Doctor Who’s 9th Series (since the revival) continues onwards into three stories that can be considered one plot arc, but not really a three parter, and deals with the exit of long-time companion Clara.
The Doctor and Clara, with their old friend Rigsy, find themselves in a magical alien world, hidden on a street in the heart of London.
Sheltered within are some of the most fearsome creatures of the universe… and Ashildr (Maisie Williams)! With a death sentence hanging over their heads, not all of the intruders will get out alive.
Note: Full Spoilers From Here On Out!
A Quiet, unassuming street…
Well, I don’t want to sound like one of those people that are really against Clara as a character, but I am glad that her time has ended, if nothing else because it’s always nice to see the show get a fresh coat of paint in the companion department. Clara is killed by being the Doctor too much, essentially. After the love of her life was killed last series, Clara has seemingly been on a mission to get herself killed during her adventures with The Doctor, something the latter has noticed in recent weeks, so it’s quite heartbreaking that in the end she doesn’t get over her grief as such, instead finding the noble death she wanted. She takes the death sentence handed to their apparent “old friend” Rigsy (who only appeared once before) because it was Doctor-y thing to do, but ended up finding out that once the Raven curse thingy was transferred the former Ashildr couldn’t remove it.
I have to now switch to praise Peter Capaldi mode here. When he finds out what she did he doesn’t start crying or holds her hand softly, instead his eyes go wide with fear, and then he explodes with anger, both at Clara for doing something “so stupid” as she only has the one life unlike him, and at Ashildr for putting the curse into play in general. He actually threatens to bring a whole fleet of Daleks and Cybermen to her secret alien refugee camp as revenge, and then saying “The Doctor is no longer here! You are stuck with me. And I will end you, and everything you love.”. Clara tells him not to get revenge and instead be The Doctor, then walks to her death as latter simply watches, silently, expressionless. He then tells Ashildr that “you’ll find the universe is a very small place when I’m angry at you”. Great stuff.
As for the rest of the episode, I did like the hidden alien refugee street idea a good one, as is the tattoo that was counting down to the person who has its death. Ashildr (or Me as she prefers to be called, but that ends up sounding weird in reviews…) is a mixed bag, but I do still like the idea that as an immortal with a human brain she is only capable to remembering so much and so often reads her own journals the same way we’d read about the adventures of another person.
“This seems ominous…” “Nah, don’t be stupid! It’s not like you’ll be killed by an evil raven thing, or anything…”
Clara’s actual death scene might have veered into the over-dramatic territory. The silent screams of pain were effective, but the slow motion and dramatic music might be a tad bit too much.
Rigsy was okay, but the idea that he was their “old friend” is a bit far-fetched, and in the end he didn’t really do much. I would complain about it being him of all people who wondered into the “Trap Street”, but as it turns out he was chosen so as to specifically draw The Doctor to the street in order to trap him, so that actually makes sense.
The Twelfth Doctor in all his glory. (Not much to say about this pic…)
Not much to say here other than the obvious. Rigsy comes from last series’ episode “Flatline”, and Ashildr from earlier in the season’s pseudo two parter “The Girl Who Died / The Woman Who Lived”. Hiding in the Trap Street are a variety of old Who monsters, from Cybermen to Sontarans to Ice Warriors, and even some Judoon are serving as bodyguards.
The episode is half a murder mystery, half a long exit scene for Clara. The first half is enjoyable, and the second half is great, mainly for the acting and dialogue of the lead three (The Doctor, Clara and Ashildr). The episode will stand (I hope!*) as Clara’s death scene, and for that it’s done well, and it gives Peter Capaldi more time to show how great a Doctor he really is. Great episode overall then, highly recommended.
*It was close, but the remaining two parts don’t undo the death, though they don’t entirely leave it alone either…