In a sudden shocking moment, I saw Clara Oswald, (The Impossible Girl/puzzle to be solved/proud leaf owner), evolve into a RTD style fully fledged, three dimensional, actual human being with her own agency, and her own very important part to play in the tale.
The best part of the episode, in my opinion, was seeing Clara face off (geddit?) against the lead droid/robot/cyborg. Jenna must have had about ten whole minutes to herself. She certainly was gifted a massive chunk of the episode to carry, and not only did she lift the show, she brandished it heavyweight style above her 5’1 Victorian-attire-clad body.
Suddenly Clara becomes clear. We know her. She’s brave, but very scared. Her bravery seems to kick in with the adrenaline, and until then she staves off the rising terror with sarcasm and snappy banter. If you want Clara Oswald at peak condition, at her very very best, you threaten to hurt a friend. Because she never runs out on the people she loves. Even if they seem to have run out on her.
The flashbacks to Clara’s first day teaching at a school made all the difference to my interpretation of her. Seeing Ms Oswald have her usually in-control and optimistic persona challenged as we see her becoming ruffled and losing patience, makes her so much more human. Although she is often labelled ‘bossy’, I see a young woman desperate to be taken seriously, and to break away from her reputation as ‘sweet little Clara’. She means business, she has ambition, and I respect that in a woman.
Think of all the little girls watching Clara this episode. Maybe they want to be braver. Maybe people laugh at them because they’re girls whenever they try to take control. (I think a lot of us have been there). Maybe there are young women watching that are fighting to maintain their kindness and compassion but also navigate the professional world.