WARNING: This review contains spoilers
The two-part story of Ashildr’s immortality is now finished, but I’m sure her story is far from over. ‘The Woman Who Lived’ was much more interesting than its predecessor. After all, Doctor Who is at its best when it tackles the matters of life, time and immortality. Did the Doctor make the right choice?
From the ending of ‘The Girl Who Died‘, it was unclear whether the decision of reliving Ashildr and granting her immortality was a good decision. Even the Doctor himself suggested how immortality is not so ideal (‘Immortality is everybody else dying’). It is because of this that the Doctor feels in some way responsible not only for what he did to Ashildr, but also for leaving her alone all this time.
If you ask anyone whether they would like to live forever, it’s very likely that they will tell you no way. The idea of dying scares us, but the idea of being eternal is far worse: the fear of constantly losing everyone important to you, the anxiety of never being able to rest in peace… The first few minutes of the episode in which the Doctor and ‘Me’ had a cozy conversation about the passing of time and someone’s identity through history exemplified this. To me, this was the highlight of the episode. Ashildr is, in a way, a mirror for the Doctor. She is someone wise and experienced enough to be able to have a deep conversation with the Doctor. There is one difference about their situations, though: she is not a time lady, but a human. Time and memories affect them differently.
“You didn’t save my life, you trapped me inside it”
We didn’t see Clara in this episode but I didnd’t really miss her this time. I believe this was Ashildr’s episode to shine and Clara would have only disturbed her relationship with the Doctor. She wasn’t forgotten, though. Ashildr did mention her: ‘How many have you lost? How many Claras?’. Aaah… the eternal discussion on the Doctor losing his companions. That death flag over Clara’s head at the end didn’t help much either: “I’m not going anywhere!”. Yeaah… right.
I enjoyed ‘The Woman Who Lived’ way more than last week’s episode. This episode had more talking in it than just action. The main conflict of the episode wasn’t even that interesting and it only served to showcase once again Ashildr’s character development and her experience with immortality. The only complain that I have is that perhaps this plot would have worked better in a future episode with her character coming back, instead of appearing in two episodes in a row, if only for the sake of being able to say “woah, time has gone by and she’s still out there!”.
PS 1: Nice Captain Jack Harkness reference!
PS 2: Osgood next week!