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The Girl Who Died Recap

As Clara drifts off into space, she calls to the Doctor. He's in the TARDIS dealing with an attack by an alien fleet, and assures Clara over the radio that she's next on the list. Something moves inside of Clara's spacesuit, and he warns that she was in the spider mines too long. The Doctor has her describes stars she can see to distract her, and to get a fix on her location. He materializes that TARDIS around Clara and removes her helmet just in time, and stomps on the spider as the Cloister Bell rings. He confirms that he lured the battle fleet away from its victims and drained their weapons, and goes outside to wipe his boot on the grass.

Clara goes out after the Doctor and discovers that they've landed in a forest. She complains that he never tells her the rules of time travel, and the Doctor says that they can make ripples but not waves. Vikings arrive and put swords to their throats, and the Doctor puts on his sonic sunglasses and says that he's not going with them. The leader, Nollarr, takes off the glasses and smashes them, and the Doctor tells Clara that they're going with the Vikings.

Two days later, the Vikings and their prisoners arrive at the village. Everyone gathers to greet them and one girl, Ashildr, runs to greet them. She says that she had a dream they all died and worried that she had made it happen. Meanwhile, the Doctor tells Clara that he has a plan. He notices Ashildr and stares at her in surprise. Clara wonders why he's staring, and the Doctor says that never met Ashildr before in his life but he remembers something from his past, or future.

The Doctor decides to impress the village leader, Nollarr, with his yoyo. He slips his manacles and declares that he's Odin and the yoyo is his sign. Nollarr doesn't believe him, just as Odin appears in the sky above the village. He says that their day of reward has finally come, and their mightiest warriors will feast with him in Valhalla. Armored warriors teleport into the village and the Doctor tells Clara that it's a harvest, not an invasion. The armored warriors, the Mire, shoot some villagers and teleport the stronger ones away. Clara notices that Ashildr has a fragment of the Doctor's sunglasses and runs to her, and tells her to put it on her eye and think the word "open." The Mire spot Ashildr and teleport her and Clara away, and then teleport way themselves.

Clara and Ashildr find themselves in a cell with the other abducted Vikings. Nollarr manages to pry open the door and steps into the hallway beyond. Automatic weaponry fires, disintegrating him, and the cell wall starts pushing the Vikings out into the hallway. Clara grabs Ashildr and they run down the hallway to try and pry open the door at the other end, while the automatic weaponry activates again.

In the village, the remaining Vikings argue over what happened. The Doctor admits that he lied about being Odin, and the Odin in the sky lied as well. He tells the villagers that they got raided and he lost someone who matters to him, and one Viking steps forward and says that he did as well.

Clara wakes Ashildr up and reveals that they're in the bowels of some vast vessel. Pumps are extracting green fluid into vials like the ones on the Mire's armor, and there are weapons and helmets on the floor. Odin steps out, holding the fragment of the sunglasses, and demands an explanation. Clara apologizes for frightening him and points out that she's wearing a spacesuit, and figures that Odin hasn't killed them for fear that he might have started a fight he doesn't want to have. A Mire arrives and gives Odin a vial of the green fluid, and he explains that it's adrenalin and testosterone extracted from the finest warriors before drinking it. Clara dismisses him as a thief and tells Odin to go to another planet. She asks him if he wants a war, and Ashildr says that she does so that they can make Odin pay for what he's done. Odin accepts her challenge and says that he will send ten of his warriors against the best the village has. Ashildr agrees and Odin drops the hologram on his face to show them his joy of battle.

In the village, the Doctor is consulting his 2000 year diary when Clara and Ashildr teleport back. Chuckles embraces Ashildr while the Doctor hugs Clara. Ashildr explains what happened to the warriors, while the Doctor explains that the Mire are one of the deadliest warrior races in the galaxy. They get what they want and go, and the Doctor figures that Clara persuaded them to go. She tells him that the village declared war on the Mire.

Everyone gathers and Clara explains what Odin has planned. Ashildr blames herself, and the Doctor says that it isn't. He points out that they have a whole day to prepare, and tells them to hide for a week. The villagers insist on fighting, and the Doctor points out that Odin took all of their fighters. He confirms that none of them have ever fought, but Chuckles says that they're not cowards. The others agree, just as a baby cries. The Doctor asks if babies die with honor, and translates the baby crying for her mother. He tells the villagers that he applauds their bravery but deplores their stupidity, and warns that they'll have terrifying deaths. Ashildr asks him to stay and help them, but the Doctor tells her that he's told them to run and that's all the help he will give them.

Clara follows the Doctor out and he insists that humanity is in danger, and it's just one village. He warns that if the village defeats the Mire then the aliens will come back and others with them... and everybody dies. The baby continues crying, and the Doctor tells Clara that she's afraid. He translates her saying that it's encountered other worlds now and asking about the fire in the water. The Doctor winces and Clara tells him that he just decided to stay... because the baby stopped crying.

The Doctor gathers the remaining villagers and tries to teach them how to fight. He nicknames them so he doesn't have to waste time remembering their names, and gives them fake swords because they can't be trusted with real ones. Clara and Ashildr watch, and Ashildr realizes that swords won't work against the Mire. Clara assures her that the Doctor will have a plan... eventually.

Once the Vikings have the hang of swordsmanship, the Doctor hands out real swords. Chaos ensues.

That night, the villagers gather for the evening meal but none of them are too happy. The Doctor sits outside and listens to the thunder. He tells Clara that it's the weapon forges of the Mire, making sure that they hear them. Clara asks what the Doctor's real plan is, and he says that he's going to turn them into fighters because of her. Ashildr walks by them and stares at the Doctor as she goes. Clara says that she has a hobby--the Doctor--and he tells her to get a new one. She refuses to run, and the Doctor admits that every time she's in danger, he worries about her. Clara tells him to concentrate on winning, because he always comes up with something at the last minute.

Ashildr is practicing a battle speech against Odin when the Doctor finds her. She explains that she makes up puppets and imagines that the raiding parties win, and the Doctor figures that she hopes she's keeping them safe and will come home. He says that he's there looking for something that he's missing, and Ashildr figures that they'll all be cut down. The Doctor suggests that she go, and Ashildr tells him that there's nowhere else for her. She figures that he considers them all idiots, and insists that she loves them. Ashildr says that she's always been different, with a head full of stories. She won't leave the village because it would be death itself for her. Ashildr's father, who the Doctor nicknames Chuckles, comes in and admits that he can't keep Ashildr safe, and the baby starts crying again. The Doctor looks out and sees one Viking, Lofty, carrying the baby. Ashildr explains that the baby is his child, and he's taking her to the boat house because she likes the fish. The Doctor realizes what the baby means by fire in the water, and runs off to tell Clara that he's found his plan.

The Doctor runs into the boat house as Clara and the others come in. He tells them that they have a lot of work ahead and asks for the blacksmith, and Lofty explains that he's the blacksmith. Clara asks what's going on, and the Doctor says that there's going to be a war the next day... and they're going to win. He assures Ashildr that she'll never have to leave her home, and gestures to the water as the electric eels spark.

Lofty pulls the wiring out of Clara's spacesuit and the Doctor explains that they'll use it to magnify the electrical charge. He tells the Vikings to get him one of the Mire's helmets because it's key to their plan, and Ashildr's "monstrosity" will mop up the rest.

The next day, Odin and his ten warriors arrive. They advance into the longhouse where the villagers are celebrating. The Doctor and Clara dance up, and explain that they're going to have a party instead. Odin says that they fight or die, and the Doctor points out that there isn't a single weapon in the room. Lofty tosses a metal ring suspended from a wire onto a Mire. Chuckles pounds the vat holding the eels, and they spark. The electricity charges along the wire, shocking the Mire, while the Doctor gets the Vikings to cover behind the wooden tables. Chuckles electrifies the anvils suspended from the ceiling, magnifying them and pulling up the Mire's helmets and weapons. They cut the charge and the Doctor grabs a falling helmet, while Clara grabs a gun and tells the unmasked Mire not to move.

Another Mire from outside opens fire and the Vikings run out. The Doctor rigs the helmet and assures Ashildr that she was born for it. He puts the helmet on her and tells her to show them a story the Mire will never forget. Odin and the Mire stare in horror as a giant serpent enters the longhouse. The armored warriors teleport away, and the Doctor tells Ashildr to end the story. The image fades, revealing the giant serpent puppet that Ashildr had built. The villagers supplying the sound effects stop their performance, and the Doctor tells Odin that no one will believe the stories of the brutal sadistic Mire now. Clara has recorded the entire thing on video, If Odin doesn't leave then they'll upload the video the Galactic Hub. Odin warns that they'll meet again, and the Doctor hacks his teleporter and sends him back to his ship.

The Vikings cheer as the Mire's ship departs. Chuckles goes to where Ashildr is sitting with the helmet still on... and realizes that his daughter is dead. The Doctor confirms that she's dead, apologizes, and runs out. Clara finds him in the boathouse, and he admits that he plugged her into the machine and used her up like a battery. The Doctor says that he's sick of losing--not the war, but people. One day he'll lose Clara, and then he'll keep traveling in the hopes that he can forget. Clara assures him he did his best, but the Doctor says that he can do anything. However, he's not supposed to for fear of changing history. Looking at the reflection of his face in the water, the Doctor realizes that he chose it because it was the face of a Roman merchant, Lucius Caecilius, that he saved from the eruption of Pompeii. It was intended to hold him to the mark.

The Doctor runs back to Ashildr's body pulls out a medical chip from the Mire helmet. He reprograms it and places it on Ashildr's forehead, and it merges into her skin. The Doctor says that it will repair her and keep repairing her, and tells Ashildr to wake up because her story isn't over yet. Chuckles tells his daughter that if they lose her then there will be nothing left of the village. Ashildr comes back to life and the Doctor immediately says that they need a longboat to take them back to the TARDIS. When Chuckles says that Ashildr will want to see them, the Doctor says that she'll see him often enough and tosses Chuckles another medical chip for whoever Ashildr wants. Ashildr thanks the Doctor, and he tells her not to thank him... yet.

Back at the TARDIS, Clara wonders why the Doctor's brooding. He tells her that the medical chip won't stop fixing Ashildr... and she has lost the ability to die. Barring accidents, Ashildr may be functionally immortal. He gave her the second chip so that she wouldn't live forever alone. The Doctor wonders if he's made a terrible mistake, but figures that time will tell. Clara says that Ashildr deserved it, and the Doctor agrees. However, he warns that Ashildr isn't completely human anymore, and now she's a hybrid.

Ashildr stands on the shore and looks out at the ocean... and eternity.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 18, 2015

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