“Doctor Who” season 9 has taken a variety of interesting twists and turns over the past several weeks, with one of the biggest reasons why being the luxuries handed down by the show’s decision to give us two-part episodes. There are just some themes that cannot be properly explored in 45 minutes in the way that they can an hour and a half.
During “The Woman Who Lived” on Saturday, a big theme was the sting of immortality. Everyone may claim at some point in their life that they want to live forever, but what can come out of it is something that is not frequently desired: Pain, longing, and at times even bitterness. This is what happens to Maisie Williams’ character of Ashildr, who was granted immortality and then left alone for centuries to fester. What she became was somewhat monstrous: A selfish, powerful person interested mostly in preserving herself … or at least this was how she was most of the episode.
By the end of the hour, her true humanity came outward thanks to a trick by a particularly interesting foe known as a Knightmare, who was out to destroy innocent people in a way that may have reminded her of her days with the Vikings.
Williams showed a lot of range over these two episodes, and what we hope we acquired from them are some lessons that could apply to the Doctor and Clara long-term when it comes to what so much time-traveling can do. We hope that Maisie does get a chance to turn up again at some point to show off yet another side, but despite our early reservations about this story (we thought “The Girl Who Died” took a little too long to get going), we will now proclaim this two-parter to be immensely satisfying in its own right. Grade: B+.
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