It wasn’t a regeneration. In fact, it was the second companion death in a row. But Face the Raven was sure trying hard to summon the all of the emotional heft that comes with a regeneration (which after all is about a character death as well). But for us here at the Tour, it wasn’t until a second viewing that the emotion finally hit home. The death of Clara, although it was heavily foreshadowed and overlong, still managed to hit all of the right emotional notes. Capaldi was amazing both in the restraint he used, conveying so much with only his eyes, but also in how he allowed space for Jenna Coleman to make the most of her exit.
With that said Face the Raven felt very constructed. We were glad to see Maisie Williams back again but wondered why, apart from a few crafted lines calling back to earlier in the season, whether she was a necessary presence in the story. Since we now know that this is the first of a three-part run to the end of the Series, thoughts of Utopia come to mind, but Face the Raven was more of a ‘punch in the gut’ instead of a ‘punch the air’ story.
Must companion departures be ladled with so much pathos? If you think about, in nu-Who only Martha (Captain Jack not withstanding) really left unscathed. The days when a companion departure was moving without being earth-shattering, have probably moved on.