Premonition is just remembering backwards, The Doctor reminds himself who he is, and THEY ARE VIKINGS!
After finishing another exciting adventure involving asteroid mines and space spiders, The Doctor and Clara find themselves captured by a group of enthusiastic vikings and taken to their village. As The Doctor tries to free them with mad yo-yo skills and an Anthony Hopkins impersonation (I’m making a M.C.U. joke about Hopkins role as Odin…), another false Odin (or Fauxdin, as I’ve come to call him) makes an appearance and takes all of the villages warriors to Valhalla. In an attempt to save them, Clara, and a young girl named Ashildr, follow the teleport onto Valhalla, which is actually a ship host to a race of warrior aliens called the Mire, who travel from planet to planet killing the greatest warriors and drinking their testosterone. With a mix of bravery and foolishness, Ashildr declares war on the Mire.
Without their warriors, the village prepares to die honorably against their foe, if not for the Doctor, who is convinced by Clara and a baby (he speaks baby, remember) to train them to fight. After a few entertaining scenes of hopeless training, The Doctor is nearly ready to give up, encouraging the village to run. With some prodding from Clara, he comes up with a a plan to defeat the Mire with help from the young girl, Ashildr.
“The Girl Who Died” was not the most exciting episode of Doctor Who there’s ever been. This isn’t to say that the episode wasn’t enjoyable. There were plenty of moments of hilarity and silliness, often making jokes about the villagers use of swords, or using the Benny Hill theme to defeat the Mire. The story was simple and well paced, and everything regarding the story of the villagers and the Mire was wrapped up nicely. Not every episode needs edge of your seat moments. It was entertaining, and ultimately, that’s all a show needs to be.
This episode’s main function was to set up elements that will be important to the rest of the season, and to the Doctor further down the line. The introduction of Maisie Williams’ character has been one of the more talked about questions for Whovians since her casting was announced, and in her debut episode, they merely scratch the surface. She is set to be an important character through the rest of this season, or at least in the next episode.
Another element brought up in this episode was where the Doctor got his face from. This was something quickly brought up in Capaldi’s first episode “Deep Breath,” but since then there’s been no mention of the topic. In a dire moment, the Doctor finally remembers the family he and Donna saved in Pompeii, and realizes that this face was a reminder of who The Doctor is. Near the end of Ten’s run as the Doctor, he began to take matters into his own hands. The Time Lords were the ones to make the rules about time, and he was the only one left. Therefore he started making the rules and saving whoever he could, however he could, whether it broke a rule of time or not. As this is a second regeneration cycle for the Doctor, and finding and saving Gallifrey will probably involve even more rule breaking, the Doctor needed a reminder that saving people is what he does, the rules be damned. (It was also great seeing Donna and Ten again, as well as call backs to a fantastic episode.)