It’s episode 5 already and I have to say it’s the one I’ve been waiting for ever since the teaser trailer, well, teased!
HERE BE SPOILERS
We meet the Doctor and Clara at the climax of another adventure, she’s floating around in space, her brain about to be sucked out by something. The Doctor is pushing a lot of buttons and pulling some levers, and lo and behold, the day is saved. Only for the two to emerge from the Tardis and be captured by historically inaccurate Vikings.
As they enter the Viking village the Doctor recognises Ashildir, the amazing Maisie Williams, he knows that they haven’t met before, but something feels familiar… Suddenly, a vision of Odin, cough cough, appears in they sky, and a group of armoured aliens appear to take the strongest of the village to “Valhalla”, not only do they seize the warrior men, but Clara and Ashildir as well. One thing leads to another, Clara, in a way that echoes the reckless Eleventh Doctor, attempts to convince the Mire to leave, only to be interrupted by Ashildir, who declares war on the deadliest army in the galaxy in a fit of rage.
The Doctor doesn’t even have a whiff of a plan, he has one day-ish, to turn a bunch of farmers and fisherman into an army. The training sequences are funny, until they’re not. The fumbling fools are played for laughs, of course, right up until the reality of the situation sets in. There are moments that could have easily been mockable, The Doctor’s ability to speak baby, for example. However, this is played in a different light, and instead we are given something so raw and gut-wrenching, that I tip my hat to the writer, Jamie Mathieson, and to Capaldi’s performance.
Only in the dark of night, pacing and pondering, does the Doctor finally come up with a plan, a plan requiring a blacksmith, a story teller and something “rubbish.” The plan succeeds, but at the cost of Ashildir’s life. The Timelord decides to reprogram a Mire medical chip and use that to “repair” Ashildir, a consequence of which is, that it will continue to repair her, and she may be functionally immortal. At this point we are left with an unconventional cliffhanger, knowing only that they shall cross paths again, very soon….
I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed that Maisie didn’t turn out to be Susan, I really really want Susan to return, come on Moffat! It may be too soon to tell, but maybe, just maybe, Ashildir is in fact, the Minister for War!
Answer Me These Questions Three
- What will the Doctor do now that his Sonic sunglasses are broken?
- Who else have the Mire been harvesting?
- When will Susan return, WHEN?
Mathieson managed to layer each of the secondary characters in this episode. Nearly every villager, has a spectrum of emotions, usually these types of characters as of late, are just given an emotion and they run with it, grumpy smurf is grumpy, idiot smurf is an idiot, etc, etc. Here though, each character has such depth, that you will them to survive. Clara, always self assure and headstrong, is even more so in this episode, but I can’t help but feel the wedge growing between the Doctor and his companion, as she increasingly adopts more of his ways. Capaldi though, he has moved on from playing the Doctor, to being the Doctor in this episode, he plays the comic moments perfectly, and then subtly breaks your heart. This has been my favourite episode of the series so far and I am extremely excited for the next one!