Today, the BBC has cost me 40p. In that time, I’ve listened to a bit of radio, caught up with the news at the BBC website. And then?
I watched Saturday’s Doctor Who.
Good grief. In a series that’s not been afraid to take twists, turns, to go off in precisely the opposite direction that people were expecting, “Face The Raven“ has again demonstrated the confidence and talent that’s fuelling modern day Doctor Who. It does feel like we take a lot of this for granted, but there are several flat-out exquisite moments in this episode – not least Peter Capaldi giving his work in “The Zygon Inversion“ a run for its money – that surely deserve at the very least a lot more respect. Some thunderous applause would help, too.
It’s the first Doctor Who story from Sarah Dollard, who previously has penned installments of “Being Human“ and “The Game”, as well as working on “Primeval“ and “Merlin.” From the off, it’s intriguing too.
The pre-publicity has already revealed the return of Joivan Wade’s Rigsy (last seen in “Flatline”), as well as of another character, and the Doctor and Clara are soon brought back into contact with him courtesy of a phone call. It turns out that Rigsy has a strange tattoo, that in turn sees the TARDIS crew on a hunt for a missing street in the middle of London.
To say one sentence more plot-wise would be unfair, I think. There’s a lot to chew on, certainly, and it’s surprising how much Dollard manages to pack in here, without it ever feeling rushed or muddled. That she affords room for some proper conversations, and for putting the brakes on, is all the more impressive.
Furthermore, both Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are excellent again. The mystery gives them plenty to get their teeth into, and director Justin Molotnikov seems to have a lot more fun with the contrasting styles in this episode than he did with “Sleep No More“ last week. His work, too, deserves real appreciation.
Is “Face The Raven” any good? That’s the point of a spoiler-free review, really, to find out the answer to that question. Yes. Yes, yes, yessity-yes. It’s really good. It’s further proof too of Doctor Who‘s inherent intelligence, and steadfast refusal to dumb down to its audience. The Capaldi era feels, to me at least, like a vintage era for the show already.
Bottom line? “Face The Raven“ is one of the best uses of 40p of the year. It’s a shame they don’t do posters for Doctor Who episodes so regularly now, as we’d gladly donate that quote for free.
One more thing: treat yourself. It’s worth watching this one live if you can.