Doctor Who – Series 9 Episode 10 – Face the Raven review

Face the raven.jpg

Spoiler warning

Well that was more like it.

Clara’s end had been coming for a while, though it wasn’t some huge foreshadow like Rose or Donna, but rather in the midst of a story designed for her to meet her fate, due to her selflessness and general act now, consequences later attitude she learnt from The Doctor.

As she stands there, ready to Face the Raven, you realize just how long she’s been with us, since 2012, and served as one of New Who’s longest serving companions. She’s been a great addition to the show, both Clara and Jenna, albeit often let down by the writing, but she’s made the role her own, and I’m sure she’ll be missed, until we get some fresh blood.

Hopefully it’s fresh blood and not someone we’ve already met, not Osgood please.

Clara’s final scene was poignant, if overlong and drawn out, but you could really see the pain in The Doctor’s eyes as he loses yet another friend, far more permanently this time. This is after all, the first proper companion death we’ve had in New Who, and thank god it was done well.

New writer Sarah Dollard has done a really great job for her first episode, and sending off Clara as her first test must’ve not been an easy task. Yet, with dignity and bravery Clara’s story has ended, in an episode that felt like a great mix of Rose era Who, meets, the better days of the last series, such as the excellent ‘Flatline’.

The central mystery that starts the episode is interesting, re-introducing Rigsy, with a creepy counting down Tattoo. Then the 3 arrive at the hidden street, lit by gas lamp light and run by a returning Maisie Williams as Ashildr.

There’s nice images of suddenly appearing Judoon and Ood, as the images fade in and out of Rigsy’s mind, and the Ravens themselves are simple and effective as imagery goes. I’m not 100% sure of what the whole street is, and what Ashildrs deal is with the Smoke Ravens, but there’s some wonderful set design, and the music by the always excellent Murray Gold is wonderfully effective.

Peter Capaldi continues to be as good as his best self, his quiet defeat when losing Clara, followed by restrained anger, is done perfectly by him, his eyes telling the entire story. Maisie Williams is still good as the immortal girl, albeit this isn’t her performance that should be remarked upon.

Jenna Coleman does a great job, her death scene is moving, even if I’ve never been as attached to her as the previous companions. The build up to the Raven did give me some butterflies, which is something I haven’t felt for the show in a while, and I’m glad that the death wasn’t too overdone, or too dramatic.

At the end of the day, Clara saved somebodies life and lost her own, which leaves her character on decent footing.

Overall, this felt like a great episode, certainly much better than previous weeks, and I’m curious as to who shall fill out the companion application form next.

Here are some extra points

.”Bring the new human.  No don’t bring the new human, I’ll just get distracted”

.I like Rigsy

.I like when The Doctor decides to save him.

.Nice use of London locations

.Scared Doctor is great, Angry Doctor is chilling

.”I’ll do my best, but I strongly advise you to keep out of my way. You’ll find it’s a very small universe when I’m angry with you”

Rating: B  7/10


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