clara xmas

‘Doctor Who’: What could the link be between Oswin and Clara?

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This year’s festive Doctor Who story, now as permanent a fixture as the Queen’s speech and a lorry load of sprouts, saw what was touted as the introduction of the Doctor’s new companion.

Played with gusto by Jenna-Lousie Coleman, Clara brought a sparky energy to proceedings, presenting with a mixture of Amy’s ballsy street smarts and Rory’s unfortunate habit of dying at inopportune moments.

Of course, Clara’s striking resemblance to the ill-fated Oswin, the starship Junior Entertainment Manager turned deluded Dalek (from the Series 7 opener ‘Asylum of the Daleks’), makes her far more than just a familiar face. Described by Steven Moffat as a ‘soft mystery’, the impossible connection between Oswin of the future and Clara of the past, plus what looks to be a present day incarnation, will clearly be a teaser to keep us hooked across forthcoming episodes.

Doctor Who is not new to the idea of returning faces, as there have been plenty of actors who have returned for further roles in the show after their initial appearance. As recently as 2006, Freema Agyeman impressed the production team as Adeloa in ‘Army of Ghosts’ before returning the following year as Series 3 regular Martha Jones. Further back, Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, had a prior role in the series as the plume helmeted Commander Maxil in ‘Arc of Infinity’. Indeed, over the Sixties and Seventies, certain directors kept what one might describe as a loose rep company using the same favourite actors again and again, such as Michael Sheard and Phillip Madoc.

Discounting the horrendously obvious “She’s the Rani/Romana/another Time Lady” clichés that come to mind, my initial thoughts were that Clara was too good to be true?

She effectively lures the Doctor out of his self-imposed isolation and back into the universe at large. Bright and smart, a pretty face containing a time related mystery, she could be some sort of temporal honey-trap for the Time Lord. Perhaps unknowingly or perhaps some sort of intelligent weapon left over from the Time War?

One wonders if all the instances of Clara/Oswin are echoes of the original? Perhaps she is an individual fractured across time in a fashion similar to Scaroth of the Jagaroth from the Tom Baker classic ‘City of Death’. Certainly both instances of Clara/Oswin shared personality traits as well as looks, and also repeated the same phrase at their moment of death: “Run! Run, you clever boy. And remember.” Could these be the dying words of the ‘real’ Clara – a sort of ‘Clara Prime’ who’s heroic dying actions set the template? We might expect to see this play out in an adventure yet to come.

Another thought is that she could be some sort of temporal mayfly, a creature that lives outside our perceptions of time and space, like the Eternals of ‘Enlightenment’. Alternatively, she could just a member of a clone race who are terribly accident-prone?

I wonder how many instances of Clara might exist? Surely not one per episode – as Dollhouse proved, that might get old rather quickly – but we might get through a few before finding out the true nature of the mystery. Either way, it looks like both the Doctor and his audience are hooked for another ride of twists and turns from the mind of Mr Moffat.

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