Ashildr suffered immortality alone, growing resentful of the Doctor in the process.
Maisie Williams brought so much depth to the role, she's welcome to visit any time. However, stalking the Time Lord is probably not a good idea.
Do you think Ashildr will play a part in Clara's departure? Is Jenna Coleman being underused this season? We're chatting about all this and more below.
Maisie Williams is a great addition to the Whoniverse. What was your favorite moment or line of hers?
Kathleen: I liked her moment near the end when she decided she would be the caretaker of all the people (read: companions) the Doctor leaves behind. As long as she remembers to not let her heart rust, she'll be brilliant. It was an interesting moment when the Doctor looked at that selfie and spotted Ashildr in the background...
Tom: I liked when she asked the Doctor how many companions he's lost. "How many Claras?" was a rhetorical and very personal question because Ashildr had lost so many people herself over her 800 years of life. She needed to open up to someone who was uniquely qualified to understand her predicament, and the Doctor needed the same.
Hank: My favorite moments were without a doubt Ashildr's flashbacks. I was glad they gave us a chance to see her struggle and survive through the ages. Of course, the death of her children was absolutely devastating. Maisie Williams once again demonstrated a deep maturity way beyond her years. I can't wait to see Me/Ashildr again.
Did you miss Jenna Coleman and do you feel she's being underused in her final season?
Kathleen: I'm trying not to approach the episodes as "Clara's final season" (with varying degrees of success). I don't think of her as being underused here; it's not like the series is short of "companion-lite", or even "Doctor-lite" episodes, after all. In terms of this particular episode, I actually think that not having Clara there was beneficial. The story is about Ashildr and the Doctor, and throwing Clara into the mix would distract from that dynamic.
Tom: I always miss Jenna when she's not on screen, but this story definitely benefited from her absence. This episode was as much about continuing the theme of an introspective Doctor as it was about setting up a character who will probably become very pivotal before this season is done. So, having the Doctor paired up with someone who's very much a mirror of himself, someone who can provide insight into his own life because they've lived a similar one, was almost necessary.
Clara has had time to shine and will have her time again, so a break here and there is a good thing. Well, except for that permanent break we know is coming.
Hank: Though I agree Clara wasn't necessary here, I do feel she's been upstaged so far this season. Whether it's Missy, the crew of the underwater base or Ashildr, the guest stars have been given the meatier material. I do think Clara has taken a bit of a backseat. Of coruse, the writers are easing us into her departure, but I don't remember feeling this way about Amy and Rory Pond in their final season. I hope Jenna Coleman's final episode is a Clara-centric adventure.
Which new character did you prefer, Leandro or Sam Swift the Quick and why?
Kathleen: Leandro was just sort of there; it was pretty well inevitable that he would double-cross Ashildr. Honestly, I think it would've been more interesting if he was on the up-and-up! Sam Swift was amusing, but I didn't really get anything more than "quippy highwayman" off him.
Tom: I'm with Kathleen in feeling that Leandro was pretty two-dimensional. The only thing he was missing was a t-shirt saying "Backstabbing Bad Guy" on it ... and perhaps a handlebar mustache to twirl. Cats hate mustaches. I thought everyone should know that.
We didn't really see enough of Sam Swift to get more than a "cover of the book" feel to him. I'd like to see Rufus Hound back as Sam so we could actually get to know him beyond his jocular exterior.
Hank: Honestly, I didn't care for Leandro at all, so I'm going with Sam Swift the Quick. I agree we didn't get much of a chance to get to know him, but the stand up bit was entertaining. Since he's immortal now I'm sure we'll see Rufus Hound again. I'm curious to see what Ashildr and Sam's relationship is like next time we see them.
The sonic shades were back, surprised? Are you enjoying Capaldi's new take on Twelve or do you prefer his grumpier grandpa?
Kathleen: Not surprised the sonic shades returned. However much I don't particularly enjoy them, they are more consistent with Capaldi's current take on Twelve, which I'm not totally sold on. That being said, every Doctor is different, and we all have our favorites. Maybe I'll look back on Twelve in twenty years and enjoy him more.
Tom: Since I, and many fans, were happy to see them go, and since Moffat continues to take glee in torturing viewers, I'm not surprised at all. He loves to keep the audience guessing, but at this point it's becoming a bit predictable. I know in my hearts that the sonic screwdriver will be back, so for now I'm just giving the shades a pass because they'll be gone soon enough.
I am really enjoying Capaldi's upbeat Doctor more than his grumpy Doctor, but the change between Doctor Who Season 8 and Doctor Who Season 9 are very pronounced and maybe too much, too soon. The Doctor is best when he's both silly and grumpy, just look at almost any of the "classic" Doctors as proof, so I'd like to see a better balance between his two halves.
Hank: I was spoiled by a promo image of Capaldi wearing the shades again, so I cursed Moffat before even watching the episode. Haha. I agree with Tom, the sonic screwdriver will be back soon enough. We just have to endure the shades a little longer. As far as fun Doctor versus grumpy Doctor, I'll take this season's Doctor for sure. Capaldi irritated me most of last season, the change was too drastic after Matt Smith. Still, as Tom pointed out, why can't Twelve be both silly and grumpy?
Me/Ashildr is following the Doctor around. Do you think she'll play a part in Clara's death or departure?
Kathleen: Interesting thought. I'm leaning towards "no", in terms of direct action. Ashildr might be there as a witness, but I don't think she'll be a participant.
Tom: They've definitely set her up for a return and what better reason than the departure of Clara? Like Kathleen, I'm not convinced she'll play a direct part, but I do think she'll be more than an observer when the time comes. She may play no bigger role than a sympathetic shoulder for the Doctor to cry on, but she'll be involved somehow. She did say she was going to look after the people the Doctor leaves behind and the photograph proved she kept her word, at least until the 21st century.
Hank: Though Me/Ashildr assured the Doctor they weren't enemies, she's clearly stalking him. I didn't get a friendly vibe from that photo. Still, I don't think she'll kill Clara, perhaps she convinces her to stop time traveling? I do think Me/Ashildr will be around for Clara's final adventure with the Doctor. I just have no clue what part she'll play in the episode.
Those nasty Zygons are back this Saturday! Check out the official teaser for Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 7 here.