Face the Raven
"Face the Raven" is the tenth episode of the ninth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was first broadcast on BBC One on 21 November 2015. It is written by Sarah Dollard and directed by Justin Molotnikov. This episode presented the rare death of a companion, in this case Clara Oswald as played by Jenna Coleman.
|260 – "Face the Raven"|
|Doctor Who episode|
Clara finds the Quantum Shade.
|Directed by||Justin Molotnikov|
|Written by||Sarah Dollard|
|Script editor||David P Davis|
|Produced by||Nikki Wilson|
|Executive producer(s)||Steven Moffat|
|Incidental music composer||Murray Gold|
|First broadcast||21 November 2015|
Joivan Wade reprised his role as Rigsy from "Flatline" and Maisie Williams returned for her third episode in the series. This episode also featured a passing return of the Judoon, the Ood, the Ice Warriors, the Silurians, the Cybermen and the Sontarans.
Rigsy contacts the Doctor and Clara for help. He shows them a number tattoo on his neck, counting down, with no memory of how he got it nor events of the last day. They trace his movements to a trap street in London that houses a small group of alien exiles, using technology to mask themselves as humans. Their mayor is Ashildr/"Me" ("The Woman Who Lived"), who warns them about breaking a frail truce that keeps peace on the street.
Me explains that they had sentenced Rigsy to death after he was accused of murdering Anah, a two-face Janus. They gave him the "Chronolock tattoo" which counts down with each passing minute. When it reaches zero, a Quantum Shade (a being that takes the form of a raven) is summoned to humanely kill him. However, they also had to give Rigsy a dose of Retcon to forget the trap street's existence. Me allows the Doctor and Clara to prove Rigsy's innocence. Clara learns that the Chronolock can be transferred to another willingly. Believing Me will not let her die, Clara takes Rigsy's Chronolock without the Doctor's knowledge.
The trio meet Anah's daughter, Anahson, and learn her death was intentional. The Doctor demands Me take them to Anah's body, stored in a stasis chamber. The Doctor finds a recession in the controls that the TARDIS key would fit, and he proceeds to do so. However, the device clamps a metal ring around his wrist and takes the TARDIS key from him. The chamber opens to reveal Anah is still alive, and Me explains she needed a means to lure the Doctor here by implicating Rigsy. The band is a teleportation device to send the Doctor far away as to keep the truce, and she demands his Confession Dial. Me then goes to remove the Chronolock from Rigsy only to discover Clara had taken it; Clara broke the contract Me had made with the Shade and she cannot undo it. The Doctor becomes angry, but Clara calms him down, asking him not to be upset nor avenge her death. Clara says her goodbyes and then steps into the street to face the Shade before it kills her.
The Doctor warns Me that Clara's caution was for Me's protection. Me apologises for her actions, and then activates the band, sending the Doctor away. In the post-script, Rigsy paints a tribute to Clara on the side of the abandoned TARDIS.
Rigsy is injected with Retcon, a substance introduced in the Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood, to cause those that take it to lose their memory of meeting members of Torchwood and having alien encounters.
As Clara entreats the Doctor not to take revenge on Ashildr, she tells him "don't be a warrior.... be a Doctor". This is the same plea she made to the Eleventh Doctor when he planned to destroy Gallifrey to end the Time War in "The Day of the Doctor".
Clara mentions having a romantic relationship with writer Jane Austen. In "The Magician's Apprentice", she even calls her "a great kisser". Earlier in "The Caretaker", the Doctor disputes with Clara about when Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice.
As they prepare to investigate, Clara suggests that she and the Doctor employ the good cop/bad cop interrogation method, with her as the 'good' cop. When the Doctor asks why he can't play 'good cop', Clara says that his face won't allow him.
The read through for this episode was on 28 May 2015 and filming ran from 8 June to 25 June.
Joivan Wade originally appeared as Rigsy in "Flatline" in Series 8. Maisie Williams featured as Ashildr/Me in "The Girl Who Died" and "The Woman Who Lived". Robin Soans appeared as Luvic in The Keeper of Traken in Season 18. Simon Paisley Day made an appearance in "The End of the World" from Series 1.
The episode was watched by 4.48 million viewers overnight in the UK, a 19.9% audience share. It received an Appreciation Index score of 84. The consolidated figures were 6.05 million viewers.
|Rotten Tomatoes (Average Score)||8.69|
|Rotten Tomatoes (Tomatometer)||80%|
|The A.V. Club||A|
|New York Magazine|||
The episode received highly positive reviews from critics. Jim Shelly, writing for the Daily Mail said that "Jenna Coleman was no Billie Piper. But her farewell episode was one of her best." Patrick Mulkern's review for Radio Times was more critical, stating that the episode was "at best, pedestrian. It's mostly dull and uninvolving." In The Independent, Jon Cooper praised the show, describing it as "A heady mixture of science fiction, Gothic whodunnit and emotional rollercoaster, it doesn't just leave you breathless – it leaves you wanting more." On Rotten Tomatoes, the episode has a score of 80% based on reviews from 20 critics, with an average rating of 8.69 out of 10. The website's consensus reads: "'Face the Raven' delivers the much anticipated departure of a beloved Doctor Who character in a farewell handled admirably by both Coleman and Capaldi."
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