We are halfway through a new season of Dr Who and a new companion has recently been introduced and I have some Opinions about the dear Clara. Going into this season of Dr Who I was…skeptical to say the least. I did not like what Moffat did with Rory and Amy and honestly by the end of their run I couldn’t tell what was going on half the time and didn’t care enough to pay attention and figure it out. It all just felt like a big mush of “how much can Moffat show off how brilliant his plot twists are. Over and over and over”. I also have agreed with the many many criticisms of how poorly Moffat has handled gender and race and…well pretty much every demographic that’s not white cismale on his run as head writer.
So I was uncertain going in to a new companion, but also hopeful because it would be a clean slate, and every episode wouldn’t be another mindfuck of “oh no who’s related to who and what time period are we in and how are their histories looping back on each other oh no!” I was definitely looking forward to just some one-shot episodes, which is what Moffat does best. So what do I think of Clara so far?
Well in many ways I am unimpressed. The first two episodes with her I thought were intensely promising. I really like the idea of a human as a Dalek, I really liked that she was the brilliant one controlling everything in that episode (although I didn’t like that she was stuck and waiting for him). In the Christmas episode, I again thought that she was interesting and forceful and refused to listen to the Doctor when she felt she needed to get things done. Unfortunately since we’ve met Clara of the modern world, things have kind of tanked.
The first time we meet Clara of the modern world she’s too incompetent to get on the internet. Really? REALLY? I mean she goes on to become brilliant enough to figure out where the company is when the Doctor couldn’t, but still. Not a good introduction. Since then, I’ve spent almost every episode wondering why she’s even there. In the most recent episode she appeared to do nothing except for stand around and be slightly empathetic (and fly the TARDIS into the pocket dimension, which is good and should not be forgotten). However in the past, companions have actually contributed to the Doctor’s understanding of situations, they’ve pushed the Doctor to let them do more, they’ve explored, they’ve met people, they’ve figured things out on their own. Clara only appears to be capable of that when the Doctor is out of commission. And honestly in Cold War she was so unmemorable that I almost forgot that episode existed.
The one episode in which she appears to show some true autonomy is The Rings of Akhatan, in which she goes off on her own and meets Merry. She comforts Merry and tells her stories, and is the one who starts the theme of the whole episode of strength through words. I want to see more moments like this, because I think Clara has potential. She has a sharp tongue, she’s not afraid to show up the Doctor or say no to him (one of the few companions to tell him she didn’t want to travel with him at first), she appears incredibly smart, and I just WANT to like her. So if the writers could get around to giving her something to do, if they could just let her wander off more (which is the classic companion action through all of Dr Who), I think she could live up to the potential that she had in the first few episodes.
I’m just not even going to touch the romantic bits between Clara and the Dr. Honestly I’m slightly disturbed that the Doctor seems far more interested in her than she is in him even though it’s KIND OF EXCITING but the Dr is like a bit 5 year old…5 year olds don’t have crushes.
In addition, there is obviously supposed to be something special or different about her. I am extremely worried about what this might turn out to be, but I’m hoping that it’s something brilliant which gives her more power and allows her more autonomy. In the episodes where her “strangeness” was played up, she was able to do more. I’m not totally sure how I feel about this idea that she can only be equal to the Dr when there is something magical about her, but I’d rather have that version of her than the useless pretty girl who stands around and does nothing. For the moment I think it’s hard to tell how she’s going to turn out. We’ve only seen her in a few episodes, but so far Moffat has done very little to impress me. At the same time, Clara still has potential. Guess we’ll just have to keep watching, right?