Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: "Hear the Raven"


The first episode of Doctor Who since the Eighties to...


Still there?

Yeah. So that's it. No more Clara Oswald.

What happened? The Doctor and Clara are on the TARDIS. They get a call from Rigsby, an old friend from last season. Turns out he's got a tattoo counting down on his neck. They arrive and find out he's got some kind of "Quantum something-or-other" on him. Long story short: he's gonna die and aliens are going to kill him.

The investigation leads to a "trap street", a hidden street with aliens living on it. The aliens are under the protection of Ashilda, our immortal Viking woman who is the one who put the tattoo on Rigsby for killing an alien woman.

While the Doctor and Clara poke about, they find out that the tattoo countdown invokes some kind of alien spirit that takes the form of a raven. When the time is up, it kills the tattoo holder. The tattoo can be passed along if both parties are willing, but someone dies.

Clara manages to persuade Rigsby (a new father) to pass the tattoo to her, thinking she'll be safe as Ashilda has guaranteed her safety.

The investigation finds that the alien woman Rigsby allegedly killed is actually alive in stasis. The whole thing is a trap to get the Doctor in place so a teleport bracelet can be put on him for some nefarious purpose. Ashilda turns out to be behind it as a plan to save the alien street.

Then everyone finds out Clara did a tattoo switch. It seems that prevents Ashilda from having any control over the situation and revoking the death sentence. It's implied Ashilda was planning to let the raven kill her to spare Rigsby after the trap was sprung, but Clara has inexplicably cut Ashilda out of the deal somehow.

We then get several minutes of meaningful looks and good-byes before - yes - Clara dies. On screen, no less.

The Doctor is then teleported away, but not before warning Ashilda that he's pissed and she'd best stay out of his way.

The episode ends with the TARDIS marked up in with a pic of Clara and some artwork.

So, yeah. First Companion killed onscreen (permanently) since Adric was killed in "Earthshock". Can't say I'm sorry to see Clara go. She was a vague character that never really found her voice or point in the series. I've heard folks describe her as a "manic pixie girl", and that label fits. She was a sort of Mary Sue (though not quite as bad as River Song) and annoying as a result.

Overall, the episode felt rough, clunky, and excessively contrived. The whole thing was obviously too much of a "part one" of a continued story and Clara's death felt silly and anticlimactic. I expected more somehow.

So yeah. I'm chalking this episode up as weak tea.

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