Doctor Who: The Woman Who Lived review

Posted on Dec 5, 2015


The storyline

The Woman Who Lived by Stuart Manning

The Woman Who Lived by Stuart Manning

In this second part to the previous episode it is now 1652 and a Highwayman called the Knighmare holds up a carriage when suddenly the Doctor appears to ruin it. When the Highwayman reveals himself to be none other than Ashildr, the one the Doctor saved eight hundred years previously in a small Viking village and who is now calling herself Lady Me. She tells the Doctor of her history, the battles she fought in, her escapades. She asks the Doctor to take her with him. She leaves him at her home to go on an errand and he reads her diaries in her absence which saddens his heart. He wants to rescue her unaware she has an ulterior motive and an alien accomplice.

They break into a house to steal something that they both need and the Doctor is aware of something close by watching them. They find the alien artefact and make their escape only to be confronted by cumbersome Highwaymen on the road, one of which is called Sam Smith the Quick who is anything but.

When they arrive at her home she begs him again to take her with him and he denies her her wish, suspecting something.

A lion-like man named Leandro who crashed to earth shows himself with the desire for the amulet they recovered from the house. They need a life for it to work and both are willing to take one in order for it to do so. She tells the Doctor that he was the cause of her desperation and for the terrible things she has done, for her dark heart. The Doctor is captured, tied up as Ashildr and her would be rescuer, the lion man rush to see Sam Swift hang but the Doctor seemingly gets there on time only for Ashildr’s plan to fall apart for her cohort has lied to her and is planning an invasion of earth. The invasion is reversed and Sam Swift is saved thanks to a heroic Ashildr.

Their parting words are about friendship and enemies and the fine line between them.

Ashildr then appears in a picture on Clara’s phone at the end at her school and she says to him that she is not going anywhere. He looks at her sadly. Cue end titles…

The review

This episode was strong, full of sad rhetoric and loss between two immortals who are alone with no-one to talk to who could understand their lives and what they have lost. It also had the usual mix of funny comedic moments to lift the sad parts but it was the story of loneliness and longing that really stood out.

Once again the monsters in this episode were just window dressing for the true monster was being created before our eyes in the character of Ashildr and the fight between good and evil within the human soul.

Maisie Williams and Peter Capaldi worked well together here and you get the feeling that these two characters could be dancing the same fight for a long time yet but we shall see what the writers have in store for them both soon enough.

Once again, it was another well written and directed episode and this series gets stronger every week. It bodes well for the future of Doctor Who which has been given a five year extension by the BBC.

If you are interested in the above poster or any of the brilliant work done by Stuart Manning you can buy his prints and he does commissions too. You can view his work here and buy them here.

The Cast

Peter Capaldi – Twelfth Doctor
Jenna Coleman – Clara Oswald

Maisie Williams – Me
Rufus Hound – Sam Swift
Elisabeth Hopper – Lucie Fanshawe
John Voce – Mr Fanshaw
Struan Rodger – Clayton
Gruffudd Glyn – Pikeman Lloyd Llywelyn
Reuben Johnson – Pikeman William Stout
Ariyon Bakare – Leandro
Gareth Berliner – Coachman
Daniel Fearn – Crowd 1
Karen Seacombe – Crowd 2
John Hales – Hangman
Will Brown – Voice of The Knightmare


Writer – Catherine Tregenna
Director – Ed Bazalgette