For most of “The Girl Who Died’s” running time, Doctor Who was at its funniest and most light-spirited it’s been for quite some time now. The addition of Maisie Williams’ Ashildr provided a lot of moments for The Doctor to both dote on and crack wise with a child in the picture once more, and for a while I was frightened. The fright comes from the fact that throughout the series’ history, whenever things get a little too bright, there iss always something to kick them right back down. Sure enough, Ashildr’s death and rebirth after fighting the Mire went from a happy ending to an ending that gave me pause. The Doctor has now officially created a functional immortal out of a normal human, and given how he’s held up with such a life span, it looks like things are about to get scary.
The hints came at the end of the episode, where we saw a time lapse shot of Ashildr. The seasons came and went, the day turned to night over and over, and eventually we saw the character go from a smiling child to a grim-faced veteran. The background of an explosion accompanies the face, and as fast as you could say “To Be Continued…,” we saw that Ashildr has become a thief and possible killer as “The Knightmare” in “The Woman Who Lived.” In that short glimpse of what’s to come, one line stood out among all of the others:
It’s kill or be killed.
So right off the bat, we had another, darker mirror image of The Doctor in Ashildr’s new Highwayman persona. With a human psyche, and no supervision for an extended lifespan - all thanks to a piece of alien tech from the Mire - one would assume that she’s become an embittered figure that merely takes what she wants, no matter the cost. Also, the rarity the two of them are supposedly competing for, “The Eyes Of Hades,” doesn’t look like a mere trinket someone dumped off of a spaceship. This item is either priced beyond human comprehension, or possesses such immense power that the bearer would be unstoppable. Either way, Ashildr’s using her powers for evil, and if The Doctor has to stop her, he’s either going to have to trick her - or possibly arrange for her death. Neither of which mean a positive outcome, particularly if you think back to something that happened in “The Witch’s Familiar.”
Towards the end of “The Witch’s Familar,” Missy was surrounded by The Daleks, prompting her to have a “clever idea.” With a time manipulator, and possible knowledge of The Doctor’s actions in this week’s episode, it could be assumed that Ashildr could become Missy’s would be companion, as she’d more than likely love to recruit one of The Doctor’s biggest disappointments. It twists the knife just a little deeper, it’s ingenious, and the move could even open the door to the possible Missy spinoff everyone is talking about.
With Clara leaving the series at the end of the year, surely Missy will want/need someone to be as bad as she is while traveling throughout time and space. Also, with as big of an actor as Maisie Williams signed on for such a pivotal guest role, one would assume that if this two-parter hits it off with the fans, this idea would catch fire with the powers that be. If this is true, The Doctor will have once again created a figure that opposes him, when all he was trying to do was save the day. Throw in the consistent theme of inversion populating Season 9’s episode titles, and this theory picks up a little more steam. But ultimately, like any other season on Doctor Who, we’re not going to know what happens until it happens… or until the tabloids break the news.
Doctor Who airs on BBC America, Saturdays at 9 PM EST.