“You Made Me Better”: A Completely Self-Indulgent Fandom Ramble

I mentioned last week that I’d be talking a lot about these two:

This is partially because Jenna Louise Coleman and Matt Smith have ridiculous chemistry on screen, and she is already far and away my favorite Eleven companion.

It is also, though, because their relationship’s progression is giving me lots of fangirly feelings.  It has a lot of unique elements to it, a lot that makes me think and question and be excited to see what happens next.  At the same time, it feels very familiar on some levels. It reminds me a lot of this relationship:

FYI, it’s really hard to find static images of these two o.O

Now before all of the Rose fangirls in the world form an angry mob and come after me, let me just say that I LOVE ROSE TYLER.  Until very recently, I was 100% sure that she would always be my favorite companion and nobody would ever take her place ever in the world ever.  She and Donna were my top two companions, and Rose had (and still has) a HUGE lead compared to Donna.

Then Clara happened, and I think I may love her as much as I love Rose.

Why?

Because Clara is for Eleven what Rose was for Nine/Ten.

I shall now explain.

Does anybody remember this quote?

Doctor Clone: But you made me.

Doctor: Exactly. You were born in battle. Full of blood and anger and revenge. (to Rose) Remind you of someone? That’s me, when we first met. And you made me better. Now you can do the same for him.

Rose: But he’s not you.

Doctor: He needs you.  That’s very me.

When the Doctor met Rose, he was angry and grieving.  He had just lost his entire race and not really recovered from the horrors of the Time war.  Then he ran into this ordinary girl working in a shop, and she gave him something to smile about again.  She was fascinated with him, curious about his life, and willing to be a part of his adventures.  In a big way, she was what helped him recover from his grief.  She made him better.  And part of their love that we, the fans, loved so much was the way he just lit up whenever she was around.

Fast forward through another regeneration, another life, another story arc, another tremendous loss.  In some ways, losing Amy and Rory was just as hard for the Doctor as the Time War had been.  Why? Because however you feel about the Ponds and their run in the TARDIS, they were the closest thing that the Doctor has had to a family since his entire race died.  They were literally related to him, by marriage at least.  They cared for him like family.  They put up with him like family.  And then they died, and he couldn’t save them.  And an old, old man, who had already seen so very much, hid away inside his own bitterness, because he had to watch his loved ones slip away yet again.  He realized that as many times as he loves someone or something, as many times as he truly has a family, that is exactly how many times that family will be torn away from him.

And so, when Clara Oswin Oswald of the Victorian era meets the Doctor, he is in a very similar condition to when Nine met Rose.  He is angry, grieving, and bitter–but this time, instead of running around the universe saving people, he is hiding away in the TARDIS trying to forget.  He needs more than somebody who is willing to come with him–he needs somebody to get him curious again.  He needs somebody to draw him outside of himself and into the world of adventures.  Clara Oswin Oswald does just that–but then she, too, dies.  Except that she’s not dead.  The girl herself is a mystery, one that the Doctor can get excited about and pursue and explore.

Clara gives the Doctor something to smile about again.

I didn’t review The Bells of Saint John, but one of the things I loved about that episode was seeing the great lengths to which the Doctor went to pursue Clara, to find her, to be a part of her life and to protect her from yet another death.  With Nine/Ten and Rose, Rose was the one in pursuit, to an extent.  She was intrigued by the thrill of adventure, she was excited by this new life, she was going to stay with the Doctor forever.  With Eleven and Clara, the situation is completely turned on its head–Eleven is the one in pursuit.  He is the one who wants to be a part of Clara’s life, and the burden of seeking and finding is on him.  And that is EXACTLY what the Doctor needed.  He needed someone to get him up and running again, rather than someone to calm him down and help him remember why he runs in the first place, like Rose did.

Clara makes Eleven better.  She is similar to and different from Rose.  And I think that I will love her relationship with Eleven, wherever it leads, exactly as much as I loved Rose’s relationship with the Doctor.  I will love it because it has a lot of the elements of Rose’s time on the TARDIS that I loved so much.  I will also love it because at the same time, it is a completely different dynamic and a fun mystery to solve.

I love Rose, but her story is one that already has a good ending (although we’ll see what the 50th anniversary brings).  The Doctor has to keep going.  Clara is a great choice to go with him.

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One Response to “You Made Me Better”: A Completely Self-Indulgent Fandom Ramble

  1. Such a great comparison! I haven’t watched all of the Rose episodes yet (catching up on all the 10th Doctor episodes these days), but so far I totally agree with your analysis here. And as much as I loved the Ponds, already I find Clara a more engaging companion for the 11th Doctor, because she challenges him. Rose seemed to do that quite a bit too. Clara and Rose both seem like very daring, quick-witted companions, which Amy — after all her waiting for the Doctor, idolizing him, and depending on him as someone who would always figure things out and save everybody — was not.

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