Yes, the Doctor saves the Earth one more time (from an alien invasion), and that’s something already ordinary. He’s done it too many times not to expect of this from him, and an episode that would have only this would be almost boring. Almost. This episode is boring only for a few moments, when the action is slow and a little childish, or when it’s hinting to Robin Hood duel in the woods (from any movie about Robin Hood you can think about in this very moment, not only the episode from last season), but you can pass with no problems of these moments.
Especially because the episode The woman who lived deals with two important subjects for the entire Doctor Who show and, why not?, the future of the Doctor.
- everyone knows the Doctor is always running, right? He saves someone, he destroys some things, he saves a planet (usually the Earth), he looses some men doing that, and he moves on. He never sets to some place long enough to set some roots there. The only times (at least in the last seasons) when he was close enough to that was the refuge for an undetermined time (we only know that he was alone “for a long time”) between the clouds where he hid after Amy and Rory’s dissapearance, and the time he spend on Trenzalore, bat then he did not have too many choices. Only a few times, too few!, he had to deal with what he leaves behind and the effects of his actions as intense as this episode.
- at the end of the previous episode the Doctor says something you should remember: immortality does not mean “living forever”, it means “everyone dies around you”. It’s a different perspective that is the center of the action in this episode, you deal with it very intense: what happens with a person that lose often the beloved ones (friend, lovers, children)? Does that person remains normal (in the common sense of the word: a people you deal with, you are friend with and you can do something together) or he / she retreats in a personal world, distinct of the world we all share, and from he / she wants to escape?
Tha’s why this episode is a true continuation of previous episode. You will have to find out for yourselves the details (if you haven’t already found them): the Doctor made some mistakes, Ashildr made also some mistakes, and the second medical device (made by the Mire, reprogrammed by the Time Lord to repair humans, its secondary effect is immortality) is merged with the most trivial and unimportant human being in the world. A man who did nothing special, but who loves to live and, more, to remind Ashildr how precious is the human life. The conclusion will be understood only in the end of the episode, with Clara’s appearance (she was absent most of the episode) and the barely noticed appearance in the background of a selfie.
Directed by Edward Bazalgette (as Ed Bazalgette), written by Catherine Tregenna. Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald), Maisie Williams (Ashildr), Rufus Hound (Sam Swift), Gareth Berliner (Coachman), Elisabeth Hopper (Lucie Fanshawe), John Voce (Mr. Fanshawe), Struan Rodger (Clayton), Gruffudd Glyn (Pikeman Lloyd Llewelyn), Reuben Johnson (Pikeman William Stout), Ariyon Bakare (Leandro), Daniel Fearn (Crowd 1), Karen Seacombe (Crowd 2), John Hales (Hangman).
Next time on Doctor Who: The Zygon Invasion, the seventh episode of series 9, written by Peter Harness.
The Zygons, a race of shapeshifting aliens, have been living in secret among us on Earth, unknown and unseen — until now! When Osgood is kidnapped by a rogue gang of Zygons, the Doctor, Clara and UNIT must scatter across the world in a bid to set her free. But will they reach her in time, and can they stop an uprising before it’s too late?
It premieres Saturday 31 October on BBC One, 8.15pm to 9.05pm.