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The Woman Who Lived

ShowDoctor Who / Series IX / Episode 6
First Broadcast2015/10/25 - 19:40 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Previous EpisodeThe Girl Who Died
Next EpisodeThe Zygon Invasion

The Doctor is travelling alone (although it's not really clear why Clara isn't with him) and on the hunt for an alien artefact in the 17th century. By an extraordinary coincidence, both he and a highwayman known as "The Knightmare" try to steal it from a stage coach at the same time. In the confusion the coach gets away.

The Doctor realises that the Knightmare is in fact Ashildr in disguise. However 800 years have changed her. She has forgotten so much of her past. Further, the pain of the loss of family, means she has isolated herself. She now refers to herself simply as Me. Much of this episode explores this territory and gives it great depth. The Doctor understands Ashildr's pain and yet refuses to take her with him. There is a strong tension here. In the end, Ashildr seems to accept her fate as the one who cleans up after the Doctor. Perhaps tellingly (?) we see her in the background of Clara's photo in the 21st century.

The prime story - the artefact, Leandro, the defeated invasion, the gallows humour is actually really good, but is almost secondary.

This is a superior episode to last week's and Maisie Williams was superb. We also seem to be witnessing a reboot of the series. That is, it is quite different to last year's. We've begun with three two-part episodes which has allowed for greater story telling. There's been a lighter touch, a less serious Doctor and the ditching of the sonic screwdriver. Some real momentum is building. Could be a great series.