It’s been a few days since Christmas when Doctor Who dropped a bombshell about that new companion we’ve all been waiting for, and I think it’s time to start figuring out who she is.
I’ll admit that when I saw that the new companion was going to be named Clara and played by the same actress that played Oswin in Asylum of the Daleks, I was sort of annoyed. I thought it was going to be another case of reusing actors with a hastily explained “this is why they look the same”! And yes, I’m referring to you, Martha’s identical cousin who works at Torchwood.
Instead, they revealed that Oswin and Clara are one in the same. If that’s not a plot twist ripe for crazy theories, I don’t know what is. So, since it is Doctor Who, and Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who at that, I’d thought I’d try out one of my crazier theories, which is:
Clara Oswin Oswald is River Song.
Does this sound wilder than Spatial Genetic Multiplicity to explain why Gwen (Torchwood) and Gwyneth (Doctor Who) look the same? Yes, and admittedly so, but let me explain myself anyway.
1. “Watch me run.”
For me, one of the most potent moments in River Song’s long and incredibly complicated history is when she makes a speech in Silence in the Library. There, before her “death” we hear her say “you watch us run”. Then, when her data ghost is transferred to The Library, she has a beautiful monologue about “running with The Doctor” as way to describe her time with him. In saying “watch me run,” it’s almost as if The Doctor realizes that this is another beginning for he and River, and he makes a reference for only himself to understand. In other words, he realizes he may still have one Pond left.
2. One Word: Pond
In The Snowmen, there is a great scene where Clara is only allowed to explain why she needs to talk to The Doctor by using one word at a time. When asked what word can sum up everything that she needs to tell The Doctor, she says “Pond”, which after the traumatic events of Angels in Manhattan would be exactly the right word to choose. However, let’s pretend she didn’t know anything about this. “Pond”, then, is probably the most useless word she could have chosen. Divorced from Rory and Amy, “pond” doesn’t convey any of the urgency that she needed to get across. It doesn’t even explain why the pond that hold the evil ice monster is important. A few more pertinent words come to mind, really, like “children” and “nightmares”. But, then again, I probably would have failed that test, and The Doctor would be descending to a planet full of ice people much to his shock and dismay.
Still, despite it not being the most sensible word to use to describe danger, somewhere in her, Clara knew that “Pond” was the right word to say.
Now, it may seem like I’m stretching with this association, but Moffat is not a writer of convenience. He wouldn’t write this scene as just a way to get The Doctor interested in what’s happening around him by sheer happenstance of the homophonic “pond”. That’s more of a Russell T Davies way of writing. Normally, I would concede that this is just me reading far too much into this, but then I remember that it’s Steven Moffat, and he doesn’t write a word without it meaning something important later on. Even if Clara isn’t connected to River Song, I’ll wager she is connected Rory and Amy in some way.
3. The Data Ghosts
The people who had been saved in The Library in the episode Silence in the Library, and The Forest of the Dead, rematerialize at the end of the episode as living flesh and blood. My supposition, then, is that Clara, by showing up in various different timelines despite dying in two of them, is actually River Song, manifesting through the transcendental consciousness of The Library.
Now, why she always physically manifests as Clara, and not the River as we know her, is another story altogether. I would suggest that Clara is what River would have looked like if her genome wasn’t temporally messed with to have regenerations; that Clara is the little girl that regenerated in that alley way in the episode Day of the Moon.
Long story short, though, is that we don’t really know all the rules to The Library. There may be a way for River to exist outside of it.
4. The Kiss
I’m unabashedly a fan of the relationship between River and The Doctor, so I was initially shocked when Clara kissed him. “But he’s married!” I shouted at the screen. Then I came up with my crack pot theory that Clara was River, and everything was all right.
Yes, I was a bit mortified at first, but then I became aware of the fact that the way she flirted with him was definitely the way River always flirts with him, which made me realize that if Clara was River at a different time, there is probably something there that he’s reacting to. After all, Time Lords, no matter their regeneration, can always recognize one another. The principle may not completely apply to River seeing as she’s not really a Time Lord, but there could be something there that he sort of knows. It could also explain why he’s not totally uncomfortable with him flirting with her.
A more workable theory:
Clara is actually Captain Jack Harkness in disguise, which explains why she keeps coming back to life. Then, he keeps taking RetCon for some reason, which explains why she doesn’t remember things.
Okay, so it’s all pretty crackpot. I get that. My other theory is a complicated mess about Gangers, so I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t enough clues to figure out just who Clara is, though that obviously hasn’t stopped me from trying. I am, however, very excited to see what this new companion brings, be she River Song or not.