Doctor Who: The Woman Who Lived

So, as mentioned last week, The Woman Who Lived was the second part to The Girl Who Died. As always when it comes to Doctor Who, please beware of Spoilers coming ahead!


What was it about?

The Doctor is looking for an alien artifact on earth and runs into Ashildr or as she now likes to call herself (Lady) Me. Time has not been kind to her and she has become bitter and cold about humanity. She wants to travel with the Doctor, but he refuses which leads to her making a terrible deal with another alien, Leandro. In the end she sees that she did wrong and mends the situation just in time.

My thoughts?

If you recall last week, you know that I wasn’t very impressed with the episode. Unfortunately this week wasn’t very different. I definitely liked it and there were some great moments in there, but I just didn’t love it either.

It tried to balance (silly) humour with some more dark and reflective topics and I am just not sure they succeeded, because I didn’t find it all that funny. Leandro was the monster of the week, but definitely didn’t leave much of a mark with me other than he could fit into a Cats musical. And Sam Swift, who played a nice counterpart to the Nightmare and who took the term gallows humour quite literally, could now be another immortal? I don’t like it. And his jokes? There’s nothing wrong with them per se, but somehow they just didn’t fit the tone of the episode for me.
However, I did love the more earnest scenes. I liked getting to see a glimpse of what Ashildr (and yes, I am going to call her that and not Nightmare or Lady Me or anything else) went through in her 800 years on earth. She seemed so hurt and lonely – it’s no wonder she locked her heart away. But something did keep bothering me (besides the fact that I have difficulties acknowledging Maisie Williams as a grown-up). She obviously fell in love and had people she cared about, then why didn’t she ever use the second chip to create a companion for herself? She clearly didn’t want them to die. Then again, I suppose I would understand not wanting to bestow immortality on another poor soul.

I quite liked the ending and Ashildr becoming the Patron Saint of the Doctor’s Leftovers. It was so eerie to see her in the background of the selfie Clara took.  But I think it was time for an episode of the Doctor travelling without Clara (once again, a premonition from last week that was correct. YAY!). He used to do that more often in the past and it seems the showrunners have learned from their mistakes in Season 8. Uh, and there was a mention of Jack Harkness, that can never be wrong!

Next week looks interesting, picking up with the Zygon-topic first introduced on The Day of the Doctor. But what was your opinion on the Woman Who Lived? Love or Loathe?

17 thoughts on “Doctor Who: The Woman Who Lived

  1. The apocalypse must actually be coming, because this is the second week in a row I find myself agreeing with you. One more and I send out the Four Horsemen.
    I think these episodes were over-hyped. The advertising kept making Maisie Williams out to be this oh-so influential character who will challenge the Doctor, and he ended up challenging her, among other things. These weren’t exactly episodes I would go crazy over, they felt really average. The humor was really out of balance with the serious topics, the villain of the week was underwhelming (I think the Mire coming back for a little revenge would’ve been much more fun) and the second half of the episode felt like it had been recycled from somewhere else, what with the portal opening and Ashildr’s revelations and whatever.
    I think the only place it really shone was when we did the flashbacks into Ashildr’s past. There, we had true emotion. If I were writing this thing, i would’ve used the alien part of the story as a backdrop to sort out Ashildr’s emotions and help her come to the realization that she still cares. Oh, and the Mire too, I’d love to include them.
    All in all, I think The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived are definitely not going to be among the highlights of this series for me. Though I do like Ashildr, and I would like to see her come back for more. There’s plenty you can do with a character like that, and I’d love to see more stories with her and the Doctor.
    And as for the fact that Clara doesn’t appear that much in the story…they’ve had companion-lite stories before, like that one from Season 4 with the tour ship and the monster that possessed that woman. But I didn’t like how they excused her for…what was it? A tae kwan do thing? And then she comes on and is like, “Here’s a selfie, now let’s travel because you’re my best bud!” Of course, I’m an irate fan who really wants that whole loose string with Orson Pink resolved, so maybe I’m a bit biased.

    Liked by 1 person

    • :O Oh my! Agreeing again? I did not expect that, but I am glad in not being the only one who thought that the episodes were over-hyped. Of course you put it much more eloquently than me though.
      I would have liked to have the Mire back as well. The guys from Delta Leonis just really didn’t do it for me. And yes! Seeing Ashildr’s flashbacks were the best parts.
      It seems you just have to be persistent about trying to get a writing job on Doctor Who. With your inclination for spooky stories, I bet you could come up with a great new and frightening monster.
      The Orson Pink thing really bothers you, huh? I have put that aside as one of Moffat’s many unexplained mysteries. I have found that when I think about those things too much, I just get frustrated or mad. Maybe he’ll explain it in 3 seasons or so hahaha
      On another note: Do you think Ashildr showing up in the selfie was kind of foreshadowing Clara’s departure? Her maybe needing to pick up the pieces when she can’t travel with the Doctor anymore? I don’t know why, but I always thought Clara would only leave him if she died though …


  2. This episode was so meh for me. I wish Ashlidr was more prominent and important like she was getting hyped up to be. And that monster? Sorry but what in the name of cookie jars was that? I thought they were doing a beauty and the beast retelling or something. They should of chopped the alien side plot and just explored the more serious themes of the episode. The humour was really odd as well. I DID like that Clara wasn’t in the episode a lot and it made me appreciate her relationship with the Doctor MORE actually because she wasn’t there. The Doctor needs to adventure more alone!

    Nice review though!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Every corner of the Internet seemed to hate the lion monster. I didn’t mind it, though. What’s a “Doctor Who” episode without a ludicrous anthropomorphous monster?!

    I thought there were serious scripting problems with Ashildr. Someone born in the 9th century and living in the 17th should not have been quoting Malcolm Gladwell. And the badly-photoshopped insert of a smirkng Maisie Williams, lurking behind the schoolyard gate at Clara during a selfie, was a hideously clumsy way of showing Ashildr monitoring the Doctor’s “left-overs”… that could have been presented in a much more sinister way, especially as they had plenty of time to stage that scene (which, I assume, was recorded weeks or months after all the Doctor/Ashildr/1651 material).

    But, small complaints. I enjoyed the episode, and think each two-parter this season has been better than the one before.


    • I don’t hate Leandro, but he was pretty much pointless and completely interchangeable.
      I don’t know … I liked the 2-parters that came before better. Ashildr was just a huge disappointment to me.


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