Today bought us Episode 10 of Series 9 of Doctor Who, Face the Raven. I was not prepared for this episode in anyway. I was late watching it because I was at a Senior Section event and made the mistake of checking facebook while there which gave me the worst spoiler possible.
Finding out that Clara was to die before watching the episode was a horrible position to be in, it meant I watched the episode waiting for it to happen. However, once the episode started I found myself in a denial so great that I honestly convinced myself that she was going to survive. After all my friend Izzie had pointed out to me that she is a waitress in the finale episodes.
Ashilda/Me returned in this episode and it was interesting to see her not remember Clara by face but know that she is in her diary. There’s something realistic about that. The Doctor always talks about remembering every face, but Me is only human and the human mind can only hold so much information. Clara and the Doctor saw her recently, but for Me hundreds of years had past and thousands of things had happened since.
I have to be honest and say that Ashilda/Me wasn’t a character I was really drawn to. Most people I have spoken to love her and her first two episodes a lot, but I have to admit that they have been my least favourite of this series. So for me, the return of her wasn’t a great excitement. I find her character cold and somewhat contradictory. I don’t think she’s a bad character and if I were to do a character analyse I believe she would be a strong one, but she’s just not one that has peaked my interest.
The return of Rigsy was interesting of course. His episode was my favourite from series 8 and this was a perfect connection to that episode. It was also a perfect ending for Clara Oswald.
Clara’s lead personality point is how much she cares. She was always a person who wanted to do her best to help people, no matter the consequences to herself. This I believe to be a big part of why she was attracted to Danny Pink. Danny was a very similar character in that he had fought as a soldier because he believed that to be helpful and he was forever plagued with the fact that he killed a child, to the point where he allowed himself to remain dead so he could save that child.
The reason I believe this episode to be the perfect connection and the perfect ending is because in Flatline, the episode ends with this dialogue:
Clara: Was I a good Doctor?
Doctor: You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara, goodness had nothing to do this it.
This snippet always stuck with me because it struck me as important for two reasons. It showed us how the Doctor feels about himself. Series eight constantly had him questioning whether he was good or not and for him the idea of someone he loves becoming like him is the worst thing that could happen. The second being that it was the first time we are consciously made aware that Clara is acting like the Doctor with easy and that the Doctor is aware of it.
The Doctor always talks about a duty of care when it comes to Clara and it fascinates me that I never found this patronising. It never felt to me that the Doctor was saying she could not cope, but rather he was saying that he knew his track record and he didn’t want that happening again. Not to Clara… my Clara. He had a duty of care to keep her as the Clara Oswald that he took from earth in the first place, a duty of care to stop her from becoming the monster he knew himself to be.
This episode directly links up with Flatline with the return of Rigsy but more because of the actions of Clara. Clara didn’t need to wave a Sonic Screwdriver or claim “I am the Doctor” as she has done in previous episodes, she was a walking, talking, human version of the Doctor by this point in the story. She was reckless (leaning out of the TARDIS to the point where she almost fell out and finding it hilarious) and she placed everyone else’s life above her own. She was able to talk the talk without hesitation.
I do think that Clara honestly believed she wouldn’t die when she took the tattoo, because of her faith in the Doctor. Her faith in the Doctor was unshaken to the end. However I think a stronger part of her didn’t care because it was better for her – an unattached person – to die than a new father. That is both the humanity and the Doctor in there.
The Doctor: I let you get reckless.
Clara: Why? Why shouldn’t I be so reckless? You’re reckless all the bloody time! Why can’t I be like you?
The Doctor: Clara, there’s nothing special about me. I’m nothing but I’m less breakable than you.
The conversation between the two of them, shows that Clara is aware that she has become like the Doctor, but on top of that she wants to me. In many ways for Clara is has become a conscious decision to become more like him. For her he is the fearless hero who cares so much and saves everyone and that is what she wants to be. To him, he is a cowardly monster who destroys everything in his wake and wants nothing but to protect her from that.
Clara dies like the Doctor dies. Like the Doctor has died many times before, for someone she cared about. She died saving Rigsy, saving that gorgeous little girl from growing up without him. Five died to save Peri, Nine to say Rose and of course there are other examples. This ending was the one Clara deserved because she lived her life like the Doctor, it would have been wrong had she not died like the Doctor.
In dying, she became the hero she longed to be. Perhaps not for the universe or even the world, but for Risby, for Jen, for Lucy and remember not all victories are about saving the universe.
Goodbye Clara Oswald,
Rest in Peace, Impossible Girl.