Well, where do we start? We’re almost at the mid-season mark, and The Girl Who Died continues a run of very strong episodes. The Girl Who Died is an emotionally complex, beautifully acted, dramatically versatile forty-five minutes.
The premise of the episode is that, while on another adventure the Doctor and Clara land in Viking territory, are captured, and their arrival coincides with that of an alien mercenary army, the Mire, their leader posing as the Norse God, Odin. Ashildr (Maisie Williams), a Viking girl, declares war on the Mire, and the Doctor then has twelve hours to teach a rag-tag bunch of farmers how to defeat killer aliens in walking tanks.
The Odin/Mire craziness is of course tremendous fun, though. The Mire are just about feasible as adequate enemies, their dreadnought tank-like armour shielding a rather hideous leach-like head within. David Schofield gives a great performance as the false Odin. Also he reminded me of another character from Monty Python.
Their defeat via a few barrels of electric eels and the Benny Hill theme tune, is daftly amusing, and in the best possible sense, absolutely Doctor Who.
Capaldi is completely at ease, deftly walking the line between humour and gravitas, and his brusquer version of the character sits far more comfortably than it did last season. Clara’s fond humouring of the Doctor in his futile attempts to train the Vikings has about it a gentle wisdom, and one that Coleman pulls off beautifully.
Maisie Williams who plays Ashildr, is the real star of the episode, and she is one of the best guest stars Doctor Who has had for some time. Her vulnerability, her pride, her fear, and her love, are all palpable, but beautifully understated. Her death is affecting and heart rending, even though we know she’ll be back in some shape or form next week, and her survival, though marred by the curse of immortality, is joyful in a way.
And they ended this episode Beautifully with a time lapse type showing her immortality. She shows so many emotions within the space of about fifty seconds. A great end to a great episode.
Now my question I leave you with is….Now that the shades are broken, what will he use?