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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who blogging: “Face the Raven”

dws09e10.5

[previous: “Sleep No More”]

warning: spoilers!

The Doctor and Clara go to Diagon Alley, where Clara gets reckless again. Fatally so, this time.

I feel nothing.

I know, I know. This is supposed to be so very moving:

dws09e10.3

And so is:

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And yet not even the tiniest, flimsiest of my heartstrings was tugged.

At least the Way Cool Ideas here — a tattoo that counts down; the telepathic light; a quantum shade — were actually integrated into the story.

But it’s tough to feel bad about losing Clara when I don’t feel like I ever really knew her at all. She was a convenient spear-carrier whose behavior always seems to have been dictated by the needs of a story, and hasn’t been the result of a semblance of a realistic human being behaving in a way that came naturally to her.

There is one thing I do feel right now: I feel as if Clara has been punished for actually enjoying traveling with the Doctor and wasn’t afraid or humbled enough by the danger. If only she hadn’t actually gotten a kick of stuff like this:

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She might still be alive.

Ashildr turned out more interesting this time.

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Neither good nor evil, just opportunistic. But I guess we won’t be seeing her again for a while, what with the Doctor warning her to stay out of his way…

Random thoughts on “Face the Raven”:

• So trap streets are a Thing now.

dws09e10.1

Any cartographer who actually created a trap street wasn’t actually creating a trap street? He or she was fooled as well? Not sure how that’s supposed to work…

• I guess it’s the telepathic light that is making us interpret this space as Diagon Alley?

dws09e10.2

That’s what we’d expect a secret street in London to look like? Yup, that must be it.

[next: “Heaven Sent”]


posted in:
tv buzz
  • RogerBW

    I have never been able to believe in Clara.

    I mean, I know perfectly well that all these characters are fictional constructs who do what they do at the writer’s whim. That’s the nature of fiction. But good fiction doesn’t make this obvious, doesn’t rub the audience’s noses in it. Clara appeared as the Most Wonderful Companion Ever Whom Every True Doctor Who Fan Must Adore, and only got more so afterwards. That Moffat used her to leave his territorial markings all over the original show as well didn’t help.

    She’s getting down to the Adric level for me, the companion who’s not only dislikeable but who breaks my immersion and forces me to think about the production of the show while I’m watching it.

  • My wife and son, who both have no clue that Jenna is leaving the show, were surprised by her supposed death. They figure The Doctor will find a way to bring her back next week. It’s all I can do to keep my mouth shut.
    Like you, I felt nothing. I knew my strings were supposed to be tugged, but I felt nothing. I so miss the days when this show hit me emotionally in all sorts of ways. I remember the final scenes between Tennant Doctor and Rose. The FEELZ. I miss that.
    I’m already sick of Ashildur(sp?). How the heck did she end up with the powers she has? Just because she’s (kind of) immortal doesn’t mean she’s freaking magical.
    Yeah, the countdown tattoo thing was kind of clever.

  • RogerBW

    Whether she comes back or doesn’t, in whatever form, it will be nothing to do with her character as previously developed, or anything else that’s been foreshadowed. It will be just another random surprise out of the box of random surprises.
    There’s delighting in proving fan speculation incorrect, and there’s throwing narrative logic to the wind.

  • Danielm80

    Is there a dead character from the past few seasons that Moffat hasn’t brought back? In this case, though, he set up the plot mechanics years in advance, with the Impossible Girl storyline. If we don’t see Clara Oswald again, we may see Clarissa Oswin.

  • True. I really didn’t think they would actually kill off the character. I guess we’ll see what happens on Saturday.

  • bronxbee

    i felt absolutely nothing for clara — who started off all “mysterious” and “oooh look, she’s in the dalek, oooo look she’s telling the Doctor which TARDIS to pick.. ” etc. the “impossible girl” obviously turned out too impossible for moffat to figure out what to do with her. i wish i could have felt something — even if it was just feeling bad for the Doctor, but… really… i didn’t.

  • Jim mann

    I strongly disagree with you and other responders here. I was very moved by the episode, and moved and upset by Clara’s death. I had mixed feeling about her as a character in her first season, but she’s grown over the last two years, and I’ve come to really like her as a companion.

  • Thomas Scott Estes

    I never really liked Clara, until recently. I kind of liked that she was just having fun. I mean how many times can you save the world/universe/day before you start to think yourself invincible?
    She grew on me. I didn’t like her during seasons seven or eight, but I will miss her energy. She was a very flat character, and while not unpleasant, I feel like her character didn’t have much range, which might be okay given that I don’t think Jenna Coleman has much range either.
    The next day I found myself thinking, “I’ll miss…. whats-her-name.”

    I wonder if they can bring Amy back now. What is Karen Gillan doing nowadays?

  • Steve Gagen

    Certainly looks like Diagon Alley to me! Where’s the little girl being perpetually sick though?

  • Tonio Kruger

    SPOILERS for the Adric episodes of Doctor Who. Avert your eyes if you have not seen them yet. Avert them now. Please don’t make me warn you all a third time.:

    I remember being actually shocked by Adric’s death. No, he wasn’t my favorite companion but I honestly did not see his death scene coming and as much as I hate to admit it, I always thought he had a better-written ending to his story arc than most of the other companions — including poor Tegan. At least Turlough got some sort of happy ending. Poor Tegan was better off when she was left behind at Heathrow.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I suspect the true answer to the question “When will Ms. Coleman come back to the show?” is “Nevermore…”

  • Tonio Kruger

    Part of me is still a bit disappointed that this episode did not involve the Doctor and Clara fighting off some gigantic feathery beast from Night’s Plutonian shore.

    Then again part of me would have also liked to have seen the Doctor and Clara team up with Edgar Allan Poe to halt an alien invasion of evil black cats who were being smuggled into London in casks of amontillado by Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether.

    But I suppose that last bit would have been just a bit silly.

  • bronxbee

    ha!

  • Jenna Coleman is moving on to work on a different show. She’s gone for good… at least until the next big anniversary, or some other special commemoration.

  • Danielm80

    Her contract may not run past the current season, but if the next season turns out to be a series of specials, that opens up all kinds of possibilities.

    I’m not saying that bringing her back is at all likely, or a good idea, or makes the slightest bit of story sense. I’m just saying that Steven Moffat loves resurrections and surprise plot twists, and stranger things have happened.

  • RogerBW

    Continuing what Tonio said:

    “SPOILERS for the Adric episodes of Doctor Who. Avert your eyes if you have not seen them yet. Avert them now. Please don’t make me warn you all a third time.:”
    He died because he didn’t look beyond the immediate problem. Which was entirely in character for him.
    (You may be interested in my reviews of classic Who – see blog.firedrake.org and look for the “doctor who” tag.)

  • I’m well aware that she’s out. I just didn’t think they would actually kill the character. Have they killed off companions before? None of the “new Who” companions have been killed. Just worked out of the story somehow.

  • RogerBW

    Killed off, no. Locked forever in a parallel universe, married off to people they’d shown no interest in before, all the good and fun stuff permanently wiped out of their personalities, sure, but not actually killed.

  • bronxbee

    well, unless you count Astrid in the Christmas Episode with the “Titanic.”

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