Doctor Who Shows The Other Side Of Immortality—And It’s A Nightmare

“You’re not my dad,” says Maisie Williams’ Lady Me, having dropped or forgotten the name she had when she first encountered the Doctor centuries ago in a viking village (or last week according to the time and space coordinates of most Doctor Who viewers). The girl who died is now the woman who lived—only after nearly a millennium as an immortal, she’s lost a good deal of the humanity she once had (apparently seeing everyone you love die of plague etc. will do that to you).


Unlike the Doctor who’s free to travel the space/time continuum according to his whims, Lady Me/Ashildr is stuck watching time crawl by at a painfully slow, painfully human pace. When she’s not being drowned as a witch, she’s bored. She believed that the Doctor would return for her and after being kept waiting for 800 years, she’s understandably bitter—and she isn’t alone. In just a few centuries she’s come across more than one person whose life was turned inside out by a visit from the Doctor. He’s got a reputation here on earth: he’s The Man Who Runs Away.


To keep herself entertained, Lady Me fills volumes of journals, moonlights as a highwayman called The Nightmare, and conspires with a fire-breathing lion from outerspace to rip gaping holes in the universe.


Except for the journalling, the Doctor objects to her new lifestyle and Me’s relative youth (comparatively speaking) shines through when she retaliates with the comeback reserved for petulant teens under the guardianship of someone who isn’t their parent. In a sense though, the Doctor really is her father—the only one she remembers, anyway. But he’s a dad who’s away on business a lot, and she’s a kid who resents that. When he refuses (again) to take her with him (two immortals in one TARDIS is a bad combination) she retaliates, revealing her plan to use The Eyes of Hades amulet to travel to another galaxy with her crash-landed Leonian friend. But the lion-faced alien betrays her, using the amulet and the execution of rival highwayman Sam Swift to open the door for invaders from Delta Leonis.


Seeing her friends under attack does something to stir Lady Me’s sense of compassion and she springs into action in order to save them. This is when that second chip from the Mire’s battlefield medic kit comes into play. By giving it to Swift, the portal closes and the Leonians are pushed back into outer space.


After that, there’s nothing left to do but head down to the pub for a couple of pints—just three immortals (or 2.5 immortals—the Doctor’s not sure about Swift just yet) celebrating their victory over a sadistic Simba and his army. But while the door may have closed for the Leonians, the episode leaves things wide open for Williams to return…