The story that centred on Ashildr (Maisie Williams) last week continues this week with The Woman Who Lived. Written by Catherine Tregenna this episode debuted on 24 October, 2015.
Travelling on his own for a while The Doctor (Capaldi) arrives in 17th century London when he encounters the repercussions of his compassionate actions in the previous episode, by saving Ashildr’s life and making her an immortal.
Thriving as a highwayman known as the Knightmare, Ashildr has lost all hope, and is in despair over her continuing life. When she encounters the Time Lord he must face the consequences of his action and how they affect the people he encounters.
This episode wavers between funny in that Doctor Who way, and melancholy, and it does it well.
As we explore Ashildr’s life, we learn a great deal about her, and how she remembers the events in her life, including her name. But she may also have another plan on the go, one that may endanger the Doctor.
Ashildr wants to travel with the Doctor, or at least someone who will get her off the planet and away from humanity. She’s tired of things.
But her plan involving an ancient alien artefact is simply a small part of another’s plan, that will see the immortal betrayed and forced to make a powerful choice as she realises she still does care about humanity and herself.
It’s a good episode, delving into the loneliness that must have affected Ashildr, and makes a nice companion piece to the lighter episode that preceded it.
The episode ends uneasily when Clara (Jenna Coleman) shares a picture with the Doctor, and there in the background is Ashildr… Will she be back?
The Zygon Invasion was written by Peter Harness and first aired on 31 October, 2015. It sees the return of Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) despite her apparent death at the hands of Missy (Michelle Gomez). But with a Zygon version of her still wandering around, we may never know if the human or a Zygon version of her was killed.
This one plays like a thriller laced with paranoia, it seems the Doctor made a deal with a members of the Zygon race a while ago… you remember when… and some of them having been living as humans amongst us ever since.
But now, something is happening, humans and Zygons are both ending up dead, Osgood impossibly makes a reappearance, and there are strange pods beneath the surface of London.
Something has precipitated a disruption of the treaty the Doctor(s) negotiated and lives are being lost on both sides, and UNIT troops and personnel are some of the first targets.
The story is relevant as it deals with terrorism, radicalism amongst the youth, and the consequences of the actions.
The episode ends on an incredible cliffhanger involving Clara and we’ll have to wait a whole week to see how it resolves in The Zygon Inversion (which also includes one of the Doctor’s best speeches!).