This was hinted at being the final episode for Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald and despite it being public knowledge that Coleman was leaving, there is just some nagging doubt that this might not be the case in tonight’s episodes. Lets just assume that this is the final episode for Clara then it was clear that things weren’t going to end well because at the beginning of the episode the Doctor and Clara are laughing and having fun. That’s always a bad sign when its not the norm.
The episode sees the return of Rigsy who was the slightly irritating character from last years Flatline episode and more importantly the return of Maisie Williams who we saw in the less than exciting Girl Who Died/Woman Who Lived two parter. If there is one aspect of the story that I don’t think worked that well it’s the return of Rigsy. Quite why the decision was made to bring him back is beyond me because he didn’t really bring anything to the story. It’s not the fault of Joivan Wade but more the person who had the idea of bringing him back. The return of Ashildr was more successful as it felt that there was a purpose to it and I thought that there was a nice underlying menace to Williams’ performance because she was running the little village that the story was set in and yet had someone above her to serve.
I thought that the death scene for Clara was very good. Whilst it was an insanely stupid thing to do with an almost 0% chance of success, it was the perfect opportunity for Clara to sacrifice herself for the sake of the Doctor and Rigsy. Clara has been in the background for most of this series and it seemed like she was being saved until this episode. I think that the character of Clara has been a good one overall although I do hope whoever replaces her isn’t saddle with the mystery backstory that she was. Hopefully Moffat will just let a companion be a companion. The final scene between Clara and the Doctor was one of the strongest emotional scenes for quite sometime. Some people have compared it to Donna’s final scene in Journeys End but I think this was better. You could actually see Capaldi’s face show warmth in this scene and bearing in mind how he wasn’t a hugger in Deep Breath, its funny how close they ended up.
The big mystery is where the Doctor is going to end up and also who Ashildr is working for. I think we all know where the Doctor is going to end up but Im not going to say anything until it happens cause I don’t want to end up with egg all over my face. If it is where I think it then it will end a story arc that has been 10 years in the making.
Sarah Dollard’s first script for the show is very good and she should be praised for writing a tense and dark story that ratches up the tension and I thought that the whole episode worked well and when she needed to do the emotional scenes she did them rather well. I look forward to more stories from her in the future. Justin Molotnikov’s second episode is just as good as the first. The fact that they film on real streets in a real London bought a freshness that the series had been missing. I think he captured the mood rather well and is another of this series’ successes.
Face The Raven is a highly enjoyable story with some highly enjoyable performances. It might not be setting the world alight due to ratings but it shows that even 10 years after it returned, it can still entertain and show that it has just as much imagination as it did in 2005. Just days before the shows 52nd anniversary, the show is in just as good health as it was in 1963. Now onto the final two episodes.