The Doctor’s & Clara’s romance

I’ve made a little compilation of all the notable Whouffle and Whouffaldi moments over the seasons, along with my thoughts and theories:

Their relationship was set up as romance right from the very beginning with these words, because it becomes obvious right away that Clara might be romantically interested in the Doctor by hinting at future snogging. I don’t believe that she immediately jumped him, but she let him know from the beginning that she wasn’t uninterested. 

Let’s jump to “The Crimson Horror” where Eleven and Clara pose as husband and wife and they both convinced Mrs Gilliflower, a woman who is anything but stupid. In fact, they both seem to enjoy it, too.

I always like to believe that the end of “Nightmare in Silver” is the moment Eleven realizes that he fancies Clara because he notices her on a physical level. Besides, the conversation Mr Clever had with Clara in which “the Doctor” confesses his love to Clara is probably based on the Doctor’s own thoughts to which Mr Clever had access at that moment, but Clara saw through it and knew that the Doctor would never admit it.

When Clara suggests that she needs a boyfriend for Christmas dinner Eleven was excited. He actually believed that she was serious for a moment and he was more than happy to be her boyfriend, yet at the same time he was a bit worried that he might disappoint Clara. It was Eleven who was disappointed when he realized that Clara wasn’t actually serious.

Unfortunately they never really got to explore that part of their relationship because he got stranded on Trenzalore and later regenerated.

Matt Smith has confirmed that Clara was sort of his girlfriend while Jenna said in an interview or during a panel that Clara realized she was in love with him during the regeneration.

The rest is under a cut because it’s long:

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So, Peter’s replacement will be announced tomorrow. No doubt the fandom fallout will range from wild approval to vehement dislike, and every shade in between.

I’m not going to join the bun fight, because I honestly prefer to wait and see. I have faith that the people involved know and love the show, and will create something true to Doctor Who.

What I am interested in doing is celebrating the perfect storm that has been Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who.

For me, Peter isn’t just an actor who has played an iconic and much-loved role. He’s been the embodiment of all things good about the show. He’s worked incredibly hard to create a performance that comes alive on a punishing schedule.

He’s given us dark moments. I genuinely didn’t know if he would come back for Clara when that door closed between them in Deep Breath. On a level of course I did, but part of me wondered, has he changed that much? Will he really have her back? And when he took Clara’s hand, I cheered and I haven’t stopped cheering since. His performance has been emersive.

The sheer range of emotions the Twelfth Doctor has lived through creates the most character development of any Doctor, in my eyes. He started emotionally tight, bruised after Trenzalore, and he unwound himself with Clara’s help until he was able to ask Bill, finally, “is there anything we should be saying?” and talk about being kind. That moment of emotional honesty broke my heart.

Peter has been more than a great actor and fine Doctor, though. He’s been a wonderful ambassador for the show. He is unrelentingly kind with fans. He knows exactly what it’s like to feel flustered or in awe, to love a show so much and channel it into meeting one person. He gets Doctor Who fans because he is one.

And that’s why I like the phrase Peter is “Doctor Who”. To me, it’s not just a name, although Steven Moffat had some fun with that in World and Time, to me it means Peter is the living embodiment of the show.

Peter has breathed joy into the role. Maybe he won’t be piloting the TARDIS on our screens, but Peter Capaldi will always be the Doctor to me.

one (relatively minor) thing that bugs me about moffat who is his tendency to use long periods of time as mere plot points. we got a fairly mild version of it this episode, where bill had to wait for the doctor for over two years, but just think about that. two years unable to go outside, where her only friend is the master in disguise, forced to do manual labor under a terrible boss, while the doctor- knowing full well that time is passing more quickly for her- dithers about explaining this to people, instead of racing to save her. think about that, and think about how little weight that’s given in the episode. now think about rory, guarding the pandorica for two thousand years, or eleven spending nearly a millenium on trenzalore, or twelve spending four and half billion years in the confession dial. it’s all about the bombast of the impressively large number and not about the human impact of that time

Twelve not wanting to regenerate just… makes perfect sense to me.

His character arc has been all about ‘dropping the baggage’, so to speak. It’s been about shaking off and dealing with the emotional weight of the major character and plot beats in Doctor Who since it returned in 2005 - the Time War being the most obvious ‘big thing’ in that regard, all the way up to those 900 years on Trenzalore, and the last night on Darillium.

After the departure of Clara and River, Series 10 was a ‘new beginning’ for the Doctor, which was set up in The Return of Doctor Mysterio. This was a fresh start that wasn’t shrouded in the machinations of some great trauma that had to be dealt with, or a plot he was swept up in.

Furthermore, Twelve has ‘found’ himself. He knows who he is and he’s… really become comfortable with that, to the point where common structural elements of how the show typically explains its backstory have been articulated completely differently in Series 10. For instance: Twelve talks openly about the Time Lords and his history, as casually as if he were remarking on the weather, whereas it used to be the case that each Doctor would have ‘the talk’ with their companion about these things.

He has his regrets, but, unlike all the previous Doctors since 2005, that pain no longer defines him.

And now he has to throw that all away and become somebody else?

After all of that, he now has to face the uncertainty of becoming a new person and rediscovering who he is again.

From his perspective, he doesn’t actually know what happened to Bill, and he thinks that he failed Missy - not knowing that she was on his side all along, and died without hope, without witness, and without reward. For all he knows, Bill died when he blew up that level of the colony ship they were on.

He’s alone in his TARDIS and thinks he’s failed. Again. That he’s been betrayed. Again.

What kind of person is going to be born from that?

That, I think, is a pretty compelling set of reasons for why he will not go gentle into that good night…

"Virtue is Only Virtue in Extremis"

The theme of series 10 has been fairly clear for awhile: who you are is defined by what you do when you’re alone, when you’re defeated, when you see no help coming. When you’re separated from those you love. When you’re in extremis. This was demonstrated clearly in “The Doctor Falls” by all three main characters: Twelve, Bill, and Missy.

This is particularly evident for Twelve, whose arc has been all about discovering who he is. By series ten, he has settled into his own skin. He knows who he is (a traveler, an idiot, a rock star, a genius from space), what he values (kindness), and what he aspires to be (a Doctor—or rather, the Doctor). But he comes to his true extremis this episode, separated from Nardole and Bill, betrayed by Missy, under attack from Cybermen in a situation nightmarishly similar to Trenzalore. So what does he do?

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Just a gentle reminder

The romance between the Doctor and Clara was real and canonical. This is not something that’s a matter of shipper wishful thinking. When you have the man who is ultimately responsible for every moment we see on screen, and the three actors charged with performing the Doctor and Clara, all referring to it as a romance (or variant statements thereof), and there’s dialogue and actions to support this, it’s canon by every measure.

It’s also canon that he loved Clara so much that he nearly destroyed time itself to save her (something The Husbands of River Song retroactively established that he considered doing for only one other person, his wife, by preparing to die on Trenzalore without having seen her off at Darillium). It is also canon that he allowed himself to have his memory wiped in order to protect her.

This is all canon. This isn’t me being a lovesick old fool saying “hey, you know if you squint hard enough you kinda see …” It’s verifiable. If someone put Whouffaldi on trial and you had to defend it in court, you could do so quite easily.

Series 10 is about to write a new chapter in the history. There have been rumours and spoilers and rumoured spoilers over the last day or so. We don’t know really what will happen over the 12 weeks. But the fact is even if there is not a single piece of respect paid to Clara Oswald, and what she and the Doctor shared together across not only two of his lives but, really, all of them thanks to the echoes, and even if Christmas breaks precedent and allows Twelve to enter the Time Stream without Clara being there - there is no erasing the Clara years from the show’s history and the amazing relationship that played out over 2 ½ seasons.

“With every victory, the town celebrated. In time, the Doctor seemed to forget he lived any other life. And the people of the town came to love the man who stayed for Christmas.”

When I get out of these catacombs, if I ever do, I’ll change my ways. No more adventuring for me. No more dashing about time and space, taking mad risks, playing blind man’s buff with death. I’ll return to Gallifrey and lead a life of quiet contemplation throughout all my remaining regenerations. I’ve still got a few centuries left. I’ll treasure them, eke them out second by second as if each heartbeat was a diamond, worth more than all the galaxy. I’ll … I’ll donate my TARDIS to the Presidential museum. They’ll appreciate that. Sightseers will point to it and ask: ‘Whatever happened to the madman who used to wander the universe in that thing?’ And the curator will say, ‘He learned his lesson and came home for good.’ Perhaps … perhaps I’ll be the curator.
—  The Briggs Doctor after running into his future tomb and dead TARDIS in Alan W Lear’s 1985 Cloud of Fear. To summarize, we have “no more”, the madman in a box, the Curator, the Doctor’s future tomb, and the Doctor’s dead TARDIS. Doctor Who is like poetry. It rhymes!
Twelve’s Hair - An Exercise in Metaphors

July 21: Twelve’s Hair. Enough said, tbh.

Enough said? Ya’ll, I don’t think we’ve said enough. If we look past the fluff, we’ll see that Twelve’s hair has been a sign of his character growth.

In “Deep Breath”, he may have dropped the mask of being a young, handsome, dashing time traveler like Ten or Eleven, but he’s still locked down. His hair isn’t as cropped close as, say, Nine’s, but he’s fresh off nine hundred years of loving and losing people in the town called Christmas on the planet called Trenzalore. He’s got some trauma to process, to say the least.

He feels, so deeply as always that it’s a wrench to be the Doctor when he’s not entirely sure just who the Doctor is without the Time War hanging over every choice and every action. The emotions run so deep and yet so close to the surface–he wants to be seen (especially by Clara) but yet, yet he keeps his emotions in tight control. He’s tough, yes, but it hurts to be tough. Being the “Man Who Stops the Monsters” is no easy task, especially for someone who’d rather be compassionate.

But spend enough time feeling safe with someone and spend enough time getting comfortable with oneself, and well, the hair starts to grow. By the time of Series 9, all of the Doctor is invited!

The hair is looser here, more wild, but not yet controlling its own gravity. But as Twelve and Clara wheel throughout the cosmos, it grows and grows even as his fear of losing Clara grows. And then? Then it happens.

But it turns out okay. Not great, but okay. He can’t remember Clara (or, at least, knows why he shouldn’t remember her and doesn’t pursue her). 

And then he has to oversee Missy’s execution, botches it on purpose, and Missy asks for lessons in being good. So he settles in as a professor with a lady in the vault in the basement. Then he meets Bill and they have tutoring sessions and they go on adventures! And he’s so much more open with his emotions–he understands their strength and the lengths he’ll go for those he loves, but he also knows that keeping that noise bottled up is bad for him and the universe.

So we get this, in “The Doctor Falls”, an open display of emotion and sentiment and wild tangles in front of the Master and Missy. He begs them to be kind, to do the right thing because it’s right, not because they’ll win or because they’ll beat somebody, or because they’ll personally profit, but because it’s decent and right and kind. Just kind.

This is the Doctor that’s always been there, even with the close cropped hair of Series 8. He’s just grown so comfortable with himself that he doesn’t need to keep his hair in any semblance of restraint or constraint to please anybody else. And now that he’s got that, he doesn’t want to let it go. He doesn’t want to change again and have to do all that again.

Thoughts on "The Doctor Falls"

•I have so much meta I want to write about this, so I’m getting this review out quick. More meta to come later.

•I cried. Really, really hard. I’m still crying. What.

•To recap: the Doctor thinks Bill is dead and doesn’t know that Missy was going to come back for him. This is depressing.

•Good ending for Bill. Wonderful, marvelous, perfect ending for Bill. Unlike Clara she’ll get to see her family/friends again. And I’m certain she and Heather will run into the Doctor again at some point.

•What a beautiful tie-in to “The Lie of the Land.” Bill resisted then and she resisted now.

•All the scenes with people unconsciously backing away from Bill broke my heart.

•Those scenes were really well-done, though. I can’t say that enough. Those scenes from Bill’s point-of-view that were Bill, switching to seeing a metal arm or helmet in others’ peripheral vision, was utterly surreal and perfect. I particularly loved the way the Doctor’s vision of Bill was intercut between human and Cyberman, and how it never made a difference.

•At least Missy got to die seeing pretty shapes in smoke. I hope the Doctor sees stars before the end.

•"Is it wrong that I…“ WHaT I thought this waS A FAMILY SHOW

•I love the subversion of the Doctor being the last battalion staying behind while others leave. Often he is the one who must command others to stay behind, to give their lives to give him a chance at victory. But in this moment, Twelve and Bill are the "disposables”, the guard as others escape. It’s not a trope that appears often in Who, for obvious reasons, but I love it when it appears.

•Twelve’s final speech to the Master, in a series filled with good speeches, was perhaps the best of the lot. Capaldi’s delivery was completely brilliant. I will be rewatching that scene again and again.

•I hope Nardole ends up marrying Hazran and having lots of children. He acts exasperated by everybody he meets but really he loves them. He destroys the Cybermen somehow, steers everyone away from the black hole, and helps Hazran rebuild. It’s a nice ending for him too.

•I’m really, really going to miss Nardole.

•And Bill.

•And Missy. (Weird.)

•This really is the end of a great era.

•Loved all the callbacks to “The Time of the Doctor” in here, from the wide shots of Twelve with a screwdriver, recalling Eleven’s last stand on Trenzalore, to the same themes popping up, to, of course, “When the Doctor was me” (SOB).

•Speaking of themes, I loved that “The Master Vainglorious” kept playing throughout this episode, because what a perfect title.

•I jest but actually I’m heartbroken. Missy deserved better. (Ummm okay so deserved is a strong word, but—the Doctor never knowing, never suspecting that his oldest friend, his family, adversary, enemy all in turn was going to come back to him? He’d better find out.)

•I’m sure that Missy will be back, however. Or the Master. Whichever.

•John Simm did a wonderful job this episode. This is what his Master should have been all along. He’s a wonderful actor but often he was hampered by Davies’ (imo) imperfect understanding of who the Master is as a character.

•Michelle Gomez did a great job as well, but that doesn’t really need saying at this point.

•One of Twelve’s greatest traits is his sheer stubbornness, his ability to go on long past when he logically should give up, but oh my gosh is it hard to watch onscreen. Every time the Cyberman hit him and he got up again, I flinched.

•Loved that montage of companions (and could-have-beens) calling the Doctor’s name. What a perfect way to bring him back.

•I lol'ed at the Tardis and the Doctor kind of sniping at each other. That was cute.

•Glad Twelve is hanging on for one more episode, because I’m going to miss P-Cap a lot. I’m insanely curious as to who the next Doctor will be, though.

•MEEP ONE IS BACK!!! Christmas can’t come soon enough. I don’t suppose they can swing Susan and Barbara and Ian as well…maybe Susan. Here’s hoping.

•I’m really loving the thematic brilliance of having the first incarnation of each regeneration cycle meet each other. They’re so different—Twelve’s speech about doing what is right and what is kind proves that—but there are some fundamental traits that stay the same.

•Series 10 has really been a blast, hasn’t it? I’ll miss Moffat, and Twelve, and Bill and Nardole and Missy and the vault and even the stupid Monks. But I’ll maybe miss Moffat the most, because he told the story of a girl who grew into normality and a girl who grew out of it and a girl who flew beyond it, and he told the story of someone who made the trauma of her childhood the joy of her adulthood, and someone who lost much but loved more, and through it all he told the story of a being who extended kindness toward everyone he met.

•Anyway, I’m going to stop with the sap for now. There’ll be time enough at Christmas.

•I have so much more to say, but that’s what meta is for, heh. What a bittersweet and beautiful ending for our Tardis team.


12 days of 12 | day 5 | Twelve’s style

Twelve’s variety in outfits (from that gorgeous velvet coat to the ridiculous holey jumper) is one of my favourite things about this Doctor - he’s certainly been the one who’s delved into the TARDIS wardrobe the most.

One particular aspect of his costumes that I love is how there’s a sense of how they reflect his character development.

In Series 8, it’s very formal. His jacket is often buttoned up with just a plain white shirt underneath (“I was going for minimalism, but I think I came out with magician!”) and the instances we see that diverge from that look a bit odd. In the wake of his 900 years at Trenzalore, he’s not quite sure of himself - who he is, and how exactly he wants to present himself, so he closes himself off.

In Series 9, following on from Last Christmas, there’s a shift in his wardrobe that’s indicative of how much more comfortable he is with himself. The ‘cosmic hobo guitarist’ look is utterly iconic. The velvet coat is my favourite and is totally fitting for the Gothic fairy tale stories he wears it in, with Clara venerating it as a “very Doctory” look.

Series 10 has a few different costumes for Twelve, like the t-shirt/hoodie/coat combination he wears at the university - it’s a very ‘at home’ look which accurately surmises how he presents himself in this series. He’s the most open he’s ever been, having dealt with all the big narrative and emotional baggage (not just in his era to this point, but all of New Who) and come out of it all the better. That is, until The Doctor Falls, where he’s faced with the reality of having to let go of all that once more and face the trauma of regeneration…