It may shock you all, but this week I do not have a ton of smart-assiness or “Moffat sucks!” thoughts. Though what I did realize was how much I don’t miss Clara when she’s not around. Even weirder, I think I realized she’s a lot more interesting when we actually do see her personal life – not that I really want to start that again.
This week, instead, we revisit Ashildr (Maisie Williams), who is now in England in the guise of a highwayman, having tired of what immortality can show her in an era of limited travel. The least interesting part of all this is hearing the de rigeur sci-fi stuff about how tragic it is to not die; the most interesting is that in confronts the Doctor with someone who’s more of his equal than usual. It then proceeds to tell us why she won’t be his companion – immortals, basically, are too jaded. Though even if it hadn’t already been confirmed she’ll be back, I’d have bet on it anyway.
Then a ThunderCat shows up to open the portal to Third Earth, or something. I get why they had to have him – the other immortality device had to pay off somehow. But we got so close here to having a historical episode without new aliens in the mix. Okay, maybe not super-close. But at least this time the aliens weren’t the main point.
Continuity porn = aces. I’m sure most of you liked the Captain Jack name-drop, but for me, the Terileptil reference was the best. I remember reading the novelization of that episode, knowing that “Pudding Lane” meant something significant, and having neither of my parents know what it referred to (my father being American, my mother being English but never having had a good history teacher).
Also, #AllHighwaymanLivesMatter. Though having the one be, essentially, a stand-up comic felt anachronistic. Unless we somehow reveal that he is living his newfound immortality in reverse.
The ending suggests that Ashildr, also known as “Me,” may be the season’s main antagonist by the end of it all. I’d rather see her be the next companion, despite the Doctor ruling it out, just because their conflict is fun and Clara is too down-for-whatever these days. Williams’ portrayal of someone who has shut off her emotions because of trauma rings very true, though the flashback to her in the Hundred Years War costume looked really silly. Then they showed empty cribs and everyone was sad.
Dumbest moment in the episode: the Doctor just letting that first coach drive away before he’s opened the chest in the back that he totally had time to open. A necessary contrivance, perhaps, but an overly obvious one.
Next week, the Zygons come back. Now can you dig them…SUCKERS????