Face the Raven Recap

The Doctor and Clara return to the TARDIS after another exciting adventure, and Clara boast that she saved the Doctor yet again. As they argue, a phone on the console rings. They both stare at it for a moment, and the Doctor finally gestures to Clara to answer it. Clara does, and Rigsy from 21st century London identifies himself. He says that he has a tattoo of a number and it's an emergency, and asks her to come take a look at it. When Clara says that they can't help him reverse getting a tattoo, Rigsy explains that he didn't get a tattoo... and that it's counting down to zero. Clara says that they'll be right there.

The TARDIS materializes at Rigsy's flat and Clara coos over Rigsy's baby Lucy. Rigsy explains that when he woke up that morning, the tattoo was just there. He doesn't remember what he was doing the day before, and his girlfriend Jen said that he left the house before dawn. Rigsy didn’t get back until midnight, and no one saw him all day. The tattoo counts down another number as the Doctor watches, and he tells Rigsy to come with them in the TARDIS.

In the control room, the Doctor scans Rigsy and Clara checks his phone. There's no information on the last day, and the screen is cracked when it wasn't the day before. The Doctor determines that Rigsy has had significant contact with an alien life form in the last 24 hours in the center of London, and he's been given an amnesia drug to forget. There's also something else on the scanner, and the Doctor stares at it in shock for a moment before picking up his notecards. Clara tells Rigsy that the Doctor is trying to be nice, and the Doctor admits that there's no nice way to say that Rigsy is about to die. Rigsy demands that the Doctor save him, pointing out that's what he does. After a moment, the Doctor agrees and says that first they have to stop the countdown.

The TARDIS materializes on a sidewalk in London. He explains that there have always been rumors of pockets of alien life and hidden streets, and goes to the map room of a nearby library. They go through the maps and they look for a street that was on the old maps but no longer exists. Clara mentions a "trap street": a fake street that a mapmaker puts on a map and names after someone he knows, so he can find out if someone is copying his map. The Doctor reluctantly embraces the term and figures that they won't find it there.

Next, the Doctor takes the TARDIS into the sky above London. Clara hangs out of the TARDIS and looks down wearing the sonic sunglasses, and the Doctor searches for a misdirection circuit. The TARDIS shakes and Clara just manages to catch herself, laughing. The Doctor maps the city and looks for areas that Clara couldn't focus on. Once they have a map of the three such areas, they land on the street and split up to check them out and look for something so unremarkable that they don't notice it. They count everything because if they skip a count then it means they've found the trap street.

The trio joins back up and Clara says that she lost count in front of a shop. The Doctor has Clara get his most annoying stuff from the TARDIS so that they can distract their other senses. As she does, the TARDIS recovers the data on Rigsy's phone. She takes the phone with her and rejoins the others, and explains that someone called Rigsy at 6 am the previous day. Rigsy drops his phone and has a brief memory of a woman lying dead on a cobbled street... and two aliens finding her. He goes to a nearby wall and points to something only he can see, After a moment, Clara and the Doctor see a narrow alleyway leading to a cobbled street.

The Doctor, Clara, and Rigsy pass through the alleyway and the cobbles briefly glow with energy. Two men approach them and Rigsy sees them as the aliens from his memory. One of them, Rump, sniffs at the Doctor and confirms that he's not human. The other one, Kabel, asks for the reason they need sanctuary. He asks Rump why the new arrivals didn't follow the protocol, and Rump explains that the street is a refugee camp.

Ashildr arrives with two policemen and admits that she doesn't remember her name because of her infinite life and finite memory. She recognizes Clara from photos and her diaries, and Clara knows Ashildr from the notes the Doctor has been keeping on Ashildr. Ashildr figures that the Doctor is keeping her under surveillance, and the Doctor insists that it's professional interest. The Doctor shows her Rigsy's tattoo and Rump finally recognizes him. Ashildr says that Rigsy committed a crime and they realize that Ashildr put the tattoo on him. She gave him enough time to return home and say goodbye to his family, but also gave him the Retcon because nobody leaves without it.

The Doctor asks why Rigsy was given a death sentence... and asks for Ashildr's personal guarantee that she won't endanger Clara. Ashildr puts Clara under her personal protection, and Kabel steps on a particular stone. The cobbles glow again and as they go, Rump calls Rigsy a murderer. The misdirection circuit on the two policemen fades momentarily, revealing that they're Judoon. Meanwhile, Rigsy tells Clara what Rump called him.

As they walk through the street, Ashildr warns the Doctor to tread carefully while he's there. She admits that some of his greatest enemies are there, and several of the "people" recognize Rigsy. Ashildr gestures to them to stand down, and then tells the others that it's best that they get inside. As they go on, Clara notices a raven in a cage. Meanwhile, the Doctor congratulates Ashildr on the success of her misdirection circuit, and she indicates that the creatures in the lights project a telepathic field that normalize everything that they see with things from the viewers' experiences. She punches the Doctor to disrupt his expectations, and he sees two inhabitants in their true forms of an Ood and a Cyberman, and explains that she brokered a truce. Everyone must swear not to commit violence if they stay on the street. There was no violence there for a hundred years until Rigsy attacked one of their most vulnerable residents.

Ashildr takes the others to a building with the dead woman, Anna, in a stasis field, dead of a head wound. Ashildr explains that she was found at the street entrance. Rigsy was found over the body, and Ashildr insists that she had to act for the good of the community. The Doctor realizes that she's a Janos, and Ashildr explains that she came to the street escaping slavery and brought her son with her. The Doctor points out that the corpse has two faces, and explains that in the female of the species, one face sees into the future while the other looks behind to the past. Clara remembers seeing a male Janos outside, and Rigsy wonders if he wanted in, freaked, and killed Anna. The Doctor points out that Rigsy was called there and Clara agrees. She figures that one of the resident aliens is the killer.

Someone pounds on the door and Ashildr answers it. Meanwhile, the Doctor confirms that Rigsy only has 41 minutes left. On the street, a thief pleads with Ashildr as a crowd gathers. The thief insists that he only stole medical rations to help his wife. Rump confirms that the thief only has two minutes left on his tattoo. Ashildr turns to the crowd and says that she can remove the tattoo... but she won't because the thief broke the rules that keep them all safe. The thief's mate asks if she can have it, but the thief says that he stole to save her.

Ashildr releases the quantum shade tattoos on her body, and the Doctor explains that once it's bonded to a victim, it's chronlocked to them and will find them no matter where they are and kill them. Down the street, the "raven" passes through its cage and the thief runs inside. The raven follows him inside and the alien runs out and down the street. The Doctor tells Ashildr to give the thief a merciful death, but she doesn't see the point and insists that the only way to keep the rules is to kill anyone who breaks them. Meanwhile, the raven enters the thief's body and he screams in agony... and then dies.

Kabel goes to the woman and comforts her as she watches her mate die. The raven reforms outside of its victim's body and flies off, and the quantum shade returns to Ashildr's skin. Ashildr tells the Doctor that she doesn't want to execute Rigsy if he's innocent, and invites him to question anyone and everyone. However, she warns that he'll have to convince the residents, not her. The Doctor and Clara set up to begin their investigation, while Rigsy calls Jen and talks to Lucy over the phone, trying to get her to stop crying.

Clara sees Rump and asks him what the woman meant by offering to take the Chronolock. The alien explains that there are two ways to survive the quantum shade: the shade's master removes the Chronolock, or someone else willingly accepts it. Clara sees Janos' son Jjj watching and waves to him, and he walks away. She then tells Rigsy to give her his shade, pointing out that she's under Ashildr's absolute personal protection. Clara insists that it's just the thing the Doctor would do. When Rigsy hesitates, Clara reminds him of what he has at stake and he finally gives in. Clara touches the tattoo and it transfers to her neck.

The Doctor questions Rump, who insists that there was no one at the end of the street except Anna and Rigsy. The Time Lord points out that fifteen aliens on the street are known for their aggression, and Rump insists that none of them would have killed Anna. Other aliens tell Clara that Anna knew all of their losses just by looking at them. Meanwhile, Rump tells the Doctor that they have to believe that Rigsy is the killer. Otherwise it means one of them did it and they'll turn on each other. He's willing to let Rigsy die to keep the peace.

Next, the Doctor talks to Kabel. He says that Rigsy asked Ashildr to call for the Doctor, and assumes he meant a medical practitioner. The Doctor meets with Clara and Rigsy, and explains that Ahildr knew that he and Rigsy were friends... which means that she lied. The Time Lord figures that something is wrong on the street, and Clara gets an idea. She goes to the home of Anna and Anahson, and Anahson hesitantly opens the door. She points out that he's not weird around Rigsy like everyone else, but Anahson looks at her and the Doctor like he's curious and confused. Clara figures that Anahson knows that Rigsy is innocent because Anahson can see into his past and knows what happened.

Anahson lets them go inside and Clara figures that she's a girl. Anna dressed her as a boy to conceal her precognitive powers. Anahson insists that the precognition is no gift and refuses to throw away the first place where she's been safe. The Doctor asks what Ashildr is up to, and Anahson only knows that Ashildr is doing the right thing. She can't see what Aahildr is trying to do because it involves the Doctor. The Doctor figures that it's about him, not Rigsy. Anahson concentrates and her past face says that Ashildr needed to lure the Doctor in with a mystery because she couldn't just ask him in. The street's mayor is afraid of someone, but Anahson can't see who.

With ten minutes left, the Doctor leads Anahson and the others back to Anna's corpse. He realizes that Anna is alive and the pod is keeping her in stasis. Rigsy finds a keyhole on the control panel and the Doctor figures that Ashildr has disappeared and means for them to release Anna. The keyhole matches the TARDIS key, and when the Doctor uses it, a bracelet snaps around his wrist. Anna is freed, and Ashildr comes in and says that the Janos will be fine in a few minutes. She says that she doesn't want the TARDIS and offers to remove Rigsy's Chronolock. Ashildr then tells the Doctor that the device is a teleport bracelet. She made a deal to protect the street, and "they" will take him in return for the street's safety. Aahildr then asks for the Doctor's confession dial, figuring that he has it with him.

The Doctor hands it over and Ashildr goes to Rigsy to remove the Chronolock. He wonders what Clara is waiting for, and Clara tells Ashildr to remove the bracelet first. She reveals that she has the Chronolock and there are eight minutes left. Ashildr insists that she never meant for anyone to get hurt, and Clara repeats what Rump said. Shocked, Ashildr repeats what he said about how death can't be cheated. She can't break the contract with the shard, and when Clara took the Chronolock she changed the terms.

The raven flies out of its cage.

Clara figures that they can fix it, but the Doctor shakes his head. He asks Ashildr to fix it or he'll reveal the street to the world. Clara tells him to stop making threats, but the Doctor reminds Ashildr that she's read the stories and knows that he can do whatever he likes. Clara says that she did it and it's her fault. The Doctor says that he doesn't care, but Clara says that he has always cared and always will. She doesn't want to see him like he is if it's the last thing she will see, and Ashildr admits that there's nothing she can do. The Doctor insists that it can't be happening, and blames himself for not taking care of her.

As the raven approaches, Clara hears it approaching. She tells Rigsy not to feel guilty for what she chose, and orders the Doctor not to let her death change him. The Doctor wonders what the point is of being the Doctor if he can't cure Clara, and Clara tells him to heal himself. She hugs him and says that she already knows what he's going to say. The raven approaches and the Doctor asks Clara to stay with him rather than run. She refuses, saying it's as brave as she knows how to be, and asks the Doctor be proud of her. The Doctor kisses her hand and Clara says goodbye, and then walks out. The Doctor follows her out as the raven flies into Clara and she dies.

The Doctor goes back inside and Ashildr apologizes for what happened. As she activates the teleport circuit, the Doctor asks if her she knows why Clara asked him not to take revenge. He admits that he was lost a long time ago, and Clara was saving Ashildr. The Doctor advises Ashildr to stay out of his way and is teleported away.

Written by Gadfly on Nov 22, 2015