Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Face The Raven - Review

Let's set aside the final 5 minutes or so for now, and look at the rest of this week's episode. because if it hadn't been for that shocking conclusion how would this story have stood up?
A interesting premise was the idea of the Trap Streets. It is one of those things that are hard to retro-fit into the series, however. We now that this particular street has been in existence for at least a century - so does that mean UNIT and Torchwood knew about it? How many more are there on Earth? Did the Third Doctor visit any whilst he was exiled on Earth, or are they something he has only recently discovered?
The mix of aliens was a bit arbitrary - it felt like they simply used whatever costumes came to hand. Can't really see either Cybermen or Sontarans in a refugee camp.
The basic plot, up until we learned that Ashildr was up to something, was a murder mystery. Obviously Rigsy isn't the sort of person who would kill a defenseless woman - alien or otherwise - so it looked as if the Doctor was going to have to find out who really did it. Except we didn't have that many obvious culprits, and I could see by the clock that they were rapidly running out of time to develop this as a credible plot.
I had also guessed that this was where Clara was going to cop it. Which brings us to what this episode is always going to be remembered for.
We've had companion deaths before - two in the same Hartnell story and one in Davison's tenure. The death of Rory in the Silurian two-parter was spoiled by the release of a photo from the series finale in which he appeared - and Moffat went on to totally destroy Death as a threat throughout the Matt Smith period.
Now, we know that we haven't seen the last of Jenna Coleman in the series - one look at the cover of the current DWM will testify to that. I would be very upset if Clara's death was undermined by some cop-out explanation that she is alive and well somewhere. Her departure has already been set up then compromised twice before.
No offence, but I hope she really is deaded this time.

With those three previous deaths in the series, the Doctor never got a proper chance to say any kind of good-bye. This time, Clara was able to say what needed to be said to the Doctor - look after yourself and don't take revenge, basically.
I think the thing that shocked me most about her death - not being surprised that it was actually going to happen as I have said - was the fact that it hurt. Clara is clearly in pain after the Raven flies into her, and for a prolonged period thanks to the slo-mo. This wasn't some sanitised Sci-Fi death at all. All of Missy's victims get obliterated in a fraction of a second for instance.
It wasn't a quick death, and she had very little time to prepare for it. I am not surprised that it has upset a lot of younger viewers.
The episode ended on a cliffhanger, with the Doctor teleported off to who knows where. We know that it is going to be some big mechanical castle, with a creature called the Veil, but who is behind this and why? Who was Ashildr working for?
The obvious culprits are Davros and the Daleks. The former did want to get his hand on the Doctor's Confession Dial after all. The whole Dalek / Time Lord hybrid thing is still to be resolved.
Then there are the Time Lords themselves. Look closely at that photo of Ohila in the latest DWM and you'll see she is in the presence of Time Lords. If the Doctor is somehow responsible for bringing the Hybrid about, could his own people be out to stop him? Sounds like the sort of thing Rassilon might do. Anyone know if Timothy Dalton has been in Cardiff earlier this year?

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