Upon Clara's surprise entrance, she was already a 'perfect companion' in my eyes.
It's been a while since I wrote my last article, so I thought it time I owe the Whoniverse another one. This time, I am going to talk about the Doctor's latest companion: Clara, who has often being the topic of debate throughout Series 7.
Now, when we were first introduced to her, she went by the name 'Oswin'. This was the first time the Doctor was mentally aware that he'd met her, but we all know she'd been a part of his life along time before the events of the Dalek Asylum. In this episode, she was brainy, sassy, flirty, bold and a born leader. She helped the Doctor, Amy and Rory escape from the insane Daleks, and even erased the Doctor from their entire databank! She made the Daleks forget their greatest enemy! How's that for impressive skills? If she had managed to escape with the Doctor at this point, she maybe would have maintained these skills, but the unfortunate truth was that she herself was a Dalek. However, her postive characteristics continued, as she saved The Doctor one more time, sacrificing herself in the process.
We meet Oswin again in Victorian London 1892, but this time she's called 'Clara', and lives a double-life. She spends one half of it as a bar attendent, and the other half as a nanny to a couple of rich children. This Clara is similiar to 'Oswin', but seems to be more outgoing, fiery, friendly and strong-headed. She is eager to solve the mystery of the Doctor, and isn't afraid to settle some scores with the Ice Governess. Her uniqueness extends to the unforgettable line: 'It's smaller on the outside', when she examines the TARDIS, but even more so when we realise after dying once again, she also comes back to life once again!
Intriguied by this 'Impossible Girl', The Doctor finds her again in present day London, but she has no recollection of who he is. This Clara, as we know, is the original Clara before she became splintered across time. This Clara, as a result, possesses less of the characteristics as Dalek Clara and Victorian Clara did, and is more 'normal'. From this point, we start to see more of a vulnerable side to The Doctor's companion, and even though she is quick-witted, caring and smart, she lacks that boldness and fieriness that is often needed to stand out as a Doctor Who character. In 'The Bells of St John', she obtains knowledge about computers, but only through the workings of the Spoonheads, and even then that is her only use in the episode.
My third impression of her in 'The Rings of Akhaten' fortunately changes. She is thoroughly interested in Akhaten and it's peoples, and is not shy to go on her own adventures and even bring faith back to Merry, The Queen of Years. What's nice about this episode is that she hasn't even gone on her mission to save the Doctor yet, and she's already begun saving him! She does this by sacrificing the leaf which allowed her parents to meet, and in doing so she devours the Old God. Clara's compassion is shown here, and her growing bond with the Doctor begins.
This was not to last however, as over the next 4 episodes, Clara hardly adds anything to the plot lines. Sure, there is the massive 'Who is the Impossible Girl?' arc running throughout the series, but it is barely touched upon until the last episode. In 'Cold War' all Clara does is confront Skaldak, but she does this through the words of the Doctor; and in 'Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS', even though she does make some well thought through decisions and conclusions, all she does is run around the TARDIS waiting to be saved. In 'The Crimson Horror', she follows The Doctor around to investigate Sweetville, but does nothing at all to enhance the story, except maybe smash the controls with a chair. An exception to this rule is perhaps 'Hide', when the impact of how The Doctor just casually views the life cycle of Earth really hits her. She offers some genuine emotion, informing The Doctor that to him, she is a ghost, that everyone is a ghost. We, as an audience, connect with her feelings at this point, and she allows the fast-paced story to pause and stop for a breather in the middle of all this action.
I am happy to say that after a whole lot of 'What's the point?' surrounding her throughout the middle of her first series, she begins to come into her own in the last two episodes. In 'Nightmare in Silver', she becomes the trusted leader of the army against the Cybermen, and is the first companion in the new series to actually say that she does what the Doctor tells her to. Now, this could be seen as a bad thing, but is it really? We've seen how previous companions have got themselves lost or killed or in danger when they've done things their way in order to prove themselves; but Clara shows tactfulness, wisdom and reliabilty in doing what she did, and it is the best attitude to have in order to keep people safe. On the other hand, she does come up with some good plans of her own to stop the cybermen, and she also shows a fiesty side when using an energy-gun against the enemy. At the end of the episode, we see her caring and kind nature as she politely rejects the Emperor's hand in marriage.
The last episode: 'The Name of the Doctor' brings to a conclusion the mystery surrounding Clara, The Impossible Girl, in a very unpredictable and shocking, yet beautiful way. We see how the Doctor and Clara's friendship has blossomed, and how much they care for one another. When The Doctor is tormenting himself over his fate in Trenzalore, she stays by his side, comforting him. When they arrive on Trenzalore, it is a shame that it is actually River who gives Clara the idea of River's grave being an entrance to the tomb, for I feel that would have been an impressive conclusion for Clara alone to have come to. Nevertheless, it is fitting that River returns; possibly for the last time. As the episode progresses, we realise that The Great Inteligence needs to know the Doctor's name in order to open his tomb, so that he can step into the Doctor's timeline and erase his past. When this happens, the people and planets The Doctor has saved begin to vanish, and Clara realises that it is up to her to save the timelord, and the universe. Her last act of loyality and bravery was the moment she jumped into The Doctor's timeline, in order to save the Doctor whenever the Great Intelligence threatened to destroy him. She succeeds in doing this, but is utterly scarred by the experience, and it is really touching that after all that time she's been saving the Doctor, The Doctor saves her.
By the end of the series, The Doctor and Clara's relationship becomes stronger than ever. We don't know the full extent of what Clara will be like after her ordeal, but I reckon that it will be something similar to her echoes in 'Asylum of the Daleks' and 'The Snowmen', in which she was the perfect companion, in my opinion. I only hope that it was intentional for her to be poorly developed and lackluster in the filler episodes, so as to emphasise how much she changes after the events of the Doctor's timeline. On a negative note, I must add that other than her undeveloped character, she has an undeveloped background. What do we actually know about her life really? What was her education like? Where does she live? What about her father? Does she have other family members? Boyfriends of girlfriends? We just do not know anything about her life. Hopefully, from The 50th anniversary onwards, we will find out everything we need to know about The Impossible Girl, and we will warm to her fully, seeing her as a legendary Doctor Who companion at last.
Yet, even with her downsides, when we look at the whole picture she may just be a normal girl, but she is also a very kind-hearted, fiercely loyal and courageous person. In fact, I think she is potentially the most loyal and brave companion that there has ever been on the show.
Thankyou for reading yet another of my really long articles. I hope you enjoyed reading it, because i loved writing it! Of course, this article possesses only one view of The Doctor's companion Clara, so whether you agree with me, or you take a completely different opinion, please feel free to comment and share your thoughts! I'd love to see them and would appreciate it most profoundly.
->DW_girl :D xxx
Clara was a self-sacrificing companion.
Unfortunately, the middle episodes of the series did not add much to Clara's character.
Fiercely loyal, Clara finally comes into her own in 'The Name of The Doctor'.