10

references made to the sensorites [1964], the invisible enemy [1977], the visitation [1982], cat’s cradle: time’s crucible [1992], theatre of war [1994], lungbarrow [1997], cold fusion [1997], war of the daleks [1997], the book of the war [2002] zagreus [2003], the end of time [2009], and probably other things.

So I've realized that, if you look at the original series TARDIS teams from season 11 on...

…there are a lot of parallels with the new series TARDIS teams. Check this out. You have:

Team Underappreciated 1

A more reserved, less eccentric Doctor that sometimes gets overshadowed by his more charismatic successor. One of the all time great companions but not with her Doctor. Pertwee doesn’t have the anger of Eccleston, but they both have a strong sense of dignity to them.

Team Iconic

For many people, this IS the TARDIS team. This is the iconic Doctor with the iconic companion. A highly eccentric and well dressed Doctor. A capable and inquisitive companion. Both Baker and Tennant made the role their own by basically being themselves. And hell, Sarah Jane was in an episode WITH Rose and they made the parallels pretty explicit.

Team Underappreciated 2

The companion that unfortunately gets left out of the conversation of great companions more often than not, despite the fact that she’s in some of the greatest stories of the whole run of the show. Martha and Leela as characters don’t really have much in common. Instead, what they have in common is that they are sandwiched between two more well-liked companions and thus still deserve their due.

Team Mates

I feel like I’m cheating by including both Romanas, but they’re both the same Time Lord, so I’m not cheating by much. Plus, Donna combines the best traits of both Romanas. Like Romana I, she basically gets plopped onto the TARDIS for the first time without the Doctor expecting it and isn’t super happy about it. And, like Romana I, she calls the Doctor on his shit and keeps him from getting too pompous. At the same time, Catherine Tate and David Tennant have the same great chemistry that Tom Baker and Lalla Ward had. Plus, the DoctorDonna was the closest thing that the new series has to a Time Lord as a companion.

Team TARDIS Family

The most crowded that the TARDIS ever got. The babyfaced Doctor with the curious outfit. The strong willed redhead who doesn’t take anyone’s shit. The curly haired other one who’s only sometimes there. The male companion that’s mostly famous for dying. (After Rory dies the first time, he’s reborn as Turlough, I guess.) Matt Smith and Peter Davison were both incredibly young at the time and following the most popular Doctor in the history of the show. They also took over around the time of a major sea change in the production of the show.

Team We Hardly Knew Ye

The companion who wasn’t as strongly characterized as her predecessors and shows up right before the regeneration. 

Team Argue Mainly

The prickly, argumentative Doctor. The companion who becomes more of a character as she’s paired with this Doctor. The actor who was already on the show as another character before playing the Doctor. The show taking a consciously darker turn after the fireworks of the anniversary year.

2

OK guys. This moment does not have enough love. In fact, it has some unfortunate anti-love that I aim to resolve here.

Yes, this episode heavily references Girl in the Fireplace. And yes, that episode is pretty much the most anti-shippy thing to happen in canon for Doctor/Rose.

BUT THIS MOMENT IS GREAT AND WE DOCTOR/ROSE SHIPPERS SHOULD LOVE IT TO PIECES LET ME EXPLAIN!!!!

Twelve can’t remember Clara’s name at first. Nor Vastra nor Jenny nor Strax. He leaves Clara in danger and he won’t even give her the screwdriver. He does questionable things–he’s darker, I get that.

But even so, and even though he’s trying to figure things out with the bad guy, and does not have all his memories intact (’Handles’? Really, Doctor??) he CANNOT leave the bunch of roses on the floor.

The bunch of yellow roses–yellow which signifies remembrance. There are centuries-old ballads (‘Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon’) and old movies ('She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’) and folk songs ('Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree’) all about yellow being the color of remembrance–specifically in all these pop-culture cases, remembrance of a lost love.

And as he’s struggling to remember why droids harvesting parts rings a bell with him, does he look at the droid? No. Does he have flashbacks to women making double entendres with cleavage spilling out? No. (And the eventual reference to MdP is blah blah bland). But what does he do? He twirls the roses and holds them just a little bit closer. This is so reminiscent of the Journal of Impossible Things, where even as a human Ten can’t remember the name of the TARDIS, or the sonic screwdriver–but he keeps drawing roses in his journal and hers is the only face he can canonically put a name to.

Moffat may be many, many things, and do many, many things that I do not particularly like, but this… this is pretty awesome guys. This isn’t anti-shippy at all. This is shippy and sweet and subtle in the extreme.

And I love it and I really think you should too <3

6

This is a key scene within the episode. He says, “As of this moment, I am answerable to no one”, and looks at her with all of the righteous rage and entitlement he feels is owed to him. For saving the universe. For suffering for those 4.5 billions years in the confession dial. For loving her.

And she just stares him down. What’s gone unsaid in this moment, but is clear from her eyes is the message: but you are answerable to me. And this is not what I want.

All those Clara echoes living and dying to fulfil the imperative of ‘saving the Doctor’, because the original Clara jumped into his time-stream knowing that her sacrifice would allow him to save the universe, time and time again.

And now this is the universe he is going to destroy in her name. She will go down in history, whatever of it remains, as the woman who made the Doctor fracture reality itself in his love for her.

Does she not deserve more?

And he’s the one who looks away, and backs down, because he knows that she’s right. Clara Oswald - always, always right.

You know, Howie had been in speech therapy. He’d just got over this massive stammer. Quite an achievement. I mean, can you imagine? I’d forgotten not all victories are about saving the universe.
— 

Rory Williams
Doctor Who - “The God Complex

I watched this episode several times before I picked up on this quote. I didn’t think it was possible for me to love Rory more but here he is, proving me wrong again. He says a lot of really important things. Plus, he absolutely fascinates me in this episode. Two other moments stand out for me: when he talks about travelling in the TARDIS in past tense; and when the Doctor is in his rage after Rita dies… Amy looks at Rory almost afraid and clearly upset and Rory just glances at her and shakes his head a tiny bit as if to say “I’m upset too but just leave it. I can’t fix this, and neither can you. Give him space to be upset and angry for now.”

Sometimes I feel like Rory has understood the Doctor in interesting ways for a very long time. From his first trip in the TARDIS to Venice, when he tells the Doctor that he’s dangerous because he makes people want to impress him. Here, he was an outsider; he was able to see these things in the Doctor because it was his loved ones that were being put in danger.

I have absolutely loved seeing Rory grow as he travelled with the Doctor and Amy, and as he became friends with the Doctor. His understanding of all the goodness, pain and darkness in the Doctor has grown as well, and I love seeing that. I love awkward Rory and badass Rory to pieces, but this Rory - the Rory who has such a great handle on the world, or at least tries to understand it - is probably the reason I love him so much (it fits his awkwardness and badassery perfectly).

The wisdom of Doctor Who will forever be my favourite thing about this show.

6

This. This is the moment the switch flips. Not only for the Doctor and ‘Mayor Me’/Ashildr, but for the audience as well. Maisie Williams does such a fantastic job of conveying the extent of Ashildr’s horror. We believe her when she says that she never meant for anyone to get hurt. Ultimately, Ashildr is a sympathetic character. The Doctor and the audience have so much pent-up anger and grief by the end of the episode, but no one to direct it at. That’s what makes it so painful.

And if there’s one person more horrified than Ashildr in this scene, it’s the Doctor. This is the moment his world falls apart. Look at his face. The way he spins Clara around. And then backs away. All his nightmares, realised in this one instance. 

Rose Tyler's Wardrobe, Series 1

Hi everybody! It’s been a long, long, long time since I wrote a Doctor Who costuming post. I did Martha. I did River. And now it’s Rose’s turn. Well, for Series 1 at least. Series 2 and 4 will get their own posts. :)

I’m excited to do Rose, because she is quite a different creature than Martha or River. Style-wise, Martha was fashionable and neat and as tied together as an upper-class med student can be; River was full of swag and style and time travel. You look at either of their wardrobes and you go “ooooh” and “I wanna wear that!” And you get that reaction because the costumer wanted you to admire these characters and recognize whatever it is about them that gives them that style—in Martha’s case, that’s her elegant background, and in River’s, it’s her habit of living life to its absolute fullest degree. In more condensed terms, the very fact that they’re well-dressed relays something about them as characters, which is the point of costuming.

Is Rose like that, all stylish and gorgeous and decked out in cool textile items? Noooo. Rose is not much of a clothes horse—she gets some sweet outfits, but unlike Martha and River, those outfits are little gems sprinkled in among 2005 hoodies and jeans and godawful bags. And that’s actually really, really special, because it meant the costumer abandoned fashion and style and the temptation to dress Billie Piper as beautifully as possible to be real with the viewer, to have every piece of clothing count not for its aesthetic experience but for its ability to tell you who Rose is, with every grimy shoe and synthetic thread. Rose’s costuming is pure visual storytelling, and I love it. I love it.

With exceptions, of course. Because we all make mistakes.

So! With my gushing out of the way, let’s get on. Guess what time it is? PAJAMA TIME.

Yeah, no, I’m not going to analyze a striped tank top and white sweats as symbolizing Rose’s imprisonment within her ideal of self and her fundamentally pure soul. They’re pajamas, guys. Pajamas some costume person yanked off a rack and said “uh yeah this might be Billie’s size.” It’s a dull start, but don’t worry; it gets so much more interesting.

See???? Interesting! The look you see above—worn pink hoodie, cheap pink tank top, shapeless jeans, oddly loud messenger bag and a little Ninth Doctor to hold in one hand—is what Rose is wearing when we start spending any large amount of time with her. Now, I can hear you sighing: this outfit isn’t very glamorous, is it? I mean, Martha was fashionable. River was stylish. But this is so…..ordinary.

And you’re right: as fashion, as style, this is kind of a disappointing outfit. But to tell you about a character using only clothes? It’s AMAZING. Take a long look at it. What can we figure out about Rose, from one outfit?

Actually quite a lot.

  • Do you see how it’s a couple different shades of pink? This shows you the logic Rose uses when she puts herself together in the morning. While Martha has a solid color palette of reds and golds that she’s layered together in a way that suggests she learned how to look like a class act by osmosis, Rose very much got dressed by grabbing clothes from a drawer. There is a logic to it—pinks go together, right? and jeans go with everything?—but it’s not the elegant color palette Martha would have been acclimated to in her upper-middle-class household. Rose tried, but she didn’t think of going out of her comfort zone of pinks, or of making any fashionable combinations, like having her shirt pick up some of the colors from her bag. She had to get to work, man, she didn’t have time for that. (in technical terms, Rose is using a monochromatic color palette, while Martha uses a more grown-up analogous one. if color palettes are your thing, you get me).
  • it’s youthful: again, pink, and also the loose-fitting hoodie. She’s not dressed like a Young Adult Person with Career Goals Who Drinks Red Wine And Has a Resume. Rose still looks a little like a kid (also super comfortable).
  • it’s very, very casual—I’m kind of surprised even a shopgirl was allowed to be this dressed down at a department store, but I haven’t been in a big one in a long time so who knows? Rose is not here to impress anybody, nor really herself.
  • it’s not high-quality stuff, at all. It’s going to wear out in less than a year; you can almost see through the sweater, it’s so used. This kind of thing shows you that Rose can’t afford the best clothes, and also doesn’t care enough to spend the money she does have that way.
  • They’re working-class clothes: dependable, comfy, don’t stand out much. Kinda like Rose, when she meets the Doctor.

So already in one outfit, without having to know anything else about her, you know a little about Rose: she’s not the Anna Wintour of the Powell Estate, she’s not rich, she’s not dressing like she expects a lot out of her day—dressed like that, I doubt she even expects a promotion. It all reflects where Rose is going at this point: nowhere.

Good point, Jackie. And happen it does: the Doctor comes back. Rose, again, is not prepared to wow in the style department. Look at her.

I want to applaud the costume department for getting the tank-top-and-crappy-hoodie-with-bra-slightly-showing look down perfectly, because this is exactly the sort of thing normal unemployed nineteen-year-old girls wear. Like, wow. Stop spying on me, show.

Fortunately, Nine is not a fashion critic and takes Rose on board despite her tank tops. They go to the end of the world, and it’s very glam, and Rose zips up her hoodie and calls it good.

God, she’s so normal-looking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show where the fashion was this level of accurately boring. Is the show whacking you over the head enough with Rose being normal yet? Is this post?

Just to whack you over the head with it a bit more, Rose is predominantly wearing very dark, ordinary, dull grays, which reinforces how very ~NORMAL~ she is. Considering that these sorts of things were what companions were wearing shortly before Who got kicked off the screen in the 80s, I kinda can’t blame the costumers for veering this hard into Smoll Ordinary Nobodyville.

Though she is still the Smollest Ordinariest Nobody of All, note that Rose is already wearing a deeper shade of pink/maroon than when she was folding shirts and watching Mickey dance. The symbolism, guys! Rose is already deepening and darkening as a person! Ooooh!

Even better, though? Look at Nine’s shirt. Look back at Rose’s hoodie. One adventure in and they’re matching, guys.

Literally one episode with these two and they’re already so adorable. How. Why, show. Why.

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River and lust for life:

When I think of River I feel a dull ache because I think of Melody dying alone without a care, of Mels growing up with rage and deaths wishes, of River and her memory  gutted like a war-torn city. Because I think of soldiers, fanaticism, hatred and a child in the middle. Because I think of a terrible loneliness that comes from being chosen, special, different, criminal, imprisoned, insane, nothing.

But when I think of River I also feel an irrepressible joy. Like the smile superimposed in the ghostly light of her helmet the very first time I glimpsed at her face in the Library. I hear a throaty laughter, a teasing quip, an assured tone, a dance, a waltz, many waltzes, an exciting tattoo of clicking heels, explosions, beeping dashboards and ancient dirges. I feel sung to, treated to a tale from between Scrooge-McDuck-imprinted sheets and plushies. I learn little girls are made of stuff as only fortresses are made on, with the cold corridors, labyrinthine dampness and besieged loneliness it begs. And old girls are made of what’s left of little girls, with all the vision, delight and impatience it can muster.

I love the fun River has with her life, like one would have white wine with goat cheese. Fun goes well with life. Perhaps not happiness because it would require equilibrium, wholeness, peace River cannot recover or rebuild, but certainly joie de vivre. And that’s enough to fuel a life. To blaze.

Through losses, we make compromises to keep on living. We accommodate ourselves to unhappiness, for life. River always left me with the impression the compromises were made to keep on enjoying.

3

What’s so great to me about this line—I had to pause afterwards and hyperventilate for a few minutes, and about half of that wasn’t the fault of Paul McGann being on-screen—is that it references not only Looming, but the War Looms.

See, Time Lords aren’t really big on having physical forms, or, in fact, being involved in anything at all that has to do with leaving Gallifrey or interacting with lesser species in any capacity.

Deprived of organic evolution, deprived of the spur of mortality, the the last ten-million years of their existence the [Time Lords] have been locked in a form of cultural stasis. They see themselves as monumental, as the severe, stone-faced guardians on the walls of eternity. They have no interest in progress: they consider it beneath them. They have no interest in high culture: they consider it incomprehensible. Their own biological heritage bothers them… yet at the same time they lack the will to reshape (or even leave behind) their bodies, unless the War should demand it.

Well, the War did demand it, and so some more genetic variations were made. Looms were built purely for a new caste, one of warriors. They started the War in humanoid forms. They did not end it that way.

[There was a notion of military regeneration:] field-agents whose biologies were engineered so that with every re-birth their bodies would become stronger, faster, and better-equipped for whatever tasks may lie ahead. […] Although at first these [regenerations] merely left the soldiers with enhanced bodies, with built-in resistance to the more blatant forms of post-nuclear warfare (for the frontline troops), or special temporal lobes designed to enhance communications [with Gallifrey] (in the case of comms officers), the process was soon refined. It wasn’t long before soldiers were primed so that with every transformation they’d become less and less hominid, their bodies armoured against all known forms of enemy attack, with biological weapons systems “fitted as standard”…the ultimate regenerative forms of the soldiers would…be entirely non-hominid; no limbs, no visible head, each agent a self-contained and blast-proofed unit laced with sensitive tripwire nerve-endings.

Even before the utilisation of the War Looms, there were many parallels between the Time Lords and the Daleks: they’re both starkly xenophobic and change-resistant races which can’t quite be called “species”; they propagate themselves not by biological procreation but with highly-advanced machinery which places a living consciousness within a casing, whether that casing be metal or flesh; they both lack a real sense of individuality, with Daleks nameless clones and Gallifreyans a hivemind; even the Matrix and the Pathweb share many similarities!

Who can tell the difference anymore indeed? One of these is a Dalek mutant: the other is a Time Lord soldier. Can you tell which is which?

What Do Two Hearts MEAN?

The Doctor talks a lot about having two hearts, but nothing I’ve read has ever expanded on all of the biological implications of that. So, being a bio nut and a Whovian, I took on the challenge. Which turned out to mean trying to hammer canon into some sort of scientific sense, and taking liberal advantage of Rassilon literally designing Gallifreyans, otherwise this would never work.

Warning: Lots and lots of science below the break. LOTS.

Keep reading

  • First Doctor:
  • First words: What are you doing here?
  • Last words: It’s all over’. That’s what you said. No, but it isn’t. It’s far from being all over. I must get back to the Tardis immediately! I must go now… I must go at once. Ah yes, thank you. Keep warm.
  • Second Doctor:
  • First words: Araagh, slower…slower! Concentrate on one thing…one thing!
  • Last words: Is this some sort of joke? No, I refuse to be treated in… What are you doing? No! Stop! You’re making me giddy! No! You can’t do this to me. No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
  • Third Doctor:
  • First words: Shoes, must find my shoes. Unhand me, Madam!
  • Last words: A tear, Sarah Jane? No, don’t cry. While there’s life, there’s…
  • Fourth Doctor:
  • First words: Typical Sontaran attitude…stop Linx… perverting the course of human history… I tell you, Brigadier - there’s nothing to worry about. The Brontosaurus is large and placid.
  • Last words: It’s the end… but the moment has been prepared for…
  • Fifth Doctor:
  • First words: Ah, you’ve come to help me find the Zero Room. Welcome aboard. I’m The Doctor, or will be if this regeneration works out.
  • Last words: Going soon. It’s time to say goodbye. Might regenerate, I don’t know. Feels different this time. Adric?
  • Sixth Doctor:
  • First words: You were expecting someone else?
  • Last words: Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice…
  • Seventh Doctor:
  • First words: No Mel! Myah… that was a nice nap… now down to business. I’m a bit worried about the temporal flicker in sector 13.
  • Last words: Got to stop him.
  • Eigth Doctor:
  • First words: Who am I? WHO AM I?
  • Last words: Physician heal thyself.
  • Eight and a half:
  • First words: Doctor no more!
  • Last words: Oh yes, of course, suppose it makes sense. Wearing a bit thin. I hope the ears are a bit less conspicuous this time.
  • Ninth Doctor:
  • First words: Run!
  • Last words: Rose, before I go I just want to tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And d’you know what? So was I.
  • Tenth Doctor:
  • First words: Hello. OK, mmm. New teeth. That’s weird. So where was I? Oh that’s right… Barcelona.
  • Last words: I don’t want to go.
  • Meta-Crisis Doctor:
  • First words: Oh Yes.
  • Last words: I've only got one life, Rose Tyler. I could spend it with you. If you want.
  • Eleveth Doctor:
  • First words: Aaargh! Legs! I’ve still got legs. Good. Arms, hands, ooh fingers, lots of fingers. Ears, yes eyes, two, nose…I’ve had worse. Chin…blimey! Hair! I’m a girl! No! No, I’m not a girl… and still not ginger! There’s something else, something important, I’m…I’m…I’m… crashing! Haha! Woohoo! And… geronimo!
  • Last words: I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.
6

I’ve been putting together the shots of all the post-it notes that Clara has at the beginning and I’ve noticed something.

Clara is telling Danny everything. Absolutely everything. Not just the truth he asked her for, corrections of her previous lies. She’s telling him everything he doesn’t know, about the dinosaur in London, about Courtney on the moon, about Robin Hood. Back before she even knew him, to Vastra and Jenny and the half-faced man. She’s telling him about her interference in  his past. She’s telling him loads of things that put her in a bad light, but she’s telling him the truth.

This is a complete and total loss of control, which is what Clara is absolutely terrified of. This is the biggest sacrifice she can make for someone, bigger than jumping into a timeline. Something simple but so difficult, and something very very human.

I’m so proud of her.

Cardinal Rassilon believes humanian life - the basic physical form exemplified by Gallifreyans - to be the only essential form of life. He rationalises that for the universe to continue existing beyond the 10'000 millennia indicated previously, the unnamed creatures should be destroyed. All life not conforming to Gallifreyan standard should be destroyed. To this end, Cardinal Rassilon researched life on 278'000 planets. Of those, 69'000 contained sentient life. To those Cardinal Rassilon sent, via manipulation of the space-time vortex, a self-eradicating set of biogenic molecules with enough power to rearrange the cellular structure of each planet’s dominant life-form, so it would take on Gallifreyan physiology and would continue to evolve along those lines. All other lifeforms will become extinct within 6'000 spans.
— 

“Zagreus”, Big Finish Productions - Doctor Who

Really though, if you ever wondered about the in-universe reason for why so many aliens look humanoid, this is why.

Moffat Appreciation: Ditching The Wise Man

Working in a male-dominated field of science, I have grown slightly weary of  “wise old man” characters. Every great story has one, a Dumbledore, a Gandalf, a Master Hora - and don’t get me wrong, I love those characters! And I even take comfort in the thought of having that one grandfather-like figure who has all the answers. But as a woman, it does form a problem to me that intelligence is still expected to appear in the form of a white-haired old guy.

Doctor Who used to cater to an über-version of this stereotype. The grandfather, the doctor, the lord of time - how much more of an authority figure can one be? Mind you, when the show first aired, this was a good thing. Less than twenty years after the war, people yearned for characters that would reign the world with wisdom, rather than tanks. And what is more: considering where the show started, it has adapted amazingly well to the changing notion of female characters throughout the decades.

And yet, even in RTD’s era, forty years later, we still have that wise old man who has the answer to everything. Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble - they all are important, they all are intelligent and, yes, they all save the day at some point. But they all need the Doctor to show them that they are special. They need the wise old man to single them out and make them realise what they are capable of. (I know that this is a very harsh summary of what are actually brilliant characters.)

But compare this to Moffat’s writing: Remember Sally Sparrow, who figures out absolutely everything on her own, including how to make the Doctor figure out everything. Or Madame De Pompadour who remains in charge of Versailles even when under threat of being beheaded, and who finds a way for the Doctor to return when he has already given up. Also note that, while the Doctor and Rose are taken aback by her wit, she never is. Her intelligence is the most natural thing in the world.


No wonder the aliens want her brain! Did you notice the choice Moffat made there? She is a courtesan and it would have been an easy joke to use any part of her body. Her heart would even have been a somewhat okay and probably more poetic option. But it is her brain that the aliens want. And only her brain will do, forget the Timelord.

Whether it is Amy, who knows the Doctor better than he does himself, or Clara who outwits the Doctor in so many ways - the list goes on and on. Culminating, of course, in a wonderful Professor Song, who challenges the Doctor on a whole new level: Not only is she the Doctor’s equal, she is actually frustrated with him being “not done yet”.

Flying the TARDIS, speaking Gallifreyan, being a doctor - all that which used to distinguish the Doctor from his companions, that entitled him to have the final word - none of it can impress River Song. She does all of these things and she does it better than him. And she shows him how much he still has to learn. Who cares about a degree in cheesemaking, when you have no idea how to be in a marriage.


But does this take away from the Doctor? No. Again, Moffat is very smart about this. The Doctor is still a wise man. He still knows what really matters, still makes us see life with different eyes. But it is no longer because he is a man, or because he is a thousand years old, or because he has a degree in everything - it is because he is a person who has lived their life with open eyes and an open heart. A person who never ceases to learn new things.


Moffat stripped away everything that would give the Doctor intellectual authority by default. He ditched absolutely anything that might relate wisdom to gender. He added new dimensions to the notion of intelligence, some of which create a struggle for the Doctor. He gave him new things to learn and people to learn it from. And all it did was to make his wisdom more genuine. All it did was to make the Doctor better. 

(image sources: x, x, x )

6

How well does Clara Oswald know the Doctor? Intimately. Almost as well as she knows herself. But perhaps not as well as she thinks she does.

Clara’s understanding of the Doctor primarily comes from two things. Firstly, and generally speaking, Clara has an enormous propensity for empathy. She is very good at reading people, and this skill is not just limited to the Doctor. ‘Why are you so sad?’ she asked Robin Hood, cutting his raucous laughter and flirtation short. But as of series 9, we know that she spends a lot, if not most, of her time with the Doctor. Sure, she gets dropped off on Earth to teach, and she still has her own apartment, but their relationship this series no longer feels like a ‘Wednesdays-only’ arrangement. They are very much in sync, and attuned to each others’ feelings, as only those who live, travel and play together can be. And this doesn’t go unreciprocated; the Doctor’s words to Bonnie in The Zygon Inversion tell us that he can read Clara’s face just as well as she can read his.

Secondly, Clara has a deep understanding of the Doctor by virtue of how very similar they are in character. We have been shown this similarity onscreen, and told it off-screen by Moffat himself. “Because he always assumes he’s going to win”, said Clara to Missy in The Witch’s Familiar, when asked how the Doctor always managed to survive despite the odds against him. In Heaven Sent, the Clara hallucinated by the Doctor in his ‘storm room’ confirms this in a fashion, as she repeatedly asks him “How are you going to WIN?”

Where Clara’s ability to pre-empt the Doctor’s next move falls short are in areas directly relating to her. She is the wild card in her own equation in figuring the Doctor out. When she says to the Doctor in Face the Raven, “Your reign of terror will end with the sight of the first crying child and you know it”, she genuinely believes that of him. When he replies, “No, I don’t”, she construes it as a heat-of-the-moment declaration, but that when push comes to shove he will inevitably cave to the weight of his conscience.

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References:

An Unearthly Child [TV serial]. (1963). In Doctor Who. London: BBC.
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Miles, L & Jones, S. (Eds.). (2001). The Book of the War. New Orleans: Mad Norwegian Press.
Haigh-Ellery, J. (2004). Square One [Audio series episode]. In Gallifrey. Cardiff: Big Finish Productions.
Briggs, N. (2009). Orbis. Cardiff: Big Finish Productions. 
The End of Time [TV serial]. (2009). In Doctor Who. Cardiff: BBC.
Goss, James. (2011). Dead of Winter. London: BBC Books. 
The Day of the Doctor [TV serial]. (2013). In Doctor Who. Cardiff: BBC.

10

Clara Oswald was a character I deeply loved and admired, but Face the Raven took those feelings and practically pulverized them.

I didn’t need the swansong of my favorite companion to have epic monsters or battles, but I did need for there to be some healing.

Yes, Clara was reckless, but why? Does anybody stop to ask? What lead her here? She suffered losses like the rest of us, and it changed her. But unlike normal people who have to live and deal with it, Clara had another world to escape into. She took to the one person who always came back, who always was in control. She took to running with the Doctor with complete reckless abandon, knowing very well that it might end her. Yes she knew! Don’t for one second think that she was stupid enough to not consider what she was going into. That she needed to be told about her own fragility as a human being, because do you really think that a person who knows the Doctor so intimately and closely would require such an insight. Do you really think that would be a revelation to her that she was more breakable than the Doctor. Do you really think that she didn’t know that?

She was clever, kind and extremely flawed, and yes ultimately brave to face her death. But, and this is a big but, is that really the bravery that we should look up to? To walk towards death because you think there are no options left and that too with open arms. Is facing death by your own choice the real bravery or is facing your own mental and emotional issues. People like Clara who are egoistic never ask for help, but their actions alone are a cry for help and it really is a shame that the Doctor couldn’t hear hers. I am glad that she was ultimately kind; supporting the Doctor till the end, while he failed to give her the healing and support she truly needed since Death in Heaven. In her final moments she does open up to the Doctor -

Clara: Maybe this is what I wanted. Maybe this is it. Maybe this is why I kept running. Maybe this is why I kept taking all those stupid risks. Kept pushing it.
The Doctor: This is my fault.
Clara: This is my choice.

And that was brave. Braver than she has ever been. And as brave as she could be. Ultimately what I really wanted from this episode was for the Doctor to do something once she accepted her problems because it’s a really tough thing to do. After all the times she saved the Doctor, I wanted the Doctor to save her one last time, no matter what the cost. People who suffer rarely accept it, but once they do, they require all the love, care and support possible from their loved ones. The fact that she still had to go and face her death while the Doctor stood in the background and watched, felt so disrespectful and such a disservice to the character that it hurt. More than that, it inverted everything I wanted from the episode. Maybe that’s how real life is…maybe there are tragedies. But I don’t watch Doctor Who to be reminded of tragedies. I watch Doctor Who to be inspired and in that moment Doctor who failed me, and my favorite companion.

I am bit surprised that people are romanticizing her death as something she deserved or see it as fitting. Opinions I guess. In the end I’ll just say that Clara Oswald was more human and kinder than the Doctor in her final moments. And she deserved more than that brutal and painful imagery of walking to her own death. Yes she was in control, yes she chose her own fate but, sometimes even the best of us require intervention. That’s the message I needed from Face the Raven, not a memo about our own breakability as human beings. Perhaps, what happened to her was realistic, but I guess that’s a lesson in reality I didn’t need.

sorry, there's already been a black, female doctor (and there's nothing you can do about it)

Whatever you feel towards Martha Jones as a character, love her or loathe her, you can’t ignore the fact that she was a milestone character for Doctor Who, both for the revival series and the series as a whole. She was the first full-time companion of colour, the first female companion of colour and the first revival Companion with siblings - still is, in fact. Her series (series three) also marked the return of the Master, an increased focus on both the Time Lords and the effect the Time War and the destruction of Gallifrey had had on the Doctor.

However, there’s more to it all than that. I posit, that over the course of series three, Martha Jones was deliberately developed as a character to become a human equivalent of the Doctor.

Episode by episode, Martha’s character arc takes her from being a driven medical student and companion to the Doctor, to being off on her own, defeating the Doctor’s boyfriend arch nemesis - the Master - and becoming the Doctor in her own right. This is done through references, parallels, costuming, and character/story arc development. Though these parallels are far more thought out during series three and have a deliberate beginning, middle and ending, Martha’s reappearances in five episodes of series four (The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, The Doctor’s Daughter, The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End) also draw further parallels between her and the Doctor and even foreshadow the events of the series four finale.


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