Face the Raven (Doctor Who series 9)

Sarah Dollard writer of Face the Raven brings us an interesting mystery, the return of a familiar face and a street that is hidden from the world around it.

Doctor Who returns to its usual format after last weeks departure from the norm, with the Doctor and Clara in the Tardis as they celebrate after their latest adventure. However they are given no time to rest as Rigsy (Joivan Wade) who first featured in an episode of series 8 entitled Flatline calls with a mystery not even the Doctor can resist. I really liked his previous appearance in Doctor Who and it was good to see him back in this episode of series 9.

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Rigsy has been given a mysterious tattoo that not only is counting down to zero but also to his death, so he joins Clara and the Doctor on board the Tardis in the search for who gave him the death sentence. Their quest takes them high above London with Clara dangling her head outside the Tardis in the search for a hidden trap street which I though was quite a cool sequence and a rather unique way of getting around the capital. Essentially trap streets were used by map makers as a way to determine if anybody had tried to steal there work and the idea of such a street reminded me a lot of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Although that is where the similarities end as this street is more of a home for different creatures altogether as the Doctor, Clara and Rigsy would soon find out.

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The street itself turned out to be an refugee camp for aliens who were seeking asylum led by Ashildr who has appeared in several episodes of series 9 so far. I had known of the return of Ashildr (Masie Williams) for quite some time, so it wasn’t quite the surprise that it should have been but it was great to see her again as she has become quite an intriguing character. Finding out that Rigsy has been accused of murder and thats why he had the shade tattoo on him was an interesting development to say the least. Meanwhile Ashildr granted the Doctor’s request of protection for Clara although there is only so much that you can be protected from in a place such as this.

Clara and the Doctor were given permission to find out who really killed an alien on the street which Ashildr said was the most dangerous street in London for the Doctor. I kind of wished they had delved deeper into that bit of the plot but on the whole the episode kept me glued to the screen. What kept me even more engaged with the story was seeing just what was in store for Rigsy, as an alien was hunted down by the raven after stealing medication for his wife. The episode continued to set the stakes even higher as Clara willingly took the shade from Rigsy and the Doctor came ever closer to solving the mystery of who really killed the woman.

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However once the mystery was solved and they had saved the woman that they thought had died, a whole new set of problems arose for the Doctor as he began to comprehend just what Clara had done. Clara had been taking more and more risks in her quest to live up to and follow the Doctor and even Rigsy saw that she was enjoying the danger just a little bit to much. The audience had known of Clara’s impending departure from the world of Doctor Who for a while now but no one expected it to go down quite like that.

That whole sequence was incredibly emotional as Clara pleaded with the Doctor to not change who is because of what was about to happen to her and the acting in this scene is just incredible to watch. Doctor Who does some of its best work with these kind of dialogue heavy moments and this scene is no exception as Clara chooses to go outside and face the raven. It is most unlike Doctor Who to give its companions notice of there impending demise and I thought she showed a lot of bravery in her final moments on screen.

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Face the Raven was an interesting episode that could have done a bit more with the mystery it first presented us with but overall it was a really good story and a fitting end for Clara Oswold. However Doctor Who does have a tendency to return and resurrect characters we had previously thought dead so hopefully we will get to see Clara again at some point in the future even if it is only for the briefest of moments. This episode was well written, well directed and the acting was on point for Clara’s departure and I can’t wait to see what happens in the final two parter of series 9.

Previous episode: Sleep no More

Next Episode: Heaven Sent

 

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