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Face The Raven

ShowDoctor Who / Series IX / Episode 10
First Broadcast2015/11/20 - 19:40 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Next EpisodeHeaven Sent

We begin with Clara and the Doctor joking about an adventure they just had when the TARIDS phone rings. It's Riggsy (from Flatline) - he can't remember the last 24 hours and he has a tattoo that keeps changing. It gets gloomy quickly as the Doctor determines that there's nothing he can do for Riggsy.

At Clara's insistence they do something, the Doctor hypothesises that aliens are hiding in London and if they are they're hiding in plain sight. Thus begins the search for a trap street which turns out to be an area cleverly masked by a misdirection field, which also masks the aliens within. In a dramatic twist, it turns out that the area is run by Ashildr, now known as Mayor Me.

Riggsy's tattoo - a Chronolock, a sign of a Quantum Shade - indicates a death sentence for allegedly killing one of the aliens under Ashildr's protection. The Doctor and Clara have less than hour to figure out what really happened. A tense detective story plays out as they figure out what's going on. It's basically a ruse of Ashildr's to trap the Doctor and keep her street safe.

At the finale, everything goes south. The Doctor has a teleport bracelet on his wrist to take him to an unknown destination as part of a deal Ashildr has made with an un-named party. Clara - who has taken on the Chronolock believing herself to be under Ashildr's protection - is doomed; there is nothing that can be done.

The Doctor is furious with Ashildr. Clara spends her last moments calming him, asking him to promise to take revenge, to be a Doctor, not a warrior. Then she bravely faces the raven and in a sad and moving moment, dies in front of the Doctor. The Doctor warns Ashildr to stay out of his way before being transported away. The episode ends - post credits - with Riggsy using graffiti on the TARDIS as a memorial for Clara.

There were lots of references to other episode scattered amongst this one. Worth a re-watch to try and spot them all. This was a solid episode, probably above average for the series so far. But we're left feeling empty after Clara's death. She is really only the second significant companion to die (with no apparent chance of return) after Adric and the first in the new series. One wonders why it was done this way. It's so final, so unfair.

We're also left with the mystery of where the Doctor is going. Who did Ashildr make a deal with? How did they know about the Doctor's confession dial and why did Ashildr ask for it?