Series 35, Episode 6
The Woman Who Lived.
I am rapidly losing patience with this series, I swear to god. After the absolutely terrible historical episode with Maisie Williams last week, we come back to the show this week for a ... terrible ... historical episode ... with Maisie Williams? But, you see, this episode brings something else to a table: The 'the Doctor ruined my life by saving it' plotline that Moffat absolutely adores and that, one imagines, everybody else hates. Also, this episode has an angry lion man, so that's - a thing. I guess.
Ugh, someone save me from writing this review. I will pay you. I will literally pay you real, hard cash to write this review for me and also to shoot me in the face for having made the decision to do this series as an ongoing.
In this week's episode, the Doctor shows up in Georgian times, where Ashildr (now going by the name 'Me', because that won't get confusing) is now an infamous highwayman, robbing with the help of her ominous, glowy-eyed lion friend. When the Doctor interrupts a heist, the two end up teaming up to find an alien device that has found its way to this time, and the Doctor sees how immortality has changed Ashildr for the blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
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I'm sorry, I am, if I seem to be not invested in this episode, it's only due to the fact that I'm ninety-nine percent certain that I've seen every single constituent element of it in other, better episodes of Doctor Who.
Where did Maisie William's acting ability go, incidentally? Did she leave it on the set of Game of Thrones, or is she just not bringing her A-game because she realises that Moffat has cast her not for her or her acting (which is usually really good!) but out of a pathetic, cloying need to pander to the fanbases of other shows? I don't say that lightly, but when you consider that the very first shot we ever saw of this series was of her, that the very first news we got was her inclusion, and that two terribly written episodes have been very hastily constructed around her in a way that feels awkward and forced, it's really the only conclusion to come to.
Williams' acting is certainly not the worst part of this episode, but I think I'd struggle to tell you what the worst element of it even could be, it is that uniformly bad. The tired, rehashed plot that winds its way to an obvious and boring conclusion without ever bothering to create any real sense of tension, perhaps. The fact that the entire emotional weight of the episode is predicated on you knowing and caring about a character who got maybe twenty-five minutes of screentime at all ever on the entirety of the show. The bad, no-good, terrible comedy. The unconvincing villain who combines all the worst elements of campy BBC rubber-suitery with all of Moffat-era Who's tendency to take itself too seriously. Capaldi apparently forgetting that he is a seasoned, veteran actor, and instead mugging and scenery-chewing and sighing his way through every shot.
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Take your pick. It's really a judgement call as to which part of the episode you want to hate the most, I myself cannot decide.
Usually this would be the point where I try and drum up a few positives, usually because nothing is all bad, so - it provided a lovely contrast to the shows before and after it on BBC One, since those were both enjoyable? The sets in this episode, scavenged from other BBC shows, were lovely, many props to the set designers of those shows? At one point, Ashildr put on a very nice dress? There isn't anything positive I can really say about this episode, as it was basically just forty-five minutes of me suffering, set to a Murray Gold soundtrack.
|Blah blah blah blah.|
Next week, we apparently have the Zygons showing up, and given how badly Moffat and his merry crew of incompetents bungled them the last time he used them, I do not have especially high hopes for that episode. I really wish I did, I don't actually enjoy having to write negative reviews, but these past two or three weeks haven't left me with a tremendous amount of choice in the matter.
Now, please excuse me while I go and scream for literally hours. Did you know I had to rewatch this episode for this review? I had to rewatch this episode for this review. I mean, can you imagine.