Face The Raven

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    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    I have been thinking about this, and as I said in my otherwise scatterbrained post above, it really may have something to do with the fact that he has been written as the first incarnation of a new cycle of regenerations. And as such, he is, well, more… Timelord. Colder, with an air of superiority. Danny saw this in him. Officer class.

    Maybe this has been a conscious decision. To make him less likeable. And allow his experience of humanity to, well, humanize him.

    This means that Capaldi is presented with an unenviable task. To play the Doctor as unlikeable, but to slowly win us over. By comparison, Matt Smith had the luxury of being able to start out from the beginning of his tenure as immensely likeable and then continue to sweep us along.

    nerys @nerys

    @jphamlore One could also argue that traveling with the Doctor for such a long time, longer than any of the other companions, damaged Clara irrevocably. The traveling process had eroded her sense of what it means to be human and to live, and then Danny’s death snapped that tether altogether. The Doctor, as Clara noted, gave her a reason for being. But it’s not really living in the fullest sense that humans are meant to live. Clara was living the ultimate escapist’s dream … experiences charged with non-stop thrills and stimulation, but not without consequences.

    Living a companion’s life for so long changed Clara’s perspective, and I think it makes sense that by this time she would have flawed reasoning, viewing herself so often not through a human lens but an alien one. So it seems this (or something much like it) was the inevitable outcome. To avoid it Clara would have had to reject an ongoing life with the Doctor … and that’s something she refused to do. Maybe that’s why she embraced death. She was finally acknowledging what her choices had led her to, and opening her arms to the final reality of what it means to be human.

    @blenkinsopthebrave I like your analysis of Capaldi’s Doctor and how he is, as you point out, starting all over again. I’ll keep that in mind as I continue watching.

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    The more I think about the death of Clara, the better I like it.  Clara has tremendous emotional understanding of the Doctor.  But her intellectual understanding of what he is trying to communicate is near zero, as shown by her anger at him in Kill the Moon.

    The Doctor was never telling her to lie all the time for tactical advantage.  That instead was what Missy tried to train Clara to do.  Clara confused what the Doctor was saying to what Missy was saying.

    Because the one person the Doctor does not want to travel with is a clone of himself or anything close.  It is hard to believe Clara missed this one most important aspect of what the Doctor wants in life.

    Mersey @mersey


    The more I think about the death of Clara, the better I like it. 

    I prefer to call it departure. It doesn’t sound so indelicately and you can openly say that you like it. 🙂

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    While I think I’ve taken to Capaldi’s Doctor more than @bluesqueakpip has (and I think @blenkinsopthebrave is right in his description of his character arc), I think Pip does have something of a point about how Clara’s demise has been written. Whether deliberately or not, I think it does send out a message that’s dubious at best, although I do also like that it’s a companion death that’s not necessarily a glorious, noble sacrifice but the result of hubris and self-delusion on some level.

    Clara is difficult to write and end to, in that she’s already sacrificed herself several times over, has saved all the original incarnations of the Doctor and so on. Just where to you go from there. I still quite like the idea that Clara has been dead for some time and what we’re seeing is the Doctor processing that death, gradually coming to terms with it. That appeals greatly. That we’re seeing inside the Doctor’s head, his actual psychology for the first time. I also think both characters will get a final coda, to offer them both (and us) some kind of closure.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish


    Well I think we should visit all the major arcana if tarot theory is go.

    So far, and others may map these differently:

    0= The Fool – the Doctor

    1 = The Magician – also the Doctor

    2 = The High Priestess – Missy

    3 = The Empress – Ashildr

    4 = The Emperor – Davros

    5 = The Hierophant – The Fisher King

    6 = The Lovers = TBD

    7 = The Chariot = the TARDIS

    8 = Strength = Ashildr plus Lion-Alien

    9 = The Hermit = the Doctor alone (minus Clara)

    10 = Wheel of Fortune = the Raven

    11 = Justice = TBD

    12 = The Hanged Man = Clara

    13 = Death = Rassmussen (who murdered sleep) and/ or Clara’s death

    14 = Temperance = Osgood (x 2)

    15 = The Devil = Ashildr’s handlers?

    16 = The Tower = The Doctor’s prison?

    17 = The Star = TBD (Clara resurrected?)

    18 = The Moon = the Le Verrier spaceship?

    19 = The Sun = TBD (a child of the Doctor)?

    20 = Judgement = TBD

    21 = The World = Gallifrey

    Just guessing really !

    nerys @nerys

    @jphamlore You make some very good points about Clara missing what the Doctor truly needed from her. But I think there are two distinct elements to Clara, as we know her, which may have kept her from fully understanding this:

    1. She and the Claricles (or maybe she too is Claricle; dunno) were meant to save the Doctor. Surely this must have resonated throughout her subconscious, at the very least. What is it we often do to protect someone we care about? We hide the truth from them, in the mistaken notion that we are saving them from pain. But I think ultimately the reason we do this is because we, ourselves, can’t handle their pain … so we avoid it. Is that the right thing to do? Of course not. But it’s very human.
    2. In that vein, perhaps Clara succumbed to one of the most human of all traits … the need for approval. What do we do when seeking the approval of someone we admire? We emulate them, in the mistaken notion that this is how we win their approval (when usually it’s the last thing that person wants or needs).
    nerys @nerys

    Just spotted this video (non-spoilery for future events, but spoilery for anyone who hasn’t yet watched this episode) on the Tube, in which Moffat explains the inevitability of Clara’s death: Death & Consequences – Face The Raven – Doctor Who Series 9

    SirClockFace @sirclockface

    @nerys Thank you for posting the video 🙂

    This one might be worth a watch too

    SirClockFace @sirclockface

    And this one sums up everything we’ve said

    nerys @nerys

    @sirclockface Thanks for these video links! I confess that I worry we are looking toward a time when the Doctor travels without a companion. I have no idea if that’s the case, but if it is, then those tend to be my lest-favorite episodes. I enjoy it when the Doctor’s personality bounces off that of his human companions. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s in the cards for this Doctor.

    Kharis @kharis

    A little love for Puro everyone, she is back in the hospital and needs our warm thoughts.  Remember, she was in pain when she wrote that post.  Puro loves the show and this Forum and I’m sure it’s eating at her to be part of any disruption or hurt here.  I think she is just taking a break here because of her illness and stress.  I’m sure she will be back.  (:

    This episode was excellent and agree with @supernumerary that it was well crafted.

    Ashildr convinced herself, like so many in our government and lives, that she was right, and RIGHTEOUS, which is a dangerous road if a person has power, especially over life and death.   Davros, Hitler, and even the Doctor himself,  most dangerous line of thought was believing themselves righteous and judge of life and death.   A slippery slope indeed and one filled with darkness, fear and chaos.   I thought it was very poignant that Ashildr sentenced the man to death for theft, considering the Knightmare’s former profession.   My doubts on her becoming the Nightmare Child are getting less frequent.  Her access to time travel was all that was missing, and clearly she is in league with people who have that access. @iusedtobethedoctor  I think Ashildr is meant to be not be liked, she is set to be a great enemy of his own making.  @bendubz11 “I mean, having all those hormones floating around in you, forever? That would be a living nightmare.”   Yeah, the Nightmare Child in my opinion.
    Excuse me for all the tags, but so many good points, theories and thoughts!

    @avaris  YES, YES! I loved your entire post “First, Clara is always selfless, willing to sacrifice herself for others ( i.e. Asylum of the Daleks and the Name of the Doctor).  It might be due to her empathy or her lack of connections with others.  In this episode,  it is more of the latter as Clara doesn’t even mention anything about her family before her death.  Clara experiencing  the passing of her mother and Danny Pink has lost her sense of “home” and  has become detached to the world like the Doctor.  Clara, like the Doctor, are people that are so emotionally scared by the loss of close ones that they use adventure as a form of escape to their cruel reality.”  Plus, “One of the most notable thing is Clara willing take risk to save Rigsy, her companion.  Both, the Doctor and Clara have the duty of care towards their companion.”

    @lewis97   “As I said, it could just bear no significance, but earlier on in the episode Mayor Me explains how the Lurkworms work to The Doctor – “The light is a telepathic field. It normalises everything you see, places it within the compass of your expectations, your experiences.”  & @frobisher “Maybe she didn’t actually die as we think we saw her do. Maybe she is merely in stasis, or has regenerated”  I also agree that Clara Prime has met her end.”  I was wondering about the telepathic field THE ENTIRE time too.

    @mudlark  “If, as several people have suggested and discussed, the Clara we have seen over the past three years was not Clara Prime but another Claricle in a loop with no beginning and no end, what might this mean in the convoluted time line of the Doctor?”  Was also wondering about that.  How do we know the Clara that died is Clara Prime?  His timeline isn’t over, so how would she just stop showing up in it?  Are we to assume there is a Great Intelligence Prime and once dead will no longer terrorize the Doctor’s timeline?  @jphamlore “some sort of future scene with Jenna Coleman as some sort of Clara is inevitable.”  I think so.

    Also a total sucker for hidden places, and loved the old world look with it’s soft golden glow from the worms.

    @akhaten @geronimo  & @aclevername Welcome!

    @tommo “…a solid thread of prejudice/refugee/acceptance, or lack of, of others despite differences etc. running through it. this episode, in my mind, was no exception. the reaction to Rigsy in the trap street was clear evidence of this. one citizen even said ‘we don’t want your kind round here’, or words to that effect. i realise that the alleged murder allegation was the obvious surface narrative but there is a clear mirroring there of instances of historical western racial prejudice in that phrase.”  Something that I have really enjoyed about this season was it’s lack of fear and diving into these issues with heart.  It was also brought up in Turn Left, which in my opinion is Doctor Who’s best episode on the subject to date

    @geoffers “…he could have asked her to give the tattoo to him, as he would (presumably) regenerate. i’m surprised that option wasn’t written into their farewell scene.”  Yes, I wondered about that.  Or, why Ashildr who hates living on doesn’t take the death for herself.   @miapatrick “I agree with @purofilion that Rigsby was a character easy to care about. He was clever, nice and interesting in his first episode, and now with added baby, clearly a good father”

    Still not sure where I stand on Ellie RAVENSWOOD being dressed as Clara’s mum, especially in control of perception filters of different natures. Ashlidr looked terrified to find it was Clara….maybe beyond the fact she just liked her.

    @lisa “I noticed the difference between the 2 raven deaths too.”  I think there was tremendous strength in the simple action of facing death with bravery.

    @todeledo “acting was magnificent.”  YES!  (:  And so was the writing!

    @countscarlioni “Is anyone else concerned about the Doctor’s ponderous performance in Face the Raven? The Doctor was given assorted, big clues that he was walking into a trap”  Yes, part of that suspicion for sure and not just the denial of death stage.

    @lisa “How did Ashildr/Me know to say to the Doctor in ‘The Woman Who Lived’ that Clara
    would die on him and also! blow away like a puff of smoke? Now isn’t that a bit
    weird? Anachronisms!”  Time Lords involved?  @jphamlore “The use of a lock that fits a Tardis key and the demand for the Doctor’s confession dial indicate that the ones who made a deal with Ashildr are the Time Lords. ”  It does seem that way.

    @starla “If so, my theory is that the little yellow glow we see in Face the Raven as the raven enters Clara’s body could possibly be this energy flashing or initiating”  Great bonkerizing.  (:

    @drben “So, because I knew that this episode would end with Clara’s death, it kind of removed the dramatic intensity of the moment.”  &  “Finally all the risk-taking caught up to her, and she accepted it with aplomb and dignity.  It was beautifully written, shot, and acted.” I agree, and am still wondering if it was because of the foreknowledge or like @bluesqueakpip pointed out something feels off that the death scene felt it could have had a little more punch.

    @ichabod“It was stressed, in fact: note the figures passing, paying no attention as Clara stops to face the Raven.  She’s the true modest hero, about to die but not calling attention to herself.  Just the Doctor, self-made and in command of herself, meeting her death.  While he watches — they chose, brilliantly IMO for Capaldi to stay in the background, still and obscured by darkness, so that Coleman has our attention in that scene, and even in the preceding scene.  He’s there as a helpless, mute witness, as we sometimes are as someone we love leaves us.  Gorgeous.”  Beautifully put. (:

    @jammiedodger @juniperfish puts it perfectly!  The final card in the Tarot is considered ‘The World’ which has lead me to believe Gallifrey will return.  @phaseshift Has an excellent thread on this episode plus his call on the Hierophant Tarot.  His threads are always worth a full read.  @whisht “Now, the entry for the Hanged Man in the book I have is “A sacrifice must be made in order to gain something of great value”  Which makes you wonder what his reward must be?  ‘The World’ the ‘The Lovers’?

    @bluesqueakpip “I think that while Sarah Dollard probably didn’t inend the reading, a script suggesting that a female companion is more fragile (more breakable) than a male Doctor and therefore should not have tried to be Doctor-like has Unfortunate Implications written all over it.”   If it makes you feel better, I don’t see it, but that is because I don’t see this as a gender issue. Clara is fragile because she’s not a Time Lord.  There are very few companions that the Doctor watched die, and they all died in sacrifice.  Rory “died” saving the Doctor and Adric saving the world, and both were male.  Very few companions actually died, and even less in front of him.  The greatest displays of strength are sacrifice, unconditional love and forgiveness.  Clara in the end pointed out that it is the Doctor who was weak and needed healing.

    I loved your thread by the way, and completely agree that the death was beautiful, but suspicious.

    @mersey  I really see Capaldi as meant to be more unpredictable and to keep us in question if he is a good man.  He is not meant to be charismatic, but layered, tired and hard to reach.  I still feel he is preparing to become the Valeyard.  The next few episodes may push him into it.  @nerys “When he asked her what the point of being a Doctor was, if he couldn’t heal her, Clara replied, “Heal yourself.”    Yes, he is broken and the “shard of ice in his heart” is growing.

    @blenkinsopthebrave  Like your story concept.  @carrieanne “Part of me wonders is Clara even real?  Did the doctor dream all this?  Was he in a virtual reality by the time lords” “How far would this dream go back for him?” “We kinda assumed Clara was the one in a dream, what if it was the doctor, and now he’s waking up.”What if  this is all a dream?  @miapatrick “And yet the arc has been subtle, that is, I’m still not sure what it is…”  Still not sure if we are seeing an alternative reality.

    @devilishrobby The Shadow Proclamation could certainly have a hand somewhere.

    @mirime Creepy thought that Davors, The Time Lords AND Missy may be involved.  Yikes.

    @juniperfish “Different Docs for different folks” Yes, one of the best things about Doctor Who.  All the Doctors are fantastic, yet different people relate and like different doctors.  Like @timetot not into Matt Smith’s Doctor.  My family adores that Doctor universally, even though the rest we disagree on.

    @pedant “Oh, and someone needs to explain privity of contract to Ashildr”  LOL!  Loved your thread.

    Loved this episode.  Great posts everyone.  (:












    DrBen @drben

    @kharis — Very thorough!

    If (as it now appears), Ashildr is in league with the Time Lords (how else could the trap involve the TARDIS key?), it could very well be that it is the Time Lords who create and deploy the Nightmare Child.

    As for the question of why the Doctor didn’t offer to take the quantum shade, my interpretation of “The Rules” was that the obligation could only be given away once, not passed around like a hot potato.  Just a thought.

    Fascinated to see what happens in the next three episodes!

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @blenkinsopthebrave very good points about the doctor and the fact that capdoc is the first in a new regeneration cycle, hartnelldoc was also initially a dislikable  and alien personality that gradually warmed as his contact with humanity seemed to mellow him. Yes  I know this has almost certainly been discussed before but with SM’s decision to get around the the regeneration limit  by basically resting the doctors regeneration cycle he had enviable decisions to make as to weather this would in part or wholly reset the doctors personality to when we first met him in’63. In part it looks like he’s gone overall for the compromise of a partial reset of the doctors personality giving him that sometimes cold appearance. Overall I have enjoyed Capaldies portrayal of the Doctor so what if he isn’t the ” savoir  faire ” of the tenantdoc or the boyish charm of the smithdoc each incarnation has had thier own charms and foibles  which we seem to love and hate in varying measures.


    Kharis @kharis

    @juniperfish Awesome tarot summary!

    @drben I have wondered, since the Doctor knew it was a trap, if the key was actually to the Tardis.  Darling Rigsby had time to paint his tribute…guess the plotters haven’t found the box….or they have the wrong key.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @bluesqueakpip  I think that while Sarah Dollard probably didn’t intend the reading, a script suggesting that a female companion is more fragile (more breakable) than a male Doctor and therefore should not have tried to be Doctor-like has Unfortunate Implications written all over it.

    I disagree; I don’t think the implication was that she *shouldn’t have tried to be Doctor-like* at all, but that there are extra risks to that role when a human emulates the Doctor.  He has a huge alien memory capacity in which to store worlds of experience acquired over many lifetimes, and that massive accumulation of accessible input isn’t possible for a human being, male or female.  I think the comparison of his memory to Ashildr’s records-in-place-of-memory was made several times over this series to stress this innate difference between the Gallifreyan Doctor and humans he interacts with.  Come to think of it, the Doctor himself could have died permanently early on in his own career, if he hadn’t been granted his regenerations, so even his vast experience has often been insufficient to make his assessment of risk good enough to keep him alive.

    What’s unfortunate is that we haven’t recently seen a *male* human exemplifying the limiting effects of normal human physiology (short life span, limited memory storage perfectly fitted to short life spans), but two women, Ashildr and Clara.  Swift the Quick might have been a good addition to this very special human club, just to make the point that standard human limitations are the problem here, not female fragility.

    As to Captain Jack, a male example of a human with serial lifetimes but always as himself, I can’t speak much, since I had no interest in the character — he seemed very static to me, and dull in the ways that old-fashioned hero-protagonists of the pulps were static, so I pretty much stopped watching.  His resurrections seemed no different from the common plot fix of “with a single bound, he was free!” in those stories, bar a weirdly masochistic element of a lot of added pain each time.  I’m not an unprejudiced or knowledgeable observer in his case, but I’m curious to know what others think about him, as a sort of a Doctor.

    Kharis @kharis

    <span class=”useratname”>@avaris</span> I had similar thoughts (look on last week’s episode ‘Sleep No More’ thread) about Bad Wolf giving Clara as his guardian angel.

    @ichabod Agree about the companion limitations, humans and alien, because at least two alien companions have died in sacrifice.

    nerys @nerys


    As for the question of why the Doctor didn’t offer to take the quantum shade, my interpretation of “The Rules” was that the obligation could only be given away once, not passed around like a hot potato.  Just a thought.

    I agree. Also, the sense I got was that there’s a set chronology in which things can happen:

    1. Ashildr/Mayor Me can remove the chronolock.
    2. If Mayor Me refuses, then the individual afflicted with the chronolock can pass it on to one other individual, but that second individual must willingly request and accept it. At this point, the first individual has changed the rules of the contract under which Mayor Me is bound, meaning that Mayor Me can no longer intervene. That was Clara’s fatal mistake, not realizing there was a contract (complete with fine print) binding Mayor Me to the Quantum Shade. Clara thought she had Mayor Me’s absolute protection, but there was nothing Mayor Me could do once Clara changed the rules of the game.
    ichabod @ichabod

    @lisa  I don’t think she died because she had some suicidal death wish. It was to my mind cause she just realized all along that she’d get caught eventually running with the Doctor

    Maybe it’s not gone so far as becoming a death *wish*, but remember that phone call in Under the Lake — “Die on the one after me!  You do not leave me!” roughly; her *awareness* that he could die and leave her alone but that if not she is bound to die before him is very clear, and must be a constant background anxiety, and that’s explicit here.   With that mind-set, I can see her pushing it into the background so that she can enjoy the time she has with the Doctor, but that in a lethal situation that offers an opportunity to get this dying thing done, and in an optimal way in terms of Doctorish values (sacrificing self for others), she might well choose to make it here, now, and follow through quickly, before she can change her mind.

    On the same point, @janetteb   I think she was simply “careless of her life”. (quote from Bleak House) That carelessness often manifested as thrill seeking but in the end she measured her worth to others against Rigsy’s. He had a dependent, his child, she had none other than the Doctor. She was not seeking death but certainly undervalued her own life.

    I’ll go back and look again; for the moment I’d say she measures her life’s value *against the value of the life of another human being rather than against the Doctor’s, and if so I think that’s brilliantly appropriate — because Doctor-ly as she is in her lasts moments, she’s also still a human being, not a Gallifreyan.  And I agree with @nerys, above, that the Doctor has a reptilian aspect to him — which I like because it works to confirm him as at least in part as *alien*.  Not that I love reptilian traits — I have a relative who’s gone way over to the reptile side, and I avoid him because of it.  But in character terms, it works well for the Doctor, IMO.

    @nerys  When he asked her what the point of being a Doctor was, if he couldn’t heal her, Clara replied, “Heal yourself.

    Ah; easy for *her* to say!  Seriously, that’s well spotted and I appreciate it, but it simply may not be possible for him to heal himself without first venting his rage and his grief through revenge.

    @jphamlore  Clara wasn’t ignorant or stupid; she died of her human limitations + very bad luck (which harks back a bit to Danny’s death); but I share your hopes for next companion.  I’d go for Rigsy on those grounds, but he has a wife and little kid at home, which makes that exceptionally problematic — I doubt the Doctor would take him on board for more than a short time because of that.

    DrBen @drben

    @kharis – I don’t think they’re after the TARDIS itself (after all, it’s an obsolete model with a busted chameleon circuit); rather, they wanted to make sure that it would be the Doctor who wielded the key and put his arm into the machine, thereby getting the teleporter thingy.

    @nerys – Yup!

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    @ichabod: Here’s an analogy that Clara as a teacher might have been aware of.  And this relates to the Arthurian legends of the Fisher King that we didn’t quite get this season.

    In Chretien de Troyes sadly unfinished Perceval, the Story of the Grail, there are multiple depictions of how young Perceval causes disaster by robotically following the advice of a mentor instead of being himself.   What Perceval did not understand is that what made him a candidate to one day be one of the very greatest of knights was what was innate within him, not what was taught to him.

    So here is an example of apparently completely disproportionate punishment for failing.  Perceval sees a procession and, trying to follow a mentor’s advice, asks no questions about it.  He misses his one chance to find the Holy Grail and all of the terrible things he and those he cares for must endure afterwards result from this.  To top it off, the story itself is unfinished so, at least for this work, he never finds it.

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    I feel like a refresh of my ring narrative theory on the Sleep No More thread may be in order now that we’ve seen Raven, I have that feeling that this weeks events are important somehow. It’ll be up on the Spoiler thread soon.



    #47629 – Post. Of. The. Year. All other entrants give up now.


    I am minded to agree with @jphamlore (almost) and @ichabod (more so). It wasn’t a lesson about weak women because Hubris (not, in this case, ignorance and stupidity) is gender-neutral. Clara had successfully aped the Doctor on several occasion (with great courage to be sure), but the thing with believing your own publicity is that Hubris’s good pal Nemesis is never very far behind.

    It isn’t a biblical story, but altogether more classical storytelling.

    I am sure of one thing: Clara’s story is not quite done yet, and suspect another: the Doc knows more than he is letting on (a sort of macro version of his gadabout with Davros). Hmm. Someone mention chaos upthread. The thing with Chaos theory is that it is independent of scale.

    ( @kharis – puro made a post in the Fox Inn. The love hath flowed.)

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    @pedant: I think Face the Raven bluntly states the character Clara Oswald is worse than dead; instead, she’s in a form of hell.

    Just looking at the episode, the special effects show the quantum shade going into the victim, then leaving the mouth as black smoke that goes back to being the raven in the cage. It is explicitly said the quantum shade seeks souls. And we know something of what Moffat thinks of souls in the Doctor Who universe from the episode he wrote The Bells of Saint John, an episode that features the character Clara Oswald. In particular, souls can be captured and imprisoned.

    No wonder the Doctor is so angry, and will continue to be so.




    Juniperfish @juniperfish


    As to Captain Jack, a male example of a human with serial lifetimes but always as himself, I can’t speak much, since I had no interest in the character — he seemed very static to me, and dull in the ways that old-fashioned hero-protagonists of the pulps were static.

    You said you were curious to know what others thought of the good Captain?

    Oh absolutely, he was a pulp hero, but I completely loved that about him. He was cheesy af, but his omnivorous lust for life, and life-forms, was glorious. We hardly ever get to have non-straight sci-fi central character heroes or heroines on-screen, so I cherished this one, despite the ignominious end of the show as Miracle Day the US.

    In Children of Earth (which was superb) they gave Jack a Doctor-ish problem, and he made a really, truly, terrible choice and had to live with it, which made quite a dent in the swashbuckling early Jack from Who.

    I do smile that Peter Capaldi was also in that series, brilliantly, playing a hapless civil servant. I wonder how that squares in the Whoniverse? The Twelfth Doctor has actually borrowed his face, not only from a functionary in Pompeii but also a functionary in HM Civil Service.

    As Twelve doesn’t seem to have a particular patience with functionaries, perhaps that’s the lesson he’s trying to teach himself – that not everyone is cut out to set the world on fire, but even timid rule-followers are worth saving.


    Mirime @mirime

    Is it just me, or does anyone else feel there’s bits of story missing? Clara’s recklessness seems mainly to have been in adventures we didn’t see – I don’t remember her being particularly reckless in Under the Lake, Before the Flood, The Zygon Invasion/Inversion or Sleep No More. She wasn’t really in The Woman Who Lived.

    She was a bit in The Girl Who Died – if she’d done as she was told the Mire wouldn’t have captured her. Obviously she was being particularly reckless in Face the Raven.

    Magicians Apprentice and Witches Familiar, well she did just do everything Missy told her to which seems rather reckless but her choices were rather limited at that point.

    Just wondered if anyone else felt the same?

    ichabod @ichabod

    @phamlore  It is explicitly said the quantum shade seeks souls. And we know something of what Moffat thinks of souls in the Doctor Who universe from the episode he wrote The Bells of Saint John, an episode that features the character Clara Oswald. In particular, souls can be captured and imprisoned.

    True; nobody said the Quantum Shade *eats* souls.  But perhaps it burns souls up/destroys them (some of the smoke, at least — most of it becomes the Raven).

    @juniperfish  Thanks, that tells me why some people might love Capt. Jack.

    lisa @lisa

    A few thoughts –  loved everyone’s ideas a lot and the tarot match ups are very interesting.


    Totally agree about Jack.  He owned that part and  he made it special for me too

    @nerys                                   @jphamlore                                    @ichabod

    I think that ignorant is when you are not completely informed but stupid is when you are

    informed  but still makes bad choices. But there was  misdirection in this all over this.

    In several ways and one big way was in wondering if Clara made some rash decision because

    before entering the street the Doctor got Me’s assurance that she would be kept safe?  So

    essentially Clara was thinking she could make a Doctor choice?  So I will give Clara the benefit

    of my doubt. So when I say she didn’t have a death wish its because I think she truly understood

    the ‘truth and the consequences’ she faced and  realized that there would be no use in struggling.
    With you that Clara’s story will have some future bits filled in.
    The way the two raven victims died reminded me a little of Seb asking Danny if he was cremated
    It seems  similar cause of the concept of choosing how you want to end your life being a ‘thing’ a gain.

    ichabod @ichabod

    Something from another discussion that gives another good reason for Clara’s mistake:

    She took a bit too much to heart Missy’s lesson in the series premiere: that the reason the Doctor is always able to find a way out of impossible situations is because he never really believes it’s impossible. So Clara has started to try and live that, but she isn’t quite clever or wise enough to pull it off, and just a bit too extravagant in her risks.

    I like it; simple, and has the advantage of the planting beforehand of Missy’s theory of why the Doctor wins.  But that mistake leads her to becoming the best Doctor she can be, in the final scenes, human limitations and all — the moments leading to her death.

    Bobbyfat @bobbyfat

    I can’t help feeling that that which is hidden in plain sight is the Dr’s confession dial. Something about the role of the dial in the first ep bothered me, a feeling that whatever it was prepared for wasn’t the trip to see Davros. So my bonkers theory is that the events of Face the Raven take place before the Magician’s Apprentice and that we will find the dial making its way from Me to Missy. Which of course leaves a Claradox.

    I also had a bit of a Pan’s Labyrnth feeling about Sleep No More (that at least part of the ep were the false memories of the dying Rassmussan) so now I’m thinking  that one possible solution to my Claradox is that this whole wild and wonderful and very unreliably narrated season is somehow a manifestation of Clara’s consciousness…

    Kharis @kharis

    @pedant  Thank you for letting me know about the Fox Inn letter from Puro.  Yes, lots of love.  I was worried.

    @bobbyfat Cool theory.  I have often wondered if it truly IS a confession dial or something he knew he would need at the right moment.  Not necessarily a bomb, but something needed.


    lisa @lisa

    I’ve been trying to find who posted the comment about Ashildr having the hormone

    rush of a young adult but also you can probably include the fact that the chip was

    taken from an alien race that relied and fed on hormones.  That’s a complicated recipe for

    sustaining a  centered  perspective. That’s the reason that she gets triggered

    into grievous conduct.  She  does show  adoration for the Doctor  but she also has

    an issue of channeling  what gave those Mire the warrior spirit

    swordwhale @swordwhale

    Well, hello everyone!

    Just found this site, and while I am hardly a Newvian (having heard of Doctor Who and seen snippets of it since I joined general fandom in the early 1980s) I have not been able to consistently watch it until now (online, on Amazon).

    I love the comments and insights on this episode and am looking forward to reading others.

    I am a bit bemused by many fans feeling as if Capaldi’s Doctor is a bit chilly or unlikable (even if they think he’s brilliant). I find him adorable, hilarious, and someone I can totally relate to, ADD brainstyle and all. Maybe it’s that I am now at the age where I feel far more like the Grumpy Old Wizard (female, in my case) than the Magical Child.

    I think we may see more complexity layered onto this iconic character as this series progresses.

    I like the Norse imagery in this episode (I’ve done some Viking Age living history and sailed..eh… mostly rowed, a 40′ Viking Longship at times) and think Maise is brilliant.

    I think there’s more to Clara’s story.

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    Let us just watch the episode with fresh eyes. What are we seeing with how the quantum shade / chronolock are being presented?

    When the Chronolock Guy was taken by the Raven, the Doctor said:

    The Doctor: It’s called a Quantum Shade. It’s kind of a spirit. Once it’s bound to a victim, you could flee across all of time and all of the universe, it would still find you.

    The Doctor flat-out says it is a kind of spirit. Now this is what Clara says when she is trying to get the chronolock from Rigsy:

    Clara: Well, I was kind of hoping that would be it. I say I want it, you say, “You can have it” – done deal. Hey, turn around, let me see.

    “Done deal.” More like … contract. Supernatural-like setting with a spirit raven that kills. A time of counting down until the end. And more when Ashildr realizes what Clara has done:

    Ashildr: She can’t. Clara, I made a contract with the Shade when I put the chronolock on Rigsy. I promised it a soul and only I can break that contract. When you took it from him, you changed the terms. You cut me out of the deal.

    These are not the tropes of a standard execution, no, it’s much worse. These are the tropes of signing a contract with the Devil and risking the loss of one’s soul.

    Clara Oswald is far from dead, far worse. Clara Oswald’s soul in in some form of hell.

    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    It’s still November 23rd in my timey-wimey zone, and I didn’t see this referred to in any of the postings today, so happy 52nd Anniversary to Bonkers Theorists everywhere! Which means it’s also Clara Oswin Oswald’s birthday (23rd November 1866) and Clara Oswald’s birthday (23rd November 1986). O.K. back to theorising….

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @swordwhale Welcome! I hope you enjoy it here, we’re all very friendly, if a bit insane.


    “Supernatural-like setting”

    Do you want me to call Sam and Dean?

    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @jphamlore   Clara Oswald is far from dead, far worse. Clara Oswald’s soul in in some form of hell.

    Which prompted me to think again about this exchange from Death in Heaven:

    MISSY: Cos she’s perfect, innit? The control freak and the man who should never be controlled. You’d go to hell if she asked. And she would. The phone’s ringing, Doctor. Can you hear that? Now that is the sound of your chain being yanked. Heel, Doctor! (as Clara) Help me, Doctor. Help me. Help me, Doctor.
    (The Doctor answers the phone.)

    Well, she didn’t ask, but she wouldn’t need to.


    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @countscarlioni I think you’re on to something, after all what’s the name of the last episode?

    Something I’ve just realised is that there were no snakes in this episode, or at least not that I saw.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    That is a brilliant theory! Totally agree that the confession dial is the clue hiding in plain sight. The idea that the episodes have happened in a different order is inspired. It also gives a logic to why the Doctor recognises Ashildr when he first sees her in the Viking camp.

    That would mean that the first reference to the confession dial (when he gives it to Ohila in the prologue to series 9) is actually out of order.


    p.s. great to see you again. It must have been at least a year…?

    lisa @lisa


    Also been thinking the sonic glasses are a clue. Both devices are  new tools.

    I thought that the  purpose of the sonics  was to try to detect something and

    then the dial’s purpose was related.    BTW, it only looks like a confession dial

    in the way the Tardis looks like a phone box don’t you think?

    lisa @lisa



    Me’s  tattoo looked sort of snakey to me

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Clara Oswald is far from dead, far worse. Clara Oswald’s soul in in some form of hell.

    Well, you’re the life of the party! Here I am, about to go to bed…

    I have tried to think of a counter argument, and the only one that presents itself (at this late hour of the night)

    is that it would be too cruel.

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @blenkinsopthebrave nothing’s too cruel for Moffat, 9 episodes in 6 years can drive anyone mad!

    gamergirlavatar @gamergirlavatar

    Why did Clara have to die? Her death was sad, and I will not get over her death but, if a companion has to die I want them to die saving lives. She was brave and those who don’t care for Clara have to admire the reasons why she died and how she reacted. This was a great episode and was really emotional. I wish Clara didn’t need to die but we can all see that she was willing to leave that way and maybe she wanted to. I couldn’t see her leaving any other way, she couldn’t leave walking away from helping people. This was the saddest episode of the show, nothing can lead to more crying.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @bendubs11  there were no snakes in this episode, or at least not that I saw.

    Ashildr’s snaky tattoos?

    @jphamlore  “I promised it a soul and only I can break that contract. When you took it from him, you changed the terms. You cut me out of the deal.”  These are not the tropes of a standard execution, no, it’s much worse. These are the tropes of signing a contract with the Devil and risking the loss of one’s soul.

    My ears pricked up when the Doctor used the word “spirit” — what?  The guy who interprets everything as science, even if it’s mostly fantasy science?  Does he ever use the world “soul” in this episode, or anywhere else, in anything but a skeptical way?

    @lisa  it only looks like a confession dial in the way the Tardis looks like a phone box don’t you think?

    Interesting thought!  So what might it really be — something much bigger, shrunk down for easy portability?  A book like one of Ashildr’s diaries?

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @ichabod @lisa Possibly, though I don’t think they were referred to as snaky, not like the leads in Sleep

    SirClockFace @sirclockface


    The idea that the episodes happened in a different order is inspiring 

    Now that’s a bonkers theory what if the episodes we are seeing are not in chronological order?

    (also trying to write this on my phone proved rather challenging)

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    @ichabod: The Doctor does believe in at least one concept of a soul as shown in a Moffat-written episode The Bells of Saint John, an episode featuring the character of Clara Oswald:

    DOCTOR: This whole world is swimming in wifi. We’re living in a wifi soup. Suppose something got inside it. Suppose there was something living in the wifi, harvesting human minds. Extracting them. Imagine that. Human souls trapped like flies in the world-wide web. Stuck forever, crying out for help.

    Here is one more piece of evidence. I believe the Chronolock Guy is a Cyberman, I am guessing the same one we briefly see with his Ood wife. He is the first one shown to be taken by the raven.

    The Doctor: At least give him a merciful death.

    Ashildr: Do you think a Cyberman fears a merciful death?

    The raven attacking and finishing off the Cyberman was not a death at all. It was capturing his soul for potentially eternal damnation, just like it did Clara’s. That is why he was running.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @jphamlore  Thanks for the quotes, but do Cybermen *have* souls?  I thought that was all gone, part of the horror of the process of encyberment.

    And I don’t buy the eternal damnation thing — not in the Doctor’s universe.  Although you could see being turned into a cyberman as pretty damnation-ish, provided they have souls (though Danny certainly hung onto at least part of his in DiH, as did the Brig — if you believe in the concept of souls).

    Me, I think she’s gone, burnt away; she’ll live on only as a voice in the Doctor’s conscience (but in story terms, that’s one hell of an “only”– she’s there til he deletes her!), and perhaps as some echoes here and there, til they fade away . . . while life hurtles onward, carrying a certain space/time traveler to his next adventure among new and old people.  No wonder viewers get so invested!  Without the glamor, the lively imagination, and the usually excellent writing, this is our life, and the deaths of those we’ve loved.

    Guess I’ll stop now.  It’s late, and this is making me feel very bad.  We’re not even done with this remarkable S9 yet, for cripes’ sakes.


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