Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Doctor Who S35 E10 "Face the Raven"

Go To
Click here to see the Radio Times magazine poster for this episode: 

"Let me be brave... let me be brave..."

The one where Clara went the way of Lenore... doomed to the fate of NEVERMORE.

Written by Sarah Dollard, this episode's events open the three part Series 9 finale, with Clara Oswald's fate the turning point of the entire season.

The Doctor and Clara have just been banished from the second-most-beautiful garden planet in the universe, possibly because Clara saved the Doctor from having to marry a sentient plant, when the TARDIS phone rings. Clara answers it, and it's Rigsy. She'd given him the Doctor's number for emergencies, and he think's he's got one — he's mysteriously acquired a tattoo on the back of his neck. A tattoo of numbers, counting down.

The Doctor and Clara arrive in Rigsy's flat, and meet his baby daughter Lucy, whom the Doctor coos over. Rigsy doesn't remember the previous day at all. According to his girlfriend, he left before dawn, and came home after midnight, and the screen of his phone is now cracked. The Doctor is seriously alarmed at the sight of Rigsy's tattoo, and he is invited aboard the TARDIS, but told to leave the "new human" behind, because the Doctor might get distracted by the adorableness of said "new human".

The tattoo means that Rigsy is going to die. That's what it's counting down to. A scan from the TARDIS reveals he's been dosed with Retcon, an amnesia drug. His phone has been wiped, but the TARDIS will be able to recover the information. The Doctor has a suspicion about where Rigsy was, and off they head to the British Library to look at maps. Why? Because it looks like Rigsy was lured to a "trap street" — a secret hideout for aliens, hidden by means of something called a "misdirection circuit" and tucked in-between the ordinary streets of London.

The Doctor flies a search pattern over London, with Clara leaning out of the TARDIS' doors wearing the sonic sunglasses. The glasses will register any place below that her eyes couldn't focus on. She nearly falls out at one point, and Rigsy is disturbed by how not-bothered she was at the prospect of falling to her death.

Armed with a map of the places Clara couldn't focus on, the trio sets to walking the streets of London counting their footsteps, looking for the trap street. When they are initially unsuccessful, Clara is sent back to the TARDIS to fetch some of the Doctor's most annoying stuff. She instead finds that the TARDIS has recovered the information on Rigsy's phone, and brings that back instead. He got a phone call early in the morning the day before, the call that lured him to the trap street. Moments later, they find the street, and enter. The Doctor tells Rigsy to put his hood up, as he's likely known to the residents.

On entering, the trio is caught by a security system, and met by a pair of guards, both aliens, but made to look human by the misdirection circuit. When the guards find out that Rigsy is back, they are not pleased. Shortly, the mayor of the street arrives, drawn by the disturbance. It's Ashildr, back to calling herself "Me". The Doctor had lost track of her in the 1800s, and this is what she's been doing. She allows them entry, but tells them that the residents of the street won't be happy to see Rigsy, as he has been accused of murder.

Ashildr is the one who put the mark on Rigsy. It's a chronolock, put on by an entity called a quantum shade, which she has a contract with. All crimes in the street are punished the same way. Rigsy is accused of murdering a Janus woman named Anah, because he was found at the entrance to the street, standing over her body. Clara and the Doctor don't believe him guilty, but the residents of the street do.

It's a race against time to prove Rigsy's innocence... and find out what Ashildr's really up to...


  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Clara tenderly stokes the Doctor's cheek as a gesture of farewell.
  • Alien Geometries: A Whoniverse "trap street" exists between the streets ordinary humans see and use — "folded away", as the synopsis puts it. (Real life trap streets are false streets placed on maps by cartographers to identify stolen work. Both concepts are discussed in the episode — the writer's jumping-off point for the plot was "What if the fake streets on maps were actually real, just hidden?")
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Every crime in Trap Street is punished by death. Justified as the various alien residents are nasty and it's the only way to make sure they behave themselves.
    Ashildr: Peace on the street means one thing, break it and you face the raven.
  • All There in the Manual: The BBC published the script for the episode, which reveals details that didn't make it to air, including revealing Rigsy's real name. Rigsy's girlfriend is also featured in the story, but is absent from the final episode (though she appears in a deleted scene). A key moment in the script but not the episode has the Doctor bringing Clara's body inside, instructing Rigsy to take care of her remains and notify her school and family, and demanding that Ashildr/Me allow Rigsy to keep his memory. If the scene had been included it would have alleviated some fan backlash from those upset at the implication that the Doctor simply left Clara lying alone in the street, and the plot hole created by showing Rigsy painting a mural to Clara at the end, even though he shouldn't have any memory of the incident. The script also fills the plot hole as to why Ashildr/Me's tattoo doesn't move when Clara's raven is unleashed.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Clara, reminiscing about her mutual pranks with Jane Austen, gushes, "Oh, she is the worst. I love her. (beat) Take that how you like."
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: The Doctor tries to make one, but Clara stops him, saying they've had enough problems with bad timing as it is.
  • Animated Tattoo: The one on Rigsy's neck (and, later, Clara's) that acts as Death's Hourglass. Ashildr also has one, which comes to life when an execution is taking place (except Clara's).
  • Anti-Villain: Ashildr/Me — she just wanted to protect the trap street and she didn't think the deal she'd made with whomever wanted the Doctor's confession dial was worth risking the inhabitants. Her remorse at Clara being caught by the chronolock (and terror at the Doctor's reaction) is genuine.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Hybrid": The Doctor meets Ashildr, one of several hybrids he's encountered (and in this case also created) this season, once more.
    • "Story": Mentioned in relation to the Doctor's exploits during his rant to Ashildr.
    • "Duty of care": The Doctor invokes this sentiment with Clara ("I should have protected you"), though this time he doesn't say the exact phrase.
    • "Plan", a secondary arc word related to "win": Clara goes into her scheme to rescue Rigsy confident that if all else fails the Doctor will have/come up a plan that will save her. But in fact there's nothing he can do to save her from the quantum shade. "Win" itself is invoked but not said when the Doctor tells Ashildr that she's likely never read a story in which he's stopped (i.e. in which he lost).
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!:
    • The Doctor asks Rigsy to bring his new baby along, but immediately thinks better of it as the "new human" would just distract him.
    • It's played with later when Clara thinks the Doctor has been distracted by a machine when he should be investigating Rigsy's/her chronolock.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Defied. If it weren't for Clara, the Doctor would've brought Hell down on Ashildr but he doesn't. At the episode's end he tells Ashildr to make sure they never meet again because he's still very angry at her, which might be harder than it seems since the universe is a smaller place than most people think it is...
  • Badass Boast:
    • When Ashildr protests that the Doctor can't go through with his threats to destroy her and everything she cares about, he counters that in all the tales she must have heard, not once was there a mention of someone stopping him.
    The Doctor: I'll bring UNIT, I'll bring the Zygons, give me a minute, I'll get the Daleks and the Cybermen.
    • "I will rain hell on you until the end of time." There is no doubt that if Clara didn't stop him, the Doctor was quite capable of doing so considering he even went so far as to threaten to invite his two worst enemies (the Daleks and the Cybermen) to the party.
      • What makes it worse is that both of them would willingly come to slaughter and upgrade. It's not just a threat or a boast; it's true.
    • The Doctor's chilling threat to Ashildr at the end also counts: "You'll find that it's a very small universe when I'm angry with you."
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Big Bad gets the Doctor where they want him, and Ashildr/Me gets protection for the trap street. Clara basically demands the Doctor let this trope stand by telling him he can't have Revenge on either party to boot.
  • Balancing Death's Books: The chronolock can be given to someone else but the quantum shade can't be cheated out of a death.
  • Batman Gambit: Ashildr (or, and more likely, the people behind her) engineered Rigsy's Frame-Up to lure the Doctor to the Trap Street, because she knows he can't resist a mystery. It's all so she could deliver him to some unknown party. However it backfired — because Clara took Ashildr's Jerkass facade at face value and took the chronolock off Rigsy, being confident Ashildr would never let her die, she unwittingly made it impossible to remove the chronolock and doomed herself needlessly.
  • Being Good Sucks: The Doctor saving Ashildr when the only other option was letting her die paved the way for the events of this episode, and Clara is so desperate to save Rigsy that she ends up needlessly dooming herself and leaving the Doctor anguished and enraged. She instructs the grieving Doctor not to punish/harm Ashildr or anyone else for this, meaning he can't enjoy the cruel satisfaction of settling the score — not to mention he has to accept being teleported away at the end.
  • Berserk Button: Being betrayed and trapped by Ashildr is one thing, but realizing that Clara's foolish plan to save Rigsy will now cost her her life causes the Doctor to have a Freak Out and threaten the lives of Ashildr and the other Trap Street residents. It's only because 1) Clara calls him off and 2) he's being delivered elsewhere shortly that they even have a chance, and Ashildr is now on a very short leash.
  • Big Bad: Someone, or someones, made a deal with Ashildr to deliver the Doctor and his confession dial to them in exchange for the trap street's protection. Who/what they are is a mystery as of the Cliffhanger.
  • Body Horror:
    • Retroactively applied when it's learned that Anah has a second face on the back of her head. When Rigsy experiences his first memory of her apparent death she's lying on her back with blood coming from behind her head. (Even though this is ultimately revealed as a trick, it's still a very squicky moment for this show.)
    • invoked The physical damage done to the old man and later to Clara appears to be enough to cause them great pain, and apparently isn't something the Doctor can use regeneration energy to heal (since if he was willing to spare some for Davros he'd certainly do it for her). The rest is (unfortunately) left to our imagination.
  • Bookends:
    • When we first saw Jenna Coleman as one of the Clara splinters, Oswin, she died in a place called the Asylum. Now, Clara-Prime dies in a place called the Asylum.
    • In "Flatline", Clara prevented Rigsy from making a Stupid Sacrifice to save a handful of people. Now it's Clara's turn to commit a Stupid Sacrifice, only this time Rigsy is unable to prevent it.
    • When we first see Rigsy in "Flatline", he's cleaning up some of his graffiti. When we last see Rigsy in "Face the Raven", he's adding graffiti art to the TARDIS. This doubles as a Call-Back to the end of "Flatline" when the Doctor tells Rigsy he "can't wait" to see what he paints next.
    • Possibly a coincidence, possibly not: in (the original) Clara's first episode, "The Bells of Saint John", she is seen wearing a raven-shaped necklace. Now, in the episode depicting her final death, her life is ended by something that looks like a raven. The maiden name of Clara's mother, by the way, was Ravenwood.
  • Break the Badass:
    • Clara is fearless in her efforts to save Rigsy, even taking on his death sentence as part of her plan, sure that she'll be able to get it lifted. It helps her case that Rigsy was effectively her companion in "Flatline", where she had to be the Doctor for the day while he was trapped, and Rigsy calls her when he needs help now. Clara's not just a Plucky Girl, she's the Impossible Girl who survived the Doctor's own timestream and endured myriad perils and traumas with him. Clara can stand as the equal of the Doctor, down to his Chronic Hero Syndrome. And by the end of this episode, she is desperately whispering "Let me be brave..." as she faces her death, and goes to her grave fearing that her demise will turn her dearest friend and the greatest healer in the universe into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. Exaggerated when viewed in concert with the later episode "Hell Bent", in which we discover that the Clara we see who faces the raven, screams and dies is an untold number of years older than the one who walked into the street, who has experienced untold adventures... yet something in her future makes her eventually decide to return to meet her death.
    • For all his badass boasting, the Doctor is left utterly broken by Clara's death.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Clara is trying her hardest "be brave" when the Raven comes.
    • Ashildr doesn't come out of this unscathed. Aside from being legitimately remorseful that anyone was killed, she's left (for now) concerned as to whether the Doctor will heed Clara's instructions to not take revenge.
  • Break the Haughty: Ashildr, a.k.a. Mayor Me, after the Doctor puts the fear of God into her at the end.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • The Doctor tells Rigsy there is no nice way to tell him he's about to die.
    • Both the Doctor and Ashildr are this way with Clara. For her part, Clara demands a simple "yes or no" answer from Ashildr at one point. Clara also uses this when trying to calm the Doctor down.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Ashildr knows all too well what the Doctor is capable of, but persists in her plan to capture him for whatever party is threatening her community, though to be fair she never expected anyone to get hurt, much less the Doctor's companion to be killed. After everything is said and done, she clearly regrets her actions (or what they ended up causing).
  • Call-Back:
    • The Torchwood amnesia drug Retcon turns up as the reason for Rigsy's memory loss, making this the second reference to the spinoff in Series 9 after the mention of Captain Jack Harkness in "The Woman Who Lived".
    • The unknown party Ashildr made a deal with wants — and looks to be getting — the Doctor's confession dial. Do they — and Ashildr — know it won't open until the Doctor dies?
    • Clara reminds the brokenhearted Doctor, upon seeing him threaten Ashildr and renounce his name, that no matter what happens to either of them, he should be a doctor and not a warrior.
    • The Doctor has renounced his name before ("The Night of the Doctor"), and has threatened to do so before ("The Beast Below"). This is the first time we've seen him do it as a full-out threat.
    • Clara preventing the Doctor from saying "I love you" (or anything resembling this statement) is reminiscent of the Tenth Doctor's difficulty saying it to Rose in "Doomsday" and "Journey's End".
    • Clara was seen on two occasions wearing a raven-shaped necklace, most recently in "The Woman Who Lived", but amazingly in her very first full episode, "The Bells of Saint John". An earlier episode also established that her mother's maiden name was Ravenwood.
  • Character Development:
    • Ashildr/Me's personality has continued to evolve with the centuries; she's now the hard-nosed mayor of the trap street and willing to do anything to protect it.
    • Clara's actions and fate are the culmination of her character development since Series 7, from the Doctor's latest Earthly friend to coming very close to being his Distaff Counterpart. She even goes to her grave making a sacrifice for a single innocent, as the Doctor has done on multiple occasions... but unlike him, she can never come back, at least not by any means that wouldn't potentially do great harm to space and time.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Clara left Rigsy an emergency TARDIS number at the end of "Flatline" — and now he has a reason to use it.
  • Clear Their Name: The Doctor and Clara are trying to help clear the amnesiac Rigsy's name when the trouble starts.
  • Cliffhanger: Clara is Killed Off for Real when her overconfident plan to save Rigsy costs her her life, and the Doctor, who is enraged, is teleported away to who-knows-where, with no way to trace him and no TARDIS, all at the hands of an unrevealed hostile third party who will be getting his confession dial as part of the deal. His death is the only thing that will open that dial. The Despair Event Horizon is looming...
  • Complexity Addiction: Ashildr could have just invited the Doctor for tea and drugged him or something — he has no real reason to suspect her. Instead she stages an elaborate deception, endangering several people's lives, because she needs to separate him from his TARDIS key and get his confession dial.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Among the aliens living in the trap street are Cybermen, Ood, Judoon, Sontarans, Silurians and Ice Warriors. The Doctor additionally invokes the Daleks during his freakout with Ashildr.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The "cue cards" Clara made for the Doctor return.
    • Danny's death is recalled.
    • Ashildr sees the lives of the alien refugees living on the trap street as superior to those of the Zygons who are living incognito in the outside world. Later, the Doctor threatens to bring in UNIT to expose and even destroy the refugees.
    • When we first see Clara — or, rather, one of her many echoes scattered through the Doctor's timeline — she is in a Dalek asylum. The original Clara now dies in a place also called an asylum (albeit of a different type).
    • When counting his footsteps while looking for the entrance to the street, the Doctor says "Remember 82". 1982 was when "Earthshock", the last Doctor Who story to have a companion (Adric) Killed Off for Real, was broadcast. (This one is so obscure that it comes very close to being a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment as the Doctor seems to just randomly grab some passing young boy in order to tie his shoe, asking him to "remember 82" for no apparent reason.)
    • When the TARDIS phone rings, the Doctor gestures for Clara to answer it. The last time he'd picked up the TARDIS phone to receive an unexpected call, things instantly got weird. Which explains why Clara is hesitant to do so.
    • The Doctor took Clara to the second most beautiful garden in the universe. He'd previously taken Amy and Rory to the second best planet claiming that everyone goes to the best one and it's a "planet of coffee shops".
    • Clara acknowledges that she has been taking risks recently, reflecting her behaviour for much of Series 9. Her statement about wanting to be reckless like the Doctor puts a bow on this, while directly recalling episodes in which she acted like the Doctor, most notably this episode's direct antecedent, "Flatline".
    • The Doctor is prevented from saying anything approaching "I love you", just as he was in "Doomsday", though this time his companion stops him; this is followed up by her invoking a sentiment similar to "Does it need saying?", much like "Journey's End". The fact Clara herself does not say the phrase reflects the promise she made to Danny Pink in "Death in Heaven" that she would never say "I love you" to anyone else.
    • The post-credits scene recalls Rigsy's skills at graffiti art, as last seen in "Flatline".
    • Clara is also wearing the same ash wedge trainers last seen in "Flatline".
  • The Corpse Stops Here: Rigsy is accused of murder after he is found standing over Anah's body at the mouth of the alley.
  • Cooldown Hug: Although Clara and the Doctor's hug is primarily intended as part of her farewell and an attempt by her to comfort the Doctor, it also qualifies or this trope as it occurs during Clara's last-ditch effort to prevent the Doctor from going berserk after she dies — this includes the fact that she consciously stops the Doctor before he has a chance to say "I love you" or anything approaching this which could undo her efforts. He does appear noticably calmer (if no less sad) afterwards.
  • Copy Protection: The "trap street" method of copy protection is discussed in universe. However, there is at least one trap street that is a real place.
  • Creepy Crows: The quantum shade that carries out the sentences in the trap street takes the form of a raven most of the time.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Clara stands with her arms out to her sides, wracked with pain, after the raven flies into her. It may or may not be coincidence that she adopts a similar pose to what some past Doctors (specifically the Ninth and Tenth Doctors) entered when they regenerated... minus the regeneration part.
  • Death Cry Echo: Clara lets out an almighty scream as the raven kills her. The audience doesn't hear it, but other characters clearly do.
  • Death Is Dramatic: The final minutes of Clara's life play this trope to the hilt as they play out all of the Five Stages of Grief: The Doctor rages at Ashildr, Clara ponders her fate and gives him a loving Final Speech to motivate him not to seek revenge, he is driven to tears, they (in their own unique ways) express their love for each other one last time, and finally she heads out to face her fate. The death itself happens in slow motion with no sound effects, just background music (though Clara's scream can still be heard if you listen carefully), she dies with a Crucified Hero Shot, and the Doctor, while promising to try and fulfil Clara's wish that he not become a monster, nonetheless ends the episode by putting the fear of god into an immortal.
  • Death Is the Only Option: The Doctor, Clara and Ashildr debate the issue, but ultimately realize Clara's only option is to face the raven (though the Doctor inserts a third option in a later episode).
  • Death Seeker: Clara, about to face her own death, wonders if she's one. Perhaps that's why she'd been taking all those risks of late. Earlier in the episode, she seems to be having the time of her life as she nearly falls from the TARDIS flying high above London. The Doctor and Rigsy comment on it.
  • Death's Hourglass: The tattoo on Rigsy's, and later Clara's, neck counts down from 537 minutes how much time they have until their executions.
  • Didn't See That Coming: It never occurred to Ashildr that Clara would actually take the chronolock off Rigsy. The Doctor is similarly gobsmacked. Clara, for her part, never thought that they'd run into a scenario that they (as in she and the Doctor, together) couldn't fix.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Clara's plan going into the "taking the chronolock thing" is explicitly a time-gaining gesture. She has no idea what she's going to do afterward. It's hinted that Ashildr feels this way because there was no way she could have predicted Clara's actions.
  • Dies Wide Open: The elderly Street resident killed by the raven. Later, Clara, though her eyes are closed by the time she hits the ground.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Doctor threatens this to Ashildr if she can't remove the chronolock from Clara — to destroy not only her but the trap street and everyone in it, which would undoubtedly include many innocents and/or children. Clara honestly doesn't believe he can go that far, but he doesn't, and she has to talk him down.
  • Driving Question: Several: What happened to Rigsy? What exactly does it mean to "face the raven" — it relates to a death sentence, but how? What is Ashildr's part in all this?
  • Edutainment: The series briefly returns to its roots when Clara takes a few moments to explain to the Doctor — and us — the real-life definition of "trap street" (echoing how writer Sarah Dollard was inspired to write the episode after similarly learning of the practice).
  • Eldritch Location: The trap street: It's built on Alien Geometries and inhabited by actual extraterrestrials of all kinds.
  • Enemy Mine: Although Clara calms him down before we find out if this was anything more than Freak Out-related bluster, the Doctor claims that not only is he capable of bringing recognized allies such as UNIT and the Zygons down upon Ashildr and trap street, but he's willing to bring in his mortal enemies the Daleks and Cybermen as well. This is not a threat as he (and we) know they would both come to kill.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Doctor's long history has included moments of him paying evil unto evil. Although Clara is successful in convincing him not to do this, the Doctor's voice drops to a terrifying register as he frightens Ashildr with his final words.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Those who are marked with a chronolock must face the Raven.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When the fact that the chronolock can't be swapped again arises:
    Ashildr: I had no idea she'd do something so stupid. I swear, I never meant for anyone to get hurt. What were you thinking, sacrificing yourself?
    Clara: I wasn't sacrificing anything! It was strategy. Backup plan, to buy us more time.
    The Doctor: Who told you to give it to her?
    Clara: Nobody did! I did! Rump said...
    The Doctor: What exactly did Rump say?
    Clara: He said the death is locked in. You can pass it on, but... but... (oh, crap...)
    The Doctor: But what?
    Ashildr: But you can't cheat it altogether.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The events of this episode unfold over several hours, with the final half hour or so of Clara's life playing out more or less in real time.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Everyone runs from the raven, despite it being pointless. Though it takes all her courage, Clara does not. In fact, she walks towards it. Also applies to her touching speech to the Doctor before going into the street.
  • Faking the Dead: Anah is kept in a stasis pod so she appears dead.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Clara's death scene resulted in complaints from parents who felt it was too disturbing for young viewers.
  • Fantastic Racism: The aliens in the Trap Street aren't very fond of humans. The fact Rigsy is black may or may not be an intentional parallel to real world issues regarding racism, though it's worth noting the Janus, who are also black, are shown to be somewhat put-upon by the others. It's alleviated by the fact a black actor plays the human form of one of the aliens who is shown in a position of authority on the street.
  • Feathered Fiend: The "quantum shade" that Ashildr uses to execute criminals takes the form of a raven.
  • Final Speech: In the last minutes of her life, Clara makes one directed at the Doctor. She admits that her demise might be what her whole life was leading up to, hopes he's proud of her for what she's done, and orders him not to slip into his old warrior ways out of rage and grief — to hold himself to the mark and be the doctor she knows he can be even though he doesn't take being alone well.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Once Clara shows off that she took the chronolock from Rigsy, Ashildr is clearly mortified.
    Ashildr: I had no idea she'd do something so stupid...
  • Five Stages of Grief: All five are exhibited in one form or another by either the Doctor or Clara in the final minutes.
    • Denial: Clara and the Doctor, with the Doctor even saying "This isn't happening. It's not happening."
    • Anger: The Doctor's terrifying Freak Out against Ashildr.
    • Bargaining: Clara to the Doctor, "We can fix this. We always fix it," followed by her asking Ashildr if she's certain nothing can be done. The Doctor's freak out against Ashildr also reflects this.
    • Depression: The Doctor from "What's the point of being a Doctor if I can't cure you?" onwards and Clara almost hits this a few times. No one breaks down and cries, but the Doctor's eyes are bloodshot by the time she breaks away from him.
    • Acceptance: But only for Clara. Tragically, because he's immediately sent off to the lonely, deadly world of the confession dial in the next episode, the Doctor ends up cycling through Anger and Depression for a long, long time to come. It ultimately drives him to Denial that there is no way he can safely save her, so in "Hell Bent" he tries Bargaining again... with the universe.
  • Flaw Exploitation: The twin flaws of the Doctor's inability to resist a mystery, coupled with his loyalty to his friends (or, in Rigsy's case, the friend of a friend), are at the core the plan to entrap him. The fact Clara's own major flaw (her drive to emulate the Doctor) causes complications is an unintended application of the trope.
  • The Fog of Ages: Ashildr's dilemma of an immortal body and a limited memory continues, but she still uses her journals to keep up.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Played straight. The moment Clara realizes her death has been locked in, a plaintive bell is heard ringing on the soundtrack.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Doctor and Clara watch an elderly husband and wife share a last, tearful goodbye before the former faces the raven for stealing medical supplies. The wife tries to convince him to confer the death sentence on her, but can't, and since it has to be given willingly by the bearer she can't take it herself. At the end of the episode, the Doctor and Clara are in a similar last goodbye situation. (This is probably why the Doctor doesn't volunteer to take the sentence upon himself: he knows Clara would never allow him to die in her place. Although, since he reminds her that he can take more risks because he can regenerate, that still doesn't add up.)
    • Clara's rather forceful objection to having her memory wiped.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Ashildr only remembers Clara through her writings.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Lurkworms not only hide the street, but also make its inhabitants appear "within the compass of your expectations, your experiences."
  • Freak Out: The Doctor undergoes this when he realizes Clara is going to die, threatening Ashildr with the destruction of her and everything she loves if she can't undo the death sentence. But she can't. Clara orders him not to let her death turn him into a vengeance-seeking monster as they make their last goodbye, reminding him that he should be a doctor, not a warrior. But once she's gone, he warns Ashildr that Clara said this more to protect her than help him, as he is already a lost soul, and that she best keep out of his way if their paths ever cross again. With that, he is teleported away, and it's clear that everybody in the universe better be careful of the Doctor for the next two episodes.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Just before Clara persuades Rigsy to give her the chronolock, a poster with "Delorean" written on it in Aurebesh can be seen in the background.
  • Friend to All Children: The Doctor coos over Rigsy's infant daughter, and Clara argues during his Freak Out that even if he did try to destroy Ashildr, the trap street, and everyone in it, he would stay his hand as soon as a child started to cry.
  • From Bad to Worse: Clara and the Doctor are just trying to help clear Rigsy's name and thus save his life. Things go so badly wrong that by the end of the episode Clara is dead and the Doctor is being teleported into the hands of unknown but powerful enemies.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Although not wholesomely intended in the first place, Ashildr/Me didn't think that her plan to trap the Doctor would get Clara killed.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: As Clara and the Doctor split up to question residents of the trap street, she declares that they'll be using this trope. To his frustration, she assigns the Doctor the role of bad cop again in part due to the Angry Eyebrows.
  • Healing Factor: When the Doctor says that he is "less breakable" than Clara, he means that he can give his life for someone and then heal himself with regeneration. She can't do that.
  • Heartbroken Badass: As Clara's final story sees her broken, so too does it break the Doctor's hearts. She reminds him to keep to the mark, be a doctor, take care of others... but who will take care of him? All she can tell him to do is "Heal yourself." She doesn't tell him how, and in "Hell Bent" she'll learn that his way of doing so is not what she had in mind.
  • Heroic BSoD: Although he breaks out of it momentarily to deliver the Freakout described above, the Doctor is in a state of Heroic BSOD during Clara's farewell, at one point even uttering "This can't be happening." He breaks out of it just before the transporter kicks in... long enough to utter words to Mayor Me that chill her to the bone.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Clara takes Rigsy's death sentence on herself — she thought they would find a way out of it, but in the end it's both this and a Senseless Sacrifice. Worse, it's effectively incomplete: While she demands that the Doctor not take revenge, that "no one else, here or anywhere, will suffer" when she dies, he points out that he will suffer for her loss. All she can do is tell him to heal himself and be brave. As it turns out, once he's Driven to Madness in the next episode the only way he thinks he can heal himself — by saving her from this death after the fact — will risk the safety of the entire universe...
    • The distraught husband who stole medical supplies to save his wife, knowing the penalty, is a straight example. His wife offers to become one in his stead, but he refuses.
    • The Doctor realizes saving Anahson's mother won't end well for him, having realized he's been lured into a trap, but does it anyway.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Lampshaded with the Trap Street.
    The Doctor: Forget the way you usually look at the world. This street's going to be hiding in plain sight. If you see something unusual or notable, dismiss it. Just keep walking. But if there's a bit of London so unremarkable that you don't even think about it stop. You could very well be standing right outside a trap street.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The Capaldi era doesn't go in for releasing gag reels, but this miscue from the filming of the raven attack scene was considered funny enough between Jenna Coleman's reaction and Peter Capaldi's bird impersonation for the BBC to officially release it online right after the broadcast. No gag reel was ever released for Series 9, rendering this (and a couple of behind the scenes moments captured for other episodes) as one of the only outtakes of this nature circulated.
  • History Repeats:
    • As in "The Woman Who Lived", Ashildr makes a deal with another party without being fully aware of their intentions — although for much less selfish reasons this time around. She has no idea what this other party, whom she does not identify, wants with the Doctor and his confession dial. It's possible she doesn't remember how badly things went with Leandro, or she does but doesn't care what happens to the Doctor at this point, as when the deal is made and the plan to frame Rigsy hatched, he looks to be the only one who might suffer. She might even be assuming that whatever happens to the Doctor, he'll find a way out of it before he suffers. Clara's choice, however, not only leaves her dead but completely ruins any hopes that the Doctor will forgive Ashildr's actions, given he initially threatens to have her and everyone else brutally killed as vengeance. Ultimately, it's never made clear whether he forgives her or not when all is said and done.
    • The Doctor told O'Donnell, who greatly admired him, to stay behind in the TARDIS when they travelled back to The '80s in "Before the Flood", but she was hot to go with him and Bennett and the Doctor didn't force the issue. For her recklessness, she ended up dead, and the Doctor (being a Pragmatic Hero) made the best of it, as it were, by having this confirm his theory on the message his ghost in the future was sending. Clara's death here is also attributable to recklessness inspired by the Doctor's example, and the Doctor not doing enough to discourage it though he was aware of it — and it doesn't even serve a greater purpose this time, since Ashildr's plan could have wrapped up with no one dying at all had Clara not interfered.
  • Hope Spot: Clara says to the Doctor, "We can fix this." Only for the Doctor to say "No." She tries for another after the Doctor's meltdown by asking Me if she's certain there's nothing that can be done. For the Doctor, for Clara, and for the audience when the Doctor threatens to "rain hell" upon Ashildr if she doesn't remove the chronolock... only for all three to realize nothing can be done.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: As Clara lovingly touches the Doctor's face as they make their final goodbye to each other, he takes her hand and tenderly kisses it.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: The Doctor clearly feels this way about Clara's fate. After all, "What's the point of being a Doctor if I can't cure you?" In the next two episodes, his anguish will spiral out of control and mutate into insanity: He believes that while he is choosing to become The Unfettered rather than the Doctor by trying to undo her death, he is maintaining his "duty of care" to her. In truth, he is only becoming the monster she ordered him not to become — she wanted him to move past his pain and stay the Doctor. But she didn't know what horrors he was doomed to experience when she told him that...
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: The Doctor is clearly about to say something to this effect, but Clara asks him not to say anything because she already knows what he's going to say, and she already is a victim of bad timing. Translation: if the Doctor were to say "I love you" to Clara it would make it even more difficult for her to face the raven. Clara, for her part, does not say it because of the promise she made to the (just-invoked) Danny Pink in "Death in Heaven".
  • Implacable Man: During his Freak Out, the Doctor threatens to become this towards Ashildr. And when he says "I will rain hell on you until the end of time," this is one character capable of carrying out the threat literally — to the one character who would have no choice but to endure it literally until the end of time.
  • In Harm's Way: Not once, but twice in the first act of the episode Clara clearly gets off on the adrenaline rush of this trope, worrying both the Doctor and Rigsy after the second occasion... and leading to Clara's fatal mistake when she puts herself in harm's way a third time later.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: As part of Clara's Final Speech, she warns the Doctor (about to be delivered into the hands of his enemies) that he will be alone in his coming ordeal. Knowing he tends to handle being alone poorly, she orders him to honour her memory by not becoming a warrior again. Moments later, she nearly invokes the trope by name by saying "in the end, everyone does this (dies) alone".
  • Irrevocable Order: With a twist. Mayor Me has the authority to revoke the chronolock, but only if it's not transferred. Since Clara took the chronolock from Rigsy, she was powerless to prevent the Raven from killing Clara.
  • It's All My Fault: The Doctor blames himself for not stopping Clara from becoming so much like him that she dared to risk her life to save Rigsy. (io9's review of this episode also points out that he was responsible for making Ashildr immortal, so...) Rigsy isn't free of guilt either, feeling awful that his calling the Doctor for help and agreeing to pass on the tattoo has led to this. Clara defies this trope for both of them and shoulders the blame herself, nearly uttering the trope name, for taking such risks in spite of common sense. (The next two episodes make it clear that the Doctor still blames himself as well as the schemers who trapped him for this disaster, and his desire to make amends will prove tragic.)
  • It's Personal: The Doctor may well hold a grudge against Ashildr for all time over her role in Clara's death; he never does outright forgive her by the end of this story arc. And heaven help whoever is ultimately responsible for the entire affair...
  • Karma Houdini: Ashildr, since Clara manages to persuade the Doctor — for now — from not taking revenge upon her for her plot and the tragedy it accidentally led to.
  • Killed Off for Real: Though at least the outside of her body is intact, Clara's lifeforce/soul is ripped from her body by the raven. Thus, there's nothing anyone — not even the Doctor — can do to revive her; even the events of the finale episode do not actually change this fact because Clara is still technically dead (no heartbeat). This is a Fixed Point in time and so she cannot be truly revived
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Humans leaving the Trap Street have their memories wiped. This is a problem for Rigsy, who is sentenced to death for a crime he doesn't remember committing. (All There in the Manual — The script reveals that Rigsy is not mindwiped again at the end in order to ensure Clara's remains are properly dealt with, hence his being able to paint the memorial on the TARDIS.)
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: the portrait of Clara seen on the TARDIS at the end of the episode (and more clearly seen in "Hell Bent") is based upon a publicity headshot of Jenna Coleman taken for a 2013 Guardian article about the actress (and which she often uses to promote convention appearances).
  • Liquid Assets: Clara transfers the chronolock onto herself.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: A whole extra-dimensional London street.
  • Love Hurts: The Doctor's heartbreak and guilt over Clara's impending demise is so intense that it tempts him to seek Revenge on those responsible for it.
  • Love Makes You Evil: When the Doctor freaks out at Ashildr over Clara's impending demise, not only does he threaten to destroy her and everyone she loves (implying everyone on the trap street), he says he'll do so using the military (clearly indicated over the previous two series as not being his favourite people) and the ruthless Daleks and Cybermen who are his mortal enemies. To put a bow on it, he even momentarily denounces his own name, "The Doctor", which in the mythos of the series is a huge thing (the last time he did so, he became the War Doctor and did things that made him try to bury the memory of that incarnation forever). Clara literally spends nearly all of the rest of her (natural, anyway) life talking him down... and once she's gone and he's teleported away there's literally no one to encourage him not to become a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Marked Change: Ashildr has swirling black lines on her torso and neck now; she can hide them with her blouse and a scarf. It's an Animated Tattoo, connected to the quantum shade; when she sends it into the raven to carry out a death sentence, the lines vanish, and when it returns to her, they reappear.
  • The Masquerade: The residents of the trap street are aliens from various worlds disguised as humans. Ashildr is the key exception, but she is an immortal hybrid of human and Mire.
  • Meaningful Echo: Clara's plan to take on the death sentence herself is, at its core concept, identical to what the Doctor did with the Foretold in "Mummy on the Orient Express".
  • Missing Steps Plan: We never find out exactly what the Doctor was planning to do with the "annoying stuff" he sent Clara to fetch from the TARDIS. Presumably, it was meant to disable the misdirection circuit with sensory overload, as demonstrated when Ashildr pinches the Doctor to break the effect momentarily. (All There in the Manual: The published shooting script includes dialogue that explains more clearly what the Doctor had in mind for the stuff.)
  • Mood Whiplash: An uber-example of this trope, pivoting from a lighthearted adventure to tragedy with virtually no warning.
  • Morality Chain Beyond the Grave: Given her final speech, Clara clearly hopes to be this to the Doctor — she knows he doesn't handle being alone well and has committed atrocious acts in his lives when in the throes of despair. She specifically calls back to her climactic speech to the Eleventh Doctor in "The Day of the Doctor", urging the Twelfth to be a doctor, not a warrior. The Doctor's final speech to Ashildr, before he is teleported away, suggests that though he wants to honour Clara's memory by not giving in to anguish and rage, living up to his chosen name will be very, very difficult for him in the immediate future.
  • Motifs: Beings returning from death / not being dead even though they appear to be continues as a theme in Series 9, with Anah being revealed to be not actually dead (just in a death-like stasis). Rigsy's transfer of sentence might technically qualify too.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Ashildr when she realizes her gambit will result in Clara's death, and that she's pissed off the Doctor.
    • Clara, not because of the fact she made a mistake that costs her her life, but she when realizes her impending death could cause the Doctor to "rain hell" upon not only Ashildr but a large number of innocents.
  • The Needs of the Many: This episode shows the darker side of this trope.
    • Ashildr/Me decides having the Doctor captured to have who-knows-what done to him by people she doesn't even know is worth it if it means the trap street is protected.
    • Clara tells the Doctor that she will accept her fate and die — "and no one else will suffer." This is to talk him down from seeking Revenge. When he asks "What about me?" — after all, he's not only losing the woman he loves but being sent to an unknown fate — she says that she would do something about that if she could, but she can't and he'll just have to be strong. Thus she sees his suffering as a sadly necessary price to be paid for everyone else's well-being. (If she doesn't regret this later...she should.)
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: To tragic levels.
    • If the Doctor had let Ashildr die in "The Girl Who Died", none of the events leading up to this episode would have happened. To be fair to him, it was a Sadistic Choice: save her or fail to live up to his chosen name and leave a family bereft, resulting in a different kind of guilt. He chose Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!, and it went awry.
    • If Ashildr had stayed on her "protecting the Doctor's companions" plan instead of working with whoever wanted to teleport the Doctor, thus not pulling a Heel–Face Revolving Door (as the Doctor wanted), she wouldn't have caused Clara's recklessness which led to her death. It's no surprise the Doctor is filled with such Tranquil Fury that he threatens her after Clara's death.
    • A rare case of this applying to a villain's plan: If Clara hadn't made the unexpected choice of taking on the death sentence herself, no one but the Doctor would have been hurt. Clara's death is the direct result of her having a momentary lapse in judgement.
  • The Nicknamer: As he did in "Flatline", the Doctor calls Rigsy "Local Knowledge". When the Doctor addresses him (Rigsy) by his real name he has a quite justified freakout and pleads with the Doctor to not call him that because he knows it is Serious Business.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • The Doctor might have avoided all or some of this if he'd just let an innocent young Viking girl die in the 6th century instead of saving her in a way that made her immortal. Which, in turn, might have happened if he'd let Caecilius and his family die, rather than saving him and remembering his face.
    • Clara dies simply because she wants to help a young father return home safely to his child. On a larger scale, because she aspires to be more like the Doctor.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • We never learn what Clara did that now means they can never return to "the second most beautiful garden in the universe". Related to this, we never learn how or why the Doctor got engaged to a plant, either, or what Clara was jumping over the side of that had impressed the Doctor so much.
    • Clara's encounter with Jane Austen, hinted at in the first episode of the season, becomes more mysterious.
    • The Doctor has been keeping track of Ashildr, though he apparently lost track of her in the 1800s.
    • A deleted scene included with the DVD/Blu-ray release indicates that the Doctor and Clara had a run-in with Derren Brown - who may or may not be an alien — that resulted in the performer being declared persona non grata by the Doctor.
  • The Nose Knows: Rump can tell from smelling the Doctor that he isn't human, and apparently recognized Rigsy from his smell.
  • Not So Stoic: The Doctor's façade drops away completely when he is forced to say goodbye to Clara.
  • Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: The episode begins with the Doctor and Clara breathlessly talking about their latest adventure, including Clara executing an (unseen) feat of derring do that saved the Doctor's life.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ashildr has this expression a few times after she finds out Clara interfered with her plan, but none more so when the Doctor informs her he had best never see her again. Ever. For the first time since she gained her immortality, Ashildr is clearly utterly terrified.
    • Clara and the Doctor, when they realize that the chronolock can't be exchanged a second time.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • The Doctor's willing to renounce his name and call in UNIT, the Cybermen, the Daleks — anything to destroy Ashildr, the trap street, and its residents if she can't save Clara. Clara has to talk him down because she knows that the threat actually isn't completely OOC for the man once known as the War Doctor.
    • When the Doctor uncharacteristically calls him by his real name, rather than his nickname "Local Knowledge", Rigsy realizes something is terribly wrong.
  • Outcast Refuge: Trap Street in London, where Ashildr has created a place for alien refugees to come. There is a strict non-aggression pact. Simple theft, even for a noble cause, will warrant a death sentence from Ashildr. It's shown that even a Cyberman in the group is observing the non-aggression pact.
  • Overcrank: Clara walking to her death, her scream after being hit and her fall to the ground are all presented in slow-motion. The actual raven attack, however, is shown more or less at normal speed.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The Doctor's stated intention if Ashildr can't save Clara. Clara spends the rest of her (natural) life talking him down from this.
  • Peaceful in Death: Whatever the quantum shade did to Clara to kill her, she looked at peace afterward.
  • Perception Filter:
    • The misdirection circuit stops people from noticing the trap street by leaving them momentarily confused whenever they glance upon it. Even if they manage to find their way in, the circuit has the secondary effect of disguising all the residents as human.
    • Averted with regards to the trope-naming TARDIS as Rigsy paints a memorial mural to Clara on its side, clearly intending for it to be visible. (All There in the Manual: in the shooting script, published online, Rigsy was accompanied by his girlfriend in this scene, who had no problem seeing the TARDIS.)
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Several heartbreaking variations are uttered by the Doctor during Clara's farewell, the most direct being: "Don't run. Stay with me."
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • This review points out that if the Doctor told Clara about how Ashildr's personality had changed since "The Girl Who Died", Clara wouldn't have trusted her so much.
    • Clara disregards Rump's warning that a chronolock death can't be cheated, believing the Doctor can easily fix it. He can't.
    • Related to the above, Clara's fatal decision not to inform the Doctor of what she learned is the epitome of this trope.
  • Powerful and Helpless: The Doctor has no means of removing the chronolock from Clara, nor can he destroy the quantum shade. He threatens a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Ashildr and the trap street if she can't undo it, declaring he'll call on all his allies and even his worst enemies to do so, but Ashildr is just as helpless — and Clara doesn't want her mistake turning him into a villain who would slaughter innocent refugees in her name. In the end, he has no choice but to watch her die and be handed over to the party Ashildr made the bargain with.
  • Puny Humans: Inverted; one of the Trap Street residents considers it a remarkable feat of resiliency that humans can lose entire limbs and potentially survive.
  • Real Time: This is easier to determine when watching the original non-commercial version of the episode, but from the moment Clara tells Anahson there is only 12 minutes left on the countdown until Clara is struck by the raven and dies... is indeed 12 minutes. Similarly, when Clara reveals her neck to Ashildr and it shows eight minutes left, Clara dies eight minutes of screen time later.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Doctor threatens Ashildr and the trap street and its residents with exposure and destruction if she can't save Clara. Clara doesn't think he could actually go through with it, as he is a Friend to All Children — but he's not so sure.
  • Save the Villain: The Doctor bitterly tells Ashildr that Clara's Final Speech to him was really so she could do this by talking him out of hurting Ashildr.
  • The Scream: A serious application of the trope. Clara begins to scream after the raven enters her body, and we cut away to different characters reacting to the terrible sound. Fortunately, it is muted to near-indecipherability by the music soundtrack.
  • Security Cling: Clara hugging the Doctor is an inversion of this as Clara is trying to comfort a clearly terrified and heartbroken Doctor, who is taking her impending demise harder than she is.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Clara sacrificing herself for Rigsy. It turns out that Ashildr had always intended to let Rigsy go once she got what she wanted from the Doctor.
  • Sequel Episode: To both "Flatline" and "The Girl Who Died"/"The Woman Who Lived", with Rigsy from the former story and Ashildr from the latter.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man:
    • After dressing casual for the entire season to this point, the Doctor suddenly decides now is the time to start wearing a sharp new purple velvet number.
    • Although she'd hardly dressed sloppily earlier, Clara's "final" outfit is actually somewhat more formal-looking than usual.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Of a Freeze-Frame Bonus variety — one of the alien posters in the Trap Street is written in Aurebesh.
    • The item underneath has its identity given away by what the Aurebesh text reads. It's a flux capacitor because the banner reads "Delorean".
    • The trap street has a strong physical resemblance to Diagon Alley (and both are hidden "magical" worlds within London). In an interview with Blogtor Who, writer Sarah Dollard explained that her script described the street's appearance quite differently, but designer Michael Pickwoad had other ideas...
    • The episode has a moody setting and involves a supernatural corvid and the notion that one should come to terms with a beloved person's death by other means than seeking and enacting revenge on the people responsible. Hm...
    • Mr. Rump, both disguised as a human and in his true form, bears a strong resemblance to Wolverine.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: The TARDIS exterior becomes one for Clara in The Stinger, since the Doctor's not going to be using it for a while...
  • The Slow Path: Ashildr turns up again, having lived another 360 years since her last appearance. The years have again changed her personality, and she's been changing physically as well to facilitate her ability to work with the quantum shade.
  • Stalker Shrine: According to Clara, there's a secret room inside the TARDIS where the Doctor collects information and references to Ashildr. He thinks Clara doesn't know about it. It is borderline squicky when remembering that Ashildr is forever trapped looking like a teenager, so the dialogue quickly establishes that this is purely for surveillance purposes, given he created her immortal state.
  • The Stinger: In addition to the Next Time trailer for "Heaven Sent", this episode has an additional scene after the end credits roll: Rigsy painting a memorial to Clara on the front of the currently-abandoned TARDIS. This is the first time such a scene has been included in a Doctor Who episode — which backfired slightly as many viewers of the later "Hell Bent" evidently never saw the stinger, and were confused as to why the TARDIS was covered with flowers and Clara's image. BBC America airings move its placement to between the "Next Time" trailer for "Heaven Sent" and the end credits, due to their Credits Pushback format.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Ashildr all but utters the trope name when she realizes Clara has doomed herself; she was going to remove the chronolock when she had what she wanted and so Rigsy was never in lethal danger. Clara also realizes her error and takes ownership of it.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Doctor says that once the quantum shade is bound to a victim "You could flee across all of time and all of the universe, it would still find you."
  • Super Smoke: The Quantum Shade can turn into smoke, enabling it to leave its cage and pursue people. When it flies into them, it comes out of their mouth as smoke.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Anah the Janus disguised her daughter as a boy so the girl wouldn't be pursued by slavers for her prophetic abilities.
  • Tempting Fate: Lampshaded when Ashildr says that a Cyberman is perfectly safe, which the Doctor comments is usually followed by violence and screaming.
  • That Man Is Dead: The Doctor momentarily renounces his name when he confronts Ashildr and threatens her and all the innocents in the camp, before Clara talks him back down.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: How the Doctor regards Ashildr's actions once they result — accidentally or not — in Clara's death; only Clara herself can stop him from dishing out punishment. As noted above, he never does openly forgive her by the end of "Hell Bent".
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: Three "intruders" — marked for death Rigsy, secondary lead Clara Oswald, and the Doctor — and one must die. It turns out to be Clara.
  • Too Clever by Half:
    • Both Ashildr and Clara come up with their own clever (if extremely risky) plan to get what they want, and are confident that they're intelligent enough to predict exactly how it'll work out. Their arrogance gets Clara killed and Ashildr spending the rest of her immortal life in terror of the Doctor's vengeance.
    • In a harmless example, the Doctor's bright idea of comparing historical maps to current ones is shot down when Clara remarks that mapmakers add nonexistent streets to city maps all the time as a copyright-protection gimmick.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Examined at face value, given everything she already knows about the chronolock and the Quantum Shade, it could be argued that Clara's decision to take the chronolock was a stupid decision on her part. Ashildr certainly thinks so, and with the power of hindsight, Clara wonders if she was subconsciously trying to get herself killed.
  • Too Happy to Live: The Doctor and Clara spent the last two-plus seasons growing closer and closer to the point of being, per the actors themselves, in an old-fashioned romance, who found joy in travelling the universe, righting wrongs, and caring about each other; as this episode begins they've come back from their latest wacky adventure smiling and laughing. The entire remainder of Series 9 tears their happiness apart, but also plays with the trope in that, as previous episodes pointed out, they could never be happy forever anyway — and unless they accept this sad reality, accept their codependence on each other as unhealthy, and move on to other people and adventures they'll never be the best people they can be.
  • The Tragic Rose: Rigsy's painted memorial to Clara features many pink and yellow roses "climbing" up the TARDIS's front.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The official BBC trailer and the Next Time trailer at the end of "Sleep No More" revealed that this is Clara's farewell episode and even included her final words as she walks towards the raven. The trailer also spoiled Ashildr's return. Fans cite this (and similar spoilery promotion for the season finale) as examples of the BBC ruining too many surprises.
  • Tranquil Fury: After Clara's death, right before he's teleported, the Doctor tells Ashildr that, despite him trying his best to not seek revenge upon her, she should avoid him at all costs. "You'll find it's a very small universe when I'm angry with you." All without raising his voice. And it's utterly terrifying to watch. (Exaggerated when one recalls "The Woman Who Lived" in which the Doctor points out that, despite being functionally immortal, it is possible for Ashildr to be killed.)
  • Trap Is the Only Option: As soon as he sees the keyhole on the stasis chamber, the Doctor realizes that his TARDIS key is meant to go there. This doesn't stop him from obliging, of course, both to save Rigsy and Anahson's mother. (They better be grateful, given all that happens to him afterward.)
  • Trauma Conga Line: This episode begins one for the Twelfth Doctor: He's lured into a trap and betrayed by Ashildr, Clara's attempt to save the day gets her Killed Off for Real, and unable to do anything to escape he's delivered into the hands of an unknown enemy, leaving his TARDIS abandoned on Earth. And it's only going to get worse from here.
  • Two-Faced: One alien race, the Janus, has faces on each side of their heads (front and back) in their true forms — reflecting a larger theme of spiritually two-faced characters in this story. The head on the back can see into the future. The front head sees into the past. However, this only applies to females of the species.
  • The Unreveal: Who is the Big Bad Ashildr made the deal with who wants the Doctor and his confession dial?
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The viewers get to hear every detail of Clara's plan to take Rigsy's death sentence onto herself and save both of them, which basically ensures that something will go wrong. Clara even gives "Never tell anyone your actual plan" as her reasoning for not telling the Doctor what she's up to. She's basically telling the audience that her plan is going to fail.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Ashildr's part of the plot is pretty minor. Basically all she had to do was come up with a way to lure the Doctor to the trap street, get his confession dial, and that would be it, with no one getting hurt (at least on trap street). She didn't intend for Clara to die.
  • Wainscot Society: The "trap street" is part of one — inhabited by alien refugees disguised as humans, actual humans can't easily access it, which may be for the best. It has very rigidly enforced rules for keeping the peace, and breaking them for any reason results in a death sentence.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: A mentor example: Clara hopes the Doctor is "a little" proud of her sacrifice, which is similar to some he's made.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ashildr gets this throughout the episode from Clara and the Doctor for her callous attitude towards Rigsy's plight, for allowing species like the Cybermen to live in her refuge, and especially for being indirectly responsible for Clara's death.
  • Wham Episode: Clara is Killed Off for Real and the Doctor is teleported away by someone who knows about his confession dial to an unknown location.
  • Wham Line:
    • The exact particulars of the situation Clara unknowingly put herself in start to emerge when Ashildr states "I never meant for anyone to get hurt!"
    • One word: "No." It's uttered by the Doctor when Clara says that they always fix things that go wrong. Even though the Doctor goes on to threaten Ashildr in hopes of undoing it, that one word seals Clara's fate, and Clara knows it.
    • "What about me?" This one line sums up the Doctor's dependence on Clara that's been growing since his regeneration.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Sam Swift, from the last time Ashildr appeared. While the Doctor did say he didn't know if he was immortal or if the second Mire medical kit was used up, it's still odd that there's not so much as a single mention of him.
    • The Doctor saves Anah despite knowing he's walking into a trap, because Anahson "needs her mother". The two of them proceed to witness the horrible confrontation and revelations that follow involving him, Me, and Clara...and do absolutely nothing for the remainder of the episode. At least Rigsy cared about what became of the people who saved him and them.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Clara demands the Doctor not to become this after she dies, but the Cliffhanger suggests his grief and loneliness are too strong for him to resist the urge, and the next two episodes confirm it.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child:
    • Clara completely deflates the Doctor's Badass Boast threat by telling him she knows he'd stop at the sight of the first crying child.
    • Definitely does not apply to Ashildr who, while she doesn't physically hurt Anahson, she still makes the kid think her mother has been murdered.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Rigsy reacts in fear when the Doctor calls him "Rigsy" rather than using a nickname. In the published script for the episode, a deleted scene after Clara's death has the Doctor asking Rigsy permission to call him that before requesting that he notify Clara's family and school of her death.
  • You Are Not Alone: Inverted in Clara's Final Speech to the Doctor, because where he's going he will have no one to help him. "You're going to be alone now, and you're very bad at that."
  • "You!" Exclamation: When Ashildr arrives to take charge of matters in the trap street, this is the Doctor's response; he had the same reaction when she took off her Knightmare disguise in "The Woman Who Lived".
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Rigsy's and later Clara's minutes are literally numbered and counting down on their bodies.