Ever since the ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas episode, ‘The Snowmen,’ aired, one of the many questions that has bombarded the ‘Doctor Who’ boards is “Who is Clara?” Many have felt she could be the Rani, Captain Jack’s daughter, Rose and the Meta Tenth Doctor’s daughter (which gives shudders as then Clara would have kissed her father something fierce! Ew!), a version of the Master, the Valeyard and even River Song.
While there may be valid reasons why some may think Clara is River Song, many of those seem to just center their arguments on the Nu Who episodes of the last 7 years. What some fans may forget is that this is the beginning of the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’ and Steven Moffat has said that the second half of the season would give homage to these classic episodes. Those who are familiar with the classic series have already seen some of his nods in the episode of ‘The Snowmen’ and with the new opening sequence, the new look of the TARDIS, and the new big bad for the rest of the season all relating to the classic series, why wouldn’t Moffat also have a link to the days of ol’ with the new companion?
Hear me out…
1. The new opening is a combination of previous ‘Doctor Who’ openings. If you take a look at the opening titles of pre-2005 shows, you’ll see that Moffat brought back the return of the Doctor’s face in the title as well a familiar sounding beat:
The New Opening:
2. The new look of the TARDIS console is also a mish mash of different parts of past interiors. The sleek look is a throwback to the futuristic sleek look of the early Doctors’ console before it went all steampunk.
3. The return of the Great Intelligence. Back when the Doctor was in his second incarnation, he fought against this same being. Moffat has given another nod to the classic series by bringing the Doctor’s nemesis back – and a good one too! The Great Intelligence is a disembodied being that exists beyond space and time, one that would surely be a challenge to the Doctor and one that Moffat has already said would play an important role in the rest of the season.
4. While many felt that the Doctor dressing up as Sherlock Holmes was a nod to Moffat’s other series ‘Sherlock,’ classic Whovians many remember that the Fourth Doctor also dressed up as Holmes during the Victorian era in the story arc ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang.’
So, obviously, Moffat is infusing classic Whovian episodes into the Nu-Whovian world. So why wouldn’t he do so with Clara?
The first time we meet Clara, she dies in ‘Asylum of the Daleks.’ This is the same way Sara Kingdom, a companion to the First Doctor, also dies (via a Dalek). The second time we see her is in Victorian England where she comes across the effects of the Great Intelligence. This is also similar to the Second Doctor’s companion Victorica Waterfield who was not only from the Victorian era but also dealt with the Daleks when she first met the Doctor but was also the first companion (besides Jamie) to have dealt with the Great Intelligence. The next time we see Clara is at the end of ‘The Snowmen’ where she looks like she’s from the modern day era, similar to Sarah Jane Smith, companion of the Third and Fourth Doctor. Also, if you notice the date of Clara’s birth on the headstone, she was born on November 23, the same day the first episode of ‘Doctor Who’ aired and died 26 years later, the same number of years that ‘Doctor Who’ was on the air before it was cancelled.
As for the theory that Clara could be River, the end to River Song’s story is such a wonderful bittersweet finale that to have her reincarnated into Clara would diminish the impact of her “death.” I find it very hard to believe Moffat would take all the time he has put into her backstory (and even filmed 5 interstials of her and the Doctor’s time together as well as a sequence of the night they spend together before she left to go to the Library which was added to the Season 6 Bluy-Ray/DVD set) just to throw it all out the window and reincarnate/regenerated her data self into this new companion. Why reboot River when her story has already played out and done so eloquently like a Greek tragedy? That would be like bring Amy back from the past!
Yes, Clara used the word “pond” to get the Doctor to help her, but remember, the last governess had drowned in the pond that did not melt like the snow did and that was where the danger had lied. As a writer, what other word could possibly be used at the moment of time when the Doctor was mourning his past companions that would make him help. It was a nice touch of writing, not an indication that Clara is River. If you recall, the Carrionite “witch” in the episode ‘The Shakespeare Code’ used the word ‘Rose’ on the Tenth Doctor (as he was still mourning her loss) to which he replied is the word that made him continue to fight.
After all this, it can be argued that Clara could be a compilation of all the past companions or at the very least is someone or something that is connected to the classic Who era and to the Doctor but has not yet been introduced in the Nu-Who series.
What do you think fellow Whovians? Still think Clara could be River? If not, who do you think she could be?