Doctor Who: Face the Raven review

Posted on Dec 5, 2015


The Storyline

Face the Raven by Stuart Manning

Face the Raven picture by Stuart Manning

This ominous story starts with our heroes Clara and the Doctor receiving a phone call from an old friend, Rigsy who says he has a tattoo that has numbers on it that he never got and the numbers are counting down.

The Doctor takes him on his Tardis and scans him as he has memory loss and he tells Clara, “You are going to die…” but is he talking about her or Rigsy?

Suddenly they are off looking for a Trap Street in order to help Rigsy flying over London. So they walk around looking for the street and get close. Clara realises Rigsy knows where it is deep down and he finds it straight away.

They enter the street and are told they are in a refugee asylum. They are greeted by Ashildr much to the surprise of the Doctor and she seems to be in charge of the area. She tells them that Clara is safe but nothing about the others.

All the people have human faces but are really disguised aliens. They are told Rigsy has murdered someone. Ashildr tells them it is a safe haven and no murder, nor crime has ever been committed there. If there is then she attaches a countdown to them that is a death sentence. The tattoo. Something they witness soon enough.

The Doctor and Clara are on a race against time and Clara accepts the tattoo on her instead of Rigsy unbeknown to the Doctor.
Meanwhile the Doctor realises it could be a trap that was meant for him with Rigsy being set up to do so. With ten minutes left they rush to save an alien life form, the Mother of another and succeeds but the price is the capture of the Doctor by Ashildr who is working for someone else. She is also after the Confession Dial which the Doctor gives her. Clara tries to free the Doctor but it becomes clear what she has done with the tattoo. She realises she is going to die and they all try to save her but they realise it is too late to save her. Clara is going to die much to Ashildr and Rigsy’s sadness and the Doctors anger and distress.

Clara tells the Doctor to be just that and not to avenge her. Not to become something else. Their hearts breaking, they say their goodbyes and Clara goes to her death, the Doctor following her and seeing her demise, helpless and not being able to do a thing about it. He walks back into the room heartbroken leaving her laying there and warns Ashildr to stay out of his way for he does not know what he will do and vanishes to his mysterious captors.

The end scene finds a floral tribute and picture of Clara on the outside of the Tardis with Rigsy sadly outside it alone.

The Review

This has to be the best episode in a long time but also a sad one being Clara is no more.
It was dark throughout and had much in the style of Harry Potter about it from the street that resembled Diagon Alley and magical birds and invisible trap streets.

Knowing it was supposed to be Clara’s last episode, fans of Jenna Coleman like myself knew it was going to be a wrench but Doctor Who being such as it is, nothing really ends. Steven Moffat has said she will not be back but anything is possible in science fiction, especially where a time machine is involved. It is rumoured that she could be back in the next two episodes in some way but we shall see? Again, when you gave a Tardis you can go anywhere you wish.

I for one will miss Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald even though some did not like her. I hope that they find a way to resurrect her in some way as they kind of did before when we first came across her in Matt Smith’s era which brings me to a niggly point. She was a mad Dalek when Matt Smith’s regeneration met her for the second time but this story has not been resolved? Why is this? The writers get carried away and confused I think, never tying up loose ends.

So I expect Jenna Coleman will do audio episodes from time to time when she can but for now there is no more Clara as we know her.

Goodbye Clara, you were brilliant. And Jenna, thank you for such a wonderful human character not seen in Doctor Who in a long while. May Jenna have a truly wonderful and successful career.

If you are interested in the above poster or any of the brilliant work done by Stuart Manning you can buy his prints and he does commissions too. You can view his work here and buy them here.

The Cast

Peter Capaldi – The Doctor
Jenna Coleman – Clara Oswald

Joivan Wade – Rigsy
Maisie Williams – Ashildr
Naomi Ackie – Jen
Simon Manyonda – Kabel
Simon Paisley Day – Rump
Letitia Wright – Anahson
Angela Clerkin – Alien Woman
Jenny Lee – Elderly Woman
Robin Soans – Chronolock Guy
Caroline Boulton – Habrian woman


Writer – Sarah Dollard
Director – Justin Molotnikov