Sunday, April 7, 2013

Doctor Who: Who The F Is Clara Oswald?

In last night's episode, "The Rings of Akhaten" we got some real juicy tidbits about the current life of Clara.  I say current because we already know that she has lived (and died) twice, at least.  But looking past the question of who she is, I think this episode was pivotal in just allowing the audience to fall even more in love with the character.  I found the first the first incarnation of Clara we met, Oswin the Dalek, a but cloying and slightly obnoxious though she was clever.  The second version, the late 1800s Clara, was sweet, kind and even ballsy, but I felt like she lacked the fire that other companions have, something felt incomplete.  But this Clara is a perfect mix of the two, she super smart, super kind and full of bravery and adventure.  Not to mention the fact the Jenna Louise-Coleman is drop dead gorgeous, but we all know the Doctor enjoys his hotties.

"The Rings of Akhaten" starts with the Doctor spying on Clara's parents.  You see, Clara's life starts with a leaf.  The most important leaf in the universe.  The leaf that fell in the right moment, by the right gust of wind, into the right face.  You see, this very special leaf smacks Clara's father in the face, blinding him from an oncoming car.  Thankfully, Clara's mom was there to push him out of the way and of course they fall in love. The Doctor then travels through points in Clara's life as she grows up with her parents, all the way through Clara's mother's untimely death.

This whole sequence obliterates every theory I've had about Clara.  My top theories were that she was the Doctor's daughter from the episode... well "The Doctor's Daughter".  Of course there is a huge hole in that theory because when the doctor's daughter regenerates in that episode she looks exactly the same.  My other theory was something like in the episode "Night Terrors" in which an emphatic alien becomes the child his adoptive parents always wanted using a perception filter.  Now, this theory isn't totally thrown out the window, but it doesn't seem likely.

Now, the doctor takes Clara to the Rings of Akhaten, the first time Clara has actually taken a trip through time and space in the TARDIS.  She's only actually traveled in it in her own time, on her own planet.  Anyway, on the planet there is a market place that reminded me SO much of of the Troll Market from Hellboy 2.  Now, as Clara looks around in wonder, the Doctor tells her that he has been here before with his Granddaughter.  HIS GRANDDAUGHTER!  To my knowledge this is the first time since the Doctor Who reboot that the Doctor refers to Susan.  The Doctor has talked about having children, but Susan is the first companion we ever see the Doctor with in the very very first episode those fateful 50 years ago.  I nearly did a back flip with joy.  But I can't do back flips, so a squeaky noise with rapid clapping was the best I could do.

Anyway, invariably, the Doctor and Clara get separated and Clara runs into a little girl in need.  Clara is unbelievably amazing with children, and when the girl, who turns out to be Merry, The Queen of Years, needs to hide, Clara takes her to the TARDIS.  Only, there is a problem, the TARDIS doesn't like Clara and won't let her in.
OOOOOOHHhhh.  Now, we all know that the TARDIS doesn't like paradoxes.  That's why when there were two Amy's in "The Girl Who Waited" only one could be saved, or why the Doctor left Jack behind when Rose saved him and he became undying.  If the TARDIS doesn't like Clara she must be one big fat timey wimey anomaly.

Anyway, it turns out that Merry is just scared because she has to sing a song to a God and she is nervous that she will get it wrong.  Clara encourages her by telling her a story about how she was terrified of getting lost as a child, but her mother would tell her  "Wherever you are I will find you."  Well, Clara seems to exist throughout time.  Does her mother know that?  Juicy, juicy, timey, wimey, goodness.

SO Clara convinces her to sing, Yada, yada, yada, everything goes wrong, the God wakes up and now wants to feed on peoples soul's, aka, their memories.  Now things kind of run like regular Doctor Who episode, but for me this episode is all about the clues to Clara.  Basically, the God they thought was a mummy wakes up, but it turns out the God.. is actually the sun, ready to feast on thousands of memories.  Well who has thousands of memories, THE DOCTOR of course!  He tries to sacrifice all of his years of memory in a beautiful bit of acting (I love you Matt Smith):
This scene of sacrifice only solidified for me that Matt is ready to leave.  I don't think the 11th Doctor can take much more.  Anyway, his memories aren't enough, so Clara sacrifices something huge.  The most important leaf in the universe.  The leaf that represents all of the days her mother never lived.  All of the potential energy of thousands of un-lived days is enough to tame the God and save the worlds surrounding it.

Weirdly, at the end of the episode, the Doctor takes Clara back home.  You swear she is going to stay in the TARDIS, but she goes.  She obviously knows the Doctor will be back and she will go on adventures, but she is the first not to just stay on the TARDIS indefinitely.  Before she leaves, however, she asks the Doctor why her, and he admits that she reminds him of somebody who died.  Clara tells the Doctor that whoever she was, Clara is her own person and doesn't want to be compared to the dead.  Of course, we know the Doctor is talking about exactly the same person.

I CANNOT WAIT TO FIND OUT WHO/WHAT CLARA IS!!!  Anyway, check out who comes back in next weeks episode:
Seems like this whole season is going to be a Doctor Who: This is your life!