Face the Raven
Written by Sarah Dollard
Directed by Justin Molotnikov
“There have always been rumours. Stories passed from traveller to traveller, mutterings about hidden streets, secret pockets of alien life right here on Earth.”
Have you ever found yourself in a street you’ve never seen before? The next day, could you not find that street again? You weren’t dreaming. Your memory isn’t playing tricks. Like many lost souls throughout the ages, you have stumbled on an extraordinary secret – be grateful you survived it. The Doctor and Clara, with their old friend Rigsy, find themselves in a secret alien world, folded away among the streets of London. Not all of them will get out alive. One of the three intruders must face the raven…
Open in the TARDIS. The Doctor and Clara enter, discussing details from their latest adventure. While they talk, the TARDIS phone begins to ring. Conversation stops, as that number is known by very few people. Clara answers the phone to hear Rigsy on the other line. He speaks about a strange tattoo on the back of his neck. When Clara scolds him for calling when it isn’t an emergency, he tells her that it is a tattoo of a number and it is counting down. This peaks the interest of Clara, and she says they will be right there.
In Rigsy’s apartment, The Doctor and Clara are admiring his new daughter. The Doctor says that she is gorgeous and asks him why he’s running around getting tattoos. Rigsy says that he didn’t get it and that the whole previous day is a blank. Rigsy shows The Doctor his tattoo. He is immediately bored by it until the number counts down again. “That is definitely not boring…”
Back in the TARDIS, The Doctor is scanning Rigsy for any issues with his system. The scan reveals that he has been in contact with aliens within the last 24 hours and that he has been Retconned. When asked about it, he explains about the Torchwood amnesia pill used to wipe recent memory. The Doctor begins to look through his index cards. Rigsy asks what is going on and Clara explains that he is trying to be nice. The Doctor tells Clara that there is no nice way to tell someone that they are going to die. Rigsy pleads with The Doctor to fix him. He reminds him that that is what he does. The Doctor considers this for a moment and decides to get to work.
The TARDIS lands in London, where the team gets together to find a trap street located somewhere in the city that aliens will use to hideout. Flying over London, Clara hangs out the TARDIS door with the sonic sunglasses, trying to find the hidden street. After this, they all walk the streets, all the while trying to find a spot that seems intentionally unremarkable. They meet back up in a single place. Clara tells Rigsy that she recovered a small bit of data from his phone. That he received a call a 6 in the morning the previous day. She hands him the phone and he drops it, giving him a flashback of the day before when he dropped it after seeing a body on the ground. After the flashback, he points out a crack in the wall adjacent to them. They notice a small alley leading to a street. They head into the alley.
When they enter the street, a freeze trap activates and they are unable to move. Two apparent humans come out of hiding places to greet them. Rigsy explains that the perception field is blocking their true forms and that they are actually alien creatures. They ask The Doctor and his companions if they are aware that this is a refugee camp. Just then, Ashildr approaches from around the corner. Rigsy removes his hat and hoodie, causing the residents to become agitated. Ashildr reveals that she is the one who has sentenced Rigsy to death. The Doctor asks for the reason that Rigsy has been sentenced while asking for Clara’s safety. Ashildr promises that Clara is under her protection, and releases the freeze trap. As they follow her, Rump calls Rigsy a murderer and Rigsy sees the security guards in their Judoon form.
Ashildr explains that she is the mayor of the street, working to protect the refugees here. While she speaks, Rigsy points out one resident who happens to have two faces. Ashildr explains that there are worms in the lamps that provide the perception field for the street and residents. He is able to see past the illusion at this point, and she points out an Ood maintaining a Cyberman.
Ashildr brings them into a house, showing them the body of a woman that is suspended in a containment field awaiting burial on her home planet. She explains that they found Rigsy standing over her body outside the entrance to the street, and that was enough to assume his guilt and land him a death sentence.
Outside, a man begs for his life. Ashildr refuses to free him from his sentence,explaining that there are strict rules and any lax policy could cause chaos. He runs from the sentence when his timer runs out. The death comes in the form of a raven, which is a physical manifestation of “the Shade.” Ashildr explains that the rules have to be strict in order to keep the street safe. She tells The Doctor that he may question whomever he would like about Rigsy’s case and that they are the people he needs to convince of his innocence, not her.
Clara approaches Rump and asks what was meant when the wife of the most recent victim of the Shade asked him to “give it to her”. He explains that the sentence can either be released by the Shade’s master or that it can be given to another who will take it willingly. But it cannot be cheated altogether. Clara approaches Rigsy to convince him to give her the Shade. She explains that since Ashildr has guaranteed her protection, taking the Shade will buy them more time to convince them of Rigsy’s innocence and Ashildr will be force to remove the sentence from Clara. He transfers the tattoo to Clara.
The Doctor and Clara continue to question the residents. Rump explains that if one of the residents were guilty of the murder, it would turn the street into a warzone. He is willing to let Rigsy die for that. They are told that when he arrived in the street, he kept asking for a Doctor. The Doctor clarifies that he was actually asking for “THE” Doctor, not “A” Doctor. They find the murder victim’s “son” and reveal that it is actually a daughter and the females of the species have a psychic ability to see a person’s past and future. She is unable to see the past and future of The Doctor because it all runs together. She does reveal, however, that Ashildr created a mystery to lure The Doctor there.
The Doctor returns to where the murder victim is being suspended to discover that she isn’t dead. She is just being held in suspended animation. He is looking for a way to free her and realizes that he can do it using the TARDIS key. Clara reminds him that it is most likely a trap, but eh frees her anyway. When he removes his arm from the machine, there is a bracelet attached to his wrist. Ashildr appears in the room and informs him that it is a teleporter. As a means to protect the street, she has been tasked with the job of luring The Doctor there and turn him over to someone. He asks who but she isn’t sure, exactly. She demands that he give her his confession dial. He hands it over. Ashildr makes a move to free Rigsy from his chronolock, since he has served his purpose in luring The Doctor. Clara reveals that she has convinces Rigsy to transfer it to her, attempting to leverage it to free The Doctor. Ashildr becomes very upset. She says that she had no idea that Clara would do something so stupid. No one was meant to get hurt. She made a contract with the Shade for a soul and only she could break it. When Clara moved the chronolock to herself, that changed the terms of the contract, and Ashildr could no longer break it.
Clara tells The Doctor that he can fix it. They always fix it. Sadly, The Doctor tells her that he can’t this time, but Ashildr can. Ashildr tells him that she really can’t. The Doctor begins to go into a fit of rage, telling Ashildr that he will expose the street to the universe. That it is over. He will rain hellfire on her for all of eternity. Clara yells at him to stop. She tells him that she knows him. That his reign of terror would end at the sound of the first crying child. She tells him that this is her fault. She is the one who made the choice and now she has to deal with the consequences of that choice. She tells him that if this is the last she ever sees of him to not let it be like this. She orders him to not let this change him. She tells him to be a Doctor and not a Warrior. She makes him promise to not seek revenge. She says she doesn’t want anyone to suffer because of this. He asks what about him. She tells him that there isn’t anything she can do about that. He asks her to stay with him. Clara says she needs to face it alone and asks him to let her be brave. She walks outside into the street. The raven begins to fly toward her. As it approaches, she mutters to herself to be brave. The Shade enters her body. After a few seconds, she is unable to keep herself from screaming. The Doctor watched from outside the door of the building as she screams and falls to the cobblestones.
The Doctor slowly makes his way back into the house. Ashildr tells him that she is truly sorry for what has happened to Clara. The Doctor asks her if she knows why Clara said everything she did about him not seeking revenge. She replies that it was to save him. “No,” he tells her, “It was to save you.” She looks at him, understanding what he means. He tells her that he will do his best to honor the promise she made him make, but strongly advises Ashildr to stay out of his way. He is then teleported away, the teleporter falling to the floor…