The Clara Chronicles: Part 1

It’s no secret to anyone I’ve talked Doctor Who with for very long that I really can’t stand the character of Clara Oswin Oswald. She has her moments where she’s not horrible, but in general, I dislike her times a thousand. So I’ve decided that as I’m rewatching her episodes, I’m going to document the waxing and waning and re-waxing of my dislike of her.

Obviously, these posts will be rife with spoilers.

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Here we go!

I quite liked Clara during the “Impossible Girl” story line. I thought it was a clever story line and was quite excited to see it through. However, I think Clara’s time should have ended with the “Impossible Girl” story and a new primary companion should have been introduced. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of “I like her” reports at the beginning of her jaunt as the Doctor’s Companion. She wasn’t always horrible.

Season 7, episode 1: “Asylum of the Daleks”

tl;dr I like her.

We first meet Clara before we know she’s Clara. She goes by Oswin Oswald and appears to be nothing more than a one-shot supporting character. She’s smart, witty, and has a compelling story line. You can’t help but like her and you can’t help but feel bad for her when you discover that she is actually a Dalek.

Season 7, Christmas episode, “The Snowmen”

tl;dr I like her

Seeing Clara on-screen for the first time is startling because we recognize her as the human-turned-Dalek from “Asylum of the Daleks.” Seeing her interact with the Doctor is sad on a number of levels. The Doctor lost Amy and Rory in the previous episode and has now been traveling alone for quite a while – which is never good for him. Also, he never actually saw Oswin as a human, only as a Dalek; he doesn’t know what she looks like, so he doesn’t recognize her in the streets of 19th century London.

Clara is a part-time waitress and part-time governess who is clever enough to notice that there is something wrong with the snow. She runs into the Doctor who is trying very hard not to get involved in human problems anymore – he’s become jaded. But Clara won’t give up! She is determined that he can help solve the mysterious problem of the snow that can form itself into snowmen.

Clara begins putting things together about the snow and the dead governess frozen in the pond, and she tries to find the Doctor again to ask for help. She encounters some of the Doctor’s friends, who reveal just how much the Doctor has changed since Amy and Rory died – “The Doctor doesn’t help people. Not anyone, not ever.” Clara is able to come up with the one word to lure the Doctor out of his reclusiveness: “Pond.” She’s thinking of the dead-governess-pond, but of course the Doctor thinks Amy Pond.

The Doctor gets involved in human goings-on once again and gloriously saves humanity from the psychic creepy snow. In the process, however, Clara dies saving the Doctor’s life. After her death, the Doctor discovers she is in fact Clara Oswin Oswald and makes the connection to Dalek Oswin.

In this episode, Clara is incredibly good for the Doctor and helps him get out of his post-Pond funk. She’s funny and selfless and intriguing. Way to go, Clara.

 

Time Travel?

If you could time travel to any year, which one would you visit?

I’ll admit it, I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who. What Whovian hasn’t dreamed of the TARDIS appearing and the Doctor grabbing your hand and telling you, “Run!”? All of time and space within your grasp! You can go anywhere, meet anyone, witness anything! Some of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who are when they visit the past and meet historical figures. Vincent Van Gogh, Winston Churchill, Shakespeare, Madame de Pompadour, and so, so many more!

The Doctor and Amy Pond running

Made by the wonderful iliaskrzs on Deviantart: http://iliaskrzs.deviantart.com/art/Doctor-Who-RUN-415149178

As fun as traveling with the Doctor would be, the Doctor is fictional. The “historical figures” he visits may have the names of real people from real places, but ultimately, within the confines of the show, they are fictional too. The fictional Doctor travels to fictional places and meets fictional people.

Real life is different.

Real history is full of disease. Real history is full of injustice. Real history is full of… yuck.

I’m not saying the present is perfect. Disease is still a huge problem in a lot of places, injustice still occurs, and life can still generally be yuck.

But.

Vaccines are amazing. So many thousands and thousands of people are alive purely because of vaccines. Beyond vaccines, modern medicine is truly amazing. Sicknesses/ailments we view as “simple” or don’t worry about because we have over-the-counter, cheap medicine for would have been a death sentence in the past. I like not dying of preventable/treatable diseases.

Many people still find themselves suffering from injustice, but that percentage of people has gone down drastically. And for many people, the injustice they face is not as great as the injustices faced in the past. People don’t own people anymore. Women can own property and vote and get jobs (even if they still aren’t paid the same as men) and wear blue jeans. Gay people don’t have to hide who they are.

I don’t want to travel to a time period where I am going to be shamed for wearing shorts and a t-shirt or for not having long hair. I don’t want to travel to a time where I don’t have electricity or antibiotics or indoor plumbing or air conditioning or any of the other wonderous things I take for granted in my daily life. There is no other time in human history I would rather be than right here in 2016.

“Well, what about the future?” you ask.

No. Just no.

I enjoy seeing how the creators of Doctor Who and other sci-fi shows/movies envision the future, I really do. I especially enjoy watching older movies about the future where “the future” is now or has already happened (like Back to the Future II) so I can laugh at how wrong everything is.

But once again, real life is different. Knowing anything that is to happen in the future seems like an incredible burden. No matter what you learn about the future, you can’t tell anyone – they’d never believe you. Beyond that, though, imagine if you knew that in 17 years World War III was going to break out and 30% of the earth’s population was going to die horrendous deaths during it. And there is nothing you can do to prevent it. I do believe I would go insane with knowledge like that.

I don’t believe the future is meant to be known. It’s supposed to be a mystery, supposed to remain hidden until its appointed unveiling. As nice as it would be to know the next mega lotto powerball super jackpot numbers (who couldn’t use some extra flow?), knowing anything at all about the future seems a much larger curse than blessing.

So when would I time travel to? Right now. I like being right now.

“I Kept Biting Them”

In the first episode of the fifth series of the British TV show Doctor Who, the main character, the Doctor, reunites with one his friends, Amy Pond. This is the scolding she gives him for his too-long absence:

Amy Pond: Twelve years!
The Doctor: You hit me with a cricket bat!
Amy Pond: Ha! Twelve years!
The Doctor: A cricket bat!
Amy Pond: Twelve years, and four psychiatrists!
The Doctor: Four?
Amy Pond: I kept biting them!
The Doctor: Why?
Amy Pond: They said you weren’t real.

The Doctor’s twelve year absence left scars on Amy, scars that led her parents to believe she had serious issues. She bounced from psychiatrist to psychiatrist, but none of them were able to help her because she was irrevocably convinced of the Doctor’s existence. When anyone dared to question his existence, she did the only reasonable thing: She bit them.

Amy’s scars weren’t as bad as her parents and psychiatrists believed because the Doctor actually was real. She really had met him, and he really did come back for her. She wasn’t crazy. But she was scarred.

Amy was scarred because she put her hope in someone and that someone let her down. Broke a promise. Abandoned her.

Those are issues enough to cause a person to need counseling.

Life is scary and scaring. Sometimes life takes you through childhood and adolescence and leaves more scars than unblemished skin. And sometimes, when that happens, you don’t even realize it has happened. You spend years denying anything is wrong, you’re not scarred.

And then one day you wake up and realize, “Oh my word. I’m broken.”

I’ve been in one-on-one counseling for three years solid, with another year and a half of group therapy before that. I haven’t bitten any of my counselors (yet), but there have definitely been times when they have told me things I didn’t want to hear. I have been blessed beyond belief to have a counselor who is wise enough to recognize when I am and am not ready to deal with certain issues. She recognized anger issues in me the first time we met, but was willing to work with me for two years before I was ready to start dealing with the anger issues. I wasn’t ready. She recognized relationship dysfunction from the first time we met, but worked with me for two and a half years (past the end of the relationship, I might add) before I was ready to deal the dysfunction. I wasn’t ready.

I tried to start reading Toxic Faith by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton yesterday. I thought I was ready to start intentionally dealing with my church issues. I was excited about it. 

I was wrong. I’m just not ready.

Maybe next year?