Doctor Who - Series 9, Episode 10

Doctor Who

A deadly countdown and a murder mystery reveal something else going on as Reece Morris-Jones faces the raven (with spoilers)…

This season of Doctor Who has certainly had its downs and occasional ups as it lurches zombie like from episode to episode in tangential ways that seem related to one another in the same way a Cheetah is a close cousin to an Elephant. That’s always been the series’ strength in the past, an ability to start over in a new setting, place or genre depending on the writer.

In some ways this approach happened with Face the Raven, in that we get a murder mystery that segues into the equivalent of an emotional bat to the face. This did work to some respects, but I can’t deny that the thirty second teaser for next weeks episode excited me a lot more than anything in this episode.

Let’s start with that emotional manipulation first; Clara Oswald is now dead. Kapoot. Shuffled off this mortal coil…sorry I was remembering something better for a moment. Anyway, the blandest of recent Doctor Who companions, who had no character in her first season, was frontloaded with it the second season and may as well have not existed in most episodes this season is no more. Going out with music that made the tears flow and in full Christ pose, it was an emotional moment for sure, but not one I cared about because Clara was going.

Instead via very, very good editing, a weepy score and brilliant acting from Jenna Coleman, I was emotionally tricked into caring about the death of a character who defined the word ‘average’. Does it annoy me? Perhaps less that my full spirited rant would lead you to believe. But here’s hoping those fans who loved her appearance on the show got the send off they felt was appropriate for her. I just felt abused.

Otherwise, it was a pretty standard issue for this series. Maisie Williams was wasted completely by a script that gave her nothing to do and the return of Jiovan Wade (playing Rigsy) didn’t really mean much. Once his mystery was solved, he stood around gormless for the rest of the show.

No, what was the highlight of the show were the reveal of the alien camp within London and the various cool alien costumes that gave the props department time to come up with. Even if the surroundings and people did seem ripped from the sets of a Harry Potter film, it was wonderful to see what looked like a colourful section of the Doctor’s world.

Add in a splash of The Doctor becoming a far darker and nastier character than we’ve seen him for sometime and you had a core of a good episode, that instead was squandered.

To be honest, the episode should have just been renamed (in the tradition of Friends) “The One Where We Got To Kill A Companion”.

I’m holding out hope for this season, but even with a drink or two to hand and me rewatching each episode several times to give it a fair shake, it seems that all I can describe it at the moment is, charitably, a bit rubbish.

 Image - BBC