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The Woman Who Lived Recap

A carriage drives on a road in 1651 England at night. A masked highwayman rides out in front of them, and the driver pulls to a halt. He warns Lord and Lady Lucie Fanshawe that he's heard of the Knightmare, and advises them to hand over their money. The lord refuses to hand over his money to a lone highwayman, and the Knightmare says that he isn't alone as something growls in the forest and lights shine on the carriage.

Nearby, the Doctor emerges from the TARDIS and scans the area with a device.

The Knightmare half-seriously says that he's Satan's sidekick and the occupants hand over their money. He orders the lady to hand over an amulet, just as the Doctor crawls into the carriage from the other side. He says that he's just passing through and the Knightmare threatens to shoot him if he doesn't step aside. The Doctor apologizes for not listening and explains that Clara is busy and didn't come with him. The tracking device leads him to a trunk on the back of the carriage, and the Knightmare orders him to move away. The carriage driver takes advantage of the opportunity to drive off, and the Knightmare addresses the Doctor by name... in a female voice. She removes her mask and reveals that she's Ashildr, the girl that he made immortal.

Ashildr says that she has never forgotten the man who saved her life, and admits that as the Knightmare she has a reputation to maintain so she threatened him. The Doctor says that he last saw her when she was founding a leper colony, even though she didn't see him. Ashildr suggests that they should celebrate, but the Doctor explains that he's looking for an alien artifact. She realizes that he didn't come for her, and the Doctor apologizes to her by name. Ashildr doesn't recognize her own name, and she admits that she's forgotten much of her past. She tells the Doctor that she just calls herself "Me," and all the other names she's chosen died with those lives. Ashildr offers the Doctor a ride and says that he can help her with her packing.

They ride to a manor house as something watches them from the shadows. Inside, the Doctor explains that he's been tracking alien energies across the universe. Ashildr opens a chest full of loot and says that Lucie had boasted of having an amulet. She explains that she robs for the adventure, not the wealth, and relates some of her past lives. Ashildr has been a queen, a warrior at Agincourt, a healer, and an accused witch. She reads her journals to remind herself of her exploits, because she's lived too long to remember it all.

Ashildr asks the Doctor to take her with him, because she's done all that she can on Earth. The Doctor says that they'll talk about it, and Ashildr offers to help him find the amulet so he'll be done quicker. She steps out and the Doctor looks through her collection of journals. Some of the pages are torn out, and others are covered in tearstains. In the pages, Ashildr talks about the children that she's lost. Despite that, she's not brave enough to kill herself.

In the forest, Ashildr visits her unseen ally and says that they have a visitor. She promises to get the amulet by dawn and asks him to be patient... and that the Doctor has no idea what they intend to do with the amulet. Back in the manor, the Doctor tells Ashildr that he read her journals. She explains that when the memories get really bad, she tears the pages out. The Doctor apologizes for leaving her alone so long to suffer, but assures her that the person she was still exists. Ashildr says that she doesn't want his help, and knows that he fixes things and then runs away. The duo head out and the Doctor senses something watching him. After a moment, he moves on and Ahildr's ally--a felinoid humanoid--quietly growls to himself.

At the Fanshawe manor, Ashildr easily picks the lock and gives the Doctor a mask to wear. He puts on his sonic sunglasses and he uses them to light a candle. As they go upstairs, the Doctor asks what happened to the second chip, and Ashildr reveals that she has it on her. She says that she hasn't found anyone good enough for it, and the Doctor tells her that it isn't right for her to be on her own. They go to Lucie's dressing room and the Doctor uses his scanner to find the amulet: the Eyes of Hades.

As they leave via the main hall, a servant comes in and the Doctor and Ashildr quickly hide in the next room. Mr. Fanshawe is sleeping on the couch, but wakes up when the floorboards creek. He calls to his daughter Lucie and goes out. The Doctor trips over a poker and Mr. Fanshawe sounds the alarm. Ashildr prepares to shoot Fanshawe, but the Doctor says that they should hide. Fanshawe comes back in with a blunderbuss, unaware that Ashildr and the Doctor are hiding in the fireplace. Ashildr wonders why the Doctor hasn't made Clara immortal, and points out that she'll eventually die on him. She wonders how many companions that he's lost, but the Doctor ignores her as they climb up to the roof.

The next morning, the Doctor and Ashildr return to Ashildr's manor. He points out that she lives a dangerous life, just as a man drops in front of them. Ashildr recognizes him as Sam Swift the Quick, His men surround the Doctor and Ashildr, and Sam complains that Ashildr is stealing on his patch. The Doctor offers cash instead of the amulet, and Ashildr manages to disarm Sam. He manages to disarm her and they fight, while his men take the Doctor hostage. She gets the gun and asks the Doctor if she should kill Sam. He tells her that if she does then she makes an enemy of him, and Ashildr tells Sam to run. Once he does, the Doctor insists that every life matters no matter how short. Ashildr tells him to shut up and walks away.

Back at the manor, an old man comes out to greet the Doctor. He introduces himself as Clayton, Ashildr's butler, and goes to get her a cocktail. The Doctor figures that she keeps him on because she has a heart after all, and says that the Eyes of Hades is rumored to ward off evil and protect the dead in the afterlife. He says that he wants to stick around and keep an eye on Ashildr, but she'd rather go with him. Ashildr begs him to take her away, and asks why he won't. The Doctor finally says that it wouldn't be good. Something growls in the manor and the alien creature enters the room. Ashildr introduces him as Leandro, and the Doctor figures that they have plans he wouldn't approve of. He tells Leandro to kill him if he means harm to the planet, but Leandro says that he has no quarrel with the Doctor. The alien explains that he's from Delta Leonus and his tribe was overthrown. His wife was killed and his world destroyed, and he escaped using the amulet. It was lost when Leandro crashed, and Ashildr searched for it. They need the amulet to open a portal, and then Ashildr can travel the universe. The Doctor wonders what part he wouldn't approve of, and Leandro admits that a death is required to activate it.

Ashildr calls Clayton in, ready to sacrifice him. Leandro asks if the Doctor would take Clayton's place and breaths fire out, but Ashildr stops him. The Doctor wonders what happened to change her, and Ashildr says that he happened. She ties the Doctor up and says that she was stuck on Earth, abandoned by the one man who should know what eternity feels like. Ashildr says that she lives in the world that the Doctor leaves behind, and the Doctor says that he didn't know that she would lose her feelings. All he wanted to do was save a young girl's life, and Ashildr says that he trapped her in her life. The Doctor warns her that she can't trust Leandro, and that she has no idea what will come through the portals. Ashildr says that's what she is like now and what the Doctor made of her.

Two local pikemen, Llewellyn and Stout, arrive and tell her that Sam was captured and said the Knightmare was seen heading toward the manor. They tell her that Sam will hang in a half hour at noon, and Ashildr tells them that the Doctor is Sam’s sidekick. She asks them to keep him under guard for everyone’s sake, just as Clayton comes in. The Doctor asks her not to kill Clayton, but she ignores him and leaves in a carriage, with Leandro riding inside.

The Doctor tells Llewellyn and Stout that he’s an undercover constable but they don’t believe him. He tells her that he knows where Ashildr keeps her money and the pikemen are eager to take it. Once he’s slipped away, the Doctor rides toward the nearby village.

In the town square, the villagers are drinking and booing Sam. He tries to lighten them up with a few jokes. The clock sounds noon and Ashildr and Leandro watch from the carriage. Leandro shouts to hang Sam and the crowd joins in. Ashildr goes to the hangman and pays to make Sam’s death a quick one. She kisses him and he says that she reminds him of someone. The Doctor runs up and Sam says that his life has been a thrilling one. He sees the Doctor in the back and calls to him, and the Doctor begins joking as well. The crowd laughs and the Doctor flashes his psychic paper to the hangman, claiming that it’s a pardon from Cromwell. The hangman confirms that it’s real, but one of the villagers suggests that they hang the Doctor.

Before they can drag the Doctor to the scaffold, Ashildr slaps the amulet on Sam’s chest. He collapses and a beam of energy creates a portal in the sky. Leandro breathes fire, driving he crowd back, and tells Ashildr that she’s going nowhere. Spaceships start coming through the portal, opening fire on the crowd. Leandro leaps into the crowd, striking out, and Ashildr realizes that she does care. She says that the villagers need them, and the Doctor says that they need to reverse Sam’s death. Leandro comes over and says that they can’t reverse death, and Ashildr takes out the chip and says that she can.

Ashildr runs to Sam and applies the chip to his forehead. It sinks in and Leandro warns that closing the rift will destroy them all. Leandro’s people kill him as payment for his failure as the rift closes, and Sam comes back to life. He laughs in triumph and the villagers cheer.

Later, the Doctor, Sam, and Ashildr go to the local tavern for a drink. Sam goes to get another round, and the Doctor wonders if Ashildr want Sam to be immortal. She admits that she thought she didn’t want anyone to be, and the Doctor says that closing the portal would have drained most of the energy from the chip. Ashildr realizes that he has no idea and he advises her to keep an eye on Sam. She figures that the Doctor won’t take her with her, and he says that mortals know how precious life is. The Doctor points out how glad Sam is to be alive, and he’s traveled with immortals before. He wonders who told her about him, and Ashildr says that he’s made waves on Earth. The Doctor says that he’s going to have to take an eye on her, but Ashildr says that she’s going to protect Earth from him. When he says that he’s glad he saved her, Ashildr says that everyone will be.

Later, the Doctor is playing guitar in the TARDIS when Clara comes in. She says that one of her students got an A because of the Doctor’s help, and sent him a selfie. He looks at it and sees Ashildr in the background, but says nothing. They plan their next trip and Clara wants to see somewhere new. She hugs him and the Doctor admits that he missed her. She assures him that she isn’t going anywhere and throws the dematerialization lever.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 25, 2015

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