Season 9, Episode 5 “The Girl Who Died”
Directed by Ed Bazalgette
Written by Jamie Mathieson & Steven Moffat
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Maisie Williams, David Schofield, Simon Lipkin
Air date: Saturday, October 17, 2015
I’ll say this up front: watch this episode.
I guess I could stop there, but it wouldn’t be much fun to do that, now would it? Doctor Who Episode 9.5 “The Girl Who Died” is a pocket symphony running at tempo molto vivace. It deconstructs and reconstructs the themes behind modern Doctor Who at the same time. It takes what could have been a significant guest star part and turns in the best episode of the season so far. It reveals something of the Doctor’s past and finally brings this current incarnation of the Time Lord into sharper focus. It is, in short, the best that I think Steven Moffat-era Doctor Who can offer.
I’ve been a bit of a hard case on Doctor Who so far this season. Where I know other reviewers on the Internet have spoken about the first, third, and fourth episodes of this season in strong terms, I deliberately played up the negatives. Episode 1 was shock and awe, but it gave little solid ground for viewers to stand on. Episodes 3 and 4 were praised for their strong performances and paced, economic storytelling, but I thought they veered a little too close to formula. I thought that only episode 2, with its carefully constructed constraints, represented a strong offering for this season.
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