are removed. Then, taking a helm, the Doctor puts it on Ashildr. Using the helm, Ashildr makes an illusion of a serpent, which frightens then soldiers off. “Odin” remains though, to figure out what happened. The Doctor tells him that this story will be a big embarrassment for him, and uses it as blackmail for his reputation, unless he leaves now. The Doctor then hacks “Odin’s” teleporting, sending him back to his ship.
The Vikings celebrate, but Ashildr is unresponsive under the alien helmet. The girl has died, and the Doctor seems to mourn the loss, leaving abruptly. Clara finds him, and the Doctor says the helmet must have used her like a battery, and drained her. Clara tries to console the Doctor, but he isn’t having it. The Doctor goes on a rant, saying he is not supposed to cause tidal waves, but in his rant, he comes to a realization. We then get a flashback, to David Tennant, talking to a man–with the Doctor’s current face. This face is the reason he looks like the way he does now.
The Doctor then rushes to Ashildr, and places some device on her head. It brings her back to life. Her then gives her another of the same device, which he says he can give to anyone she chooses.
Clara and the Doctor then talk further, on their way back to the TARDIS. Clara asks why the second dose. The Doctor says this device will make her immortal. He explains this as a sad thing, and she will leave all people she knows behind. The second device is to give her a companion with her immortality. The Doctor says he might have made a mistake, and created a “tidal wave,” because Ashildr now has a little bit of alien in her, making her a hybrid now. We then see a happy Ashildr, seemingly going through time, as the background scenery seems in fast-forward. The camera spins around her, and eventually her face seems to go from happiness to looking a little more sinister…
Josh’s Thoughts: Doctor Who, Season 9 Episode 5: The Girl Who Died
One thing that came to mind right away–could electric eels really power these powerful magnets? Seems unlikely, but then again, Doctor Who does like to stretch the believability of its science. Either way, this was an interesting episode. I am curious to see if we will be seeing these villains again, as they seemed to be interesting ones, particularly the leader.
A running theme this season that has been a part of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is his melancholy nature. He seems to be less optimistic, and less desirous to help humanity. It’s not a feature I am liking about the Doctor lately, but Clara seems to be the opposite–bringing the Doctor back on track to helping humanity.
I wonder if the Doctor knew what the helmet would do to Ashildr. He seemed saddened by the death of Ashildr, but didn’t seem particularly surprised by it. Was he hoping that she would survive long enough? Or was it just as much of a surprise to him?
I always like the discussion of immortality. As anyone might think, it sounds great–living forever. But then the thoughts of losing everyone you care about come to mind, being alone in the world. I wonder what this means for Ashildr. Her final scene, with her seemingly going from happy to seemingly at the very least, sad, seemed to indicate that immortality has jaded her. I guess we will see where her story picks up next time.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 9 Episode 5 of Doctor Who: The Girl Who Died
I was wondering if they were ever going to address the Doctor’s face! As you probably know, Peter Capaldi starred in an episode of Doctor Who a few years ago, titled Fires of Pompeii, in which Donna convinces the Tenth Doctor to save Peter Capaldi’s character and his family from the volcano eruption of Mount Vesuvius. In the Peter Capaldi’s first episode as the Twelfth Doctor, he wonders why he chose the face that he has. I thought they might bring up the Fires of Pompeii character at that point, but they did not. I wasn’t sure if they were ever going to say anything about it, or just let it go. After all, there have been other actors that appeared on Doctor Who as different characters, without any sort of explanation. So it was a nice surprise to see the Fires of Pompeii character brought up in the episode as a way to explain that the reason the Doctor chose this face was a reminder to him that he can save people, that he doesn’t always have to follow the rules. It was a nice excuse to be able to save Ashildr. It’s too bad this revelation didn’t come sooner, as it would have been nice for Clara to have been able to save Danny, especially after begging the Doctor to do so.
Overall, I thought this episode was more on the cheesy side, and probably my least favorite so far this season. The most compelling parts were the discussions that the Doctor and Clara had, but the rest was not all that entertaining to me. Kind of like the Robin Hood episode last season, but not quite as bad. Not to mention the far fetched solution that saved them. But alas, no more sonic sunglasses now. Will the Doctor go back to a sonic screwdriver? Or something else?
Once again, this seems to be a multi-episode arc, like each of the episodes this season. At least this one wasn’t a cliffhanger and merely slightly connects with the next episode, in that we will see Ashildr again.
Scenes from Doctor Who, Season 9 Episode 6: The Woman Who Lived
Here are scenes from the next episode of Doctor Who, titled The Woman Who Lived: