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With a stellar guest-star performance by Maisie Williams, "The Girl Who Died" sets thrillingly high stakes, while still maintaining the playful tone we've come to expect from Peter Capaldi's incarnation of Doctor Who.
"The Girl Who Died" is the show doing historical episodes as they're meant to be done. It's like "Fires of Pompeii," "Robin of Sherwood" and classic Third Doctor adventure "The Time Warrior" all mixed into one -- literally -- electrifying episode.
Whoo-ee, that was some clever storytelling. Plus: Vikings!
Tonight's much-anticipated "Doctor Who," perhaps my favorite episode so far this season, gives us our first glimpse of Arya Stark, well "Game of Thrones" actress Maisie Williams anyway, in the Whoniverse.
New director Ed Bazalgette proves adept at both keeping the light-hearted antics bubbling along, and provides space for Capaldi and Coleman to nail the serious moments.
Yep, I might as well say it: "The Girl Who Died" is a damn triumph.
Fresh out of their latest space adventure, the Doctor and Clara make a pit stop in the age of the Vikings, who didn't ask for company.
Maybe the BBC wanted to reuse some costumes from Merlin, or something?
There's not a single wasted minute in this episode, which manages to go through a bunch of storytelling scenarios in rapid succession while still taking enough time with each of them to make you feel something potent.
Maisie Williams is, of course, terrific. If her character hadn't worked, the episode would have fallen apart, but Ashildr is hugely likeable. She's fierce, but not one-dimensionally angry, brave but not unafraid.
Understanding the bigger picture is simply thrilling. It's incredible when other seasons and Doctors connect this way.
The Viking girl's story plays nicely into the bigger thematic arc of this season as well, as the Doctor and Clara contemplate the constraints of being a Time Lord... of, as he puts it, being able to do anything but not being allowed to.
What makes the episode interesting isn't that the Doctor figures out a way to snatch a young girl from death's icy hands. Rather it is the larger, unseen consequence of him doing so and, possibly more intriguing, the reason behind the Doctor's action.