Just as we reach the episodes I’ve most been looking forward to this season, I’ve unavoidably fallen behind. At the time of writing, Heaven Sent has aired but I haven’t seen it. I’m going to keep my thoughts on this brief so I can go and watch it!
Lots of things to love here. It’s a great setup – following on from the Zygon migrants, we have what is effectively a refugee camp, but with a Hobbesian social contract underpinned by a particularly severe sanction. The return of Ashildr, now the Mayor, is a particularly perfect development – again, the interplay with the Doctor is exhilerating. Rigsy, somewhat underused, is a good choice of ‘victim’ to get the story off to a flying start – and it’s good to see him again.
The following spoilers are just for Face the Raven, but they’re significant, so don’t read without watching!
Clara’s demise has been so long foreshadowed, it has a lot to live up to. It’s also the third departure story for Clara – but unlike Amy & Rory’s three departures, where there were diminishing returns, this is the best. The way she meets her fate is beautifully in character – not heroic, but reckless – the consequence of over-confidence, the gap between thinking she’s the Doctor and being the Doctor. Equally important is the Doctor’s reaction. The scenes where they know what’s going to happen are exquisitely played. The Doctor cannot let the rage and grief that has been threatened through this whole season spill out… But this is part 1 of a 3-parter. The next episode is the single-hander (the episode I’ve been most anticipating), so this isn’t like following Earthshock with Time-Flight. We are going to see the consequences play out.