Doctor Who S09E10: Quoth The Raven, “Neverwhere”

Apparently last week’s snot monster adventure was a one-off (thank goodness) despite every other episode this season being half of a two-parter. Hmm, I wonder if that means anything particularly important is going to happen in this episode? Nah, probably not.

Anyway, the episode begins with Clara and the Doctor having just gotten back to the TARDIS after an adventure involving a sentient plant that wanted to marry the Doctor, and Clara apparently was very heroic and impressive and saved him. She revels in the glory of being The Best until the TARDIS phone rings. It’s Rigsy, who we met last season in the episode with the tiny TARDIS and the scribbly aliens who sucked people into walls.

Clara is like “What the shit is going on, I gave you this number for emergencies” and Rigsy is like “Just come to my house please, shit is getting real.”

They head over to his place and see that he has a baaaaaaaaby now and she’s so cute! But that’s not the point. He called to get the Doctor and Clara to check out a mysterious tattoo that appeared on the back of his neck after he blacked out for 24 hours. This problem is known in some cultures as The Mosby.

But Rigsy’s surprise tattoo is a little spookier than Ted’s. It’s a number that’s counting down and you know you might assume that that’s very menacing but maybe it’s just counting down to a really fun party! Who knows?

The Doctor analyzes it on the TARDIS and is like “Welp, you’ve been around aliens recently and they space roofied you so you don’t remember. Also that tattoo is counting down to your death. Sorry!” Rigsy does not accept this diagnosis and bullies the Doctor into at least attempting to save him. The Doctor is like “FINE” and decides they need to find whatever Alien Diagon Alley Rigsy got sucked into and see if they can appeal his case. This involves looking at a bunch of maps and then going up in the TARDIS and having Clara hang out the door with the sonic sunglasses on so they can find out which areas of the city her eyes skip over because of alien perception filters or whatever. And in the process Clara ends up dangling by her ankles over the city and rather than being terrified she loves it because she is a danger junkie. No way is that going to cause problems for her, I’m sure!

The three of them land and investigate some spots around the city that may contain alien hidey-holes. Clara has success first, and takes her boys to the street she discovered. The Doctor sends her back to the TARDIS to get his cardboard box of tracking doodads but she gets distracted by Rigsy’s phone (which had a 24-hour memory wipe as well), which has recovered enough data that she finds that he got a call yesterday morning around the time he left his house.

When she goes back and tells him this, he starts remembering spooky alien things and then immediately remembers where the street was. They go down the newly-visible alley and find an old-timey looking street where three dudes immediately jump out and freeze them in place and start interrogating them. They look human, but Rigsy remembers enough to know they’re actually aliens. This street is actually a refugee camp, and do you know who the mayor is?

JK! It’s our old friend Arya Stark!

She tells her buddies to stand down and tells Clara it’s nice to see her and that she’s read about her in her diaries many times. The Doctor asks what the fuck is up with Rigsy’s sick ink and she says that he committed a crime yesterday and was sentenced to death. She also adds that she’s going to wipe Clara and the Doctor’s memories after they leave so the Doctor is like “Well as long as it’s going to be roofied away, can you tell us why our friend has to die? And also can you promise that nothing bad will happen to Clara, just as a probably ultimately unimportant side request?” Arya is like “UGH FINE!”

She takes them to where the body of a lady alien who escaped slavery on her home planet is being kept. Rigsy allegedly killed her, but the only evidence is that he was found over her body and apparently nobody felt the need to investigate further. Rigsy is worried that he accidentally killed her after stumbling onto the street, but Clara reminds him that somebody called him there yesterday morning, so it must have been somebody else and he’s being framed.

Their discussion is interrupted by a dude who comes to beg Arya to pardon him. He stole medical supplies for his sick wife and was sentenced to death because they’re v. serious about the rules in Diagalien Alley. He only has two minutes left on his tattoo countdown, and Arya feels the need to make an example of him and refuses. She makes her own curlicue neck tattoo turn into a raven that chases the man down the street and kills him.

One of the street aliens explains to Clara that the only way to survive a death sentence is to be pardoned by Arya or to find somebody willing to the take the sentence from you. Our recently deceased friend’s wife tried to take it from him but he wouldn’t let her which is hella stupid because if he needed to steal medical supplies for her she’s probably not long for this world anyway but love is dumb, I guess.

So of course Clara’s first thought on learning these factoids about Alien Law is to pull Rigsy aside and ask him to give her his sentence, because Arya promised she wouldn’t be hurt so when the time is up she won’t be able to do anything and there will be time to find out who the real killer was.

Rigsy is reluctant but she guilts him by talking about his wife and adorable baby and he finally agrees.

They rejoin the Doctor, who is still questioning the locals. One of them tells him that Rigsy was calling for a Doctor when he was found with the body and the Doctor is like “You idiot, he wanted THE Doctor aka ME!” and now he knows that Arya is trying to bamboozle him because she knew that Rigsy was his friend all along and used him as bait to get the Doctor to visit.

So also in his questioning he found that everybody basically said a variation of “Nobody would have wanted to kill Anah, she was the best and could always understand what you were feeling!” This is because she was from an alien race where everyone has two faces and the ladies can use one face to see the past and one to see the future. The boys have two faces but no powers, and Clara realizes that Anah’s son, who she’s seen a few times peeping around corners while shit has been going on, is secretly a girl who just doesn’t want the hassle of people wanting her to read fortunes or whatever.

So they go to her house and ask her what the fuck the mayor is up to, and she confirms that the whole Rigsy situation was a convoluted way to invite the Doctor to her home and that whatever her current scheme is, it’s because she’s scared of something/somebody.

They go to where Anah’s body is being kept and the Doctor realizes that she’s in a stasis pod not to preserve her body prior to burial (as Arya originally claimed), but because she’s been alive the whole time. For some contrived reason the only way to get her out of the pod is to use a TARDIS key, and in doing so the Doctor loses the key and has a teleport cuff put on his wrist.

Arya pops up and is like “Sorry bro, I made a deal involving teleporting you somewhere or other so that I could keep this street safe.” I wonder if there might be another fictional character out there who might have some advice for her about making this kind of deal?

She does concede that now that her machinations have been revealed she’ll get rid of Rigsy’s death tattoo. But Clara is like “LOLOL I fooled you, I have the tattoo now!” Arya is like “Fuck” because apparently in the laws of space raven execution once the death sentence has been transferred it can’t be pardoned? Or something? Look, Clara is going to die. They’ve been foreshadowing it all season and it blows and I am mad about it but whatever. The damn raven is going to get her.

The Doctor goes from 0 to apoplectic in .00001 seconds and tells Arya that she had better have a way to fix it or else he’s going to expose her street to the world and basically fuck up her life as much as possible for all of eternity, but Clara is like “You dummy, the first time you see a crying baby you will give up that plan and I’m pretty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about this whole imminent death thing probably for the same reason I throw myself into danger every other day just for funsies! I’m going to make like my hot dead boyfriend Danny Pink and die with honor and bravery or whatever.”

Then she gives this whole moving speech to him about how he has to not let her death ruin his life and he has to keep being the Doctor and not seek revenge etc etc and THERE IS A LOT OF SPACE DUST IN THIS ROOM EVEN THOUGH THIS DEATH IS VERY RANDOM AND CONVOLUTED!!! She says goodbye to him and then goes out to the street to see the raven and it kills her.

The Doctor tells Arya that because Clara told him not to seek revenge he’s not going to fuck her shit up but she had better stay the hell away from him because he is super pissed. She’s like “Sorry for real!” and teleports him away.

The episode ends with Rigsy standing outside the TARDIS having just put up a picture of Clara on it and painted flowers all over it and ok I am sobbing even though this episode pissed me the hell off!

About catweazle

Catweazle is an 11th century wizard trying to make his way through the modern world while living in a disused water tower with his pet toad.
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5 Responses to Doctor Who S09E10: Quoth The Raven, “Neverwhere”

  1. artdorkgirl says:

    So, I have feelings on this episode:

    1) I love it when the Doctor and babies hang out. It’s great! I want another one of those eps, please.

    2) Clara’s death was so….anti-climactic? I cried over Rose, Donna, Amy, and Rory, but Clara, who honestly I felt was finally interesting last series (not so much this series) just kind of left me saying “ok”. I actually feel like maybe she deserved a bit better? But sacrificing herself for Rigsy (who I absolutely don’t remember) is ok too, I guess.

    • catweazle says:

      I thought there wasn’t nearly enough buildup to it. It was kind of random and stupid. But I still wept!

      I did remember Rigsy because I liked him in that other episode. I had hoped that maybe they were setting him up as the next companion but then I remembered he has a baby so that’s probably not going to happen 😦

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