Use of Clara
Season 9, Episode 10
Aired: Nov. 21, 2015
Director: Justin Molotnikov
Writer: Sarah Dollard
“She enjoyed that way too much.”
“Tell me about it. It’s an ongoing problem.”
– The Doctor
Because of the current trend in cable dramas of misleading fans about major characters’ deaths (and because of the fact that there are two episodes left this season), I feel like I have to start by wondering if Clara is actually dead. Though her death seemed fairly definitive, it is possible that the Doctor can find a way to bring her back. Sure, Jenna Coleman is leaving the show, but that doesn’t mean they have to kill her off.
Doctor Who doesn’t shy away from tragic endings for its companions – Rose being stranded in an alternate dimension, Amy and Rory being trapped back in time and Donna, poor Donna, having her brain completely destroyed after being linked with the Doctor. But while the Doctor’s regular companions have been killed in the original show, it is something the modern Doctor Who has shied away from.
But assuming Clara’s death isn’t undone in some way – and, for the moment it seems quite definitive – it was a pretty powerful sendoff. There has always been tragedy surrounding Clara. The first time we met (a version of) her, she was trapped inside a Dalek and eventually died. Another version of her died in a Christmas special. And last season, her boyfriend Danny was tragically killed. So a dark ending seemed a bit inevitable.
Plus, this season has done a great job foreshadowing Clara doing something impulsive that would cost her her life. The show has really played up her recklessness. Traveling with the Doctor, she began to feel as invincible as he is. But even the Doctor dies – it’s just that he can regenerate. A human companion isn’t as resilient as he is.
I thought the scene itself was done really well. I liked Clara attempting to be brave, being the one person who doesn’t run in the face of death. It was fittingly tragic. I know the fan reactions overall have been mixed, but I’ve always liked Clara and it was tough to see her meet such a cruel end.
Her death puts us in a really intriguing spot as we head into the final two episodes. Clara is (presumably) dead, the Doctor is stranded without the TARDIS and he’s filled with rage. Plus, he’s missing his confession dial and we don’t know who made the deal with Ashildr to trap and imprison the Doctor. I’m excited to see what comes next.
The rest of the episode was fun as well. I thought there was good world building with the trap street. There was sort of a cool Harry Potter vibe about the hidden London street full of aliens. It also served as a nice contrast to the Zygons – these aliens who can’t camouflage themselves have their own secret community with its own rules and customs.
And another thing …
- Who watched Rigsy’s kid when they leave his apartment? At one point later in the episode, he’s on the phone with Lucy’s mother, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone else there when Rigsy, the Doctor and Clara are in the apartment.
- What would have happened if Ashildr took the Quantum Shade from Clara? She’s immortal, so could the raven kill her or would she somehow survive?
- In case you didn’t remember (which I didn’t at first), Rigsy was introduced last season in the episode “Flatline.” He was the graffiti artist who helped save the day.
- Rigsy tagging the TARDIS to turn it into a memorial for Clara was a really sweet Easter egg at the end of the episode.
- Missy and/or the Daleks seem like the smart money for who is behind the Doctor’s trap, but I’d be curious to hear other theories if anyone has them.
Written by Joel Murphy. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org