‘Face the Raven’
And so we bid adieu to Clara Oswald.
In truth I was ready for her to go. I’ve enjoyed her energy and her smart talk, but she hasn’t really been interesting since ‘The Snowmen.’ She’s never had any consistency of characterization, she’s never been really relatable, she’s never been as human as the Doctor’s other modern companions. I’m looking forward to who’s next.
But it was a good death, a fine farewell. The Doctor will miss her, and his grief will make for some lovely character stuff over the next few stories. Capaldi’s reactions in the episode are perfectly understated, and unmistakeable. It’s been a long time since a companion truly died, and Clara does it well. “Let me be brave” are excellent last words, moving and powerful, and potentially a lifeline for those facing difficulty in real life.
“Let me be brave” in the face of a cancer diagnosis.
“Let me be brave” in the face of the loss of a loved one.
“Let me be brave” in the face of a divorce.
“Let me be brave” as children leave home, or jobs end, or best friends move away. Clara’s courage – and the Doctor’s, as he honors her wish and watches her go – can be an example to anyone. No tears for these two, no melodrama – though surely that will come. For now, they face the raven with strength.
That of course is the dominating storyline, but there’s much more to like in this episode. Lady Me’s arc continues to intrigue: the consequences of immortality on the slow road. The idea of refugee aliens huddled together, a hidden world alongside our own, has excellent potential. Rigsy is a treat – grown up now, with wife and child but still the soul of an artist. Seeing the TARDIS through his eyes is an experience we’ve long missed with jaded Clara on board. And who are the ‘they’ demanding the Doctor’s presence? Having just re-watched ‘Genesis of the Daleks,’ we can’t help but be reminded of the Time Ring, and the Time Lords’ underhanded and convoluted demands.
We shall see – though I think we’ll have to wait for episode 12 to find out for sure.
I’ve been really delighted with our new writers this season. Tregenna’s ‘The Woman Who Lived’ was no less heart-wrenching than I’d expect from the writer of Torchwood‘s ‘Out of Time.’ Dollard is full of fantastic ideas, and I love how much interesting stuff she got to do in this story. How many first-timers get to kill a companion? I was sure Moffat would save that stunt for himself, but I’m so glad he let Dollard do it. She gave it just the right touch.
Only two left, and next week’s looks amazing. On to ‘Heaven Sent.’