Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
March 30 is almost here, Whovians! The Doctor is back, a mystery is afoot, and there’s a new companion along for the ride. Let’s look at what might be in store:
The new companion
Clara Oswin Oswald, the Doctor’s newest companion, is twice dead and still kicking. So far, we know she’s whip-smart and looking for adventure. Played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, she makes a mean soufflé, does funny accents and is great with kids. In the Christmas special “The Snowmen,” Clara pushes the Doctor to have an adventure with her, not the other way around. Already, that’s a departure from the typical passive companions who follow the Doctor because they have nothing better to do.
We first meet “Oswin Oswald” in “Asylum of the Daleks,” where she’s a chipper and brilliant junior entertainment manager from the starliner Alaska, the supposed last survivor of a terrible crash. She busies herself by making soufflés and helping the Doctor escape. But the nagging question how she bakes on a shipwreck in the middle of the dreaded prison planet for insane Daleks – where do the eggs come from? – provides the final clue that Oswin has, in fact, become a Dalek. That’s death No. 1.
When she next appears, the Doctor has no idea the barmaid/governess chasing him around 1892 London is Clara Oswin Oswald. She helps him defeat the Great Intelligence, and is killed by an ice-woman-governess just before Christmas Day. When the Doctor sees her headstone, he realizes he’s dealing with a girl who has now died twice in front of him. That cheers him up, and he goes running to find Clara somewhere in time and space. Finally, we see her in modern dress hanging out near her own gravestone, presumably the point in time where we’ll be reintroduced to her.
The new villains
“The Snowmen” set up the return of the Great Intelligence, a villain the Second Doctor encounters in the 1967 serial “The Abominable Snowmen” (just one of the original six episodes exists in the BBC archives). The Doctor says the Intelligence “sounds familiar,” but he doesn’t connect the dots back through time. In the Second Doctor’s adventure, the Great Intelligence creates Yeti robots to serve as its army. The poor thing is a disembodied creature from another dimension and can’t enact its evil plans all by its lonesome. There’s no word yet on whether the Great Intelligence is coming back in this season.
Speaking of disembodied, the Doctor is next set to battle evil aliens floating around in Wi-Fi signals. Yup, that’s the plot of “The Bells of St. John.” The episode will also re-re-introduce Clara, this time in the present day. Oh, yeah, and that fez is back, because fezzes are cool.
We also know that Neil Gaiman has penned an episode featuring the return of the Cybermen with the goal of making the robot villains “scary again.” With that in mind, he’s bringing them back to their silent, menacing 1960s room. The story is self-contained, and according to the author will be the penultimate episode of the season.
In the latest trailer (as well as in a set of new posters) there are some creepy faceless guys in tuxedoes, and soldiers with skull-like faces from the episode “The Rings of Akhaten.” No word yet on who these folks are. In Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who, the scary-looking guys aren’t always the villains.
But what about the Silence?
In the middle of all the excitement over Clara and upgraded Cybermen and whether the Doctor is wearing a new jacket (I think he is), it’s easy to forget that big mysteries that haunted Amy and Rory have yet to really get resolved.
A religious order called the Silence fought to kill the Doctor to prevent a prophecy that spelled its doom. Instead, the Doctor tricked the Silence into believing he was dead and vowed to get a little bit quieter in his adventures in time and space. But, if the Doctor returns to his Cyberman-trouncing, alien-befriending ways, won’t the Silence come calling again? And what about the question that supposedly ends the universe, “Doctor Who?” We’ve been asking it for years, and nothing seems to have happened yet …
And isn’t the Doctor … married?
Moffat has said River Song (Alex Kingston) will be back in this run of the series. Thus far, Clara has been more than a little flirty with the Doctor. River doesn’t seem like the jealous type, but we’ve yet to see the Doctor have to choose between his wife and his companion. It’s bound to be an unconventional marriage, as one of them flies in a box through time and space, and the other is in jail for killing him. You won’t see that on Modern Family.
“The Bells of St. John” premieres Saturday on BBC and BBC America. You can watch a teaser below in which the Doctor gets to explain the ins and outs of the TARDIS while attempting to fly a commercial.