Doctor Who “The Girl Who Died” Review (Season 9 Episode 5)

Doctor Who "The Girl Who Died" Season 9 Episode 5 (3)

Well, apparently my suspicions about past storylines coming into play were just a single story off! Yes, my musings about “The Fires of Pompeii” from last week more appropriately played into “The Girl Who Died,” the strongest episode yet for this season of Doctor Who.

From the start, this was a fun episode, one that gave us a quick peek at the end of another one of the Doctor and Clara’s adventures. I always enjoy these brief glimpses, as they help to suggest that what we see each week are just glimpses into their world. It’s even better that this adventure played into our main story this week, with Clara using her spacesuit as a way to intimidate the Mire. On another level, while we wouldn’t have a show without conflict, it was nice that Clara almost got the Mire to leave without a fight.

Instead, Ashildr’s rage at the death of her countrymen led her to challenge the Mire to a fight. It was a fight that not even the Doctor saw them as capable of winning, nor did he think they should. This is where we got his first mentions of ripples in time, the risk that bloodying the nose of a galactic level threat could be to the Earth. The Doctor being the Doctor, he had the last-minute revelation Clara expected of him, realizing that they could embarrass the Mire away. It was a creative, goofy solution to the problem, and it had the benefit of letting this episode function as a standalone story in a season of two-parter.

That said, this is still a two-parter, and the last act was all about exploring the weight of a single death on the Doctor’s soul. At this point, every death is a reminder of the hundreds others he’s lost over the years. Here is where we got those callbacks to “The Fires of Pompeii,” and while there’s still room to further develop this idea, it’s good to see that this is indeed one of the main focuses of the season. And though the way Ashildr was brought back to life felt a bit easy, I’m excited to see where we find her in next week’s continuation of this story.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!