Saturday, 21 November 2015

Doctor Who: Face the Raven

In Face the Raven the Doctor and Clara must help save the life of the returning Rigsy whilst contending with a secret street of the Doctor's enemies.

Beginning on the ending of an unseen aventure for the Doctor and Clara the story kicks straight into gear when they receive a phone call from Rigsy who needs help with a mysterious tattoo that is counting down to his death, unfortunately he cannot remember why and how he received the tattoo which interests the Doctor. Thie tattoo soon leads the trio to a secret London street that contains the likes of the Judoon, the Ood and a Cyberman as well as Alshidr/Me who is the mayor and protector of the street.

It turns out that Rigsy has been sentenced to death by raven for the crime of murdering someone and has had his memory wiped by Me who doles out punishment and death to anyone who breaks the rules or endagers the aliens (who are disguised as people) of the street. As it is Rigsy is innocent and the tattoo is a trap disguised as a mystery to get the Doctor to appear so that he can be transported alone to a far away place so that 'they' do not expose or destroy the street.

Unfortunately before this can happen Clara, who has been living dangerously due to over-confidence and/or running away from something, has taken the tattoo to buy time. Because of this Me cannot stop the countdown...

Yes, we say goodbye to Clara as she stands up and faces the raven. After telling the Doctor to be strong and to not take revenge for what is about to happen she steps out onto the street and exits the Doctor's life as well as this world.

It's been previously announced that Jenna Coleman had left the show and filmed her final scenes and with next weeks episode featuring Peter Capaldi as the only person in the entire episode it was looking likely that Face the Raven would see the death of Clara. It has pretty much been confirmed that Coleman will be appearing in the season finale though we don't know if it will be as Clara or as another one of the splinters that appears throughout the Doctor's life.

Is it a fitting end for Clara? I think that it is in all honesty. The signs have been there that she has been getting reckless and whilst this is not a save the world from ending death it is one that fits in with the way that Clara has been, a Clara who believes that the Doctor who save her and make everything right no matter what, unfortunately this is the one time that the Doctor cannot save her.

As mentioned above Clara dies saving the life of Rigsy who first appeared in Flatline and who whilst is a fun character, and it's interesting to see characters return, did not have much to do this time round. Me on the other hand had a bit more to do but whilst it's a couple of hundread years later from her last appearance didn't seem different in development. She again was OK with people dying if it served her needs/wants (this time to keep order) and is repentant when it all goes wrong. Though part of that could be because she has just made an enemy of the Doctor.

Talking of the Doctor, Capaldi again knocks it out of the park with just a few lines and facial expressions. His face when he knows that he cannot do anything to save Clara and asks her about his suffering. Also the darkness when he threatens to destroy the street which includes bringing down Daleks were fantastic, likewise when he tells Me that "You'll find it's a very small universe when I'm angry with you"

Coleman was also fantastic in their final scenes together. Conveying someone who knows that they are about to die and who will be leaving behind their friend who will be hurting so much. It's just a shame that they didn't get more scenes together this series.

As per the rest of the series Face the Raven had political subtext, this time in the form of refugees finding safety on the streets. It was mainly in the background as the episode built up to Clara's death though was it just me or did the street seem very sparsely inhabited. Personally I would have liked to have seen a few more aliens around.

One last thing. I wouln't have minded this being another two parter. Yes technically it's a three parter due to setting up for what is to come but I think that it would have been good to expand on the search for the the street, spent more time with the characters there and spent more time seeing the trio trying to work out why Rigsy had the tattoo. Saying that though the episode was good and a fitting end for Clara.

Goodbye Clara Oswald.

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