“You’re the same as all the rest, ‘sweet little Clara, works at the Rose and Crown, ideas above her station.’ Well, for your information, I’m not sweet on the inside and I’m certainly not little!” is a monologue given to us by Clara Oswin (Jenna Coleman) in 2012’s “The Snowmen” written by Steven Moffat. Despite the fact that Clara Oswin wasn’t the real Clara – just an echo of “Clara Prime” – this monologue gave us a great deal of insight on how she would be when she first appeared in 2013’s “The Bells of St. John”.
Greater meta writers in the Doctor Who fanbase have waxed absolute poetry on Clara’s characterization, diving into the complexity of the character – which is why I faltered as I started to write this article. Clara Oswald has been an influential character to many Doctor Who fans. I relate to her quite a lot and she has so many great episodes and moments. Nailing them down to just five seemed an impossible task (heh) but I finally brought together some of my favorite moments (in no particular order).
1. Born to Save the Doctor
Who else found themselves absolutely incoherent as we were given an inexplicable cold opening of our Clara running about in pivotal or previously unseen adventures of The Doctor – giving us scenes of Doctors from the Classic series onwards?
By the end of the episode, “Name of the Doctor”, we have our answer about how Clara kept appearing in his life. In an attempt to stop The Doctor for good, the Great Intelligence popped into his timestream. They were appearing at every moment of his life like some sort of computer virus, destroying The Doctor basically from the inside out. To save him, Clara sacrificed herself by jumping in after the Great Intelligence, splintering her very soul across time and space, leaving “echoes” of “Clara Prime” throughout The Doctor’s lifetime. She’s always there, constantly saving him from harm.
The scene is beautifully shot, acted and scored. This leaves behind no doubt that Clara was always, in fact, an ordinary woman who did something incredibly brave to save her best friend.
2. Tricking the Sheriff of Nottingham
“Robot of Sherwood” is one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, period. It’s hilarious, it has beautiful costumes, and Clara shines in this episode. After being (purposefully) captured by the Sheriff of Nottingham, The Doctor and Robin Hood spend most of their time arguing over…just about anything. This included who had the better plan, who will turn the tables on the Sheriff when he inevitably interrogates them, to even who would die quicker. Clara, having enough of it, screamed at them to shut up. Because she took charge of the situation, the Sheriff’s guard decides she’s obviously the ringleader and takes her to meet with the Sheriff.
The following scene is absolutely excellent. With Clara playing into the Sheriff’s perceptions of her and lying that she already shares his own experiences with the Robots, she tricks him into exposition! The scene is absolutely entertaining because you can tell Clara is in her element here – tricking the bad guy, doing what The Doctor would in this scenario and being in utter control of the room around her. All without the Sheriff realizing until the last second!
Not to mention, the lighting in that scene is beautiful.
3. Saving the Doctor
If you’re like me, you may have spent majority of “Time of the Doctor” watching with blurry vision and between tissue boxes. To this day, I still can’t watch this episode without turning into a sobbing wreck.
Amidst the angst oh so prominent in this episode, we get a lot of great moments for Clara. This includes a family dinner that gives us a good insight into Clara’s present family life. It also has several beautifully heart wrenching scenes between her and The Doctor as the latter faces his own impending death. He’s on his last regeneration, which means once he dies, that’s it.
As The Doctor goes to face the Daleks for the last time to save the town called Christmas, Clara goes for a last resort. Through the crack between time and space, she pleads for the Time Lords to save him. We see and share Clara’s pain and desperation as she begs for them to save her best friend’s life (one she has feelings for). Then we share in her euphoria as the Time Lords grant The Doctor an entire new regeneration cycle.
4. Fear Makes Companions of Us All
“Listen“ is a very stressful episode for Clara. Her date goes horribly wrong. Her best friend (who obviously hasn’t slept in days and probably drank five pots of coffee) dragged her into his latest conspiracy theory. On top of that, she may or may not be face to face with a descendant of her and her date!
Talk about a rough night.
In the final moments of the episode, we discovered that The Doctor’s conspiracy stems from a moment in his childhood when a monster grabbed his foot from under his bed. This moment left such an impact on him that once he realized everyone has had that dream, he deemed it a conspiracy and must investigate it.
Only…it turns out Clara was the monster under his bed.
By accident, Clara ended up navigating the TARDIS to The Doctor’s childhood home on Gallifrey. In a series of unfortunate events, she accidentally grabbed his ankle while hiding under his bed. See? Stressful night.
Once Clara realized her mistake, she quickly soothed him and convinced him it was all just a dream. She gave him a beautiful speech about fear, about how it can make one kind instead of cruel. It’s a speech I think about a lot.
5. The Long Way Round
The concept of a companion stepping into the role of The Doctor isn’t a foreign one. However, Steven Moffat took it one step further by giving Clara her own TARDIS in her swan song episode. Making her not quite immortal, but pulled from her time stream seconds before her death.
It was a feat not without sacrifice. Realizing how much damage the pair of them could and would do to protect each other, The Doctor makes a decision to erase Clara’s memories of him. However, Clara is a step ahead of him and reverses the polarity on the device. When they both accept one will have to lose their memory and press the button together, it’s The Doctor that forgets Clara. This leaves our favorite souffle girl a ghost to the universe, caught between one heartbeat and the next.
The decision to give Clara her own TARDIS, allowing her to face her death on her own terms, is one I support one hundred percent. It’s a shame we may never get to see her adventures on her journey back to Gallifrey, the long way round.
What’s your favorite Clara moment? Let us know!