Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 10
Face The Raven
Written by: Sarah Dollard
Directed by: Justin Molotnikov
Broadcast Date: Saturday 21st November at 8:10pm on BBC One
The Gallifrey Times have seen Face The Raven and have put our spoiler free preview together.
After a horrifically divisive and disappointed reaction from Whovians last week, with an episode I, for one, felt as-if was Gatiss’ best. It seems as if it’s beginning to get truly struggling to gather the expectations set for the story. However, don’t worry, I’m pretty certain I’ve got this one right, for this week’s spellbinding, significant and sinister (albeit still fun) 50 minute treat titled Face The Raven, will surely delight many in many different ways. This is the story we’ve been waiting for, intensely magical and superbly enjoyable, Sarah Dollard really has pulled out all the stops to make this a near-perfect triumph. Await with bated breath Whovians, you’re down for one hell-of-a ride.
More than anything, similar to last week (however don’t get frightened away by that statement), is that this episode has a huge chunk of true ambition. It’s an episode that seeks originality and true integrity, with Dollard successfully creating a wondrous story without gimmicks or over-complication, whilst the story sometimes suffers on its inconsistent pace, it almost works in its benefit, for the tense is heightened lingeringly and unexpected begins to derive from the expected, causing a truly balanced and beautiful outing. A sense of achievement should be weighted along Sarah Dollard’s back, for this is an episode that I’m sure will go down as a fan favourite.
Once again, welcome back Maisie Williams! Yes, Ashildr returns, surprisingly, she’s even better than ever! For me, Ashildr is the sub-character that we’ve been wanting for Capaldi’s era, she’s feisty, intelligent and actually, as a matter of fact, very powerful. Do NOT underestimate the power of Me, for this story really highlights her importance within this series, and with full admiration, she’s been a key player in the overall ambition and standard of Series 9 of Doctor Who. Hopefully she’ll be back before we know it, and weirdly, I’m sure she will.
Back when this series was filming – WOW, doesn’t it seem like years ago now? – Rigsy was confirmed as a returning character after his rather mediocre Flatline debut last year. Without sounding too negative, I wasn’t all that excited about his return, whilst Flatline was a story that generated huge fan appreciation (and rightfully so), Rigsy wasn’t all that special for something bigger and brighter. How wrong I was, for, Rigsy, whilst, not necessarily the shining star of the episode, has moments of fragility and even the struggle of growing into adulthood. Dollard caught his subtleties to make him so much more of a truthful and rounded figure that is influential in bolting up the cryptic and emotional atmosphere.
The Doctor and Clara have never been so ruthless. This is a story of motive, intention, and consequence, interwoven beautifully with the classic Doctor Who atmosphere of thrills, adventure and of course, many shocks. More than ever, the understanding of Ms Oswald becomes much clearer, her flaws, her effort to try and be as wonderful as possible, and her growing sense of inevitability. Sincere, frothing with elegance and true meaning, this could be my favourite story as far of Capaldi’s run.
Breathing a fresh air of new life to the show, Face The Raven is magically intriguing, fundamentally heart-breaking and truly a wizard of an episode. Expect thrills, adventure, of a whole-lot of effortless storytelling. Dollard conveys humour, horror, and tension, supplementing a both chilling and compelling soundtrack by Murray Gold. I’m not sure if I’ll ever stop saying it, but Series 9 of Doctor Who, for me, has been near-perfect.