Clarity on Clara
Everything about Clara is repeated. Not just phrases and names, but repeated numbers, repeated words, colours (red) and flowers (roses) and items (like the umbrella). Look for them. They’re there. Or try Pinterest. Some suggest Clara is the daughter of the Doctor and Rose from Pete’s World. Others say she could be the Doctor’s cloned daughter. Or she’s a meme. Maybe he is meeting the embodied Tardis at a different point in the life of the Tardis (which explains why Clara and the Tardis don’t get along – nobody much likes themselves do they?) or an embodiment of Time, or an eternal and forgetful incarnate spirit of mischief, or a relative/descendent of his granddaughter (which he did mention). Sometimes he does seem, I don’t know, grandfatherly towards her, which is a magnificent achievement in acting for Matt Smith, who’s all of 30. Pretty soon I guess we will know (or think we will know).
Echoes in Time
The entire series has felt a little like events happening are like events of the past. The texture of the episodes feels a bit 1970s, (even when they are not actually in the ’70s). And there’s the familiarity. For example, there has been an Exploding Tardis (like at the end of the first series featuring the Ponds), there’s been a near-accident in an aircraft (like with the Pond’s honeymoon, or the Spaceship Titanic), the Great Intelligence in the wifi is akin to the Wire in the TV signal. Clara sees the birth and the death of Earth (not quite like Rose did) but still. The sub was a little like the Sanctuary Base, where the Doctor and Rose were stuck, without an escape, against a wily foe, and needing a lift. I’m not saying the story-well is running dry, it’s more like, someone is reading a book of the Doctor and making new stories from the bones of the old ones.
So, from all of the above, and in my continuing quest to link writing to Dr Who, it almost feels like something is pulling the strings of the Doctor; Clara makes this plain, she complains about the ‘story’ when she punches him over the Zombies. And of all the companions she shows us the library and the History of the Time War book, which she can read, which means the Tardis is translating Gallifreyan. So it wants to be read?
And what of the logic flaws in some of the episodes? Could these be entirely deliberate (collapsing sun not destroying the rings of Akhaten; the rocket not burning everyone in the tower in Yorkshire etc). Are all of these clues? Surely not burning is related to how Clara both did and didn’t burn in the heart of the Tardis? And to the colour red? The other clue is the book by Amelia Williams. All her stories were framed using her narration and the absence of Amy remains, as a different kind of frame. Clara doesn’t get to introduce each episode. Neither did any other companion. Only Amy and although she may not appear in any particular episode, she might be the one influencing it. The Ghost of Amy, could symbolise, I don’t know, the Author in the Machine. If you want. Maybe?
The other thing is these are the stuff we are noticing. So how much is being embedded in each episode that we will look back on later and go aha?
Listen to the beat, two, three, four, eleven…
Whoever was responsible for the playing of The Cult’s Fire Woman (Moff was that your choice?) in the Tardis episode is worth solid gold. Awesome episode clue, or big seasonal arc clue? Like like Hungry Like the Wolf in the sub episode? Maybe.
Infinite Probability Drivers
Also loved entering the Tardis. This is the kind of thing I dreamed of as a kid. A forever infinite ship. An adventure in itself, full of
old props items from his pasts, yet strangely missing one crucial one, in the mystery of the missing hat/umbrella stand as in the episode called Hide. I duly noted, and loved, the shout out to Silence in the Library with the Fiction Mist too. Some see it as a flaw, how Clara happened on the one book and the one page in all the library with the Doctor’s name, but who says it was an accident? As above about writing, does the Moff have accidents as a writer? Really, we know the Tardis can be capricious, can rearrange rooms, so I bet it can rearrange the catalogue and location of books. And if not the Tardis then something else. Nothing happens to Clara without a purpose, although I’m not the biggest fan of a reset, but isn’t Clara one big continuing reset? And at least the Doctor and the audience got a little further in understanding what’s going on. Anyway, as the Doctor asks, have some trust. That’s the central issue, for the Doctor regarding Clara, and for the people who follow his story, trust. Don’t feed the writer. Trust the writer, he loves this world too.
Cookie Cutter Hero = Boring
Some on the interwebz are remarking how the Doctor seems a bit nasty, especially in the episodes with the dinosaurs and in Journey to the Centre of the Tardis. That’s because he is a bit nasty. He’s not some Hollywood cardboard cut out two a penny plastic Hero, he’s a 1000 years old and done terrible things and survived terrible things and lost almost everything and everyone. Wouldn’t we all bit a bit nasty after all that? So expect damage! Expect, sometimes, he may want to square an impossible ledger. But further than this, he is not human. As a character, he sees through time. From a linear progressive time line some of his decisions seem cruel or unhelpful, but his perspective is closer to omniscient, so as the story goes along for us (or Clara) only he sees how things end up, or could end up, and how they can be unwound (or not as the case maybe – ie the Ponds). He doesn’t mourn the brothers when they die because he’s already apologised to them for making them ‘toast’, and probably knows he can change everything anyway. Plus, they’re in the middle of an emergency. No point expressing feelings if you’re gonna die doing it, instead of making an escape and/or saving the day. It’s about priorities.
Fingers on lips!
Secrets! Wanting something and not having it is a wonderful driver in a story. Not wanting something and fearing it’s arrival is also a fine motivator for fans of Dr Who. I mean a quick hands up on who wants to know the Doctor’s name? Anyone? Nup. Me neither. I’m fine with that mystery because a lil mystery is part of the allure. Not seeing every room on the Tardis allows us to dream of the possibilities, while seeing some of them is woohoo! Now we know (if the Doctor isn’t lying) that the Tardis is infinite. So we can keep imagining. Yay! So the fear is, that in finding out the Doctor’s name and realising it’s Fred reduces it to some mundane boring thing, and I get enough of the mundane in my real life, without it infecting fiction.