Since she first appeared in 2012’s Asylum of the Daleks, Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald has been a divisive character… and frankly it’s all Steven Moffat’s fault.
Introduced as a recurring character who appeared throughout the Doctor’s timeline, cryptically oblivious to her previous appearances then dying before the Doctor could figure her out, Clara Oswald was the focus of the program… then she became even more important. She dove into the Doctor’s time line and saved him over and over, even influencing which TARDIS to steal when he left Gallifrey.
This is a disturbing trend in the modern Doctor Who to place the emphasis on the companion rather than the Doctor. Moffat has even gone on record as saying the companion is more important than the Doctor, which indicates a flawed approach. To make matters worse, Moffat introduced a character with a definite arc, completed the arc, then had her remain. This isn’t the first time this has happened, of course. We had already seen Rose imbibe the time vortex and un-write the Daleks from history… then awkwardly stay as a companion, lose the Doctor then come back AGAIN. Amy Pond was another mystery the Doctor was obsessed with unraveling and after she was involved in the second Big Bang and getting to the wedding she was avoiding… she also rejoined the Doctor which made no sense.
Someone needs to explain to these award-winning writers that stories have beginnings, middle and ends. Not several staggering ends like a recurring prank phone call.
Nevertheless, Jenna Coleman has remained a pivotal companion through more key moments in the program’s history than any other character to date with the possible exception of the Brigadier! So it comes as no surprise that many fans do not like (or hate) Clara. She has also been portrayed as instrumental to any successful activity by UNIT yet remains a character whose greatest strength on the surface is being a ‘cute as a button’ school teacher.
Despite all this, I quite like Clara. She’s something of a throwback to Sarah Jane Smith, an everyday city dweller with a sassy attitude and remarkable fortitude in the face of danger. She has also greatly influenced the Doctor’s character, often in spite of his reluctance to accept her (as seen in last year’s adventures when the Doctor and Clara flat out did not get along at all).
Coleman has exhibited an unusually wide range of characteristics from comedic to dramatic, to adventurous. She is sometimes the most important person in the room and other times the brunt of a joke or an outright insult. She has charted the course of a story and been the victim of circumstance. She really is a stand out actress who holds her own against those who came before her, yet I can sympathize with the fact that she was thrust down our throats as important and the scripts continue to make this mistake. If Moffat had more faith in the Coleman, she would have been allowed to show us how great she is rather than reminding the viewer that she’s the *impossible girl* over and over, which is a shame.
Jenna Coleman is only listed as being on the cast list for the next two episodes and her fate has been hinted throughout this season. Moffat has also stated that it will be a tear-jerker (much the same way as the loss of the Ponds was).