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Oswin Oswald: An Unfolding Adventure

Guest contributor James Bristow looks at the top theories on the new companion.

Just who is Oswin Oswald? Who is Clara? Do these characters played by Jenna-Louise Coleman share a link, or is there something bigger in the works?

In this article I am going to briefly look at the top five theories regarding the identity of Oswin, introduced to us in the first episode of Series 7, Asylum of the Daleks. These five theories have been gathered based on the most popular theories being discussed by fans across the web. I am going to look at these theories in descending order, from the least likely theory, to the most likely.

Note: this article does not contain any recent filming spoilers.

5. Oswin has always been a Dalek

Let us start with this one, not the most talked about theory. This theory suggests that Oswin has always been a Dalek, since she was young and the whole of her life is a dream – Oswin’s dream.

How could the Doctor have a Dalek as a companion? Simple really. When we meet Clara (Oswin) during the Christmas Special we see her in human form, in her dream state. The Doctor is living in this world, much like the events in Asylum of the Daleks with both characters experiencing the same adventure in the same world – however the Doctor only sees the Dalek. He knows this is Oswin after the events of Asylum of the Daleks although will only ever see her in Dalek form.  A Dalek companion would certainly bring something new to the show.

However this theory seems to be the least likely only due to its complexity. I would not rule this idea out, although other theories seem far more likely over this one.

4. Oswin and Clara are different characters

An interesting theory, but one I highly doubt will come to be true. I feel it would be a bit of an odd move by Moffat to have two different characters that look the same.

This is an easy one to disregard quickly, however having an actor play two different characters has been done before. Freema Agyeman played the series three companion, Martha Jones – and played the character Adeola Oshodi in the series two episode, Army of Ghosts. Karen Gillan has played the series five to present companion, Amy/Amelia Pond – and played the Soothsayer character in the series four episode, The Fires of Pompeii.

So two well known actors of modern Who have played two distinctly different characters in the past. Could the situation with Oswin and Clara be the same? I somehow doubt it. However this is Doctor Who, so anything could happen…

3. Oswin and Clara are related

Much like an actor playing two different characters – an actor playing two characters that are related has been done before in New Who. Eve Myles, most well known for her role as Gwen Cooper in Torchwood has played another role in Doctor Who, as Gwyneth, a character from the series one episode, The Unquiet Dead. It was not until series four that we discovered Gwen Cooper was a descendent of Gwyneth, in which the physical similarities were explained as spatial genetic multiplicity – which causes physical traits to be echoed through a time rift.

Could Oswin be a descendent of Clara? The Christmas 2012 special is set in Victorian London, so one could easily assume that Clara is from this era. Would Moffat make it that simple though? I believe something more is at play. Although this is a very likely theory that could happen.

2. Oswin Escapes the Asylum

This is quite a surprise of a theory. One that I’ve seen very little spoken of. So why have I put it at number two? It’s such a simple one, that can lead to so many possibilities. Let’s have a look at what could happen.

I’m going to start with a comment I saw from a commenter on here, it was the first I saw of this being spoken about and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking of this possibility. The idea is from bluebox444, and here’s a part of their comment, Oswin escapes the Asylum as a Dalek: “… being a genius – and finds a way to transfer herself into an android that resembles her human form. Once again, she’s a genius.”

I love this idea and think it can be placed as being a highly likely scenario. She is a Dalek, however, she is clever and there could have been a way for her to make a quick escape. When she escapes she could still be in this dream state, controlling the Dalek she is and transferring herself into (as the comment above) an android. On the exterior we will see her as a human when in fact she is not. It adds up to the hints from Moffat that the new companion may not be human and opens out Clara/Oswin’s character to many possibilities throughout the show.

1. Oswin and Clara are the same character

The most popular theory is that they are the same person, and out of all the theories out there right now, seems to be the most likely scenario.

One interesting detail about this episode that can easily be looked over is the fact the Doctor never saw Oswin. He does not know what she looks like. If Clara/Oswin’s story is similar to River’s, with the first episode being the death of the character – then from the Christmas special onwards we could be viewing the Doctor slowly learning more about Clara, who she is, who she will become and ultimately, what her demise will be. It could provide for a very heartbreaking story. My main issue with this is that it is very similar to River’s story and it’s hard to not view them as two different character paths when they follow the same path.

Another story that could stem off this is the Doctor saving Clara from ever going to the Asylum. However it is Clara that saves the Doctor in the Asylum. If this story were to be done we would be sure to see some very timey wimey stuff happening – and it could even lead to the second part of series seven having this story arc of the Doctor rewriting the life of Clara and where she should be. Causing the destruction of time due to events being changed surrounding Clara’s life.

One question that people pose over the idea of them being the same is that wouldn’t the Doctor know who she is by her voice? I would say not necessarily. We can easily forget a voice and while Oswin did something the Doctor will never forget, he may have lived too long to instantly know what her voice sounds like when meeting Clara in the Christmas special.

Conclusion

Moffat has done something very clever here. He has surprised the audience by introducing the new companion months before we thought she would appear on Doctor Who. The introduction of Oswin could prove to have a huge significance on the rest of this series and beyond.

Are they the same character? Are they related? Why introduce her to us in episode one? Will episode one be significant for her story? Are we seeing the death of Oswin? Or the start of her life with the Doctor? How long will it take for the Doctor to know who she is? Will she know the Doctor?

There are still many questions left unanswered, but one thing’s for sure – in a few months the mysteries will begin to unravel and we’re sure to be in for a bumpy ride.

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