The Girl Who Died - Press ReactionBookmark and Share

Sunday, 18 October 2015 - Reported by Marcus
The Girl Who Died (Credit: BBC/Simon Ridgway)This item Contains Plot Spoilers

Press reaction for this weeks episode, The Girl Who Died, is in with The Guardian calling the story and enjoyable daft romp. "Vikings have been a puzzling omission from most of Doctor Who, only cropping up once before The Time Meddler in 1965; so presumably the Doctor is rarely in the mood to tangle with Vikings. Throwing in an electric eel-based attack strategy and the Benny Hill theme music, there’s plenty of fun to be had here before the dark twists of the final minutes."

The Telegraph enjoyed the pace of the episode "The attack and battle sequence zipped through at speed. If it felt a little rushed it didn't hugely matter, as it was clearly setting up for a bigger second half."

The Express found the episode underwhelming, comparing the episode to the series Game of Thrones, in which the guest actor, Maisie Williams, stars. "Maisie was good as Ashildr - the girl who can make her visions come to life - but for the most part it did feel as if she was just playing a viking version of Arya Stark from the HBO fantasy series."

Radio Times, after being critical of the first part of the series this year, enjoyed the episode praising it as a return to a more traditional type of story. "It taps into a very traditional vein but again slyly transcends it, and achieves that holy grail of TV drama – unpredictability." They praise the writer Jamie Mathieson who wrote last year's story Mummy on the Orient Express and who co-wrote this story with Steven Moffat. "It rarely feels predictable. It never bores. I lost count of the times I thought, “Oh, I didn’t expect that.” After a lifetime of watching this series, that’s rare."

The Metro , while disappointed by the premise of the episode, also praised the writing. "Between them, writers Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat just about get away with it by not taking it too seriously. The Doctor flounces around, naming the villagers after characters from EastEnders, Scooby Doo, Noggin the Nog and the 1980s band ZZ Top before he finally pulls a rabbit out of a hat – or an electric eel out of a vat – to bring hope to the hopeless."

Digital Spy thought the episode unlike any other in the series history, varying wildly in tone. "It's fast-paced, with sharp, funny dialogue and some great clowning from Peter Capaldi, who seems far more comfortable with this sort of material than he was 12 months ago. Scenes in which hapless Vikings are spooked by false Gods are almost Monty Python-esque" AV Club tells its readers to go and watch the episode immediately. "This isn't an episode where the Doctor pretends to not have a plan right up to the opportune moment. He genuinely has no idea how he, Clara, and a bunch of Norse farmers and fishermen are going to defeat one of the galaxy’s most fearsome warrior races" wants to wait until next weeks episode before passing judgement. "The Girl Who Died" appeared to be an open-and-shut, single-hour adventure as the Doctor came, saw, and saved the day, but it was still just setting us up for whatever is to come next week." while Mashable thought Maisie Williams was underused. "Sure, she nailed her speech about not fitting in with either girls or boys, but that was way too short to showcase her talents. As was the whole setup where she effectively challenges the Mire to a duel, and the Mire helmet visualization that kills her."

Den of Geek was slightly disappointed by the character of Ashildr, given the wild speculation over the character's origins that had taken place online. "Once one gets past the fact that Williams is not playing Susan or some other familiar character, it’s easier to embrace the story she’s in and who she is playing: the Viking girl Ashildr. And yeah, Ashildr is pretty important to the Doctor too, it turns out. Or at least she becomes important by the end of “The Girl Who Died."

gamesRadar wasn't convinced by the alien race, the Mire. "The armoured suits are fun, and the make up once their helmets came off well-realised, but there’s no real sense of threat. That’s fitting given that the Doctor's solution hinges on them being all mouth and no space trousers, but it’s hard to believe that he was genuinely troubled by them earlier on."

Indie wire loved the portrayal of The Doctor. Capaldi is having a whale of a time and isn't even trying to hide it. He wisecracks, technobabbles and emotes like the best of them, thankfully securing his place in the pantheon of Really Good Doctors. Now that he's finally come into his own, having been poorly served by last season's patchy writing, he's up there with Baker, Pertwee and Eccleston (yes, I said it).

Finally Wales online had no doubt what the talking point of the episode would be. "At last, we are told exactly why the Doctor chose THIS face. I no doubt believe that this point will be spoken about for many years to come."

You can read the Doctor Who News review in our reviews section.