Doctor Who fans were in for a shocker on Saturday when beloved character Clara Oswald died at the hands (or claws) of the Raven.
The episode, entitled “Face The Raven,” was the first installment of the show’s three-part finale, and kicks off with The Doctor and his precocious assistant Clara Oswald taking a call from Rigsy, a graffiti artist that Oswald had met in the previous season.
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Rigsy tells Oswald about a strange number tattoo he found on his nape, which prompts her and The Doctor to visit him in London to investigate.
They soon find themselves on a strange street, which, apparently is part of a community governed by another familiar face – Ashildr – the young village girl whom Doctor Who saved from Vikings a few episodes back.
The young mayor tells Clara Oswald and The Doctor that Rigsy had murdered one of her alien locals and that the tattoo signifies his remaining time on Earth. An investigation is initiated by Doctor Who on the condition that no harm will come his assistant’s way.
“I guarantee the safety of Clara Oswald,” Ashildr promises.
It is soon discovered that Ashildr used Rigsy to trap The Doctor in the hopes of finally capturing him for his enemies to deal with. Unfortunately, Clara Oswald – in an effort to outsmart the sentence – takes Rigsy’s tattoo, thinking that he will live and that she will be spared as well per Ashildr’s promise.
Realizing that Clara Oswald will have to take the death penalty, Doctor Who threatens Ashildr complete destruction, but Oswald suddenly makes a crucial decision.
Clara Oswald Faces The Raven
She owns up to the blunder and decides to take responsibility for it.
Her last words to her employer were “Whatever happens next, wherever she is sending you … don’t be a warrior. Promise me! Be a Doctor!” after which the black Raven kills her.
Actress Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara Oswald admitted feeling emotional about the fate of her character, even though it did not come as a complete surprise.
“I couldn't stop crying after I filmed my final scenes – it was ridiculous to get emotional. I'd planned all these things I wanted to say but only got two words out.”
The episode garnered mixed reviews from fans, who thought that Clara Oswald’s death may have been too “gruesome” for its younger viewers.
However, lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat defended the creative choice by saying that death isn’t something that most children will be learning about for the first time through Doctor Who.
Lead Writer Steven Moffat Defends Clara Oswald's Death
He added that kids find scary things appealing, much like they love Halloween and scary stories.