Posted by : Wendy B Sunday, 28 September 2014
So I've been trying to come to terms with Clara and yes, I know there's Impossible Girl stuff I'm missing that would help me, but I'm just going to focus on S8 Clara and how I've been having trouble with her having such a dominating role over the Doctor, which has gone so far as to involve her shaping him from childhood, which really bugged me.
I'm probably late to this party, but someone hit me with the epiphany the other day: the Doctor is a child now. The complaint from fans with Peter Capaldi's casting was that the Doctor is too old now, but the Doctor is supposed to regenerate younger--a prejudice that was addressed through Clara in episode one. Well he has regenerated younger, despite his appearance. His actions and reactions are very much childlike, though he maintains all the knowledge. And this overriding theme of fear is certainly reflective of a childlike mind. This realization makes me want to watch it with my intuitive little 6yo even more, because now I'm seeing her in the Doctor and vice versa.
I don't know what she was like with Matt Smith's Docgtor, but Clara, being a teacher, is the perfect companion for this new one because he very much needs the slap on the wrist. He doesn't have conscience issues solely because of the darkness the dalek saw in episode two, but because he has lost that moral filter in himself... or hasn't gained it yet. He's learning once more.
I'm also not used to the concept of a companion who leads her own life as well as running off with the Doctor, so I really liked that the this episode fully addresses that and had her firmly make that choice. And when Danny learned the truth, he really stepped up, in spite of her lies. He's not sappy boyfriend following along because she said she loves him. He's forcing her to face the truth and delivers lines like this that Clara can't simply walk away from:
"You only really know what someone thinks of you when you know what lies they've told you." ~DannyHe also reads the Doctor well, identifying why the Doctor despises him as both a soldier and as Clara's boyfriend. Although, Danny approaches the latter as the Doctor being her disapproving Space Dad who only wants the best for his daughter. His actions certainly do fit, but an adult would be much better at articulating that disapproval, instead of acting out and trying to distract Clara as the Doctor does, again showing his childlike nature. To a father, no one is good enough for his daughter. But to a child, "mother is the name for God," and anyone who tries to steal her away is the enemy.
"You've explained me to him, but you haven't explained him to me." ~The DoctorObviously, there's enough maturity in the Doctor for him to rationalize things and accept Danny on Clara's terms by the end of the episode, even if he doesn't respect him, but there's still the promise of conflict there between the two of them.
The episode title covers so many things for each of the three major characters. The caretaker is what the Doctor disguises himself as and believes himself to be, while Clara is his caretaker, and Danny becomes, to an extent, hers--though not in a rescuing the damsel in distress kind of way. He shows the utmost respect for her and her capabilities, but also makes it clear when he distracts the blitzer, that he's there every step of the way. He's not there to rescue her, but he's got her back, like a good soldier should. Danny also brings in the point that the Doctor turns his companions into soldiers, despite this Doctor's utter disdain for them. Clara might be able to command the Doctor in many situations, but when the shit hits the fan, she unthinkingly obeys his commands without fear, even when they threaten her own life, justifying that with the notion that he's never let her down and she trusts him. Danny forces her to question that. His ultimatum is a bit harsh, but keeping in mind that he has some serious PTSD over his soldiering days, and experience as a soldier commanded to do the things that have caused him these issues, I see this as his fear not only for her, but for himself. He wants to make sure she never suffers what he has, but also wants to protect himself. But is he staying with her now because he loves her? Or because he wants the exciting adventures that her lies had been denying him?
And finally, Missy. The police officer's induction into her "heaven," throws off my theory a bit. Unlike the first two victims, he was not directly in contact with the Doctor, resulting in him choosing to sacrifice himself to help the Doctor defeat the enemy. But he was in the way of a particular enemy the Doctor eventually had to face. Missy cheerfully greeted the other two sacrifices. Was her disdain for him and his entry into this cold, clinical waiting room instead due to his lack of sacrificial lamb status?