Series 9 of the new Doctor Who is upon us. We’re going to dive in for a review of Face the Raven, but be warned– below the cut are major spoilers, Sweetie.
I thought Face The Raven was really good. I wasn’t able to watch this episode live as planned, and so I had gotten a whiff from the Internet that a) it would hit me right in the feels because b) a very specific someone was gone. A bit annoyed that I knew those two things for certain going in, I decided to rearrange my Sunday schedule so I could safely go back on Twitter without running into any further spoilers. And sure enough, this episode was just as good as my Twitter feed had promised.
Things I liked:
This episode started off strong. I loved the bit where the Doctor and Clara are deciding who will answer the phone, and I love the banter between the two of them.
Speaking of the Doctor, Capaldi continues to have some of the best one-liners. I’m so happy with where his character has gone this season. He continues to say things that I wish it was appropriate to say, in this case, “Did you make this human?” when presented with a new baby.
The Doctor is back in the collared shirt and coat without the hoodie! YAS. This is a new coat though, a dark burgundy instead of a navy with red liner. I love it.
When Clara is hanging out of the Tardis looking down at London, I just thought how I would LOVE to hang out of the Tardis looking down like that. If I ever met the Doctor, that would be Tardis request number 1.
Mayor Me is COLD. The last time we saw her, she was slowly losing her empathy and humanity, but this episode showed that she took a big jump off the deep end and is now reigning through terror. This is absolutely horrifying because she honestly thinks that she is doing the right thing.
I didn’t remember who Rigsy was. Once I Googled it, I was on board. It makes sense that Clara would offer to risk her life for someone she already knew instead of a stranger, even though at the time she didn’t really believe that she was at risk.
I’ve been seeing a lot of writing prompts recently that center around magical tattoos meaning different things. Most of these prompts are about the tattoos showing who you will spend the rest of your life with or when you or a loved one will die. It’s an interesting concept, and it is intriguing to think about how one would react if you had the time until a huge life event like that slowly counting own on your body. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Also this: We had better find out what is on that damn confession dial in the next two episodes.
Thoughts about Clara’s death
Clara’s departure is a bit unusual because many past companions have been taken away extremely abruptly, and Clara knew that she was doomed for a good chunk of the episode. It is also unusual in that she departs on her own terms and because of her own doing. For example, past companions have been sucked into an alternate dimension or had their memory erased, both against their will and largely due to circumstances out of their control. Clara is dead because she made a choice that had consequences, and had to face the raven. Throughout this season, she has become more and more reckless. The Doctor was right when he said that she was “enjoying it too much” and that it was a recurring problem. He was also right when he said that she was just much more fragile than he was. By this point, Clara is thinking like the Doctor, and that is her ultimate downfall: she thinks like the Doctor and acts like the Doctor, only she’s not the Doctor. She is human and therefore vulnerable in a way the Doctor is not.
And so she’s dead. She didn’t go away; she died. To add salt to the wound, the Doctor is truly Clara’s hero and she always believes that he will save the day, always. That’s been her request of the Doctor all season. Every time he wants to just fly away she’s been saying, “No. You need to stay and help because I know you can.” In this case, he can’t; no one can. But Clara has always been brave, and she gets to face death on more or less her own terms. Now there isn’t anything that is necessarily stopping the Doctor from going back into her timeline, but something tells me that Clara would be just as mad if he did that as she would be if he tried to seek revenge. I think she would see it as another way of insulting her memory. If this is true, it does mean that Clara is gone from Who and there isn’t a possibility of her coming back.
Lines that made me cry:
- If Danny Pink can do this so can I. Do what? Die right.
- Why can’t I be like you? (Especially heartbreaking because that’s all she’s been doing this season.)
- Please be a little proud of me.
- Let me be brave.
At the end of this episode, I have questions. The Doctor makes a good point when he said to Me: “I was lost a long time ago; she was saving YOU.” Clara’s last act was to save Me, and even though the Doctor promised he wouldn’t seek revenge, there will definitely be consequences. He is scary now. He’s mad. There have been only a few times where The Doctor is really, properly angry. He gets worked up a bunch, but the cold, hard, deep-seated anger that every regeneration seems to have buried deep down inside is rarely shown. At the end of this episode, the Doctor is more than ready to let it all out. With an entire two-parter left before the Christmas special, I cannot wait to see what he does. Hopefully we will also get to find out where Me’s mysterious orders are coming from and why she had to send the Doctor away.