Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 5 Review: The Girl Who Died

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Looks like The Doctor's made a mess of things by saving young Ashildr.

One minute he's chastising the Fisher King for screwing with life and death, and the next he's doing the very same thing. Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 5 further connected Twelve to David Tennant's run, as well as the theme of playing God.

I've got to admit, the Caecilius flashback was cool. We finally understand why he chose that face. That said, I'm not crazy about his "I’m the Doctor – and I save people!" schtick. Is it me, or has that already grown old?

The Viking Girl - Doctor Who

There's no doubt Steven Moffat is playing with our expectations of Clara's imminent demise. This installment kicked off with our favorite companion in another life-threatening situation. Sure the Doctor saved her again, but it's just a matter of time before he slips up. Would Clara's death be too predictable though? Hey there's always the chance she simply gives up traveling through space and time. I'd be fine with that, would you?

Anyway, our heroes soon found themselves captured by Vikings. Did anyone else applaud when the big horned warrior broke the sonic shades in half? Moffat clearly realizes the glasses are ridiculous, and I have a feeling the screwdriver will resurface soon. By the way, if there's one thing History's Vikings has taught us, it's that Viking helmets did not have horns. There's no historical evidence suggesting the use of horned helmets during the Viking Age. I know, it's Doctor Who not a documentary... just sayin' guys.

Time travel rules, ripples and tidal waves keep coming up. You can bet your horned helmet this will come back to haunt the Doctor in the end.

Clara: You're always talking about what you can and can't do, but you never tell me the rules.
The Doctor: We're time travelers. We tread softly. It's okay to make ripples, but not tidal waves.

The adventure was quite wacky, and until the final moments much less grim than the previous installments. Right away, Ashildr mentioned a dream where everyone died. That was our first major hint the Doctor broke a rule. Then of course, he saw the girl and though he claimed not to know her, he was "remembering in the wrong direction." Now that we know she's immortal and watched the world die around her, it appears the Doctor is in trouble.

At first, I thought Maisie Williams might become the next companion. However, after watching this episode that's highly unlikely. Besides, Game of Thrones is her first priority and it's doubtful Williams' schedule would accommodate both series. If she's the "hybrid" Davros spoke of, perhaps she'll drop in to wreak havoc from time to time. I loved Williams' performance and I'm hoping she'll be back.

The yoyo bit was silly, but Capaldi sold it well. Then "Odin" appeared in the sky and the "harvest" began. The Mire's mechanical suits were great, but I liked them even more when the masks came off. The team is delivering some truly nasty monsters this season. How about that callback to the Star Wars' trash compactor scene? Fun stuff!

Clara did her thing confusing "Odin," but Ashildr just had to challenge the villain.

Go. Now. Go find Vikings on other planets. The universe is full of testosterone. Trust me, it's unbearable.

Clara

After wavering in typical Twelve fashion, it was up to the Doctor to prepare a bunch of farmers for war. Capaldi had some brilliant moments here, and he really got a chance to let his acting chops shine. The "speaking baby" bit was beyond goofy, it was just crying for Pete's sake. I loved the way the Doctor renamed the Vikings, that was a blast. I was actually thinking ZZ Top before he said it. Ha!

The anticipation was much more interesting than the battle itself. It was over in the blink of an eye, after all that set up. Did Clara tell the Doctor she'd fight him for Ashildr? Has Clara always been into girls? I must have missed the hints, did you? Ashildr's speech was wonderful, and I probably would have saved her as well regardless of the repercussions.

You've got to admit, the electric eels twist came out of nowhere. That was odd.

Winning is all about looking happier than the other guy.

The Doctor

Ultimately, they used an enemy helmet for Ashildr to dream up a scary serpent. I'll admit, though the episode title was "The Girl Who Died" I didn't expect Ashildr to be drained of life inside that helmet. Clara caught the entire debacle (plus Benny Hill theme) on her trusty iPhone and The Mire fled for their reputation's sake. Anyone else get the feeling Odin's threat, "we will meet again" means he'll be back in the finale?

Unfortunately for now, it's the Doctor bringing the girl back to life that will come back to haunt him in the next installment. Again, I loved the quick flashback to 2008's "The Fires of Pompeii" and getting that piece of the puzzle. Wasn't it amazing to see David Tennant appear as well? Understanding the bigger picture is simply thrilling. It's incredible when other seasons and Doctors connect this way.

What did you think of "The Girl Who Died"? Is Ashildr now an enemy of the Doctor? Did she ever use the second chip? Why is Clara not in the teaser for the next episode? Will false Odin return to make good on his promise? You're up, go ahead and sound off in the comments below. Keep an eye out for our Doctor Who Round Table next week.

Relive the Doctor's latest Viking adventure, watch Doctor Who online via TV Fanatic.

NOTE: Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 6 is titled "The Woman Who Lived" and airs on Saturday, October 24.

The Girl Who Died Review

Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (13 Votes)
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Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 5 Quotes

Go. Now. Go find Vikings on other planets. The universe is full of testosterone. Trust me, it's unbearable.

Clara

Clara: You're always talking about what you can and can't do, but you never tell me the rules.
The Doctor: We're time travelers. We tread softly. It's okay to make ripples, but not tidal waves.