Doctor Who: The Girl Who Died Review
The Doctor Who and Game of Thrones crossover game was strong this week. We always have that connection between the two series because Jenna Coleman is dating Richard Madsen (Robb Stark). This week, we’re going back to medieval times and adding Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) as a Viking girl. Okay, it’s not quite a proper Doctor Who / GoT crossover but it’s probably as close as we’re going to get until Littlefinger shoves Clara out the Moon Door.
The Girl Who Died would seem to be about Maisie Williams’ Ashilder, the titular girl who died, but it was really about The Doctor in a similar way to last year’s Robin Hood episode. Actually, apart from the location and central figure, the two episodes were very thematically similar.
This was a light-hearted comedy episode. It never felt like there was a dark turn coming, even in the end when Ashilder died for about two minutes. Granted, even that felt predictable. It wasn’t a particularly strong episode to bring Maisie Williams in on but it looks like she’s only going to be in two episodes. I thought I read that she’s in most of this season but it would appear that it’s just this and the next one.
While this is officially considered the first episode of a two-parter, The Girl Who Died was a self-contained episode. Based on the preview of the next episode, apart from Ashilder returning, there’s really no connection between the happenings in The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived.
This week’s villains were the Mire who I believe are new to the Whoniverse. Their big villainy is abducting people to dissolve so they can drink their testosterone. It’s not all that exciting but it’s still unique compared to the standard villains who fancy themselves galactic conquerors.
In my preview of this week’s episode in the last review, I pegged the villains as Sontaran. I suppose I could have guessed the Judoon too. Either way, the medieval-style armor on the Mire looked like it could have been for a couple of different established alien races in DW. Either this was a last-minute switch to the Mire or the folks in the art department couldn’t come up with anything unique and cheap enough for this week.
After abducting all the warriors of a viking village, Ashilder’s mouth writes a check that her village can’t cash. With a fight to the death coming, The Doctor is tasked with trying to turn a bunch of farmers into warriors and it goes about as slapstick as possible. Not that that’s a bad thing. I thought it was hilarious. I also think that it overwhelmed any serious moments in the episode.
They did try a couple. The Doctor learned why he chose the face that he chose (tying back to a line from last season’s premiere) and never really let the rest of us in on the secret. He also mentioned something about Ashilder being a hybrid which is something that Davros talked about earlier this season. What that means, I don’t know. Maybe that is something revealed next week. The point remains that they were sort of covered up and forgotten about amidst the laughs and pratfalls of this episode.
So while this was a fun episode, I don’t think it will go down as a particularly memorable one or one that you’ll go back to specifically unless binge-watching this season before next. Even if the second part is the greatest episode of Doctor Who of all-time, it will be great and this episode will just be a show.
Other random points of note:
- I wonder how many fans are suddenly hoping for Captain Jack’s return despite the fact that we already saw how he became immortal years ago.
- I actually couldn’t figure out the name of Maisie Williams’ character from the show. I had to wiki it to find out for this review.
- I am very disappointed that they got rid of the rock theme after one episode. The sonic glasses lasted five before they were dumped. You’d think they would have tried longer with the updated theme song.
Next week, Maisie Williams is back. I actually knew about this before the end of this episode and the teaser for next week thanks to a blind gossip site I read. You really don’t want to read the story that tipped me off about that because it’ll creep you out and I read BlindGossip.com daily. Anyway, Ashilder has moved on from the vikings and fancies herself a thief or something where she’s stumbled upon some trouble just in time for The Doctor to help out in The Woman Who Lived.