12 questions and some answers we have after Doctor Who Face The Raven

Is Clara really gone? Who was behind Ashildr's betrayal? And will we be seeing a new TARDIS next week?

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That was basically Diagon Alley, wasn’t it?

“YOU’RE A TIME LORD, RIGSY!” is NOT what The Doctor arrived to tell our favourite graffiti artist, unfortunately.
That street sure did look like Diagon Alley though, didn’t it? It’s not the set from the Harry Potter films though.
 
As for the entrance to the street? Well now, that’s a different story, because it really does exist. Click here to find Cardiff’s very own magical lane…
 

What’s Retcon?

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Last time the Doctor saw Me/Ashildr, he told her she should watch out for fellow immortal Captain Jack Harkness – and based on the memory-altering retcon drugs she used in this week’s episode, she may well have found him… 

Read the full story


What were all those monsters?

From Cybermen to Ood to dishonoured Ice Warriors, there was a smorgasbord of aliens to watch out for this week – so we had a go at spotting all of them here.


What was on the Doctor’s prompt cards this time?

We were first introduced to the Doctor’s prompt cards earlier this series in episode three, Under the Lake. The selection of supportive phrases for every occasion were clearly designed by Clara to make up for the Doctor’s natural tendency to just bulldoze ahead with the truth, forgetting about any of that ‘feelings’ stuff.

In this week’s episode, the cards were out again after the Doctor scanned Rigsy for alien interference only to discover something “not good”. He quickly decided “there’s no nice way to say you’re about to die” but before that we did catch a glimpse of one card, and with a quick bit of freeze-framing we’ve managed to get a closer look at it…

Click here to reveal all


Has Rigsy moved?

When we last saw Rigsy – in series eight’s Flatline – he was living in Bristol. But it appears the street artist has moved, as Face the Raven takes place in London (even though, as you’ve read above, it was shot in Cardiff.)

Forget hidden streets and magical ravens, the really far-fetched thing here is why anyone would move house with a new-born baby… 


How old is Ashildr?

It’s never made explicitly clear what year it was when we first met the now immortal Ashildr in The Girl Who Died. We know it was during the Viking era though, which could place her anywhere between the 8th century and 1066 (when the Viking age was pretty much ended by the Battle of Stamford Bridge), making her somewhere between 949 and 1,215 years old. Either way, still a bit of catching up to do on the Doctor… 


Is Clara bisexual?

We’re not being salacious – just interested. After all, Steven Moffat wants us to ask this question, otherwise he wouldn’t keep making Clara hint at a magnificent romance with Pride and Prejudice novelist Jane Austen. We examine the evidence here… 


Is she really dead?

After three years, 31 episodes and countless adventures, it appears that Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald has finally left Doctor Who – and it wasn’t a pretty exit. The longtime companion was apparently killed after she tried to outwit an alien “quantum shade” in this week’s episode Face the Raven, discovering she’d actually doomed herself to the fate meant for her friend Rigsy before being subjected to a painful end.

It was a sad and shocking goodbye to the character, which we’re sure will have repercussions in the two remaining episodes of this series, but given this is Doctor Who we also can’t help but wonder – was the death real? Could she return in some form, or is she really gone for good?

Read our theories here 


Did Clara have a death wish?

Beyond the prophecy of the hybrid, the main arc of this series has been Clara steadily getting more and more reckless. We first see it emerging during Under the Lake, where it becomes clear that, after losing Danny Pink in series eight, she is throwing herself into adventures with little regard for her own safety. This leads to the Doctor acknowledging that he has a “duty of care” over his companion, while explicitly worrying that he is going to lose her.

In Face the Raven, Clara gave us all near-heart attacks as she hung out of the TARDIS 1,000ft up in the air before that live-in-the-moment fervour came to its natural and tragic conclusion with her reckless decision to meddle with forces she didn’t understand. But was this somehow what part of had been craving all along? She says it herself: “Maybe this is what I wanted. Maybe this is it. Maybe this is why I kept running. Maybe this is why I kept on taking all those stupid risks, kept pushing it.”

But what does she mean, exactly? Is this the hangover from losing Danny Pink – survivor’s guilt, or simply the loss of the love of her life? – or is it linked to her wish to be break out of her role as a mere companion, to be more like the Doctor? After all, before her tragic mistake, she tells Rigsy her plan is ‘Doctor 101’.

“Why shouldn’t I be so reckless?,” she asks the Doctor. “You’re reckless – all the bloody time! Why can’t I be like you?”

“There’s nothing special about me,” he says. “But I’m less breakable than you.” 


Who was behind Ashildr’s betrayal?

As far as Doctor Who endings go, Face The Raven was a lot to digest. For not only did we get the death of Clara Oswald but also the betrayal of Ashildr, who was working for an unknown enemy in order to capture the Doctor.

But who was it? Given that we’re heading towards the end of the series, you’d expect them to have something to do with the arc – the prophecy of the hybrid, which spoke of a warrior who was half-Dalek, half-Time Lord. With that in mind, you’d expect it be a plot on behalf of either of those two players – possibly a ploy to find out what the hybrid actually is.

We’ve already seen Davros and the Daleks this series, of course. To use them again for the finale might be overkill. Could that mean that we’ll finally be meeting the Time Lords?


And where have they teleported the Doctor to?

We do get a glimpse of it in the Next Time trailer – a huge castle of some sort, filled with lots of corridors. If he really has been brought there by the Time Lords then is hard not think it’s Gallifrey. According to the official synopsis, though, it’s “a world unlike any other he has seen,” and he’s certainly seen his home world before.

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Either way, the Doctor will apparently be facing, “the greatest challenge of his many lives. One final test. And he must face it alone.”


Will we be seeing a new TARDIS next week? 

Amid all the tears, shocks and darkness of this week’s episode you might have missed a small but telling detail in the Next Time trailer for penultimate episode Heaven Sent – a mysterious machine in a stone room that looks an awful lot like a TARDIS.

OK, it doesn’t look exactly like the current version of the time machine we know and love, but it does bear some striking similarities to two of the Doctor’s former control hubs.

The metal supports are very like those used by Eighth Doctor Paul McGann in the 1996 TV movie… 

While the overall aesthetic looks an awful lot like Tom Baker’s secondary console room.

So could we be about to see a new TARDIS? Quite possibly – there’s no reason another Time Lord’s control room couldn’t pop up, after all. Alternatively, it might be some other form of Gallifreyan technology that just goes for a similar design. They love their round rooms and columns, those guys.

Or, as always, it could just be something completely different that we’re reading far too much into. Only time will tell.