Face the Raven
By Sarah Dollard
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
“Let me be brave.”
Well they finally did something that I didn’t think they had the courage to do. Even though the clues were there with Clara being so reckless I didn’t think Steven Moffat would actually go ahead and kill off Clara. Yes, he has killed a version of Clara before but this was the death of an actual companion since 1982’s Earthshock. Since Adric’s death came as a surprise and no one knew what was coming as social network did not exist back then there were a lot of rumors that Clara would meet her demise. I have to say they kept the secret pretty good and most fans did not realize that it would be in episode 10. There were leaks about her leaving and it was spoiled on radio and on some sites but most did not know that she would be killed off. But the clues were there and I was one to put two and two together.
The big clue was that Clara was pretty reckless taking chances she shouldn’t have and trying too hard to be like The Doctor. She even said so in the closing moments of Face the Raven and in fact Rigsy made a comment about that very thing in the TARDIS at the beginning. Clara had been doing reckless stuff and really enjoying the danger all too much that at some point it would catch up with her. Unfortunately it did but in a way it would be something The Doctor might have done but he would have found another way first and not jump to action that quickly considering that it was just trap to get The Doctor to Trap Street in the first place and that they were not really going to kill Rigsy. It is just too bad that Clara didn’t think things through.
I really liked Face the Raven as it was a story that not only gave us the departure of a companion but also set up the finale for Series 9. Here we have a mystery of someone wanting to get The Doctor. So they set up a mystery using Rigsy as bait and Ashildr as the pawn. This story sets up a bigger story and some could say it was a filler episode but they made it more than a filler episode with Jenna Coleman’s departure. The story was in fact pretty simple as nothing was resolved except that the whole scenario was a trap for The Doctor. So under normal story conditions this would have been just a normal episode with nothing much going for it except for the fate of Clara.
I’m getting a bit tired of Ashildr. Yes, Maisie Williams is a great actress but I’m tired of the character. It seems Steven Moffat is using her more for shock value and the scenes where The Doctor goes “You” is getting tiring. Hopefully she will not be around in the finale but knowing Steven Moffat he likes to throw in the kitchen sink for his finales.
Unlike most I liked Clara as a companion. She wasn’t the easiest to like as they messed with her character a lot after the Impossible Girl storyline. Clara wasn’t just a pretty face as she was pretty smart and was good at keeping The Doctor grounded. We heard a lot of that when she was saying her farewells as she told The Doctor to not be a warrior but a doctor and to try and cope with being lonely. Plus how many companions would just accept their fate and walk out to their death with their head held high and face it head on like Clara did. That was pretty courageous and you had to feel for Clara as you knew The Doctor couldn’t save her at all. He was only able to look on defeated and helpless when she died which made her passing really sad and emotional.
I like Jenna Coleman as an actress as she was really good with Peter Capaldi more so than with Matt Smith. The two of them really gelled and they had a pretty good chemistry together. I will miss seeing Jenna as Clara, I believe she might make an appearance in the finale in some form or another, and like Ashildr said I still can’t believe she did something so stupid but in true Clara form she was trying to help and that is what The Doctor would do.
Face the Raven was a pretty good story and to trust a new writer to the show in Sarah Dollard was pretty impressive as I like how she tells a story and I hope she gets a chance to write a story for Series 10. In fact I hope a lot of the newer writers from this series get another shot also. Face the Raven sets up the finale pretty well and hopefully we get a finale that is really good considering what took place in Face the Raven.