She’s the girl who is twice dead. She is the girl who is impossible. She is the girl who has had the same name and the same face twice, in two separate lives lived hundreds of years apart. She is Clara Oswin Oswald, also known as Souffle Girl, and she is the Doctor’s new companion. But, who is she? As we advance into season 7.5 (series 7B) Whovians everywhere are asking who she is and where she came from. And where will the Doctor find her next?
The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) first met Souffle Girl (Jenna-Louise Coleman) in the season 7 premier “Asylum of the Daleks”. He and his companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), were sent into the Asylum by the Daleks themselves in an attempt to kill her. Instead, Our Heroes try to save her, only to find out that she had already become a Dalek in form, if not in mind. She was a cheeky young genius who had introduced herself as “Oswin Oswald”. She had kept from becoming fully Dalek by creating a fantasy world for herself in which she defended against Dalek invasion every night… and baked souffles every day.
In the end the Doctor and his companions could not save her. But, she could save them, and she did. Before she died her final words to the Doctor were, “Run you clever boy… and remember.” And he did. He never saw her face. He only heard her voice. But, it was a voice he would never forget.
The next time he heard that voice was in the season 7 Christmas special, The Snowmen. Telepathic, carnivorous snow had come to Earth in 1892. It’s vanguard was none other than the Great Intelligence, a disembodied mind that had first been met by an earlier version of the Doctor in the classic Doctor Who series. Only, the Doctor didn’t care. He had just lost his beloved Ponds and had given up trying to save the universe on the grounds that “the universe doesn’t care.”
Enter Souffle Girl, a part-time bar maid and full-time governess to a rich single father in Victorian England, who introduced herself simply as “Clara”. Once again she is a cheeky genius with an incredible imagination, who is instantly intrigued by the Doctor the moment she meets him. She gains his interest when she replies to the one-word-test with the word “pond.” Of course, meant the lady frozen in the pond in front of her house, not Amy Pond, but still, the Doctor responds.
In the course the of saving the world this time the Doctor is stricken by the fact that Clara has the same voice as the late, but not yet born, Oswin Oswald, and the fact she likes to bake souffles. Whether or not the Tardis has a kitchen is very important to her. She wouldn’t have asked, but she likes to bake souffles. You can see the cold chill run up the Doctor’s spine at this casual statement. But, it took more than that to convince him that she was who he thought she might be.
It took her death… again. She fell off a cloud and died slowly, the kind of fate that the Doctor fears most for his companions. And again, her last words to him were, “Run you clever boy… and remember.” The Doctor might be a Time Lord, but he is also a man, so even this did not fully convince him. He only believed when he saw her tombstone and learned her full name: Clara Oswin Oswald.
Souffle Girl. The girl who was twice dead. The girl who was impossible. The girl who had the same name and the same face… twice. And run he did. The Doctor ran off to find her. Again.
More from Candes:
Doctor Who: The Power of the Bow Tie
Doctor Who: Two Impossible Girls
“Who” is Breaking Records on BBC America