A Study of Pink: Danny Speculation
Guest contributor Luke Gwalchmai on Danny’s introduction and what might be in store.
Some of you may remember, but many of you probably won’t, so allow me to refresh your memory. Several months ago, in light of Samuel Anderson being cast in Doctor Who, I wrote an article speculating on the kind of character that we may be seeing. Now, after the man himself has made his debut in Into the Dalek, I thought I would write another article about the man we were introduced to and I’ll offer some speculation on where his character could go when he pops up next. That’s right; it’s time for A Study of Pink: Part Two!
Exactly who is Danny Pink?
We are informed early on that Danny is an ex-solider, and he runs the Coal Hill Cadets, as well as being a Maths teacher. Although he may have been taking the cadets a bit too seriously before being snapped out of it by Fleming! In his class, he is asked two questions by one of his students. The first, “Have you ever killed a man?” was met with a rather vague answer from Danny “I was a soldier. There were other soldiers and some of them weren’t on our side.” Which is the kind of answer that was to be expected; he wasn’t exactly going to describe to a group of teenagers how he killed someone! He did the right thing, and left it to our imagination. The student’s follow up question; “Have you ever killed anyone who wasn’t a soldier?” definitely touched a nerve, and Danny dodging the question as a tear rolled down his cheek said it all really. Danny Pink appears to have done something questionable, something which still haunts him to this day. More on that later though.
Danny Pink and Clara Oswald: Dara/Pinkwald/Clink/whatever you prefer!
“Yes! I wasn’t going, but I am now, because you are going to be there, and suddenly it seems like the best idea ever.”
He’s not the smoothest of characters, Danny, bless him. This warm line was what he meant to say when Clara asked if he was going to Cathy’s leaving party. When in reality he told her that he had some reading to do! Danny and Clara seemed to click instantly, there is an attraction and a definite spark there, but they didn’t get off to the smoothest start. Danny seemed really nervous and kept tripping himself up, luckily Clara followed him back to his classroom, heard what he really wanted to say, and he agreed to go out for a drink with her. It was a very awkward start to say the least, and I don’t know about you, but I had a big smile on my face throughout their scenes together! They’re a very cute pairing, and fit together really well.
Danny comes across as a very likeable character; he seems like a kind-hearted, albeit slightly awkward man with a good sense of humour, and a bit of a mysterious past. Samuel has good chemistry with Jenna Coleman, and I think Danny and Clara will be a bit smoother together after they get to know each other and spend more time together. It should help Danny be a bit less nervous around her! It will be interesting to see how their relationship has progressed come the next time we see Danny. He has to find out about the Doctor at some point so it’ll be intriguing to see how Danny reacts to that, and the fact that Clara has been keeping him a secret from him and everyone. And Clara is sure to find out about Danny’s past, so it’ll make for good scenes to see how she reacts to that.
Danny and the Doctor
Over the course of Into the Dalek it was made abundantly clear that Peter Capaldi’s Doctor does not like soldiers, refusing to let Journey Blue travel with him because she is one. So it will certainly be interesting to see his reaction when he learns that Clara is dating a man who used to be a soldier. I can see the Doctor being very cold and dismissive towards and about Danny when he first meets him and realises. The Doctor has a problem with them, and doesn’t care how nice a person you are underneath. I think Clara will be doing a lot in the way of defending Danny, trying to reason with the Doctor that he isn’t just a soldier.
There are some strong parallels between the Doctor and Danny; both are ex-soldiers, and have a shaky past which still haunts them, although they wouldn’t like to admit it. Neither of them like to talk about their past, because it hurts to do so, and brings out emotions they would rather keep to themselves. There is also the question that the Doctor asks Clara “Am I a good man?” the answer Clara eventually gave was “I don’t know. But I think you try to be. And I think that’s probably the point.” This question and answer can also be applied to Danny; he used to be a soldier, and killed people, like the Doctor. He doesn’t do it anymore, and is doing a different job, so is he a good man? The answer is also the same, while he has killed people, for whatever reason, he still tries to be a good man, which is what matters. He has stopped being a soldier and has tried to make something different of his life. The Doctor has also done this; he does it by travelling and saving people, while Danny has done it by teaching.
I think that, once the Doctor gets to know Danny, he will realise that they have more in common than he’d like to think, and that just because he’s a soldier doesn’t mean that he can’t be a good person, as long as he tries to be. There is much more to Danny than being a soldier, and the Doctor needs to realise that. Danny may help the Doctor to become a bit softer towards soldiers, and allow him to be able to see past the soldier they are/used to be, because people aren’t defined by their job, they’re much more complex than that.
I think that Capaldi’s Doctor doesn’t like and doesn’t want to travel with soldiers because they remind him of himself, and by being around other soldiers, he remembers that he was one of them, and it brings up some bad memories of the questionable acts he performed as one. Also, coming off the back of a 900 (ish) year war on Trenzalore and seeing many soldiers kill people and die will have affected him, and he doesn’t want to be reminded of that. Having fought in that war he doesn’t want to be around anything to remind him of it. While neither of them wants to be a soldier anymore, both the Doctor and Danny don’t seem to be able to let that side of them go. The Doctor still flies around the universe, fighting and defeating villains along the way, while Danny runs the Coal Hill Cadets, teaching people to become soldiers.
What’s next for Danny?
So, where does Danny go from his appearance in Into the Dalek? Well, we’ll undoubtedly see Danny and the Doctor cross paths, and the tension and drama that will bring. I think we may find out a bit more about his past; who he killed that wasn’t a soldier. My theory is that he killed an unarmed civilian, maybe a child, after thinking that they were armed. And he cannot forgive himself for making the mistake, so he’s tried to block it out. I also think we may see his soldier skills in action, be it military tactics or full on combat. This could bring out an interesting side to Danny because he seems to have put that behind him mostly, and would using a gun again bring back memories of the person/people he killed? And it could lead him to question whether he wants to be that man again, and what kind of man it makes him.
We’ll also see his relationship with Clara develop, as they become a much more solid couple and fall for each other. It’ll be interesting to see if Clara and Danny’s relationship will be able to survive Clara’s big secret of running off with the Doctor every so often. I do think it will but it should bring up an issue of trust between the two. Clara, at the minute, is omitting the truth from Danny. She’s got this whole other life that he doesn’t know about, and it raises the question; if Clara doesn’t want him to know, should he, and does he have the right to know? I think the answer is of course he should know; if he and Clara are going to be in a relationship, she really should be honest with him. Danny should also be honest about his past as a soldier. I wonder that if their relationship becomes strong enough that they can move past each other’s secrets and demons, Danny may be the reason that Clara eventually departs the TARDIS. If she and Danny get serious, it’s not surprising to think that she would want to give that relationship her full attention, and putting herself at risk by running off with the Doctor into terrible dangers could put that in jeopardy. She could face a similar decision to Amy and Rory; choosing between real life and Doctor life.
So, all in all it was a strong introduction to Danny Pink. We’ve only just met the character but already it is clear to see that he is a man with a haunted past. He is a very well-rounded character who clearly has many layers to him. I look forward to getting to know him further when we next see him on the show. As someone who’s been longing to see a soldier/ex-soldier on Doctor Who, I’m so happy and excited that Danny is with us. He’s a very likeable guy and I think Clara is perfect for him, as she can help him to overcome the demons of his past and help him to let them go. I like Danny already, and I like him with Clara. I think their personalities suit each other and they have very good chemistry. There are many directions the show could take Danny in, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what they do with him.
Feel free to share your thoughts on Danny Pink; do you like him? Do you ‘ship’ Danny and Clara? And where will the series take him next? Thanks for reading!