Face the Raven
Doctor Who, Series 9 Episode 10 of 12
By the Tripwire LiveBlog Team
Well, we have two episodes to go to the series finale, and due to considerable and unsubtle hints in every bloody episode it all feels like Clara’s going to die, or is already dead. Or alive forever. Or doesn’t exist. After last week’s episode, who knows what will be pulled from the orifice of dark creativity that is Doctor Who? This week the Doctor is in a “secret pocket of alien life in the middle of London”, or Diagon Alley, if you will. Maisie Williams returns as Me, but who’s side is she on? And do we care? Last time she was staring out of a photo, with an “Oh yes, I’m watching you, all right!” expression on her face. Which, to be fair appears to be her permanent expression in this show. Is she less wooden in Game of Thrones, or doesn’t it really matter there? Who’s side is she on? See what I did there?
In more news, Rigsy returns! Yes, the actor that enchanted you in Flatline while defeating the Boneless. is back in the world of Clara and the Doctor. Well, honestly, technically they could be back in his world, but you get the picture. Possibly a Cyberman or two, definitely the Judoon – ah, remember Smith and Jones, when we thought we’d have a companion who wasn’t a drip, and for a whole season too? Happy days… We’ll be here at 20.15 tonight, ready to rock. Be here, or be somewhere else!
You could spend your time catching up on the LiveBlogs so far here!
Clara and the Doc arrive in the Tardis from a wacky adventure to a (very loud) telephone ringing and it’s Rigsy! He’s got a tattoo – and it’s counting down to zero. Spooky! Roll credits.
Zoom into Rigsy’s kid’s bedroom. Doctor interested in the tat. Apparently Rigsy has had contact with an alien life form. Off to the Tardis for futuristic MRI scan. Rigsy has been retconned (his memory has been wiped) – he can’t remember the last 24 hours. Ooo-err – Rigsy is going to die!
Rigsy tells The Doctor he’s going to save him (Rigsy) – “You’re the Doctor, it’s what you do!” Hmm, it’s usually the Doctor who says that. They look at maps. Clara talks about trap streets – streets that don’t exist, but are put in by cartographers to preserve copyright. Tardis flies over London looking for Diagon Alley, Clara using the Sonic Specs. Now they have a map of the bits Clara couldn’t see. The street will be hiding in plain sight. Now the Doc is calling it a trap street. He was pretty dismissive earlier. They’re looking for glitches in reality. Rigsy remembers! And now they can all see Diagon Alley! Joy!
And now a fish faced man who looks like Rageh Omah turns up with Me. It’s a refugee camp for … well, a fish-faced man and Me so far. And some aliens. The Doctor gets salty with Me, and Me accuses Rigsy of a crime that caused her to sentence him to death. Me guarantees Clara’s safety. I’m suspicious of this. I think it’s a setup. We’re now in full Diagon Alley. Rigsy is a murderer apparently. An Ood is mending a Cyberman. There is a truce between all the alien refugees here which prevents disaster. Looks like Rigsy has been fitted up for killing a Janus, a species who can see the past and future. Rigsy was called to the Alley by a phone call at 6.00 am. Now Me is being salty about some bloke about to die from a tattoo like Rigsy’s. Exit criminal pursued by Raven (actually a quantum something-or-other).
It’s a quantum shade! And Clara has just overheard Rigsy talking to his wife about his kid. The quantum shade can be passed to another person. And (of course) Clara wants Rigsy’s tat now. And she has it. It’s still counting down. Clara has a cunning plan…
Meanwhile, the Doc is trying to find the Janus’s killer. He’s a bit confused, and so am I. The Janus’s child can see the past and tells the Doctor that Me used the mystery to bring him here. It turns out the “victim” is still alive. Only the Doctor’s key will open the stasis pod that the Janus’s Mom is in. How Me has managed this is not explained. As is usual in this series. The Doctor uses the key to open the pod, loses the key and finds a teleport band attached to his wrist. Surprise Doctor! Apparently the whole thing was about getting the Doc to Diagon Alley to put his hand in a hole. Jesus wept! Me is going to ship him to some unnamed enemy in exchange for Diagon Alley being left unscathed by aforesaid unknown adversary.
Oops. Turns out the quantum shade can’t be removed once reassigned. Clara is to bite the big one. Sadness (and a considerable number of threats from the Doctor) ensues. Emotional dialogue. Doctor shouty. Raven on way. Doctor will be alone now, says Clara. Clara says he must not take revenge, or get sad, or anything. Floods of tears.
Clara goes to meet Raven in slo-mo. Goodbye, Clara.
Doctor advises Me to stay out of his way. He teleports off to meet the next episode.
Ok, so how was that? Why was the street period? Why were there only eight people living there? Conflicted about Clara’s demise, which seemed telegraphed – all the way through the series – and trite. The plot device that put her in the situation actually made me groan. As did the conversation with his wife and child as motivation. Brick-subtle. If Capaldi hadn’t spent the entire season so far either shouting, or fretting over Clara, or suffering intimations of her mortality, Clara’s end may had more resonance. As it is, barring some last minute plot device (see below), Jenna Coleman has been more sinned against than sinning in this show. She has been used as a prop to illuminate the Doctor’s nature, rather than being allowed to develop Clara’s character in the way that (for example) Elisabeth Sladen developed Sarah Jane Smith’s. Coleman is off to Victoria, where hopefully she’ll be more than a prop or manic pixie dream girl. What exactly we are supposed to make of her death from such a crude comedy of errors is hard to know. I should imagine we’ll suffer much shouty Doctor in the two weeks to come. The sad thing is Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool had a better plotline for the series than this. Rich Johnston!
Next week: Heaven Sent. The Doctor has been transported by an old enemy (one assumes). We’ve used up the Daleks, could be Missy (Heaven, you see). There is a pic of Clara in the BBC trailer for next week, and a character dressed in a similar way to the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come in Muppet Christmas Carol (with the moves of Max Shreck’s Nosferatu). Could it be…? She was the impossible girl after all. Interested parties should note that IMDB lists one J Coleman as a participant in Hell Bent, Episode 12 of this series…