TV Review: Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 6 “The Woman Who Lived” (UK, 2015)

Another week; another shitty monster. This week marks the third conclusion to Doctor Who’s consecutive two-parter trend, and just like the others, reiterates that it seems that the show may have lost its spark.

Last week, we were left with a huge cliffhanger in “The Girl Who Died”; the Doctor left Ashildr (Maisie Williams) immortal, which, through cause and effect, was set to have a huge impact on time. It was a concept that certainly left a lot of promise; the existence of a young girl that could – and would – outlast the Doctor? Simply wonderful — or so it could have been.

This week opened with a mysterious masked vigilant (which of course was Ashildr) searching for an amulet. The Doctor quickly runs into Ashildr and she gets real excited because she thinks the Doctor has finally come to whisk her away from Earth. Hey, I’d be excited too – the poor girl has just narrowly escaped being burnt at the stake. The Doctor truthsnaps her, and informs her bluntly that they can never, and will never, travel together. Ever. Like ever (my bets are that she’s the next companion).

Ashildr gets really angry and decides that she’s going to help fire-breathing alien Aslan who has evil intentions to do with the amulet. Eventually, someone gets sacrificed and a portal opens up with super bad things (space ships, I think?), but we don’t care regardless because the problem that the entire episode was building up to was rectified in about thirty seconds when they bring the sacrificed guy back to life, presumably as an immortal too.

Overall, forty minutes of this episode were entirely pointless, the last five minutes proving to hold the the only thought provoking content. As Ashildr and the Doctor part once again, we’re reminded of all the companions that the Doctor has lost. Ashildr then goes full sass-mode and tells the Doctor that her duty for the rest of her very long life will be “to pick up the pieces once the Doctor leaves”, essentially making a frenemy of sorts. The Doctor returns to his TARDIS where Clara greets him joyfully. After examining a photo she shows him, he realises that Ashildr is creepily in the background, staring right into the camera. You know what this means? Clara is definitely going to die. All this foreshadowing is too much – the suspense is killing me.

The strong final minutes of this episode prove one thing – that Doctor Who is trying to do way too much. I’m always a fan of well thought-out, long narrative arcs; however, I think the inclusion of rubbish villains (I’m looking at you, fire-breathing Aslan) overall detracts from the story, wasting time that could be used to genuinely explore these characters we are confronted with. Why don’t we find out how Clara’s doing after Danny’s death? What about the Doctor searching for Gallifrey?  Perhaps we could explore the real intent behind the villains instead of painting them one dimensionally?

REVIEW SCORE: TWO AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Next week: ZYGONS!!! UNIT!!! OSGOOD ALIVE AGAIN!!! (???) CLASSIC(ISH) WHO!!!