In Review: Doctor Who – Face The Raven

The Doctor discovers a strange alien world hidden in the heart of London.

Synopsis: The Doctor discovers a strange alien world hidden in the heart of London.

Review: If you haven’t seen this episode as yet you may want to avoid reading what follows because it will contain a few spoilers.

When the Doctor and Clara’s friend Rigsy called them on the phone he provides a mystery, which neither The Doctor or Clara can resist. Rigsy points out to them that he has a tatoo on his neck, which is counting down the numbers, but he has no recollection of where and when he got it.

This leads our heroes into a brief investigation, which takes them to a mysterious town hidden in the heart of London, which is run by Ashildr who claims it is a refugee camp.

Apparently Rigsy has been accused of murder and the tattoo is a countdown of how much time he has left to live before he faces a death sentence at the talons of The Raven a mysterious creature that feeds on the lives of others, but is controlled by Ashidr.

As the investigation develops Clara finds out that she can take the burden of the Tattoo from Rigsy, which will save his life, but puts her at risk. She naturally assumed that the Doctor will be able to save her, which is what would normally happen, but unfortunately not this time.

It turns out that Ashidr placing the Raven’s mark on Rigsy was a ploy so that she could capture the Doctor for an individual that only she knows the identity of. To do this she made a contract with the Raven that it would get a soul if she was able to remove the mark from Rigsy, but Clara taking the mark from Rigsy pretty much voids her deal and Clara’s life.

Of course The Doctor is none to pleased at this and threatens to reign holy hell down on Ashidr as an act of vengeance, but Clara talks him out of it saying they he should be a Doctor and not an avenging angel.

It’s a moving speech by Clara and some strong acting from Jenna Coleman, but those wanting some resolution to the impossible girl story arc will probably be disappointed because it isn’t included, but The Doctor does give Ashidr his Confession Disc. So we may learn the truth by the close of the series.

I really enjoyed the look and vibe of the alien town hidden within London, but felt the mystery within the episode was a little thin and pretty easy to figure out. The very fact that Ashildr was involved pretty much gave me a notion that something was amiss.

Some strong acting from Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Maisie Williams. Just a shame about the story being a little thin, but as set up for a bigger story it works.

Doctor Who - Face The Raven
  • The Alien Town and idea of a countdown clock in the form of a tattoo
  • Pretty thin mystery
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Incidental Music
  • CGI

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
3 Comments on this post.
  • Raissa Devereux (@RaissaDevereux)
    22 November 2015 at 1:29 am -

    I’ve thought about Clara’s arc since I finished watching the ep, and I have a few thoughts. Clara’s remarks about Danny dying right and her bad timing address the Danny Pink portion of her arc. Secondly, Clara dying altogether addresses the Impossible Girl arc, because the Clara fragments always died stoically and/or heroically. Logically, that capacity had to come from somewhere in Clara Prime’s template. Thirdly, and this is meta, RTD and Moffat spent all of Nu-Who metaphorically killing companions. Even the Ponds can’t be considered irrevocable in your face deaths, because they simply aged to death at another point in time. Clara and her fragments represent the first real deaths since the series came back. Moffat finally grew a pair and I applaud. Now, it does very much remain to be seen if the Impossible Girl arc plays into the Confession Dial/Hybrid story lines as well.

  • Ian Cullen
    22 November 2015 at 8:40 pm -

    All very subtle though and in the subtext, which is why I didn’t mention them. I suspect if it does wrap up it will be via The Confession Dial. If you look back Missy said something about knowing about Clara having pushed her in the general direction of The Doctor. But again that is referencing something that we didn’t see happen.

    • Raissa Devereux (@RaissaDevereux)
      22 November 2015 at 11:38 pm -

      Good points.

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