Run, you clever girl

My husband and I were just discussing the other day how we have had a lucky spat of quality sci-fi lately after a drought the last few years. We now have Star Trek: Picard (which has proven pretty good so far), Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (which ended the recent trilogy magnificently), and the last few Dr. Who episodes have even been less painfully awful than the rest of Chris Chibnall’s stories up to this point. 

Sorry, my fellow nerds, but we are NOT huge fans of current showrunner Chris Chibnall’s writing nor Jodie Whitaker’s Doctor at nuestra casa. Chris “Kill em’ all” Chibnall, we call him…His style of storytelling stands in stark contrast to Steven Moffat’s (the previous Dr. Who showrunner) who had a reputation for never really killing off anyone. At any rate, the last few Dr. Who episodes have sucked a little less. But that’s a subject for another blog post.

What I intended to do in this post was revisit the previous Moffat era of Dr. Who. I love Steven Moffat—he is a good writer and his time as showrunner provided us with some really excellent Doctor Who, as well as my favorite companion of all time: Clara Oswald. There were some shaky bits here and there (mostly in the first season or two and his last season as showrunner). But everything in between is pretty F***ing glorious. And the best of it corresponds really closely with what I’ve come to call the “Clarathon.” This is the period of time from mid-way Season 7 through Season 9 when she was the Doctor’s companion. 

You see, when I say “Clara is my favorite companion” what I really mean is my love for her burns brighter than the light of 1000 suns, that she is my totem, and I have a huge girl-crush on her. 

I think Jenna Coleman is a fabulous actress (she’s also been killing it in “Victoria” on PBS) and her companion can go toe-to-toe with the Doctor, which is probably my favorite thing about her. When Moffat wrote her, he wrote her as the Time Lord’s equal rather than just another average Jane Doe so we could all relate to her more easily. In moments of crisis, she is every bit as fast-talking and able to think on her feet as the Doctor himself. She is plucky, clever, strong-willed and independent–a force to be reckoned with. She’s also not afraid to give the Doctor Hell when he needs it.

“Y’know, you’re just the same as all the rest; “Sweet little Clara, works at the Rose and Crown, ideas above her station!” Well, for your information, I’m not sweet on the inside and I’m certainly not little.”

From the start there is terrific chemistry between her and Matt Smith, but unlike several of the previous companions who were woefully besotted with the Doctor, you sense that he is more infatuated with her than she is with him. She’s never more than a hair breadth away from having the upper hand, and that is pretty remarkable.

She is also arguably the most important companion in terms of her impact on the Doctor’s storyline—although I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I’m hoping I can turn a few converts with my compelling arguments today and get any uninitiated readers to watch for themselves and see what I’m talking about. Suffice to say that the Doctor wouldn’t be who or where he is today without Clara Oswald.

But one of the greatest aspects of the “Clarathon” is watching the story of the relationship between Clara and the Doctor

It bridges one VERY dramatic regeneration from tweedy young Smith to old grumpy-pants (don’t get me wrong–I like old grumpy-pants). As such, the relationship dynamic with each was very different. Her relationship with Matt Smith was much more coy and flirtatious while her interactions with Peter Capaldi more closely resemble a relationship between a girl and her annoying older brother. Still, their chemistry prevails. Their friendship runs deep and is truly epic; taking them (quite literally) to the end of the universe and back. It perserveres through personal battles, losses, and time. She becomes his best friend in a way that even other notably close companions haven’t in the past because in this case she is his match. Even more so than River Song, if you ask me. To be perfectly honest–I found River Song irritating at times. But I digress.

I feel so strongly about all this that I’ve even taken the time to make a list of all the episodes I consider to be my favorites from the Steven Moffat era (in case anyone wants a roadmap to guide their Dr. Who binging session). I even made up a diagram of the timeline, denoting the precise location of the Clarathon. My little nerd heart goes pitter patter at the thought of a good list. Bon appetit.

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