Major Plot Spoilers Ahead for Season 9 of Doctor Who! Spoilerphobes beware!
“Face the Raven” is the tenth episode of the ninth season of the beloved British sci-fi series “Doctor Who”. We see the return of Ashildr/Me, as she has taken on the role as the “Mayor” of a alien refugee camp hidden on a “trap street” in London.
The episode starts fairly innocently. Rigsy, a character who we last saw in Flatline of season 8 returns, making a call to Clara asking her for help as he has awoken with a strange tattoo that changes every minute, counting down to zero.
As The Doctor and Clara find Rigsy and bring him into the TARDIS, it is not long until we realize that Rigsy is dying, and his memory of last night is gone.
The Doctor quickly concludes that Rigsy was fooled into walking down a “Trap Street”, as Clara explains that a trap street in mapping is a fake street cartographers add into their maps so that they will know when there work has been copied. The Doctor makes a funny quip about humans and we go on our way. In this case though, the trap street is a street that confuses the mind and drags one into it subconsciously. The episode is confusing in terms of how the trap street is explained but the rest of it takes that away fairly quickly.
As The Doctor discovers where the trap street is, we see Ashildr walk out of the shadows, now known as “Mayor Me” the Mayor of the trap street, which is now an alien refugee camp, species like The Judoon, Cybermen and Silurians are all hiding in this street disguised as humans.
After some empty plot we discover that Rigsy has been accused of murder in the refugee camp! The street accepts no violence because if there was any, the species would break into the war they ran away from. The tattoo is counting down to the time of Rigsy’s execution. Clara and The Doctor race to find a way to prove Rigsy is innocent but time is running out, the punishment cannot be cancelled, only transferred. Behind The Doctor’s back, Clara accepts Rigsy’s punishment before they realize that the person Rigsy is accused of murdering is still alive! The victim is part of a species who can look back in time, they realize that Rigsy is innocent. As The Doctor rushes to get Ashildr to take Rigsy’s punishment away it is only now that Clara reveals she has taken Rigsy’s punishment, naturally The Doctor is furious. Ashildr she says she cannot take away the punishment, yet again Ashildr has made a deal with another species in order to trap The Doctor. As time runs out, Clara decides to “Face the Raven” that kills those who are set for execution, and she dies, reminding The Doctor not to take revenge despite her untimely death. As The Doctor is forcefully teleported to an isolated asylum as part of Ashildr’s trap, his last words to Ashildr are “You will find it is a very small universe when I’m angry with you”
This episode of Doctor Who was great, possibly the best episode of the season. Finally a real risk was introduced and was carried out. Unfortunately, the confusing explanation of the Trap Street, and the fact that the BBC was basically telling us that Clara would die at the end of the season ruined the moment. I knew it would happen, and so did basically every other viewer if they followed the news stories the BBC published.
+ Great story
+ Real risks
– Confusing explanations
– Long winded