It is strange to have two distinctly different writers working on each part of a two-part story. Though it may not a straight-forward two-parter as seen previously, it is fantastic to see what comes of Ashildr following her being made immortal. We are about 800 years ahead of the time where Ashildr was a Viking, and is now a highwayman known as The Knightmare! It is 1651, and The Doctor inadvertently meets The Girl Who Died back in that village, only this time she seems to have very little memory of that time. As her brain could not hold everything she sees, Ashildr (or should that be Me!) has been keeping a huge collection of diaries to remind herself of her past. The Doctor sees the mistake he made in not being there for Ashildr as she went through so much tragedy and death over the last 800 years. He looks to help her and stop her from becoming the very thing he has feared to become.
When we find Ashildr talking with about using the Time Lord in her plans with Leandro, we realise that The Doctor may be able to pay the ultimate price for the person whose life he saved all them years ago. Ashildr isn’t evil, we know that. But, she has been through so much in her life which she now finds hard to tell what she should do. While looking for a certain treasure, The Doctor and Ashildr come across Sam Swift The Quick, an outlaw who has a pendent for jokes and is probably one of the best guest stars of the series so far. We eventually see Sam again, though he is then seen fighting for his life by telling a number of jokes, spinning lines and even getting in one good innuendo (who thought ‘well hung’ would make it into Doctor Who?). The overall threat of the episode is over very quickly and seems almost unnecessary, but it does also get to fill one of the gaps left from last week’s ‘The Girl Who Died’. Also, are we already getting to see what life will be like without Clara by the side of The Doctor? And will anyone actually like the sonic sunglasses?
Catherine Tregenna makes a superb script come to life; I even enjoy the snappy one-liners from Rufus Hound as he plays Sam Swift, another outlaw who actually spends more time shouting out jokes than actually taking any action. Rufus is perfectly complimented in this episode as the serious tones of immortality and death are given a release by the comedic tones. Also, as much as I thought Leandro looked like a great villain, we really don’t get to learn much about him either. But, the references to past Who and even the Torchwood nod was very welcome. It is not everyday that The Doctor becomes a sidekick either, and who better to lead him than arse-kicker Maisie Williams? Also, top marks once again to Peter Capaldi. I said I think he is going on to be the best Doctor in the new Who era and I stand by that, he is becoming rather funny and also knows how to pull off serious and joyous with very little effort. Another strong episode, though I felt a bit disappointed with the lion-man-thing and hoped for Clara to not just be a cameo, but I certainly enjoyed ‘The Woman Who Lived’ a lot and still no dip in quality. BRING ON THE ZYGONS!
Final rating: 9/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove