This is the episode where Clara dies. Spoilers? Not really considering it has been plastered all over the internet that Jenna Coleman was leaving Doctor Who this season. Can’t anything be a surprise anymore?
‘Face the Raven’ is set mostly in a alien version of Diagon alley, which Ashildr (Maisie Williams) created as a sanctuary for all of the aliens on Earth. It runs off the rules that if anyone steps out of line, they are placed under a death sentence of a chronolock by Ashildr, which sucks the soul out of the criminal. It can’t be escaped, even by trying to escape through time.
The set is brilliant, and has an eerie atmosphere. The effects too, of the incognito aliens many of which are enemies of the Doctor are cool.
This is the third episode in the season that the immortal shielder Ashildr turns up and it is clear she is an antagonist, in a checking of power manner to the Doctor.
Returning character Rigsy, has a death sentence which he discovers through a tattoo which counts down the minutes until his execution. He doesn’t do much apart from being the reason that the Doctor and Clara go to the hidden alley in the first place. It turns out that he was accused of a murder of an alien which can see into the past and the future.
The death of Clara was quite underwhelming even though it was filmed so poetically. The way she seemed to be evaporated by a Dalek in the first episode of the season was more shocking than the way she actually goes which could have been preventable.
Clara has been presented as a person desiring some kind of death wish this season, which isn’t entirely convincing. She takes face-palmingly, stupid risks and has an unbelievable overconfidence (such as hanging out of the TARDIS while in flight).
Believing she could outsmart the chronolock she takes Rigsy’s death sentence, to stall Ashildr. The catch is that only Ashildr can remove it and she can’t remove it after it has been transferred. So Clara is doomed. Falling in slow motion as her soul is sucked out of her body to sad music was quite beautiful an ending, but the way it got to this point through an act of stupidity was silly.
Overall an entertaining episode and great visually, it really sets us up for the next episode.
This is the first episode of a three parter finale and the Doctor is out for vengeance. In the next episode ‘Heaven Sent’ he appears to be sent to a maze like place solo which should be interesting.
Bonus Easter egg!
Yes, there is a Star Wars / Back to the Future reference in this episode.
This is when Clara Oswald convinces her friend Rigsy to transfer the death sentence.
If you’re a diehard Star Wars fan, you might recognise the Aurebesh text on the poster in the background (the language used in Star Wars).
It says “Delorean.”