One of the mysteries we can look forward to exploring in the upcoming episodes of Doctor Who is exactly who, or what, the Doctor’s new companion is.
We last saw the lovely Jenna-Louise Coleman (the actress playing Clara) as Oswin Oswald in Asylum of the Daleks where she was an ill-fated Junior Entertainment Manager on a cruise liner that crash-landed on a planet full of insane Daleks. They promptly took quite a fancy to her (understandable) and turned her into one of their own.
The episode ends with the planet being blasted from space by a Dalek fleet, almost certainly killing Oswin in the process.
Fade to black, cue credits.
Except….. Jenna returns in the Christmas 2012 episode as Clara, which is set in Victorian Earth. Is she simply a different character – a distant relative perhaps? It’s possible, but what we have seen in teasers and trailers so far hints that she has the same quirky-yet-smart personality Oswin possessed. While other companions have previously appeared other roles in the past (such as Freema Agyeman, who played both Dr. Martha Jones and Adeola Oshodi, her cousin, in an earlier episode) it’s too much of a stretch for a central character in the first show-stopper episode in a new series to then become a companion with a different name without something going on.
This is Doctor Who after all, and it does love to tease.
This leaves two possibilities Clara is from Oswin’s past, or she is (somehow) from her future. It’s unlikely she is from earlier in Oswin’s timestream as that smacks too much of River Song’s story, and messing with crossing timelines yet again would be bad form. That’s been done already.
I think that Oswin somehow survived the eplosion. Or, more accurately – she didn’t, but regenerated.
Here’s my theory.
Oswin is Clara is Jenny. She is the Doctor’s Daughter, a female pseudo-clone grown from the Doctor’s DNA who died (then regenerated) way back in a 2008 episode of the same name. This explains her intelligence and Doctor-like personality, as well as how she could regenerate. Last time she did this she regenerated into the same form (albeit with help from the planet’s Progenation Machine), but it’s possible that some time between the 2008 story and Asylum of the Daleks she regenerated again into her new appearance, or altered it in some other way.
It’s not the most likely of possibilities I admit, but it’s one I find appealing because it opens up the possibility of the Doctor, River and Clara all having at least one adventure together as father, mother and child, and that’s like the Holy Trinity of Doctor Who geekdom. Bring back K9 as the family dog and you’re there. The Doctor finally gets the taste of a normal life. For a while, at least.
The flaw in this theory is that Oswin showed no hint of knowing the Doctor previously in Asylum of the Daleks. That could be due to Daleks wiping her memory of him as a part of her “therapy”. She was in the wing of the Asylum for Daleks who had previously encountered the Doctor, so perhaps there’s a clue there. We’ll see.
It’s much more likely that the Doctor travels back in time to swoop down at the last minute and save Oswin because he realizes that Clara’s future is too important to let die. Either that or Clara (being the clever bod that she is) “borrows” the TARDIS and rescues herself. That would be quite fun.
What do you think?