Saturday, October 11, 2014

Doctor Who Weekend: Anger and the Single Girl

Greetings, Whovians and welcome to one and all! 

Dave-El here with another Doctor Who Weekend double date post.  

Tonight is episode 8 of Doctor Who Series 8, Mummy on the Orient Express and it looks like another episode with even more genuine scares and frights. Last week we had to watch out for....


This week we will have to contend with a...


And we will have to face our fears without...

(Really, do I need to say SPOILER ALERT here? If you haven't seen Kill the Moon yet, go see and then come back here, OK?)

Ahem! If I may continue...

And we will have to face our fears without Clara Oswald.*

*At least thought we would. None of the trailers have featured her at all yet I just saw a still from the episode of Clara with the Doctor on the Orient Express? What gives?

Last week, Clara was pushed past her breaking point by the Doctor to decide the fate of the Earth. You know, Clara Oswald? The cute teacher at Coal Hill School with the short skirts? Little bit of a control freak? 

Yeah, well there's being a control freak and then there's carrying the weight of world on your shoulders. In Clara's case, that was more literal than metaphorical.  The Doctor placed what Clara felt (and perhaps rightfully so) was an insanely overwhelming burden of deciding between the fate of an alien life form or the fate of a planet, all because the Doctor felt the responsibility for that decision wasn't his. 

The sentence "Clara is not happy" is an example of the world's biggest understatement. Clara threatens the Doctor with "I'll slap you so hard, you'll regenerate!" Clara basically has had enough. She tells the Doctor to shove off and don't come back, whereupon she turns on her heel and marches out of the TARDIS. 


Now we know that Clara will be back, right? This exit, however powerful and dramatic, is temporary. The question is how can Clara and the Doctor come back from this rift in their relationship? Can they? 

Still, looking at this, I wondered, of all the reasons why a companion left the Doctor, has anyone left because they were, quite frankly, pissed off at the Doctor?

At least maybe one. And it should come as no surprise that it was the self-described Mouth On Legs, that space/time travelling stewardess from Down Under, Tegan Jovanka.  

To be fair, Tegan did have a lot to be ticked off about.

  • The Master killed her aunt. 
  • Tegan only wound up in the TARDIS by accident. She didn't ask to come along.
  • Although promising to get Tegan back to Heathrow in time to make her flight and keep her job, the Doctor kept missing the mark for the longest time, prompting Tegan to observe with a great deal of frustration that "even a broken clock is right at least twice a day".  
  • She had to share space in the TARDIS with Nyssa (who was nice enough to Tegan but still smarter than Tegan about everything) and Adric (who was also smarter than Tegan and was also an annoying prick who got himself killed.) And then there was Turlough (also smarter, blast it, but at least he was less of annoying prick).

So Tegan had a lot to be angry about and wasn't shy in expressing it either. Yet when the Doctor did get Tegan to Heathrow and left her behind, she was actually hurt. And later when her path crossed the Doctor's once more, she chose to stay with him and Nyssa on their journeys. 

Maybe getting out of the polyester stewardess suit was all she needed to feel better. 

Tegan still had a tendency to complain about things but she was always ready to be of help to the Doctor. But things changed when they met the Daleks. 

Resurrection of the Daleks is probably one of the most violent episodes of the classic series with a very high on-screen death toll. This adventure against the Dalek was a very dark and dangerous episode and in the end, it was more than Tegan Jovanka could take. 

A very emotional Tegan unloads on the Doctor that travelling with him is no longer fun and she just couldn't do it anymore. She runs off as the Doctor plaintively calls after her to not let it end like this. But Tegan is gone and the Doctor can only sadly return to the TARDIS with companion Turlough. But Tegan isn't quite gone yet; she runs back to see the TARDIS disappearing and she repeats the words the Doctor often told her: "Brave heart, Tegan." 

Tegan's emotional breakdown has its basis in anger at all the death and destruction experienced against the Daleks and the deadly pattern her journeys with the Doctor were taking overall. But if we want to define this outburst as anger, it's an anger that is not solely directed at the Doctor but also at the violent circumstances that tend to be a part of their journeys. 

(On a side note, if Tegan's exit seems a tad rushed and out of left field, that was because the original plan was for her AND Turlough to exit with the next episode. Why that got changed will be part of a longer diatribe that I may post after the current on new Series 8 episodes are done.) 

If Tegan had a wider target for her anger, Clara Oswald's anger is focused directly on the Doctor himself. Her rage at his actions on the moon as well as his behavior leading up to it is more than she can put up with. So she tells him off. 

So we know that the Doctor and Clara will somehow, someway bridge the gap between them. The question What circumstances would drive the Doctor to ingratiate himself back into Clara's life? What terrible thing would cause Clara to willingly return to travel at the Doctor's side? 

I have a feeling those answers will not be very pretty.


Tomorrow on the blog, my review of Mummy on the Orient Express as the Doctor tries to avoid the fatal touch of the...


Meanwhile, everyone be good to one another.

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