A Clara Retrospective

Whovian Leap reflects on the trials and tribulations of departing companion Clara Oswald. (Possible spoilers)

It is very difficult to keep a secret in the Whoniverse. Doctor Who sites and forums never cease to spoil us senseless with their juicy tidbits about upcoming episodes. Yet back in 2012 Ms. Oswald managed to confound us all in her very first episode “Asylum of the Daleks”.

The CGI Tardis doors fling open onto a new episode and there she is! Resplendent in red, Clara Oswald has landed onto an unsuspecting fandom. Isn’t she supposed to arrive at Christmas? Incredibly there have been no spoilers and dumbfounded we feast our eyes on the new companion and delight in her irresistible charm.

Right from the outset Clara puts Amy and Rory in the shade, as she banters chirpily with the Doctor about soufflés. We almost don’t care any more about the marital woes of the departing Ponds. Such is the excitement at the promise of further adventures with this instantly likeable new companion. But then we discover she is a Dalek.

Yet inexplicably a few episodes later Clara comes back in “The Snowmen” and this time round she’s in Victorian guise. Just as loveable and fun as before, but now working a nanny. Fans are ecstatic to have her back. But then whoops she goes and falls off a cloud.

When she appears a third time, we are all starting to scratch our heads, the Doctor included. Who is this ‘Impossible Girl’?  Despite the mystery which surrounds her, I feel that Clara loses some of her verve as Series 7B progresses and seems to be scripted as just another generic companion. That is, of course, until the events of the “The Name of the Doctor” when we find out that Clara is actually so much more. It isn’t every day that a companion jumps into the Doctor’s timeline and meets all his past incarnations. 

At the beginning of “The Day of the Doctor” Clara is – without a word of explanation – now back out of the Doctor’s timeline and teaching at Coal Hill. She whizzes into the Tardis on her motorbike, hops off it and hugs the Doctor. Obviously enjoying her travels through time and space, she is back to the bouncy persona of her first three adventures. 

At the end of the episode, she even persuades the Eleventh to change his own personal past history and not press the button which would destroy his people. Effectively it is Clara who saves the Time Lords.

In “The Time of the Doctor” she surpasses herself by persuading the Time Lords to give the Doctor a new regeneration cycle. We should ask ourselves how many companions have impacted so significantly on the Doctor’s life. 

Series 8 provides Clara with love interest, Danny Pink. At first she is blissfully happy but clouds are looming on the horizon, as the ex-soldier starts to show mistrust towards the Doctor and forces Clara to lead a double life. 

She very nearly leaves the Tardis in “Kill the Moon” as a result of a major argument with the Doctor over his heartless behaviour. Clara’s life is shattered when Danny Pink dies and is cybernised in the series finale.

Initially Series 9 seems to provide a remedy to the previous year’s doom and gloom. Clara is enjoying herself again on board the Tardis with the Doctor. Perhaps a little too much, as the Doctor observes in “Face the Raven”. 

But is this her last episode? Has her story reached its final end? We have two more episodes of Series 9 to find out. But one thing is for sure. Clara Oswald, our ‘Impossible Girl’, has become one of the most important companions of all time and has gained a place in our hearts. She is up there at the giddying heights of both Sarah-Jane and Rose. Whatever her fate turns out to be, we will surely miss her.


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