Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Arya gonna go my way?

I'm pretty sceptical about this rumour of Maisie Williams as the next Doctor Who companion. Apart from the minor detail that she's got other filming commitments for the foreseeable, most of the time all this speculation gets drummed up and then the new companion is a completely new character. (Jenna Coleman had already been announced as Amy's replacement when Clara made her surprise early appearance.)

"The Girl Who Died" / "The Woman Who Lived" by Jamie Mathieson, Steven Moffat and Catherine Tregenna, directed by Ed Bazalgette. Spoilers after the cut.

The show itself does seem to be pushing Ashildr as a possible companion, although I would have said more of a recurring guest star along the lines of River Song. In fact "The Woman Who Lived" particularly pushes Ashildr as a companion by having Clara stay out of the story completely, but it then puts the kibosh on the idea of her becoming a fixture in the TARDIS by giving her a different, specific role to play. Maisie Williams is good enough in the episodes (although in fairness the character's not a million miles from Arya Stark so it's hard to know how good an actress she'll turn out to be) that she'll be a welcome addition to the recurring cast.

And this is a different take on the series' theme of two-parters, not so much a two-part story as a single story with its sequel presented straight afterwards. The individual stories themselves aren't classics (and the second one in particular not only features a fire-breathing Cowardly Lion but also Rufus Hound, so best not dwelt on too much to be honest,) but the overall theme of the Doctor being irresponsible with his god-like powers is an interesting one. A bit more Seventh Doctor, manipulative and dismissive of the consequences, rather than last year's outright nastiness - again, Capaldi's Doctor has a much more natural balance of fun and darkness this year.

The Doctor's obviously never read a vampire novel though if he didn't think that an immortal human might come to resent him for his "gift." I liked the idea that Ashildr's forgotten most of her long life because the human brain's not designed to remember centuries' worth of lifetime, a nice new twist on a common story (like I say, usually found in vampire novels.) Not the best pairing of this series so far but still better than much of last year's output.

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