We’re really beginning to see just what Clara’s role is and the meaning of her relationship to the Doctor. For me, she just wasn’t a very good fit as a companion for Eleven: they were too similar, and didn’t have much to teach each other.
In that way, I can see how she would have developed feelings for him (and vice versa, within reason) and they certainly enjoyed each other’s company, but if they had traveled together for a full series and beyond, I don’t think either of them could have learned much from each other.
For most of Series 7, save for the few scraps of development in The Rings of Akhaten, Clara is a pretty plot device. She was “born to save the Doctor,” and ripped herself into a million little pieces to do so. But when only a page or two of your story has been already written, how can you afford to clump together the scant sentence fragments that remained in this dimension and call it a character?
Clara was a template of a companion who was as sweet and pretty as a store-bought biscuit, with the complexity and blandness to match. The latest model of a smirk in a skirt whose superimposed image alongside the Doctors of the past just seemed…unearned.
This is who has been there from the very beginning? This is who convinced him to steal the TARDIS?
But now, finally, we’re beginning to know who Clara is, and know her as someone empathetic yet stern, with an aching curiosity and an unwavering confidence.
While I still think the time stream hopping was a weird and honestly unnecessary plot point, no matter who did the deed, perhaps the choice of Clara Oswald leaping into the vortex could be deserved after all: just not that early on in the character’s development.
Clara and Twelve work marvelously together, and I’ve found myself genuinely captivated when they’re on screen together. The strongest individual scenes of every episode thus far have been the little conversations they share together, whether they’re silly, serious or sentimental.
They remind me of a gender-swapped Seven and Ace: this time around, Twelve is the hot head and Clara is the “Professor.” It’s a companion pairing we haven’t seen before in New Who, and it’s the first time in a while that we’ve seen the Doctor and a companion truly learning from each other and growing together.
She may think she was born to save the Doctor, but it’s truly the Doctor who seems born to save her characterization.