Tuesday, 27 September 2016


And so, we continue with our retrospective on Clara Oswald. Now that the Mystery of the Impossible Girl has been solved and the Doctor has been granted a whole new regeneration cycle, Clara can start having a legitimate love life....



As if to atone for an ongoing story arc during the latter half of Series Seven that interfered with her character development, Series Eight gives Clara a tremendous amount of extra attention. In fact, it has been referred to as: Clara's Season. Not since those early days of New Who when it was more about Rose than it was the Doctor has the personal life of a companion been put under such a microscope. And, while there was a lot to enjoy about Rose's existence outside the TARDIS, Clara proves to have a far more interesting earthbound lifestyle to delve into.

Having Clara work as a teacher at Coal Hill School was a nice continuity reference during the Fiftieth Anniversary - but now it has to become a legitimate setting for a whole series of adventures that work as subplots throughout the season. The biggest of which, of course, is her blossoming romance with Danny Pink. But, before we can get to all that, Clara has to adjust to the new man that is beating his brow at her.

Not since Peri and Six have we seen a companion reject a new Doctor so vehemently. But, as she goes through her adjustments, several of those character traits that were more talked about than displayed are finally shown quite clearly. As Vastra confronts her in her veil - we see Clara's sense of intellectualism almost savagely revealed. When the Doctor and Clara meet in the restaurant - the "bossy control freak" she admits to being in the previous story also comes out. As was mentioned in Part One of this essay - we didn't see her authoritative nature so clearly because Doctor Eleven was so quick to roll over whenever she started ordering him around. But Twelve is a personality that won't be pushed in any direction he doesn't want to go. When Clara tries to get him to do what she wants she has to try much harder. So we see that bossy control freak all the more clearly. The clash of wills throws things into a sort of sharp relief. And Clara's desire to control everyone and be in charge of everything is as plain as the wideness of her face!

But perhaps the most important development in Clara's character occurs when the Doctor appears to abandon her and she has to confront the leader of the androids all on her own. During that scene, our Impossible Girl truly becomes a fully-fledged companion. She can stand on her own two feet in a crisis, now. She doesn't need the Doctor to solve things. From a writer's standpoint, she can now propel the plot forward totally on her own if she needs to. There have been moments in Series Seven where she comes pretty close to doing this. Nightmare In Silver, for instance, has her acting quite independently for large chunks of time. But she is only mildly effective. She still needs the Doctor to get anything serious done. During that pivotal moment in Deep Breath, we get the sincere impression that she really could have kept talking her way out of the predicament. She doesn't truly need the Doctor to show up. And, if fact, when he does - he doesn't truly save her. He's just trapped with her, now. This really is the first time that Clara flies solo and really rocks at it. From this point, onward, we will continue to see moments such as these. Where Clara really can take care of herself, now and get things done without the Doctor holding her hand.

Of course, the Doctor taking her hand at the end of that sequence shows something important about the dynamic between them. Yes, he has changed. But he is still the Doctor who will always have her back. This isn't quite enough for Clara, though. She is still ready to leave him at the end of the story. It is only when Eleven makes that fateful phone call to her from the past that she can truly manage to accept this new Doctor. But once the call is made - she is able to let this stranger into her heart. The friendship between the Doctor and Clara can continue, now.


With everything now settled between Clara and Twelve, our Coal Hill teacher can settle back into her double-life quite comfortably. But a new development quickly presents itself: she meets Danny Pink. Bossy control freak that she is, she is quite comfortable pushing the relationship along as Danny stumbles and trips over himself over and over during Into the Dalek.

But as things start to heat up between the two of them, we start seeing a new character trait developing in our heroine. Certain that Danny won't accept her travels with the Doctor, she begins to try to find ways to cover up the experiences with lies. At first, she's not very good at it. In Listen, she does a terrible job of trying to explain away how she knows Danny's real name. But we see her really starting to hit her stride in The Caretaker.  It's only during In the Forest of the Night, when Danny finds irrefutable evidence that she is still travelling with the Doctor that she must truly come clean. Otherwise, Clara is doing a magnificent job as a liar.

Her new-found skill doesn't just help her with her relationship with Danny.  At the beginning of Death In Heaven, she lies up a storm to keep herself alive when the Cybermen have captured her. Their cold, logical brains really aren't sure if they've got the Doctor or not. This moment also echoes the confrontation in Deep Breath. It's another sequence where we see a Clara Oswald who can stand for herself if she needs to. But, this time, she uses deceit. She bluffs rather than calling out someone else's as she did when she confronted the leader of the androids beneath the restaurant. When she brags to Bonnie in Zygon Inversion about her magnificent skills as a liar, we more than believe her. We've seen the evidence.


The love story of Danny and Clara dominates Series Eight. But there are, at least, two other pivotal things that occur in the season that we definitely need to take note of:

LISTEN - After the big reveal in Name of the Doctor that Clara has been travelling through the Doctor's timeline as a sort of phantom that influences his lives over and over, she takes things one step further. In Listen, she accidentally uses the TARDIS to travel into the Doctor's childhood and actually helps to shape one of the most crucial decisions he will ever make. She hides under the bed in the barn he sometimes escapes to when he's crying himself to sleep and hints at a time when he will return to this barn as an adult. She tells him of an important decision he must face that day and that he needs to remember who he is and that the choice should not be made based on fear. She's referring to, of course, that scene in Day of the Doctor where he feels he must use the Moment to destroy the Daleks and Time Lords in order to save the Universe. Her mot precis may have saved the Doctor from making his worst mistake, ever. If Clara's status as The Ultimate Companion wasn't large enough, already - then the conclusion of Listen definitely cements it.

KILL THE MOON/MUMMY ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS - By the end of Deep Breath, Clara has accepted the fact that the Doctor is a colder man, now. That, ultimately, he's a good man - it's just harder to see that in this new incarnation. But at the conclusion of Kill The Moon, it becomes too hard to see that and Clara is now certain that she wants out. Mummy On The Orient Express becomes a sort of break-up story between Clara and Twelve. They're taking one last trip together and then calling it off. Or, at least, that's what it's meant to be. In many ways, none of us are fooled. We know the Doctor will, somehow, win her back and their travels will continue. But it still shows some interesting nuances to Clara's character. This new Doctor is a harder man to love and she accepts that. But she has her limits. The Doctor finds those limitis during this "rocky moment" in their friendship. But she also teaches Clara some important things about him. That, sometimes, he has to make difficult decisions and she needs to respect him for that. So what should have been a parting of the ways actually makes their friendship more solid.

It also, however, increases her skills as a liar. At the end of Mummy On The Orient Express, Clara starts fibbing to the Doctor, too. It doesn't take the Doctor long to figure it out, though. By Midway through Flatline, he's calling her out on the carpet. The quick reversal of roles, however, strengthens their relationship still further. They see that they are accountable to each other. The Doctor must curb his rudeness and Clara must watch how manipulative she can be. We also see Clara growing stronger and more independent as she must play the role of the Doctor throughout the bulk of the story. The breakthrough she has in Deep Breath manifests itself all the more, here. Clara is proud of herself and has every right to be. She is now capable of saving people just as well as the Doctor does.

There's also a very subtle moment during the Doctor's confrontation with the Boneless that we should touch upon. Watch how often they cut to the look on Clara's face as the Time Lord beats back the two-dimensional invaders. After a few episodes of facing difficult decisions, her heart is racing as she watches the Doctor stare down evil and defeat it at its core. She is convinced, in this moment, that the Doctor that she loves is still there.


And so we reach In The Forest Of The Night and the relationship between Danny and Clara reaches a crucial point. Danny discovers that Clara has been lying to him about travelling with the Doctor. Patient boyfriend that he is, he forgives her and asks that they have an important sit-down where she can tell him the proper truth of things.

We see the control freak at her best as she calls Danny on his way to her flat and tries to go through the whole process over the phone with a room full of flash cards. She is so scared of losing Danny that she is trying every possible strategy she can to keep him. As she confesses just how truly deep her love is for him (she admits to her love for the first time in The Caretaker - but, here, she proclaims that there is no one she will ever love again) the most horrific twist of fate occurs. She loses Danny.

A good chunk of the season finale involves Clara trying to get Danny back. Her first attempt is another example of a situation that should've ruined her friendship with the Doctor but, instead, enhances it. Betrayed to the very core, the Doctor still doesn't care that his best friend would do such a thing to him. We wonder if there has ever been a companion he has been this fond of.

Sadly, Clara never gets what she wants. She comes so close, several times, to saving Danny. But the soldier's sense of right and wrong, in the end, forces him to stay dead. Once more, we see Clara have to process a deep sense of loss in the same way that she did during Rings of Akhaten. This time, she learns to let go of Danny during a dream sequence in Last Christmas. She will remember him for five minutes every day. But, otherwise, she will get on with her life.

We also get the second "false parting of the ways" for Series 8. In an attempt to protect the other's feelings, the Doctor and Clara lie to each other at the end of Death In Heaven. Both try to claim that they have a better life awaiting them, now, and that they don't need to travel together anymore. Fortunately, they discover the truth in the next story and are re-united. All thanks to help of Santa Claus.

Clara's season reaches its conclusion.


Some new arcs get introduced into Clara's story as we embark upon her latest and final season. The most important one being this deathwish that she seems to have developed. With Danny now gone, she has lost the will to live. Or, at the very least, she no longer fears death. She is reckless, now. As reckless as the Doctor. But, as the Doctor says himself, she's far more delicate. This reckless streak could become her undoing. And, inevitably, it does.

But we don't really start seeing this til the second story of the season. In Under The Lake, she is openly asking for danger and excitement as the TARDIS materializes in the underwater base. We continue to see this sort of spirit at work in Clara throughout the ensuing stories. Sometimes, it's only subtly hinted at. On other occasions (most specifically, Face The Raven) it becomes a serious problem.

But before all that can happen, we see something else of significance occur in Clara during The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar. Clara has gotten quite good at "playing the Doctor" during the last series. So much so, that UNIT actively seeks her as a consultant at the beginning of the story. As things progress, she does a great job standing up to Missy out on the terrace of the cafe. However, as Witch's Familiar ensues, Clara is seriously humbled by the Doctor's arch enemy/best friend.  Time and again, Missy manipulates her into all kinds of situations where the Time Lady exhibits total control over her. Our bossy control freak is brought to her knees as she must plead with the Doctor from inside a Dalek casing to save her. She learns the hard way that she might be good at playing the Doctor - but only the Doctor can truly be the Doctor.

Still, she does bounce back and starts showing more independence and strength as the season progresses. She, very much, takes charge of things at the underwater base in Before The Flood while the Doctor is busy messing around in the past. She shows that can she still get the Doctor to do what she wants in The Girl Who Died by convincing him to save the Vikings when he thinks he should just leave them to their fate.  And she has a most impressive battle of wills against Bonnie in The Zygon Inversion.

Missy may have taken Clara down a peg - but she is far from broken.


But then we arrive at Face The Raven and Clara's recklessness reaches its ultimate conclusion. It's re-enforced quite heavily early on in the episode when Clara almost slides out of the TARDIS while it's hovering over London. Rigsy and the Doctor have a moment where they remark upon it. Both are concerned about her. They have reason to be.

It's nice in her final episode that the writer still remembers some of Clara's other prominent traits. When the young Janus girl who has been disguised as a boy doesn't want them to enter her home, Clara uses her skills with children to get them in. She might be a bossy control freak - but she has her gentler side, too. And it comes out the most when she's around kids.

As Clara takes the chronolock from Rigsy, her fate is sealed. She is sure that it will just buy them extra time to investigate the murder on the trap street but we know otherwise. All this flirting with danger that the young schoolteacher has been doing is finally catching up with her.

Clara makes an interesting admission in her final moments. She sees how she's become this way ever since she lost Danny. That, maybe, this is what she's wanted all along.

After a brave but tearful farewell, Clara faces the raven.


As we embark upon the final two episodes, we are under the impression that the Doctor is seeking revenge on the people responsible for Clara's death. But somewhere during Heaven Sent, he works out who is torturers are and adjusts his plans accordingly.

Seeing into the Doctor's "mind palace" gives us some interesting insights into who he is. We also see the full depth of his attachment to Clara. He escapes from all his predicaments by imagining how he tells her how he got out of them while hanging about in the console room, afterwards. It could be entirely possible that he does this with whoever his current companion is. But the strength of Clara's character truly shines through when she yells at him to accept her death and move on.The Doctor's memory of who she is and what she represents is so strong that he knows she would want him to do this. That he may want to give up - but she still needs him to win.

When the Doctor, at last, finds Gallifrey - he does not seem to care. He knows he's in a society that has the technology to bring back Clara and that's all that matters. The political fireworks that he initiates in Hell Bent is just one elaborate plan to get him to an extraction chamber so that he can save his best friend. But we become even more amazed when we learn that his resistance to reveal the identity of the Hybrid for over four billion years was all part of a long game he'd been playing to recover her. Has there been a companion that the Doctor has made a bigger sacrifice for?


As if it was some sort of divine punishment for breaking all his own rules, the Doctor loses his memories of Clara and must move on without her, after all. They have what appears to be a final meeting in the TARDIS/diner that Clara and Ashildr now control. It's a very sad wistful sequence that lays the whole story of the longest-serving companion in the New Series gently to rest.

Ultimately, Clara must return to the fate that awaits her at the end of Face The Raven. But she's currently in a fully-functioning TARDIS with someone else who is also immortal.

That wiggle room that she discusses with Me could go on for quite some time....

Missed part one? Here be the link: 


Saturday, 17 September 2016


A short while ago, I started a Progressive Doctors series (which I will get back to, I swear - I just get so distracted, sometimes!) in which I analyzed certain incarnations of the Doctor that went through heavy character growth throughout their era. Even as I was writing it, I thought to myself: "I should do the same thing with the companions". The problem with this idea, though, is that only certain incarnations make it into the Progressive Doctors series. Whereas I would need to write up almost all the companions. Just about every one of them goes through some significant character growth while they travel with the Doctor. That's part of what makes us attach to the companion - we get to watch them develop. 

So Companion Retrospectives will be a bit more of a love-fest. I will examine certain companions that I feel really stand out from the show's long history and just take a closer look at the traits that endeared them to me so much. Basically, we'll review the qualities that I think made them shine so beautifully. 

We begin with the most recent of companions. 



It seems almost redundant to claim that Clara is a most unusual companion. Not only are all companions unique in their own way - but the Doctor has traveled with a plethora of highly distinctive characters throughout the years.  This is the same man who has befriended a savage descended from astronauts, an immortal intergalactic con-man and a rebel Alzarian math genius. In Doctor Who, unusual companions are a dime a dozen!

But Clara really does "take the cake" when it comes to odd companions. Her Impossible Girl story arch makes her different from any other companion before her. Other companions have known two incarnations of the Doctor because they have been around when a regeneration happens. Some have come back for anniversary specials and stories in the New Series that implied non-existent romances and have gotten to know multiple Doctors. But, because of events that took place in the very temporally-paradoxical Name of the Doctor, Clara got to know the Doctor throughout all of his lives. In some ways, she is the Ultimate Companion. Which more-than-justifies the lengths the Doctor goes to when he tries to save her in Hell Bent. No one knows him as well as Clara. And he would hate to lose that sort of connection in his life. And this is what makes the whole dynamic that these two develop in the later seasons as enjoyable to watch as it is. There is a very special, unique bond between the Doctor and this companion - and we love that.

But what about before we knew who The Impossible Girl truly was? When she was a woman the Doctor was just obsessively chasing down to find out the truth about her? It was certainly a fascinating story that we all wanted to get to the bottom of. And we were provided with an intensely-satisfactory resolution to the mystery that allowed us a glimpse into one of the most pivotal moments in the Doctor's life and some super-cool previous incarnation cameo appearances.

But the mystery of The Impossible Girl also worked at the expense of Clara's character, in general. Attention that the writers should have devoted to the character's development, more times than others, was spent on just building up intrigue about who she really was. In some ways, we must congratulate Jenna Louise Coleman for finding certain traits and latching on to them as hard she could. Had she not done that - when questions regarding The Impossible Girl were finally answered - she could've ended up being a pretty damned flat and boring individual. Instead, she became a fully-fledged three dimensional character that we grew more deeply in love with because her "gimmick" had now been kicked out of the way and we could get to know her properly.


A specific section will be devoted to the "schisms" of Clara later in the essay. This way, our starting point can be with the proper Clara Oswald. The Clara we meet at the beginning of The Bells of St. John - not the Clara or Oswyn that we meet in The Snowmen or Dalek Asylum. But we must still acknowledge that these stories did happen before since they influence the Doctor's motivations for choosing Clara as a companion.

Which means, of course, that Clara has the most unusual of introductions. Never before has the Doctor been actively searching for a specific person to become his latest companion. In some ways, he is being almost unfair to Clara. Other companions were offered all of Time and Space because he liked who they were and wanted to spend time with them. But Clara is invited aboard because he wants to study her and unravel her mystery. Perhaps, on some level, she senses this and this is why she always chooses to keep one foot in her normal life and one in the TARDIS. There are probably more obvious reasons for this choice, though. We'll come to that in a bit.

Again, because the Impossible Girl storyline gets in the way of things, Clara's character traits aren't quite as easy to pick up on. This, however, is not entirely bad writing. Too often, when a new companion is introduced, their various quirks are almost shoved down our throat. We know the Doctor will choose them to travel with him because their personalities seem so much larger than anyone else's in the story. At least, with Clara, her traits are more subtly presented.


Clara admits to her most prominent attribute in Time of the Doctor when she is stuck in the truth field on Trenzalore. A "bossy control freak" she calls herself - which, vaguely, brings to mind a moment when another favorite companion of mine refers to herself as a "mouth on legs". Unlike Tegan, however, Clara does not seem obvious in this character flaw. We see only hints of it in the Bells of St. John. She is a tad bossy with the kids she takes care of. And the fact that she does choose to keep "one foot in the world and one in the TARDIS" shows a desire to maintain control, too  (yes, Rory and Amy do something similar but only after they've been travelling with the Doctor for a while - Clara does right in her first story).

Perhaps the main reason why we don't see much of the bossy control freak is because the Eleventh Doctor is well-accustomed to being bossed around by the female companion. We're all, sort of, used to seeing Amy and River Song telling Eleven what to do. So when Clara comes along and slides quite comfortably into the same role, it doesn't seem to jar so much. It's only after the Doctor regenerates and has an equally-domineering personality that we really see the true Clara coming out.

A trait that we do see more clearly is Clara's skills with children. Her desire to take care of Artie and Angie after they lose their mother even though she was about to travel the world shows the tremendous care she has for kids. The fact that she's, actually, pretty good at handling them is also clearly on display in her first story. Things will get a bit rocky at the end of The Crimson Horror and we will become seriously skeptical about her duty of care for the kids in Nightmare In Silver but those were pretty exceptional circumstances. Overall, Clara feels a strong bond for children and works well with them. This will eventually lead to the career choice she makes by Day of the Doctor.

We are also given a glimpse of her third strongest character attribute in Bells of St. John. Clara encourages Artie to read because she is well-read, herself. In general, Clara Oswald favors intellectualism over a lot of other things. Her impassioned speech to Madame Vastra in Deep Breath about the only poster she ever kept on her wall best re-enforces this idea. But we see just a hint of this in her opening tale. No doubt, this will also influence her choice to become a teacher too.


Once established as the new companion, Clara tends to go the usual route that a New Series companion takes in her early travels. Very quickly, we see certain stock plot devices presenting themselves' that seem to happen with all new female companions. In Rings of Akhaten, she ends up saving the day after the Doctor's plans have failed. Amy does something similar in The Beast Below and Rose does the same thing in her very first story. There's also the whole "companion undertaking a dangerous mission on her own to impress the Doctor" moment in Cold War that we saw Martha do in Evolution of the Daleks (she figures out why the Doctor gives her his psychic paper and almost gets killed on the Empire State Building) and Amy attempts in Vampires of Venice (posing as a potential student for Signora Calvierri's academy). The Doctor even intentionally makes a trip to better investigate something strange about Clara in Hide. He did the same for Amy in Rebel Flesh/The Almost People. Like the Impossible Girl storyline, having Clara go through the stereotypical "becoming a fully-fledged companion" process gets in the way of being able to see her character shine through. She comes perilously close to becoming the first generic companion of New Who.

Fortunately, Clara is put through a very unusual process in Rings of Akhaten that allows us to see her in a slightly different light than a lot of other companions. In his quest to see who she really is, the Doctor travels into Clara's past and we get to witness some of her childhood. This is not unusual in and of itself. We catch a similar glimpse of Rose as a kid in the First Series with Father's Day. We learn quite a bit about young Amy, too. What's impressive about the childhood revelations in Rings of Akhaten is that Clara is forced very early on in her travels with the Doctor to let go of some very heavy pain in her past. The death of her mother continues to deeply haunt her until she is forced to give away her wedding ring to save the life of a girl. This is the beginning of her journey to be at peace with her loss. This journey reaches its ultimate fruition as she feeds the leaf she's kept pressed in her book to Grandfather and destroys him with it. Here, at last, she's able to come to terms with losing her mother. Never has a companion been put through such a heavy transformation so early on in her travels (well, Nyssa, went through some pretty heavy stuff in her first few stories). This definitely gets us to attach to Clara in a stronger way and helps to offset some of the damage being done to her character.

Rings of Akhaten also helps to cement the idea that Clara is good with kids. She does a great job of comforting Merry Galel throughout her entire ordeal. We also see the beginning of the whole "TARDIS hating Clara" arc that will continue to develop in stories like Hide and Journey to the Center of the TARDIS.


From Cold War to Crimson Horror, we really don't get to see much of Clara's character being brought to the forefront. She's more about story arcs than she is about personality development. Her ability to die and resurrect is the subject of significant discussion in stories like Journey to the Center of the TARDIS and, most particularly, The Crimson Horror. Journey and Hide also continue to re-enforce the idea that the TARDIS doesn't like her. But, the bossy control freak who's very smart and good with kids doesn't really get seen much in this run of stories. It's all about continuing to hint at the Impossible Girl Mystery.

We do get one nice bit of foreshadowing when Clara finds the book on The History of the Time Wars. She seems to learn some significant secrets about the Doctor's past. Even learns his name. But then that all gets tucked away in the back of her head to be accessed again, later. She'll go through a similar process in the future.

Oddly enough, the less popular stories of the second half of Series 7 seem to be the ones that do the best of showing off Clara as a person rather than just an enigma that needs to be solved. Clara's bossiness is clearly on display all over the place in Nightmare In Silver. In some ways, it can't be helped that she becomes more domineering. Artie and Angie have her over a barrel and she's doing her best to try to maintain some kind of degree of authority over them. So she really tries to rule them with an iron fist the whole time that they're on Hedgewick's World.

We also see her assuming the false title the Doctor gives her with all-too-much comfort. She starts bossing around the penance brigade without so much as batting an eyelash. Another sign that being in charge is something she might actually relish.

But the biggest indicator of just how much Clara can throw her weight around happens when the Doctor must reveal to her that Artie and Angie have fallen under the influence of the Cybermen. Any companion would have shown the fury that she blasts the Time Lord with when confronted with this. But she also orders the Doctor to fix things in a way we've seldom seen any companion do. She really is the boss and he is the bowing and scraping servant. Again, she seems far too at ease with being in a commanding position. She is definitely someone used to getting her way.


And then, finally, we reach Name of the Doctor and the mystery of Clara is unveiled. As I've already mentioned, I find it to be a very satisfactory resolution to the whole arc. What's more enjoyable, however, is that the whole thing is now out of the way and we can really start to see Clara for who she really is.  

In much the same way as Rings of Akhaten gets Clara to win our heart, the revelation of who The Impossible Girl is also moves us deeply. Clara makes a huge sacrifice to ensure the Doctor has the life he's meant to have. Thanks to the things we've already seen her do in Rings of Akhaten, we don't find this act to be something that is beyond her. Which is, perhaps, another of Clara's most prominent traits - she is willing to give of herself in ways that most people wouldn't.

Day of the Doctor quickly shows a change in dynamic between Eleven and Clara. Her memories of the Doctor's past seem to work in a similar way to Rory's 2 000 years of waiting for Amy. It's something that is shut off most of the time. But, ultimately, she still knows the Doctor better than anyone. Which is why she affects him so deeply during that climactic scene where he's about to unleash the Moment. When she tells him to "be the Doctor" - no one knows better than her what that entails. We see, now, why the whole Impossible Girl storyline had to be created. The Doctor needed someone like Clara to be present during the most important decision of his lives. A lesser companion might not have had that same level of impact.

Even minor throwaway dialogue like: "I can tell by that sad look in your eyes" continues to insinuate the deepness of the bond that exists between them. Clara really does know the Doctor inside and out. This will change their relationship forever.

Which is why her reluctance to accept his new incarnation at the end of Time of the Doctor doesn't almost make sense. She should know that each new face is still the same man. But she also knows that the man she's been travelling with will change radically. Each incarnation takes its personality in its own direction. And Clara would know this better than anyone. She has seen that each new face has its own special set of character nuances. So she understands that she is losing the man she has become so attached to. So her dislike of the new Doctor isn't totally ludicrous. It has an internal logic, of sorts.

And as we move on to Part Two of this essay, we'll examine how she adapts to this new man....


The central crux of the whole Impossible Girl story arc was that the Doctor was meeting various "Clara-like" beings who were dying and returning again later in his timestream without remembering what had gone on in their last life. Trying to figure out how this was happening was what eventually led the Doctor (quite literally) to Clara Oswald's doorstep. I have a silly fan theory about these different schisms of Clara Oswald.

In my essay, I discuss the four most prominent character traits of Clara Oswald:

1. Bossy control freak
2. Good with kids
3. Intellectual
4. Sacrificing

I would suggest that schisms of Clara work similarly to the incarnations of the Doctor. Different traits become more strongly emphasized in different bodies.

OSWYN OSWALD (Asylum of the Daleks):

She is obviously Clara's sense of intellectualism turned up to its highest notch. She is not just smart - she is more than happy to show off just how smart she is. Of course, some of this is due to Dalek enhancements. But the Daleks don't, generally, perform an alteration like this unless they see that the human is unusually intelligent. Had she not been so clever, they would've just allowed the nano-technology to do the same thing to her as it did to the rest of the crew of the ship she was on.


The most obvious trait that has been "punched up" in this schism is her ability with children. She is a beloved nanny who shows the utmost care for the kids she looks after. We also see a certain level of bossiness out of her in the way she talks to her employer out-of-turn, sometimes. Or the way she persistently pursues the Doctor at the beginning of the story because he doesn't want to talk to her anymore but she doesn't feel the conversation is over, yet.

Of course, both schisms show that final trait of self-sacrifice quite clearly. Both die as they attempt to perform a greater good. Also interesting to note that the Clara schisms lead double-lives just like the true Clara Oswald does. True Clara Oswald travels with the Doctor but still takes care of Artie and Angie  (and, in later seasons, will work as a teacher at Coal Hill School), Snowmen Clara Oswald is a nanny and a barmaid. Oswyn Oswald, of course, was living a double-life without knowing it. But she was still a marooned entertainment director for The Alaska and a Dalek at the same time!

So, in many ways, those scant character traits that aren't that well-explored during her adventures with Doctor Eleven are, at least, shown off more prominently in her schisms. In many ways, it's a bit of foreshadowing that gets us to know the Clara we're going to meet in The Bells of St. John a little bit better....

Stay Tuned for Part Two where we explore Clara's journeys with Doctor Twelve.... 

What are these Progressive Doctor Essays of which I speak in the intro? Check out these links: