The second half of season 7 was a little underwhelming. Not bad by any means, and I still enjoyed it (it is Doctor Who), but it was coming off of the spectacular first half of the season. By comparison, it lacked the same kick. As I tend to expect, the episodes towards the end of the season were the best.
The last episode was great, with the way that it closed out a plot point from season 4 in a way that definitely hurt at least a little. But it had to happen, and I’m sure we were all waiting for this moment. Still, ouch. Well done.
And I really enjoyed the explanation for Clara Oswald (the Doctor’s latest companion), who was a bit of a mystery this season–the impossible girl, who had multiple existences.
As for Clara herself, and her various incarnations–well, I really liked Clara 1.0. And I’d really wanted her to be the new companion for the Doctor. She was clever, and had plenty of knowledge of her own that wouldn’t have been learned from traveling with the Doctor. (There’s something to be said for the appeal of characters like Jack and River, who have their own experiences and adventures separate from the Doctor.) Clara 1.0 had an interesting backstory already, and she was from the future instead of modern day England.
Seriously, why is every major companion from modern day England? Has the Doctor’s England fetish ever been addressed in canon?
Anyway, I liked her personality, keeping herself going in a hopeless situation. This was definitely my favorite incarnation, and I wish Clara herself had been more like her, at least personality-wise if not backstory-wise.
Clara 2.0 had some likable moments and some very unlikable moments. The scene where she and the Doctor are on the rooftop, being chased by a dead ice person, and stop running away just because the Doctor wants Clara to guess his plan was probably my favorite of her. I remember loving how she had a full grin plastered on her face while she deduced what they were going to do next.
Of course, this is seriously marred by some of her other behavior. For one, chasing down the carriage the Doctor was riding in after their first meeting came off as inappropriate and out of place (even with the explanation at the end of the season, it still feels like a forced scene). For another, the force-kiss of the Doctor (who was clearly struggling to get out of it for the few seconds that it lasted).
Admittedly, Clara was raised in a historical setting, and would presumably have no idea just how squicky that is. Still, this was written by modern writers. (Interestingly, they had the Doctor force-kiss another character later in the season, and at that point I honestly just wanted not to have to think about it anymore.)
Another point of interest is this write up about how being a governess in Victorian England was maybe not as fun as Clara 2.0 made it seem–not that historical accuracy is something I imagine most people expected from this episode. Especially when Clara transformed from a barmaid to a governess.
Clara 3.0 didn’t really have the best or the worst parts of her predecessors. I liked her a little, and I wanted to like her more, but she was just…blander than the other two Claras. She has moments, but not enough of them. Companion-wise, she definitely ranks under Donna (but so does everyone).
And I love the acting, especially as Clara 1.0. It’s just something about this role, this particular rendition of Clara that just isn’t as engaging. Maybe I’m just tired of the whole ordinary-modern-day-woman-swept-up-in-adventure-and-totally-in-over-her-head thing.
Anyway, still worth watching, with some highlights towards the end, but most of the best stuff happened in the first half.