First off, I am SO sorry for not reviewing “Before the Flood” last weekend. I couldn’t watch it when it aired, and my DVR (in what I swear was the first time it happened) botched the recording, so I couldn’t watch it until the replay. Sorry guys! Super short review? It was good, 4/5.
Now, onto “The Girl Who Died”. This was a very interesting episode, that I think many will have different feelings about. Why? Because it was an incredibly simple story overall, however, it featured many great moments of The Doctor and Clara, both separately and together.
I can literally sum up the entire major conflict in one paragraph, *puts on sonic shades*, watch me work!
The Doctor and Clara were captured by Vikings (real ones!) and before the good Doctor could talk his way out of it, “Odin” (who was really an alien) took all the warrior Vikings, killed them drank them, and then was goaded into war by Maisie Williams (Arya Stark!) even though the town they were to war with had no warriors left. Doctor tried to train them, failed horribly, then came up with a spectacular (Clara’s words) plan to defeat them and ensure they were defeated and never came back! And it worked!
*takes off the shades* How’d I do?
Again, incredibly simplistic, but it had numerous funny moments from all parties. The Doctor chastising them because they were willing to fight even though they couldn’t. The Vikings almost burning down their village because of the “training”. The Doctor and Clara being the only ones who’s ever had a swordfight for real, etc. It was amusing, but simple. Even a bit too simple at times. Especially when Clara essentially broke the fourth wall (two weeks in a room for the series!) and stated how the Doctor always figures things out at the last second or so (most of the time) and “wins”. True, it was inspiring, but we already knew that was going to happen anyway.
The real meat of the episode to me was the interactions for the characters. The Doctor and Clara had NUMEROUS great moments. The Doctor telling Clara that she was the reason he was training them to fight, the talk about how “you sometimes find someone you don’t want to lose”, and more. Capaldi and Coleman were in top form here. Easily their best performances for the season by far in my book.
And then “The Face” question appeared, and it was beautifully handled. For those who don’t know, Peter Capaldi has appeared in the Who-niverse twice. Once in Doctor Who, and once in Torchwood. Two different character obviously. So when Capaldi became The Doctor, many wondered how this would be explained. In true Moffat fashion, it was simple and elegant, and tied to an episode he didn’t write! Using the face as a “reminder” to The Doctor that he saves people no matter what history has to say, it’s what he does, and he does it well.
Which…of course brings us to Maisie Williams, who was (and will be) a big part of the Doctor’s history for a while. It was nice to see her in a vastly different role than Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, and she did wonderfully all the way around. From letting her pride get her into the mess as a whole, to her desire to see her village saved, and more. It was great. And then…she died…and the Doctor brought her back to life! No problem right? Well…he kind of made her immortal, which not only shows she’ll be back (more than likely more than once), but she may not be the kindhearted girl we meet here as the last shot showed. Immortality either makes you or breaks you as the Doctor has shown, let’s see what happens to her.
Overall, “The Girl Who Died” wasn’t bad by any means. But it’s simplicity held it back in some ways. It was solid, and intriguing, but not the best Doctor Who can do. Though that cliffhanger might show a darker turn coming…