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Does Clara Hide a Secret that is Bigger on the Inside?

Guest contributor Richard Forbes speculates.

hide-clara-hologram

Steven Moffat, writing in Doctor Who Magazine earlier in the year, suggested that we might just find out of the source of Clara’s troubled relationship with the TARDIS. After explaining that Clara was particularly hard-to-impress which might put the TARDIS off, Moffat wrote that “it’s almost like it’s all building to something…” in his most speculative of tones.

I, for one, am going to take the bait and share an (albeit controversial) theory as to why the TARDIS behaves so strangely towards Clara.

A Rocky Relationship

doctor-who-series-7-hide-promo-pics--(34)There have been a number of the instances where the TARDIS has behaved oddly towards Clara. The trouble began in The Rings of Akhaten when the TARDIS refused to open its doors for Clara while she was trying to hide Merry. Clara called the TARDIS, a “grumpy old cow” in response. In Hide, the TARDIS once again refused to open its doors, instead toying with Clara through a “Clara version” of the TARDIS interface. Likewise, in the mini-episode, Clara and the TARDIS, the TARDIS played several practical (and very frustrating) pranks on Clara.

Signs of a troubled relationship between Clara and the TARDIS were last seen in The Time of the Doctor as the TARDIS pulled Clara into the time vortex, failing to dupe her, under orders from the Doctor himself.

The behaviour exhibited by the TARDIS suggests that it distrusts Clara, or simply wishes to tease her. But what needs to be answered is: why Clara? The Doctor has had many companions and none of them have been subject to such a prickly demeanour from the “Old Girl”, which suggests there is something special about these circumstances.

A Theory

rings-tardis-claraA TARDIS is a bioship built with a biological imprint, which means part of it is a living organism. The Two Doctors helps establish that in order for a TARDIS to operate, it first needs to be provided with a biological imprint from a Time Lord. There is a possibility here that Clara, a time traveller herself, would be enough to bring life to a TARDIS, because she has been on the TARDIS, consumed time energy, been in close proximity to the Eye of Harmony and is also as complex a time event as the Doctor now, after the “splicing” of Clara across time and space in The Name of the Doctor.

The details are not important for the theory, but we can probably assume that this theory would mean a return to Ancient Gallifrey (which could be involved in the ongoing mission to restore Gallifrey). There Clara would die an unsettling death, perhaps being processed against her will in a “TARDIS Factory” or more interestingly, the Doctor using a blank TARDIS to store her consciousness (like he did with River Song, using a sonic screwdriver, in Forest of the Dead).

With her biological imprint given to the Type 40 TARDIS, its consciousness would be built with Clara as the biological foundation. This new TARDIS would later become, incidentally (or not incidentally?), the Doctor’s TARDIS.

Here Be Paradoxes

Provided this theory is true, if River Song is the “Child of the TARDIS”, I think it would be fair to call Clara, the “Mother of the TARDIS”. This theory can help explain the TARDIS’s troubled relationship with Clara. The TARDIS would be closing its doors to Clara and taunting her as an attempt to ward off Clara and avoid the wrath of a paradox. Like a chicken visiting its own omelette, the TARDIS would need to be expending quite a lot of time energy to maintain the paradox (as it did in Last of the Time Lords) in the presence of Clara.

I Stole You

clara-tardis-hartnell-nameA contradiction arose between The Doctor’s Wife and The Name of the Doctor which this theory helps resolves.

In The Doctor’s Wife, the Doctor believes he chose his TARDIS because it was the only one that was unlocked in the museum, but the TARDIS (through Idris) explains that she chose him:

“I wanted to see the Universe so I stole a Time Lord and I ran away. And you were the only one mad enough.”

In The Name of the Doctor, however, Clara suggests that the Doctor steal one particular TARDIS, which would otherwise be contradictory with The Doctor’s Wife, since it was Clara (not the TARDIS) that convinced him to choose that particular TARDIS.

However, if Clara is the TARDIS, then the TARDIS is correct in saying that she played a major role in directing The Doctor towards her, but this still remains consistent with the opening scene of The Name of The Doctor.

Surviving the Time Winds

the name of the doctor promo batch b (3)Upon stepping into the Doctor’s time scar (his final remains), River Song explains that the time winds would have split Clara into a million different instances all across time and space, but the real Clara would “die”.

Yet we know Clara did not die at the end of The Name of The Doctor, the Doctor recovered her from within his own time stream.

When the Doctor asks how Clara could still be alive, River Song says “spoilers”, indicating that there is more to be explained in regards to how Clara survived the time winds…

We have to remember that the Doctor and the TARDIS share the same journey through time and space, such they would share the same time stream – hence why his final remains are preserved in the TARDIS. If my theory is correct then Clara did not just walk into the Doctor’s time scar, she walked into her own.

It was established when the Doctor walked into his own time scar and returned safely that people can enter their own time streams and return from them. If this is the case, then Clara, incidentally, walked into the one time scar that both the Doctor and her could survive – an impression on the fabric of time-space, carved from the time travel exploits that they both have shared through the centuries.

Shared Characteristics

jenna-louise-coleman tardis rt12While the TARDIS might be a ship, it still has characteristics, even endearing ones. Clara and the TARDIS share a lot of these characteristics, which gives credence to the notion that one gave the other life.

Clara strikes me as someone who is adventurous – she enters the TARDIS, asking to be taken somewhere “awesome”, planning her next adventures with the Doctor casually (“Will there be cocktails?”). the TARDIS shares this adventurous attitude and ambition, even deciding to steal a time lord so she could finally see the Universe.

Likewise, Clara and the TARDIS also both act as the Doctor’s moral anchor or compass. This is no clearer than in The Day of the Doctor. When the TARDIS is unavailable to give him the scolding he needs, Clara speaks for it. The War Doctor is so ashamed of using the Moment that he walks for “miles and miles and miles”, so that the TARDIS cannot witness the event. The Eleventh Doctor could do no better: when he caught Clara shaking her head at the scene of him helping to activate The Moment, he had to immediately reconsider his earlier convictions.

“Why did you park so far away? Didn’t you want her to see it?”

But most importantly, both Clara and the TARDIS love the Doctor very much. Clara was the girl that was born to “save The Doctor”, while the TARDIS has been with him for centuries. In The Day of The Doctor especially, you can see how well Clara has come to know, respect and love the Doctor – from noticing the youth in The War Doctor’s eyes or giving the Eleventh Doctor “a moment alone with [his] painting”. This is a companion who has come to understand the Doctor better than most companions ever have or ever will.

There are very few companions who resemble the TARDIS’s personality: brave, adventurous, devil-may-care, flirty, loving and compassionate. But with Clara, the similarities are endless – this may not be a coincidence.

Conclusion

Clara has always been presented as a “grand mystery” – some have even argued this has been overplayed at the expense of Clara’s character development. It appears though, that although we may now understand Clara better, not all of the mysteries surrounding Clara have been addressed. Why does the TARDIS treat Clara poorly? How did Clara survive the Time Winds? And who was the mysterious “woman in the shop”? I’ve presented my grand theory to potentially answer some of these lingering questions and I am looking forward to being proven right or wrong!

On a final note, it occurred to me that if Clara were to die while giving life to the TARDIS, this might be one way that Moffat can move away from the “Everybody Lives” cliché without abandoning the optimism of his previous seasons. Clara could live on forever in a different form, tolling the universe with her Time Lord. In fact, maybe, just maybe: she already has…

Step back in time...

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164 comments
medicalmusings
medicalmusings

Nice theory, but seems a bit convoluted. Let me try and simplify. Watching for the 3rd time the episode 'listen'. one of the best episodes ever I suspect, it struck me.What if Clara is the Doctors MOTHER! Again a few teasers in 'listen': "Time travel does seem to run in the family.". That soliloquy in listen sounded awfully like a mother talking to her child, expressing her hopes and fears.. Always protecting him, putting things right, helping him grow and develop.Just a theory. Just as Stephen Moffat hid the Pond's daughter in plain sight is he hiding the doctors mother too! Now THAT would be a season finale :)















1blueyedgirl
1blueyedgirl

River was born to kill the Doctor, and saved him, while Clara was born to save the Doctor, and dies repeatedly for him, in his place. They have a strong bond, a fondness even, but she doesn't view him as relationship material. She has always been in his past/future even if he has not noticed her. He is very protective of her, and goes through great lengths to indulge her. What if....just what if...somehow..she is a child of The Doctor and River Song? That would explain why the TARDIS treats her the way she does (sibling rivalry, anyone?). 





Just a theory of mine :) Please be kind while ripping my theory apart, I beg ;)

DarylaBaker
DarylaBaker

I think the Tardis doesn't like Clara because Clara's trying to take River's place in the Doctor's heart & life.

Robotopia
Robotopia

I like this hypothesis... I would like to see that somehow River Song's connection to Clara be explained better and just how she escaped the 'Library'.  It has been established that the Time Lords can 'resurrect' old dead Time Lords, as with The Master (as played by Derek Jacobi).  Maybe They resurrected River Song, or at least saved her ghost.  I still feel that somehow River was saved and then granted more of her own regenerations... And was on a past Gallifrey and becomes Romana... How cool would that be for continuity?!  She could not reveal the future to Tom Baker's 4th Doctor... Spoilers!  Many aspects of Romana (especially the 2nd Romana) seem fitted to River.  Maybe Clara was incarnated multiple times on Gallifrey alone?! Over the course of centuries, She may well have been an incarnation of The Doctor's own mom... THAT might also explain a paradox and why the Tardis (The Doctor's Wife) doesn't like Her... Mother-In-Law...

MarlonJBonnici
MarlonJBonnici

A fine theory but I doubt very much that it will be what the ultimate "Pay off". Moffat's writing is never that interesting.

RoweMatthew
RoweMatthew

It's not a bad idea except they are going to keep the search for Gallfrey going on for a very long tim and there's not way Clara is going to stay on Doctor Who for that long

VortexDan
VortexDan

I hope they don't kill her. I just want her to get mad at the Doctor and leave. Or get tired of running and leave. Or just live a normal life without some contrived crap to get rid of her

TheElusiveWhovian
TheElusiveWhovian

I agree on shared characteristics. They're both plot devices...

Richy Woo
Richy Woo

Two girls and one boy living in a box... How could the girls not fall out?.

fishisoff
fishisoff

Interesting. What about the missing years in the travel book and what happened to her mother?

teddybowties - the one on FFN not Tumblr
teddybowties - the one on FFN not Tumblr

the way Moffat writes sometimes undermines hsi character development. This sad fact undermines the rest of his writing. other that that, it is great, in my opinion. Clara has got to be related to the TARDIs in SOME fashion, and though I obsess about character connections when they interest me, I cannot squeeze the whey out of that particular rock yet, and it IRKS MEEeeeeee. unless Clara is actually the Doctor, and the Doctor is... the Valeyard. ba da TSSS! heheheeh. stop whining; i say this preemptively.





AbbieGoyette
AbbieGoyette

I still hope that Clara has some connection to River Song and the Ponds....nothing really to support my hope, but we'll see what the next seasons bring!

Gzaltan
Gzaltan

Interesting theory. That will explains why the TARDIS gives a new phone to Anji at the end of "Nightmare in Silver". A gift from the TARDIS =).


ColleenNikstenas
ColleenNikstenas

Remember who else is impossible? Jack. He's more than that, he's "just wrong." Hmmmm. 


Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

Some interesting thoughts idea. In Day of the Doctor though, Clara seemed to be getting on pretty well with the TARDIS, riding a motorbike into her, clicking her fingers to shut the door, and helping to fly her later in the episode.

docbill2
docbill2

Not worth the bits used to print the webpage... At first I thought the idea might be a spin-off of Compassion from the 8th Doctor books, but no nothing even close. The TARDIS was already old when the Doctor stold that. We know that, from several sources. So no, it would not have been imprinted from Clara. Clara is a complex time and space event, just like Captain Jack. That alone is enough for the TARDIS to behave strangely towards her. Certainly, we will find there is more to it than just that, but it is fairly useless to speculate. If you you do happen to guess close to what the writers have in mind, if they haven't already committed to it, they will change it to something else just to avoid the spoiler.

Moonlightmile71
Moonlightmile71

If she somehow ended up becoming the master then I would actually like her character instead of the present meh!! .....

I'm Richard Nixon.
I'm Richard Nixon.




I don't know I have a different theory:






"River Song explains that the time winds would have split Clara into a million different instances all across time and space, but the real Clara would “die”."

"Clara, everything you see here is me.  That's the point." -- Doctor (Name of the Doctor)

Given those two lines wouldn't stand to reason that this version of Clara is the Doctor? Or more precisely the vision of Clara that the Doctor rescues is a version of Clara that is in some part the Doctor himself.  I'm thinking of something similar to the Doctor/Donna meta-crisis with Clara no longer being "human" as a result.

The TARDIS would recognize that as a future/present event and as a result take the opportunity to mess with her. My $.02


12th's Sonic (Are we really in London? Are we?.)
12th's Sonic (Are we really in London? Are we?.)

Maybe...... The doctor forgot about the chat with 'Clara' and because that TARDIS, the one he took wanted him to take her and used a image from later in the Doctor's timeline to make him take her. It maybe be the right idea.

blawesomejeff
blawesomejeff

Well reasoned theory.... Ugh, I hope it's not true.

josephbernados
josephbernados

this is a cool theory and all but I kind of hope when it's time for Clara to go that she just ages and dies peacefully on a bed somewhere. Something normal and subdued with a lifetime of great adventures with the Doctor, the same way she said goodbye to Eleven.

GabrieleLiuzzi
GabrieleLiuzzi

“I wanted to see the Universe so I stole a Time Lord and I ran away. And you were the only one mad enough.” - Actually the TARDIS don't even have hands, just saying, but.. How can she actually "steal" someone? The way to unite "the NofDoc" and "Doc'sWife" is to consider the TARDIS as sentient (and we know she is) and considering that she is capable of unlock is command console whenever she wants to fly away... so: Clara indicates him the "right TARDIS".. but the TARDIS would not even activate if herself didn't want to. BUT SHE WANTED: she found the opportunity, she liked him, so she decided to unlock her command console and she "steals" the Doctor. Clara isn't the TARDIS. But both the TARDIS and Clara were necessary for the Doctor to chose the "right" TARDIS. Clara to indicate the TARDIS and the TARDIS to unlock her command console. And now about River's speech: 

River: I was mentally linked with Clara. If she's really dead then how can I still be here. The Doctor: Okay, How?                                                                                    River: Spoilers. Goodbye. Sweetie. (This line can be substituted with "Just because she is still alive, my dumb sweetie! How can YOUR time stream delete someone you care about?"...sorry to be so cold hearted but Clara's mystery is NO MORE a mystery.. She is already the most important girl in the universe, isn't she?)










Oodkind
Oodkind

It sounds like a likely theory, and ties up a lot of holes. However, I can't say I paryicularly like the idea. I'm not sure Clara is worthy of that title.

BJAMES
BJAMES

Sounds like some shades of Compassion, aka Laura Tobin from Miles Lawrence's Faction Paradox mythology, as well as a fairly long stream of BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures books. She was an agent of the "Remote", a group of people who were attuned to "signals" that the Faction employed as field operatives. She began to travel with the Doctor, and began to transform through a symbiotic relationship with the Tardis into a tardis herself, albeit one able to continue on in her humanoid form. She later helped the Eighth Doctor in Gallifrey's war against the Faction, and the "Enemy", which led to his being able to safe keep the Matrix for Gallifrey's eventual restoration. The theories  above might be a little too close to Lawrence's storyline, so I doubt Moffat would be able or desirous of using them.

VictorWong1
VictorWong1

Frankly, I propose an alternative theory:


1. We know that the Great Intelligence's "mind upload" briefly captured Clara's consciousness. During her incarceration. the GI's minions implanted certain computer skills in her memory. This meant that, when the Doctor pulled her out the first time, she was subsequently able to help him by using a computer with phenomenal skill and speed. 


2. We also know that parts of Clara were able to retain this skill, when Clara split upon entering the Doctor's timestream in Name. We witness this in Asylum, when Clara's surrogate Oswin successfully erases all memory of the Doctor from the Dalek fleet's primary mainframe.


This now raises the question: what if the GI gave Clara something more than mere computer skills? What if she's now able to interact with any computer -- no matter what model, programming language, apps or functions?


This would explain how it is that she could interact with the electronic version of River Song in Name -- the Great Intelligence gave her that ability.


It also gives the TARDIS a reason to be distrustful of Clara -- it recognizes the potential for memory damage that Clara could inflict on her mnemonic circuitry.

Silurian53
Silurian53

The one thing I'm still missing is who was the woman in the shop? Has there been an answer to this yet? The one that told Clara the Doctor's phone number so that they could actually meet. "The best helpline in the universe. That's what the woman said". Who is this woman....

Polyphase
Polyphase

There's just something about that headline :0

MikeFalino
MikeFalino

Not a bad theory at all.  Definitely would be a great storyline.  I'll buy it!

PaddyB
PaddyB

I'm getting a bit tired of the companions' "sort-of-but-not-really" deaths. It was original and tragic without being too tragic when Rose was deposed in a parallel universe.

It started to get a bit annoying when Donna merely had her memories wiped after dalek Cann's ominous cackle of, "ONE OF THEM WILL STILL DIE!" although the undevelopment of Donna's character development was heartrending enough for me to shrug it off.

 However, when the Ponds were sent back to 1930s New York it didn't pack quite so much of an emotional punch for me as it should have, especially since their separation from the Doctor didn't seem to be very permanant at all by my logic (Rose's departure appeared much more definitive rather ironically since she was able to return from her parallel universe just two years later!).

When its Clara's turn to go I think that she should either die properly in a never coming back way (that seems quite brutal and insensitive when it's typed out) or simply retire to the country where she can live out her years as a bee keeper (other valid scenarios will be accepted... but probably won't be as whimsical.)

Unibot
Unibot

@RoweMatthew I think the search for Gallifrey will happen out of order. I suspect The Doctor will visit a later Gallifrey and an early Gallifrey, but the actual search for the trapped Gallifrey will continue for years. 

TheDreamer... the Oncoming Planeteer.
TheDreamer... the Oncoming Planeteer.

@fishisoff I assumed one of the years missing on the book was the year her mother died. And someone suggested that maybe her mother died in the Autons' attack in London since she died the same day it happened.



Unibot
Unibot

@docbill2 "The TARDIS was already old when the Doctor stold that. We know that, from several sources. So no, it would not have been imprinted from Clara." <-- Old is just a state of mind in a show with a time machine. ;)



BJAMES
BJAMES

@BJAMES  I meant Lawrence Miles. Trust me to get something backwards.

Temporal Tomato
Temporal Tomato

In order to save the Doctor, his companion must step into his Time Stream, sacrificing herself but creating another version of her in the process. Am I talking about Name of the Doctor or Unnatural History? :P Series 7 has had several small brush ins with the EDAs, and to be frank, I wouldn't mind if this theory turns out to be the case. The idea of being processed in a TARDIS factory is as disturbing as being processed into a Cyberman. Not to mention it quite mirrors how we (and the Doctor) first encountered her, after she had been processed into a Dalek. Just another thing that Clara had in common with her shards...


A Friend of the Ood is in your wall! :O
A Friend of the Ood is in your wall! :O

@Silurian53 Probably either Martha or Sally Sparrow. If the Doctor still has Martha's phone, she'd have his number. I don't think it was specifically said that the woman worked in the shop, so it could have been her. It's also possible that Sally got the number from Martha.

I'm Richard Nixon.
I'm Richard Nixon.

@Silurian53 The likely suspects are Donna, Rose (unlikely, but, plausible), River (also unlikely), Sally Sparrow, or another Clara shard.

Malohkeh
Malohkeh

@PaddyB That's funny, actually, because Rose and Amy/Rory's departures had the opposite intents. Rose was always intended to return, while the Ponds were always supposed to be gone forever.

Unibot
Unibot

@PaddyB I think the ratings dictate a "big" episode to mark the departure of a companion. The only companion in the new series to not leave on a 'high' was Martha, who wasn't particularly popular when she first aired (she's since been defended quite a lot by fans). Rose had "Doomsday", Donna had "The Stolen Planets", Amy and Rory had "Angels in Manhattan". However, none of these companions "sort-of-but-not-really-died", in all actuality. I think you've missed the purposes of their circumstances. RTD and Moffat wrote those endings for those characters to allow them to continue without interference from The Doctor. Rose could live her life in an Alternate Universe that she could not escape from without tearing a hole in the fabric of reality, Donna could never communicate with The Doctor again or her head would explode, Amy and Rory could never be visited again by The Doctor because of the Angels of Manhattan. These were all complicated ploys to allow their characters to live on and have a life *without* The Doctor, because it's kind of hard to just say goodbye and get on with life as the "Pond Life" miniseries showed beautifully. 

Notsosmartguy's got no strings on him
Notsosmartguy's got no strings on him

@PaddyB I think Clara will just decide to stop for some reason (maybe she'll settle down or she and the doctor have a big fight etc.) she "died" twice already and I feel killing her off won't have as much weight to it.

TheDreamer... the Oncoming Planeteer.
TheDreamer... the Oncoming Planeteer.

Oooh! Martha! Yeah that's true it could be her... the thought never even entered my mind - silly me... Good thinking. :)

Yeah exactly, she just said "the woman in the shop"... not the woman that works in the shop. It could be a shopper.

Silurian53
Silurian53

Donna can't rember the Doctor and as you said Rose and River are very unlikely. I don't think its Sally but yeah the one I've been thinking is its a Clara shard. Although surely Clara would realise its her when she looks at her? And assuming she managed to keep her face hidden from normal Clara to not raise questions, then surely Clara would recognize her own voice? Anyhow it's the best explanation until Moffat gives one on screen.

DoctorWhoFan
DoctorWhoFan

@Silurian53 I really hope one day Donna will be able to remember the Doctor and just starts sassing him right away talking about how come he didn't tell her about everything