Doctor Who’s Clara Oswald: What We Know So Far

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Clara Oswin Oswald has had her first four adventures with the Doctor (six if you count her two other incarnations), but we still don’t know much about her. Emma Grayling, 1970s psychic, claimed in last week’s episode that Clara is “just an ordinary girl.” But this is Doctor Who, so I think we all know better than that.

No ordinary girl

We know Clara has died twice. We first met her as the junior entertainment manager aboard the Starship Alaska. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that she had also been turned into a Dalek. Her second death was at the hands of The Great Intelligence, whose evil ice-governess pursued Clara and dropped her from a height. Twice, her final words have been “Run, you clever boy, and remember.”

“Run” is a big theme of the Steven Moffat years of Doctor Who. From River Song’s line in “The Forest of the Dead” – “You and me, time and space, you watch us run! — the Doctor’s adventures have been about “running” from something. The crack in time and space, the Silence, the Doctor’s own death. Is Clara’s order to “run” a simple callback to River Song’s line, or is it something more?

Clara doesn’t appear to have any special abilities, but she was able to call the TARDIS by dialing a number she received from “a girl at the shop.” There has been speculation that this “girl at the shop” is a former companion, either Amy or Rose. If so, why would former companions want to get the Doctor mixed up with Clara? Why is she important?

The first four episodes were painfully slow to reveal any information about Clara’s past or her future. We know she had real parents, and was raised relatively normally, because the Doctor creepily stalked her in “The Bells of St. John.” We know she’s good with kids, has always wanted to travel, and is loyal to her friends. Thus far, this is pretty generic backstory stuff. There’s nothing to indicate Clara is anything other than what she appears to be.

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But then again, so ordinary …

This is, for me, the frustrating part about Clara. In an effort to make her appear so utterly normal, Moffat & Co. have made her somewhat generic. The first incarnation of Clara (in the future) loved baking soufflés and spoke so fast I had to rewind several times to get all of her dialogue. The second Clara led a double life as a barmaid/governess, with two different accents to match. This current Clara is pretty bland by comparison, just another bored girl with a big imagination.

I’m eager to get on with the mystery so I can feel better about Clara. Theories abound online, everything from Clara being the great-grandchild of Rose and alternate-universe David Tennant (seems a bit hopeful on the part of Rose/10 fans) to her being the TARDIS incarnate.

But imagine if we didn’t have a mystery about Clara at all. Imagine she was just a really cool go-getter who was curious and energetic and bright. Would we even need this whole business of “Who is Clara?” I’d rather see a terrific character with no mystery than a bland one with a gigantic question mark floating over her head. While I love Clara’s wit and spark, I can’t really differentiate her actions and opinions from Amy quite yet.

What the future holds

Moffat has said we will get to find out what Clara is all about before the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. The answer to the mystery, for better or for worse, is coming soon.

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Comments

  • Jim H.j

    My problem with her as a character right now is that she is, as you said, so bland that all there really is to her right now is the mystery… but with her being so bland, I can’t find any real ways to connect with her enough to care about the mystery.

  • Ultra_Brabbnus

    You forgot one other thing we know – she is damn sexy

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37604408 Lenzy DrHiphop

    Funny you say bland. I think she’s alot better than Amy. She’s more cautious and reacts less “I’m not afraid of anything and I just do crazy stuff” and more like an actual normal well-adjusted human. When the Doctor told her to stay put, she did. I like that aspect of her. Plus her chemistry with Smith is even better than that with Amy. She has a much more retro feel to her, almost like Jo or Sarah Jane.

  • myopinioncounts

    FYI they only have her for half a season. A short companion. Then the specials with only the doctor for 2014 and then a new companion in 2015. A bit Roseque!

  • Ultra_Brabbnus

    First i have heard of this. Where did you get this information?

  • Jim H.
  • Larry

    The girl at the shop was River.

    Come on, you guys don’t understand reverse causality? The situation with Clara is the Doctor’s fault.

  • Joey1013

    Please let her be Rose. That will stick it to River and have the Real Doctor get Rose in some form.

  • http://www.facebook.com/louisesophia.wardlaw Louise Sophia Wardlaw

    I think clara is great and alot of people are saying bland, but mabey thats part of the mystery. Start the character off slow and get more people intrested by “Who is Clara?” thats why it so capturing. I think this has something really entertaining about it, we might understand how she could read the book and Amy couldn’t and hopefully find out who Clara is?

  • myopinioncounts

    Know someone who produces it. Apparently she has been too bland for the producers.

  • myopinioncounts

    She will be in season 8, just not as the companion. All we’ll see are echoes of Clara in time after she sacrifices herself to save the Tardis & the Doctor, in the 50th anniversary (we’ll see all the other doctors during that episode due to a problem with the time itself). They just did an episode on the inside, so that you know what it looks like inside for reference as the ending will happen there.

  • myopinioncounts

    Clap clap. I think we all know that. She is an echo through time, telling the Doctor to run. It all happens in the 50th ann. episode when he literally has to run away, you clever boy.

  • Lastpage

    If this is true….I hate you much, I’m sorry for saying this but you fucked up so much things, at least you could had said “Spoilers” lol

  • Mark

    She’s been confirmed for a companion for a while myopinioncounts. Where do you think she needs to die to save her?

  • Osara

    silly look but what if clara is the doctors great grand daughter, her mother being susan forman, the doctors grand daughter, see 1st ep screened, also clara birthday is said same day screened

  • http://twitter.com/Gav198729 Gav

    CLARA MYSTRY

    Run is also mentioned in The Doctors Daughter ,Jenny is quoted as saying in her final scene “Oh, I’ve got the whole universe. Planets to save, civilisations to rescue, creatures to defeat and an awful lot of running to do.

    this is also a Steven moffot episode before he took over and she is a time lady too she could be the doctors daughter Which is why the TARDIS is wary of her as she is the doctor clone so when she regenerates she has amnesia like the doctor did after his regeneration in older episodes

    Clara also has a UNIT style necklace in bells of St. johns episode when she answers the door to the doctor so she could be each time picked up by UNIT as they know she’s a Time Lady so as to hide her in plain sight

  • SarahSmiles

    Let go of Rose already!

  • Kelsey Fahy

    The very first word the Doctor said in the reboot, back in 2005, was “Run!” And there were definitely running jokes made by Rose. 10 certainly liked to yell it really loudly. But I think it was brought to the foreground more by Moffat, especially since “Geronimo” didn’t pan out as the new catchword like “Fantastic” and “Brilliant” did.

    Also, yeah – I couldn’t care less about the mystery of who the generic character is. She could be a trap leading the Doctor to his death in a wicker man – specifically, the one used while filming the Nicholas Cage version, and I would still be yawning, checking my watch, and shaking my head at the growing number of cheap shots against women. It’s a shame, really, because not only am I turned off by the tiring insults (basic mode for girls? 1. She’s a grown ass woman, and 2. the DOCTOR is terrible at flying the TARDIS. He should use basic mode, not Clara!), but I am really disappointed by how one of the most fascinating new companions has turned out to be so… blah.

    And where did her computer knowledge go?!?!?!?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Wyzard999 Bob Johnson

    You must be a friend of the Daleks .. Learn when not to run your mouth .. Even River knows

    Your opinion .. Doesn’t count for shit

  • http://www.facebook.com/Wyzard999 Bob Johnson

    When Doctor Who came back in 2005 Rose made this show. She saved it. You need to read your history. The Doctor loved Rose. When he lost her, he cried. I cannot watch this episode without shedding a tear.

    Rose is everything to the Doctor. Let go of Rose I think not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Wyzard999 Bob Johnson

    Clara is far from being bland. She is, at the very least, the Doctors’ equal. If she is so bland. why is the Doctor so attracted to her?

    Spoilers Sweetie ..

  • Julie

    That’s not logical. The writers can just write her differently, it’s not like she is a real person or this is a reality show. Didn’t they fire someone for releasing spoilers?

  • Julie

    “When he lost her, he cried.”

    So? Did you see how he cried when he lost Amy and Rory? Or in the trailer for the season finale where he’s crying? If she was everything to the Doctor, he wouldn’t be able to carry on traveling out of sadness. Which is actually what happened with Amy and Rory. I think that proves that each Doctor has different feelings towards companions. I don’t see Eleven and Rose getting along as well.

  • Kelsey Fahy

    Because the writers decided that the Doctor was going to be extremely fascinated by his new companion. The, “If this thing is so awful, then why does this person with good taste like it?” train of thought only works for actual people with autonomy, not characters.

    Why did the Doctor invite Clara to come travel with him?

    Because the writers said so.