Sorry I skipped the last 2 weeks. Midterms, Grr. Anyway: 4 posts this week. Coming up! Starting with ‘The Girl Who Died’ and ‘The Woman Who Lived’
WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS FOR DOCTOR WHO SERIES 9 EPISODES 5 AND 4
The Doctor and Clara come off one adventure and end up being captured by Vikings. Failing to impress the locals by pretending to be Odin, another Odin appears in the sky and claims to be taking their warriors to Valhalla, but it really taking them to be trained of their…manliness (they say testosterone, but basically same thing in TV). Unfortunately, Clara and a viking woman named Ashildr, played by Maisie Williams AKA that girl from that show I’ve only seen five episodes of….I’ve said I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, get taken along too and thought Clara tries to get them to leave, Ashildr decides it’s a great idea to start a war with the merciless war aliens. Now the Doctor and Clara have a day to help save the village Seven Samurai style.
The second episode marks the return of the long missed companion-lite episodes (and hopefully Doctor-lite episodes later on) with The Doctor dealing with the consequences of his actions in the previous episode. That’s all I can say for the sake of spoilers besides the fact it takes place in the mid 1600’s and involves burglary, a woman named ‘Me’, and a weak villain, but we’ll get to that.
The story is both episodes is great, but I feel they’re better as a set rather than individual episodes as they are completely different stories, the second having a much different and much darker story than the first (What can I say, I’m a sucker for the dark stuff), connected through the guest star Williams who, might I say, does a better job in the second episode than in the first. Oh, she’s still good, but I kept thinking she was acting as though her character was younger than her real age of 18, maybe more around early to mid teens or so. Maybe it was because she’s supposed to be an important character, but not only is she the one who starts the dang war, she doesn’t really get interesting until ‘The Woman Who Lived’. I don’t know, compared to Missy and Cass who were strong in both their episodes, it could have been better. Also the twist at the end of ‘The Girl Who Died’ is really obvious if you read the titles for the two episodes, especially since Williams was set to guest star in both, as well as an upcoming episode later in the season.
The return of the companion and Doctor-lite episodes has been a long time coming. There hasn’t been one since the start of Moffat’s era, especially since he started using the ridiculous season gap during Matt Smith’s run which he thankfully stopped once Capaldi took over, and it’s a nice thing to see. The main leads don’t have to appear in every episode. Hell, some of the best and most loved episodes of the Russell T Davies era, if not the whole revived series, have been Doctor and companion-lite episodes. The whole reason these episodes came into existence is because of the creation of the Christmas specials and while I’d rather have the Christmas specials over the -lite episodes, I’m glad they’re back.
Speaking of the lead, Peter Capaldi is great once again. I’m liking him better than I did last season, and I liked him last season. However, and let’s be honest, what you’re going to remember about this two parter the most is the answer to ‘Why does the Doctor have the face of a guy he met previously?’ While I would normally reply with Why does Amy have the same face as an Ancient Greek soothsayer even though she’s Scottish? Why does Colin Baker’s Doctor have the face of the Time Lord who shot him in his previous incarnation?, or going back further, Why does that alien priestess lady from that Tom Baker episode ‘Meglos’ look like Barbara Wright?, the writers actually decided to do something with that and while they could have maybe done better, I like what we got. Kudos. Clara’s …alright. I still feel like they’re making her up into a sort of Doctor 2 (Ha, Who 2. Rhymes!), and while it’s funny I can’t help but feel that it’s gonna be part of what gets her removed as a companion. I thought it was bad ass in ‘Death in Heaven’ and made sense there, but it’s gonna get old and for some probably has. It was nice to leave her out of the second episode because she really would have gotten in the way of what is really The Doctor and Me’s story.
I have nothing to say about the rest of the supporting cast. They did fine, I like how the Doctor gave them all nicknames in the first episode and that’s all I got.
The fake Odin was a decent villain, nothing great, but I do love me some Norse mythology…odd how the Thor movies are my least favourite. The way he was defeated was fun and a nice blow. The second villain was blah. He did nothing, I don’t remember a single thing he actually did and honestly he basically existed as a motivation for Me. The make-up was great though.
The only other thing left I can say is ‘The Sonic Sunglasses are fine’. You’ll understand what I mean.
It’s better to watch them together, but overall another win for Doctor Who this season. Next week we look at the return of the Zygons and for those who didn’t see the 50th Anniversary special (Why?) I’ll explain them next week in my review of ‘The Zygon Invasion’ and ‘The Zygon Inversion’. …It’s not a spoiler if your monster is in the title.
(Photo via BBC)