Doctor Who Review: “Face the Raven”


Dear DocBlogger:

Together we can solve any problem, I know that. He’s brilliant and I have complete confidence that he will come through. It’s what he does. What we do together. Lately I feel like I’ve been getting a little reckless, but it’s exhilarating! He’ll always come through in a pinch, right?

Invincible in Indiana


Dear Invincible:

Pressing your luck is never a good idea. One day your time will run out.



Spoilers ahead Sweetie…

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs you know what I’m going to say here. This should be the end for Ms. Clara Oswald. Not that I haven’t really enjoyed her. In fact, now that Face the Raven has us facing the music, I’m not sure I want Clara to go. If anything, this episode is preparing us for the inevitable.

The Episode in a Nutshell

The Tardis phone rings. It’s one of Clara’s old students, Rigsy, who has this number in case of emergencies. He has a mysterious new tattoo that he can’t remember getting, and it’s ominously counting down. He has a baby girl, a wife who loves him, basically too much to lose. The previous day is a total blank to him. His phone’s been wiped so the Doctor runs a scan on it and Rigsy himself, confirming that he was in contact with alien life forms. With 526 minutes on the clock, they decide to find who did this.

There are pockets of hidden alien life right in London. Clara recklessly hangs out of the Tardis wearing the Sonic Sunglasses so they can map out the city streets below and look for anomalies. The trio then puts boots on the ground looking for a trap street; a place protected by a misdirection circuit where aliens can hide in plain sight. In a pit stop back at the Tardis, Clara notices that Rigsy received a call at 6:00 am yesterday, luring him in. A powerful memory breaks through the brainwashing and Rigsy finds the trap street. It’s a sanctuary – a refugee camp ruled by our old friend Ashildr who now goes by the title Mayor Me. She uses a quantum shade in the form of a raven to keep a 100-year peace through death sentences manifested as the countdown tattoo or timelock. She guarantees Clara’s personal safety and then tells Rigsy’s tale.

A female psychic named Anah from the planet Janus was found dead from an apparent head wound at the street’s entrance and at Rigsy’s feet. He is assumed to be her killer because the alternative is that one of the street’s inhabitants did it, which would tear the community apart. At this point we see the quantum shade in action. An older couple comes forward because the husband’s time is up. She offers to take the death sentence for him but he refuses. He runs and the raven pursues, manifesting as black smoke that exits his dying body. The Doctor realizes they must convince the street of Rigsy’s innocence rather than spend time solving the mystery.

Clara spots a boy with two faces like Anah but he hides. She next convinces Rigsy to transfer his timelock to her and thus buy them all more time because Me has promised to protect her. But when we learn that yesterday Rigsy had asked the mayor to call the Doctor, everything now feels like a set-up. This is confirmed when the Janus boy, who is revealed to be the victim’s also-psychic daughter in disguise, sees Rigsy’s innocence. The Doctor realizes that Anah is in a stasis pod and still alive, but it takes a key on a console to release her. Unlocking the console opens a small trap door that clamps a teleport bracelet onto his wrist. Me enters, explaining that she had to sell the Doctor out to keep the street safe. His captors want him and his Confession Dial. Clara reveals that she now has the timelock. Unfortunately while Me could have saved Rigsy, the mayor is unable to save Clara because she has changed the terms of the timelock contract.

The Doctor panics, threatening exposure of the entire street if Me doesn’t fix the situation but Me’s hands are tied. Clara faces her impending death bravely, getting the Doctor to swear that no more blood will spill. He can’t help but follow Clara as she goes to face the raven; she crumples to the ground as black smoke pours out of her mouth. He returns to Rigsy and Me, the latter apologizing for Clara’s death. He warns her to stay out of his way, and that the universe is very small when he is angry with someone. The Doctor is then teleported away. In a final shot, Rigsy has painted a memorial to Clara on the Tardis’ blue wooden doors.

Quoth the Raven

Is Clara to be “nevermore?” I know I’ve been bucking for this since The Magician’s Apprentice and I truly believe it’s time. Capaldi needs a new muse – a face we will identify only with his. But unlike last year, he’s been fiercely protective of Clara this season.

It could all be a tease; this is a To Be Continued. What casts the largest shadow of doubt is the inclusion of the Confession Dial. That move screams “Missy,” and as far as she’s concerned, “Death is for other people.” I don’t know how, but I’m sure she would be able to resurrect Clara. Seriously, no one ever really stays dead on this show.

Do you feel that the Doctor might change his mind about Lady Me as a companion? She’s an almost perfect Clara clone – a sassy, petite brunette who isn’t afraid to stand her ground. Let me know in the Comments below. I still believe she’s a foil, not a friend. I wonder if the next companion will be a blonde. Or a guy. Maybe next week we’ll find out.

Liz Bowen, a.k.a DocBlogger

Liz Bowen is a long-time Doctor Who fan and first-time blogger living in Colorado Springs. She enjoys seeing her childhood recreated in cinematic excellence and will waste entire evenings waxing poetic about the technical beauty that is Transformers. She indulges in writing Supernatural fanfic and is working on her first original book.

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