Just who is the mysterious Clara Oswald, otherwise known as The Impossible Girl?
Clara Oswald was the companion to the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors, first introduced in Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary year.
Well, to be more accurate, she actually appeared in 2012’s ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ as the even more mysterious Oswin Oswald – a space traveller who (spoiler alert) had become trapped on the Daleks‘ asylum planet and had been converted into one of the metal mutants. She died before the Eleventh Doctor could even see her face.
Clara Oswald then appeared in the 2012 Christmas special ‘The Snowmen.’ Set in Victorian London, this version of Clara was living a dual life as a barmaid and a governess and (again, spoiler alert) died trying to protect the Latimer family from the Great Intelligence‘s ice monster.
The Eleventh Doctor then met Clara Oswald a third time in the year 2013. In ‘The Bells of Saint John,’ Clara phoned the TARDIS trying to get help with her broken computer. Apparently, she got the Doctor’s number from “the woman in the shop,” and before long she was embroiled in a terrifying plan to take control of the world using the Wi-Fi networks. But, this time, she survived, and at the end of the episode she joined the Eleventh Doctor on his travels through time and space.
Of course, the Doctor wasn’t just looking for a travelling companion. He was intrigued by Clara Oswald (whom he dubbed “The Impossible Girl”) and wanted to know why he kept encountering her throughout time and space. Who, or what, was she, and what was she hiding from him?
Nothing, as it turned out – but there was more to Clara Oswald than met the eye. The truth behind the many Claras wasn’t revealed until the 2013 episode ‘The Name of the Doctor,’ which saw the Great Intelligence trying to eradicate the Doctor from time and space. To do this, he lured the Doctor to his own grave on the planet Trenzalore, where the dying TARDIS had left the Doctor’s timestream exposed. The Intelligence planned to enter this timestream and undo all of the Doctor’s victories, ensuring his complete destruction and removal from the universe.
To counter this, Clara Oswald followed the Great Intelligence into the timestream and undid his meddling. This resulted in multiple versions of herself being scattered throughout the universe – even on Gallifrey, where she helped the First Doctor and Susan to steal a TARDIS and escape into the cosmos.
With the Great Intelligence‘s plans defeated, the Doctor followed Clara Oswald into his own timestream and rescued her, but not before she could expose one of his biggest secrets – the truth behind his “forgotten” incarnation, the War Doctor, who battled against the Daleks during the Time War.
When viewers next caught up with Clara Oswald in 2013’s ‘The Day of the Doctor,’ she was working as a school teacher at Coal Hill School. It was here that she met the handsome Danny Pink, a fellow teacher, and they began dating.
But with this being Doctor Who, it was a far from stable relationship. Danny quickly became entangled in the Doctor’s “alternative lifestyle,” and in the 2014 episode ‘Listen’ the Doctor and Clara actually met one of his future relatives – the time traveller Orson Pink, who had some sort of connection to Danny’s timeline (and possibly Clara’s) although the specific details were never explained.
Tragically, Clara Oswald lost Danny in the episode ‘Dark Water’ when he was hit by a car, and despite trying to force the Doctor to travel back in time to save him (by throwing the TARDIS keys into a volcano!), Clara ultimately had to accept that her boyfriend was gone forever.
However, it was during the course of this adventure that the Doctor and Clara Oswald finally learned how they came together. The mysterious “woman in the shop” turned out to be none other than the Master himself. Or, more specifically, the Master herself; the Doctor’s arch enemy had regenerated into a woman, and was now going by the name Missy. And to make matters worse, she had concocted a villainous plan to convert cadavers into Cybermen, and this included Danny Pink.
However, Danny actually became instrumental in defeating Missy’s plans, and wiped out her cyber army by blowing himself up.
It was then that the rumours of the Hybrid began to circulate. This, apparently, was a being that was mentioned in the Matrix prophecies on Gallifrey, which stated that a certain creature – crossbred from two warrior races – would stand over the ruins of Gallifrey and unravel the web of time. Rassilon – one of the founders of Time Lord society – feared this creature, and imprisoned the Twelfth Doctor inside a Confession Dial to try and extract his knowledge about it.
And whilst the Doctor claimed on more than one occasion that he, himself, was the Hybrid, others theorised that the creature was actually the pairing of the Doctor and Clara Oswald, although this was never confirmed.
But why would the Doctor claim to be the Hybrid? He came to this conclusion as a result of his reckless actions; in the episode ‘Face the Raven,’ Clara Oswald died in a place called Trap Street, and in order to save her, the Doctor made a bargain with the Time Lords. He promised to tell them everything he knew about the Hybrid if they helped save Clara’s life. They agreed, and the Doctor broke into Clara Oswald’s timeline at the moment before her death, and pulled her out.
Alas, this version of Clara Oswald was not brought back indefinitely, and was living on borrowed time. Clara therefore left the Doctor and went off to explore the universe in her very own stolen TARDIS, along with an immortal Viking known as Ashildr. But this was not before she had erased all of the Doctor’s memories of her. She did this because she didn’t want him to abandon his oath of being the Doctor; he was prepared to go to any lengths to save her life, and this wasn’t something she could allow to happen.
So for many years, the Doctor had no memory of Clara Oswald. He did, however, remember her in the moments before his regeneration, prompted by a glass avatar that had taken the form of his companion Bill. As a result, all his memories of her were returned to his head.
So as you can see, the life (and death) of Clara Oswald is a complicated one – possibly the most complex of all the Doctor Who companions. What is your favourite story involving Clara? And do you think she could be one half of the Hybrid creature? Let me know in the comments below.
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