Clara Oswald: The Woman Who Deserved Better
How I wish this episode had aired before Moffat Appreciation Day, but let’s just call it a late contribution, shall we?
I want to start this off with saying that in my opinion, the writing, directing and acting of this episode was brilliant. Frankly, it would be a crime not to praise Sarah Dollard, who did wonderfully, especially considering it was her first time writing for the show.
It was an amazing piece of television and a perfect example of why Doctor Who is still on air with over fifty years on its back.
Now, I have seen some criticism of Clara’s death revolving around how “she deserved a better ending” or simply “deserved more” as a character.
And that is the point: I agree.
Clara Oswald deserved better. A life with a miraculously resurrected Danny Pink. The life she told the Doctor about in Last Christmas. A long, fulfilling life she will never get to live.
Face The Raven gave us something I have long wished for: An ordinary adventure with a tragic, avoidable ending. Because in many ways, it was an ordinary (albeit great) episode. There was a mystery. There was an old friend of the Doctor about to die who expected him to save him. There was a countdown.
But this time they didn’t make it. The Doctor’s companion died because of a risk she took.
This was not because of hubris. No, she took the chronolock because she, like the audience, had implicit trust in the Doctor. The man of miracles. The man who we’ve seen doing the impossible many, many times. The man who would have taken the chronolock himself,
And if he had, the Doctor would have made it. Why? Because he always does. The Doctor is a character who will never die.
And, therefore, at worst, he would have regenerated. Clara took the chronolock because it was a good plan, because she stood under the protection of the mayor, because she knew it would save Rigsy. Because it was something the Doctor would have done.
But the Doctor didn’t do it; Clara did. And because she is human, and the Doctor, for all his human traits, emotions, stories, is not and never will be, it had the most tragic of all consequences.
And so Clara died because of her own choices. Aware of the fact. Brave.
And that is another thing - her last words.
Let me be brave.
Clara has always shown her fear, and she knew that if she did now, the Doctor would be furious and no words of her would keep him from taking revenge. So she wished for one thing. To be brave.
And she was. To the end.
Face The Raven deserves its place in Doctor Who and television history. Face The Raven showed the other side of the medallion when it comes to travelling with the Doctor. With every other exit in the show, there was closure. There was hope. There was the knowledge that still, the character got some sort of happy ending.
This is what is missing here. This is what makes it brilliant. This is what makes this a poignant, unforgettable episode.
Goodbye, Clara Oswald. And thank you for all you have given us.