Any whovian knows that Peter Capaldi appeared in the Who Universe at least twice before becoming the Doctor: the episode Fire of Pompeii (series 4, episode 2) and an entire season of Torchwood. And we all know that Steven Moffat, one of the executive producers, promised that the issue will be solved “sometime in the future”.
That means this episode. Or, at least, an explanation is provided to match the events in this episode, to make the Doctor to keep the way he has chosen for himself: saving people. In Fire of Pompeii Dona implore him to save at least somebody if he could not save the entire town, and now he loses somebody saving a viking village from a very advanced technological civilization raiding for their chemical resources (adrenaline and testosterone from the local elite warriors).
But let’s return to the current events: Clara is lost in space, in clear and immediate danger, but the Doctor saves her life in the last moment. The break they are during, some kind of retreat, brings them near some vikings that take them prisoners and bring them to their village.
A young viking girl Ashildr, makes a great impression to the Doctor (and you will discover the reason why, alone). Clara and the same girl are kidnapped by Mire, the most deadliest mercenary in the galaxy during a raid again the vikings. The only thing that keeps both of them alive, for the moment, is the technology that they are wearing, something that could not have existed in a viking village. But Ashildr provoke them to war, so the Doctor and Clara have to find a solution to assure their survival without creating to many ripples in time.
And they, finally, succeed in doing that, in one short period of time: just a day. That’s a good thing considering that in the beginning the Doctor react very not like himself, arming and training some farmers that did not want to run away, even they did not stand a chance against the elite warriors of Mire.
The success is not complete, because Ashildr is lost, and the Doctor have to find some very good reasons to bring her back. And he does, so well that Maisie Williams (Ashildr) will be in the next week episode.
The episode is interesting, with the Doctor trying to keep the imposed attitude. There were very few times he was closer to a normal ordinary human being that tries to keep a high standard, with the normal, but only temporary, hesitations and misguidance.
Directed by Edward Bazalgette (as Ed Bazalgette), written by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat. Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald), Maisie Williams (Ashildr), David Schofield (Odin), Simon Lipkin (Nollarr), Ian Conningham (Chuckles), Tom Stourton (Lofty), Alastair Parker (Limpy), Murray McArthur (Hasten), Barnaby Kay (Heidi).
Next time on Doctor Who, The Woman Who Lived, the sixth episode of Series 9, written by Catherine Tregenna, premieres Saturday 24 October on BBC One, 8.20pm to 9.10pm.
England, 1651. The deadly Highwayman ‘The Nightmare’ and his sidekick stalk the dark streets of London. But when they find loot that’s not of this world, they come face to face with the Doctor. Who is the Nightmare in league with? And can the Doctor avoid the hangman’s noose and protect Earth from a devilish betrayal?