Raven and... What?

    Well. Well, well well.


    I have to say (and spoilers here for “Face the Raven”, if you haven’t seen it yet): that was companion-exit that guarantees they won’t be able to bring her back.

    OK, yes, nothing is forever in Doctor Who, and there are already rumours or suggestions that Clara will be appearing in flashbacks or similar in the next two episodes. But that really felt properly final.

    And I have to say, I hope it stays that way. Nothing against Clara, or Jenna Coleman – I think she was a good companion played by a very good actor – but it just feels that they’ve done too much of bringing companions back. Sure, we all love to see them again, but really? She’s gone out with a heroic and tragic last scene. It would cheapen it to bring her back.

    Unless there was a very good reason, of course.

    It occurs to me: if the planned new spinoff programme, Class, is to be set in and around Coal Hill School, where Clara was teaching: what does her death mean for that, for the characters in it? Presumably some of them will be her students, or teachers who knew her.

    Anyway, back to Clara, and the Raven. And maybe her death wish?

    I was pleased that she mentioned Danny Pink at the end, because I’ve been thinking that it was strange that neither she nor The Doctor had mentioned him in this season. It seemed that she really hadn’t had a chance go grieve properly – or hadn’t let herself do so.

    Though we don’t know how long is supposed to have passed. It could be a year, two, since the events of “Death in Heaven”. Which doesn’t mean she’d have stopped grieving – certainly not that she’d have forgotten him. But she could have got to a place where she could carry on without always thinking of him.

    But then there’s her mood this series, her mad drive for more adventures, her carelessness – best shown in this very episode with the way she hung out of the Tardis1

    So if we want to psychoanlayse her, we can say that she has spent the last ten episodes (and maybe longer) running away from Danny’s death, from her own feelings about it; or running towards her own eventual death, her sacrifice.

    This episode for me was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. I was considered quite contentious in my family when I said I thought that the current season was the best of New-Who. That led to much discussion of other past seasons, and my eventual acquiescence into the idea that it’s mainly the best because it’s the one that’s happening now. Like my friend Paul said a while back: “My favourite episode of Doctor Who? The next one.”

    But I think the truth of it is that it has been a very even series: not great highs (except maybe this very episode) – no “Blink” or “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” or “Father’s Day”. But no real lows, either (arguably the previous episode, but I still think it was worthwhile.) An entire season (so far) of solid, strong episodes, leading to a climax like this – and who knows what will come next?

    I note in passing that this reviewer thinks like me.

    Anyway. There is much more I could say – like who are the “they” who have kidnapped The Doctor? The obvious answer would be Davros and the Daleks, possibly with help from Missy. That would bookend the season nicely, and make some sense of Ashildr asking for his “Confession Dial”. But that might be too obvious.

    But that’s enough for now. Quoth the Raven, “Neverwhere’s all about hidden London, isn’t it?"

    1. I can’t decide on whether to use the old-school all caps, since it’s an acronym, or the more modern approach of making it a standard word. I wonder: what would Nasa do? Oh. Yes. ↩︎

    Invasion and Inversion

    I thought of a couple of alternative titles for this: "Old Enough to be Your Messiah." (I'll bet that played well in parts of America.) "The Basil & Petronella Show." "Who's Gonna Make the Violins?" But for consistency with my other posts. I'm sticking with this.

    This was a great pair of episodes. True, some will have found it hard to understand what was going on in the first episode; and true also, the whole Zygon plot might not have entirely made sense (why, in particular, do they have electric zappy powers now, and why does that turn people into sparking wire wool?) But the overall mood, and tone, and writing, were fantastic.

    Not to mention the fanservice. The references to Harry Sullivan; the portrait of the first Doctor over the safe; “Five Rounds Rapid!” (Which, I discover, is the title of Nicholas Courtney’s autobiography.) I Loved it all.

    This season feels to me like it’s really solid. There are no real highs: no “Blink”, no “The Empty Child” or “Father’s Day”. But there have been no really weak episodes yet either.

    On second watching I caught an interesting snippet. When the Doctor is telling Zygella why he didn’t press the big button, he says he “let Clara Oswald get into [his] head.” Then he says, “she doesn’t leave.” Maybe that’ll be the big secret reveal of this season: Clara doesn’t leave after all.

    No, I realise that can’t be so, as official BBC announcements have been made. But it was an interesting change from the heavy-handed foreshadowing of her departure that we’ve seen. Clara has been the Doctor’s – and our – companion for a long time now, and it’ll be strange for all of us to adjust to someone new.

    I loved the Doctor’s speech – soliloquy, you might say – that reinstated the ceasefire. It’s his statement of Doctoriness.

    Still wondering if there’s a big thing for this season. I mean, apart from Clara leaving. It has to be something to do with hybrids of some kind – I noticed that the second part didn’t use that word, though the first did. The Osgoods could be said to be a hybrid, but I can’t see them coming back before the end of this run. There’s the Dalek/Time Lord thing, which will have to play out at some point.

    Then there’s the Minister of War – which could just be a throwaway name like the Nightmare Child; but I think it was placed too specifically for that. And Lady Me, or Ashildr. I fully expect to see her again.

    I expect we’ll have to wait for the closing two-parter, “Heaven Sent”/“Hell Bent” to find out.

    But before that we’ve got “Sleep No More” on Saturday. I don’t know if it’s a two-parter with the one after, “Face the Raven”, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

    Apprentice and Familiar

    Out of sequence, but for completeness I should write a piece about the first two-parter in this year's Doctor Who series. "The Magician's Apprentice" and "The Witch's Familiar".

    Excellent that they managed not to include the word “Dalek” in the title of a Dalek story. A genuine surprise when the boy in the minefield said his name.

    And great, great interplay between Missy and Clara, especially.

    But if we assume, as we must, that the Magician is The Doctor and Missy is the Witch , does that make Clara both the Apprentice and the Familar? Or is Davros one of all of the above? It’s all very mysterious.

    And Dalek/Time Lord hybrids? This can’t end well.

    Wait, though: following on from my previous: The Doctor isn’t the Scarecrow: he’s the Wizard. But then, who is behind the curtain?