Summary 9×05: Twelve and Clara meet the Vikings. When the Mire attack, the Doctor has to choose between making ripples or making tidal waves. Head for higher ground, Twelve will certainly chose the latter.
Where is Capt. Jack Harkness when you need him?
The Doctor has another case of immortality on his hands, and this time he has no one to blame but himself. Twelve took a step towards becoming his old self in “The Girl Who Died,” but as always, saving everyone comes at a cost. Maisie William’s Ashildr paid with her precious mortality.
As it turns out, living forever isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The Doctor, one of the foremost authorities on such matters, can testify to the loneliness and endless life can bring. But were getting ahead of ourselves – we have a tale of Vikings, Mire, and untimely death yet to tell.
The episode opens with Clara alone, floating in deep space. Her oxygen is quickly running out, and what’s worse, there’s a creepy crawly hiding in her space suit. The Doctor, meanwhile, is leading some baddies on a merry chase across the universe, drawing them away from a poor innocent civilization. Not to worry, however. Twelve quickly materializes the TARDIS around his wayward companion, putting her safe and sound inside the control room.
All is well, or so Twelve would like to think. Clara, on the other hand, isn’t particularly pleased with how their last mission played out. In recent years, the Doctor has played fast and loose with the laws of Time. Now, in his old age, Twelve wants to go back to basics – make ripples, not tidal waves.
And that’s the hard line stance the Time Lord will hold when Vikings, who, by the way, were not at all impressed by the Doc’s sonic sunglasses (RIP), abduct him and Clara. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on who you are), chaos is coming for the Viking village. It’s always good to have Team TARDIS on hand when lives hang in the balance.
Odin appears in the sky. Yes, that Odin, missing eye and all. He’s looking for the strongest and bravest, the greatest warriors to come dine with him in Valhalla. Of course, every one is willing to go; after all, this is what every accomplished Viking dreams of. But suddenly, Norse mythology takes an extraterrestrial twist. Odin is really the leader of the Mire, the most warlike race in the galaxy. Those warriors he beams up to his ship are quickly executed and distilled into a testosterone filled liquid that False Odin drinks to become stronger.
Gross. And sexist. There are some kickass warriors whose estrogen outweighs their testosterone by far, and the Mire has unwittingly picked up two of them. Intrigued by Clara’s spacesuit and the young Ashildr’s new toy (half a pair of sonic sunglasses), False Odin spared their lives in order to do a little recon. After all, they weren’t expecting to encounter anyone who could possibly fight back.
Clara is well aware of this, and almost has the Mire on the run when Ashildr find her voice. She is a Viking. She will NOT let these aliens kill her friends and disappear into the ether. No, Ashildr has a different, not particularly well though out plan. The youngster declares war on the Mire – the reminder of her settlement vs. the toothy invaders in 24 hours time. And zap – the duo is back on Earth with no plan on how to survive.
Twelve, for his part, wants to leave the village to clean up their own mess. It’s tidal waves vs. ripples once more. If this 10th century backwater town defeats the Mire, it could put Earth on the galactic map in a way they could spell disaster for humanity. You don’t take down the universes most feared army and not call attention to yourself.
One village for Earth’s anonymity, it’s an easy choice for the Time Lord.
Clara, however, isn’t having it. Nor is a crying baby. Considering the good Doctor can speak infant (and horse), Twelve knows just how scared that little life is. He doesn’t have a plan (yet), but he is ready to fight.
The Vikings, on the other hand, are not. The Mire left behind the old, the clumsy, and the homophobic – not exactly the fiercest competition. It’s like a Monty Python film out there. But, between Ashildr’s penchant for story telling and the baby’s mention of “fire in the water,” Twelve manages to cobble together a plan.
Defeat by humiliation and trickery, and on camera to boot. Using a cache of electric eels, Twelve takes down several of the Mire, snagging one of their helmets in the process. The Doc hooks up Ashlidr and her creative mind to the stolen headgear, altering the attacker’s perception of reality. The result – a video of the terrifying warriors freaking out at what they think is a giant sea serpent when, in all reality, it’s really just the figurehead of an unused boat.
If the Mire don’t flee immediately, Twelve will upload their hilarious defeat to the galaxy’s version of YouTube. It’s not hard to imagine which choice False Odin took.
The Viking’s victory celebration is quickly marred by tragedy, however. Ashlidr, the great savior, is dead. Used up like a battery while hooked up to the helmet, the little Viking suffered heart failure.
Not if Twelve has anything to say about it. He suddenly remembers why he has his current visage. It’s to remind him of the mercy Ten showed way back in season 4 when he saved Caecilius at Pompeii. It’s to remind the Doctor that he exists to save people (although his name alone should have been enough). Ashlidr will not die. The Mire’s battlefield medical kits will see to her speedy recovery.
It will also see to her loss of mortality. The nanotech inside the emergency chip will continue to heal her forever. Death is seemingly out of her reach. Not to worry, however. Ashildr won’t have to journey through eternity alone. There is an extra medical chip for her to give to whomever her heart desires.
Despite this, the bright, happy girl will see her smile fade as time ticks by around her. If only Capt. Jack was around to cheer her up, a little squad of immortals, weathering the years together.
So, what does the future hold for the girl who died? Find out when Doctor Who returns this Saturday with “The Woman Who Lived.”