Doctor Who Season 9 Episode 10: Face the Raven

Spoilers abound, so if you, like me, are watching this over a year late {ed. note: now more like seven years}, be warned.

So, that’s the end of Clara Oswald.

I know that Steve Moffat thinks I should feel sadness and loss and pride in her bravery at the end and sympathy for the torture the Doctor will be putting himself through over her loss.  I expected I would feel elated that Capaldi will now be unshackled, that we’ve seen the last of the worst scrappy since the first one, that the plot-distorting author’s pet won’t be around to muck up the story any more.

All I actually feel is exhausted.

The entire arc of Clara has been a relentless grind.  I don’t blame Jenna Coleman, who did as fine a job as anyone could with the role.  And though I might be inviting the slings and arrows of the Internet, this really isn’t a gender thing.  Doctor Who has had strong women as interesting characters, and the list of those who I think enhanced the show is long: Sarah Jane Smith, River Song, Harriet Jones, Kate Stewart, Osgood.  Heck, even though I didn’t care for the characters much, I’ll admit that something was gained through the presence of Rose Tyler or even Donna Noble.

But Clara was just annoying.

Even the manner of her death was annoying, as well as telegraphed throughout the season.  For a brief moment I thought they were going to go somewhere with the obvious death wish she’d developed since the passing of Danny Pink (another arc that left me unmoved, but whatever).  How damaged do you have to be to take on increasingly dire risks and just assuming that the Doctor will be there to bail you out?  How mind-blowingly entitled?  And despite all the protestations of how important he was to her, and how much she worried about him, Clara embraced exactly the selfish behavior that would cause him the most agony.

(There really is a good story lurking in there somewhere, that in the hands of a more capable writing staff could have turned into an excellent exploration of grief and death and how we deal with it, or we don’t.  Sadly that story never got to see the light of day.)

As with much of Clara, there was just a ton of wasted potential.

{ed note: And they couldn’t just let her stay dead, either, of course.  Gah!}

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