Jerry: Welcome back to Second Opinion! All right, this is episode 10, “Face the Raven”.
Brent: “Face the Raven”, and it’s the second one-part story. Although we will probably find out it’s really the first part of three-part story.
J: I was going to say that. It really felt like the next two episodes are all part of one large story, which begins with this one.
So we get the return of Maisie Williams, who we saw in the two episodes mid-season, and we saw her in the background of the one photo. Now she is here in “current time” for us, if that makes sense.
B: It’s all timey-wimey
J: Obviously, I’m going to assume that anyone reading this column has already A) watched the episode; or B) if they haven’t, they don’t care if we spoil stuff.
B: Exactly why we wait a week….
J: OK, so they killed off Clara!
B: Deader than a doornail too!
J: And there doesn’t seem to be much coming back from the dead with something like that.
B: When your soul has been forcibly pushed out of your body, I think that pretty much leaves only behind a shell.
J: First question – have they ever killed off a companion before?
B: They did in 1984, I believe, during the Peter Davison Fifth Doctor run. In a total surprise — not rumored, not leaked — move, at the end of this big battle with the Cybermen, there was a space freighter that was headed back to the dawn of the planet Earth. The freighter crashes, and you find out later that the explosion of that freighter is what caused the dinosaurs to be wiped out. So, one of the companions was on that space freighter that crashed into Earth. They have killed the companion in books and audio-stories before, but they rarely ever kill one off on television, so it was kind of a big deal.
J: So Jenna Coleman was leaving the show on good terms, right? This wasn’t a McLean Stevenson situation where he wanted out of M*A*S*H*, so they got his character out of the show.
B: Originally, Jenna was going to leave following the last episode of last season. She rescinded that, and decided to stay off for the Christmas special, with plans to leave after that. They wrote a version of the Christmas special that had the Doctor coming back and finding her as an old woman. She’s been dreaming about him with the dream-crab on her head. She stays an old woman, and the Doctor says goodbye to her. Jenna still didn’t feel like that was the right way to go, and she was having fun with Capaldi, so she decided to do one more full year, and then get the heck out of that.
I thought it was a neat story. You may not be familiar with the character that they brought back in this episode. The boy with the tattoo, Rigsy, that contacts Clara and the Doctor? He was a one-off character from last season in which the Doctor was trapped inside a shrinking TARDIS. So Clara had to be the Doctor out in the real world, getting instruction from the Doctor. Acting as the Doctor, Clara happened upon this young boy, a graffiti artist, and he served as an acting-companion in the story. I thought it was kind of fitting that they brought him back for her swan song.
J: That also explains the graffiti on the TARDIS at the end of the episode.
B: Exactly! So, this episode made tattoos a little creepy.
J: I like the concept of a changing tattoo. Every day it’s a different work of art. It would definitely help out on the Blindspot show.
So as I understand it, Maisie Williams sent the Doctor off into time and space. He’s without the TARDIS. I suppose he has the sunglasses on him. Oh, and he’s really angry.
B: He looks very angry. I heard that the next episode is a “one-hander” that they call in show business. It will be Peter Capaldi only. This is the first time they’ve ever tried that on Doctor Who, so it should be interesting.
I really love it when they start an episode with an adventure just finishing. They run into the TARDIS, talking about the crazy time, how they almost got eaten. I love that because it opens up little pockets of story that they can exploit later. Sometime down the road, when Capaldi and Coleman sign on for a Big Finish production with a full radio cast, they can always go back and tell the story of the “Second Most Beautiful Garden in All of Time and Space that They Got Kicked Out Of.”
With this season when we are just getting six or eight different adventures told over two-parters. It can almost makes it feel like you got a glimpse into another episode that you just didn’t get to see the beginning.
J: That’s similar to how they would open each episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
B: Exactly. I always loved that. You just got the tail end of one adventure and then moved on to a new one.
J: Earlier this season, you were explaining a past episode where Jenna Coleman’s character Clara was split out into infinite splinters in order to repair time. Couldn’t the Doctor encounter one of those splinters?
B: Actually he could, and he has in the past. In that particular episode you referenced, they showed this really neat montage when she jumped into the time stream – she’s in the 1970s and there’s the Third Doctor riding by in his yellow car. They put her in these different situations that almost made it look like she was a part of many classic Doctor Who episodes. She met the first Doctor on Gallifrey. He was getting ready to run away from Gallifrey with his granddaughter, and Clara told him, “No, don’t take that one. Take this TARDIS, it’ll work much better for you.”
So he could run into another splinter of Clara somewhere down the line. But I think they’ll find a way to close that off before the season is over, or they’ll completely open it up. I don’t think I’ll leave that as an uncertainty. He’ll either have the ability to run into one of the other ones, or they will do something to make it impossible.
So how did this show make you feel? Did it get you in the heart? Or were you unemotional about it?
J: Well, it was a little hard to watch just because you knew that in X number of minutes, the character was going to die. It made me think back to the final season of E.R. The very first episode of that last season kicked off with two of the doctors being in an ambulance that exploded, and one of the doctors was critically wounded. In fact, they determined early on that he was going to die, so the E.R. staff was doing everything they could to keep him alive long enough to allow his family to get there and say goodbye. It was such a hard episode to watch, with this character dying on screen.
I just remember that sickening feeling watching that episode, and it all flooded back with this Doctor Who episode. We know Jenna Coleman is alive and well, but her character is going to die in 10 minutes, then five minutes, then two minutes. Now look, here comes the raven. It was a little difficult to watch. I’ve got to imagine that for a more invested Who-fan such as yourself, it probably did feel like you’re watching a family member die.
B: Yes, to some degree. I think she did a fantastic job, but I honestly think the thing that sold it the hardest was Peter Capaldi. The emotion in his eyes, he has such an interesting face and just watching each thought cross his face, you can see exactly what he was thinking. It was pretty powerful, well done.
So we have the Doctor on his own rocketing off into “Heaven Sent” to be followed by “Hell Bent”. After that, a three-week break until the Christmas episode. They released an image this week of the Doctor and River Song, played by Alex Kingston. This should be very interesting. She met the Tenth Doctor, Tennant, but was primarily used with the Eleventh Doctor, Smith. I think it’ll be interesting to see her with Capaldi.
J: Anything coming up with That Time on Doctor Who?
B: Nothing special… just a little thing like the 100th episode.
#ThatTimeOnDrWho is created mostly weekly by Brent Kincade for Word of the Nerd Online!
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