The questions Am I a good man and is there such a thing as a good soldier were the main focus throughout Series 8. Yet we also took many emotional journeys, not only with Clara and the Doctor, but with Danny Pink. Now I have three months of Danny Pink to get off my chest first.
Danny Pink Didn’t Want to Save the World…
Because he is too selfish. I am at a loss to explain what the heck producers were thinking in creating Danny Pink as a romantic hero, but I can confidently say that they failed. The death knell was tolled in The Caretaker. Far from being impressed that his girlfriend has just helped hold off a Skovox Blitzer, Danny frowns and sulks and whines. He is too busy whining to marvel at the fact he has discovered time travel and aliens exist. He then attempts to diminish Clara’s accomplishment with a display of callisthenics to draw attention to how awesome he is – all in the guise of saving her of course. Then Danny demands that Clara tell him when she needs his help after several years of Clara saving the universe without needing him at all. Or, he threatens, he will break up with her.
Dear producers, a romantic hero is not a needy, selfish, emotionally manipulative and misogynistic jerk with a malevolent jealous streak. Stop reading bad romance novels.
If Danny Pink actually loved Clara Oswald he would be proud that his girlfriend travelled time and space with a 2000 year-old alien saving the universe. If Danny Pink had a clue he wouldn’t be worried that his girlfriend was going to run off into the sunset with said 2000 year-old alien. If Danny loved Clara she would not be forced to hide an important part of her life from him. If Danny loved Clara he wouldn’t repeatedly refuse to share such an important part of her life with her either. He wouldn’t treat her best friend with constant contempt. He wouldn’t want to mould her the same unimaginative dolt that he is. He would exalt in the sheer luck of having a time-travelling, universe-saving, beautiful and brilliant woman that he clearly doesn’t deserve.
So any shred of sympathy I had for Danny Pink last week dissolved the moment Danny-Cyberman started bitching and whining because the Doctor refused to turn on his inhibitor. Then Danny refuses to try and see into the cloud and tell the Doctor and Clara what is coming. On yes his inhibitor isn’t turned on but we see a short while later it’s made no difference anyway. Danny, however, won’t even try. Because Danny is more important than the rest of the earth and as he is in emotional pain the rest of the earth should burn. “Clara watch this“, he snipes. “This is your Doctor. Watch the blood-soaked old general in action.”
Not even Zombie-Cyberman-Danny can resist more of that emotional manipulation. Then when Clara takes the sonic (in my imagination to shut his whining face up) he accuses the Doctor of using Clara so that he doesn’t have get his hands dirty. Not that Clara is sensible enough not to sacrifice the earth for her dead boyfriend and that she wanted to put him out of his misery.
And probably because Danny immediately mocked the Doctor and threw another self-important tantrum after the Doctor’s beautiful pain is a gift speech, Danny’s dead will save the land of the living speech failed to rouse me at all.
I know a lot of you love Danny and Clara and I have just picked their relationship to pieces but there is something very dark at the heart of Danny and Clara’s relationship, even if it was somewhat accidental. Because I am assuming Moffat never dreamed anyone would loathe Danny Pink.
In the end Danny Pink’s send-off was satisfying in two ways – firstly he did finally assist in saving the world after the Doctor threw him the bracelet that gave him control of the Cybermen. And he brought the little boy he accidentally killed back from death in place of himself, which suited Danny’s mindset perfectly. However if the Orson Pink conundrum is anything to go on, Danny will probably be back.
Dear Producers, please make sure Danny has a complete personality change before you bring him back.
Rule Number #2 Clara Lies
Clara’s neatly arranged post-it-notes of lies in Dark Water gave us rather an interesting insight into her journey over the last few months. Clara has been struggling with her double-life, and because of her boyfriend’s antics she was being forced to choose between her two lives. One the mundane life of a schoolteacher in a relationship with another teacher at work. The other travelling all of time and space with her best friend and helping to save the universe on a regular basis.
Clara had not had much character development over Series 7, largely due to her Impossible Girl storyline. She was mainly cute, bubbly and dependable Clara, and she and the Eleventh Doctor had an equally slavish devotion to each other. Yet not quite equals. She started to show her mettle in The Day of the Doctor, and my mid-series 8 she was firmly establishing herself as an equal partner to the Twelfth Doctor. “My friend,” the Doctor corrects Kate when she calls Clara his Companion.
Clara has been fairly divisive this series. There have been many complaints she has been too equal to the Doctor or even overshadowing him. I don’t agree Clara has really outshone the Doctor at any point. Much of this season has been Clara learning things rather than her teaching the Doctor much, despite allusions to the latter. But a lot of Clara’s emotional journey has been extremely heavy-handed. Her ‘wobble’ at the conclusion of Kill the Moon angered a lot of fans, not in the least because she did a complete about-face in Mummy on the Orient Express, somewhat cheapening her thunderous speech to the Doctor the week before. I was unimpressed with Clara’s shallow appearance in Deep Breath where she spent most of the episode bickering with the Doctor because he no longer looked the same. While her character was redeemed at several points throughout the season, inevitably she would be thrown under the bus again for more ’emotional impact’.
I have continued to try and invest in Clara’s character, mainly because Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi have wonderful chemistry and I’ve been enjoying watching the Doctor/Companion relationship take a new turn. But many of Clara’s storylines have been tiresome. Her speech that the Doctor is the only man in the universe she would never lie to was insincere. We know she’s lied to him many times this year. She tells Cyberman-Danny “ask anybody who knows me. I am an incredible liar”. But who is Clara really lying to? Is she lying to herself?
So now we’re really left with the Clara-who-cried-wolf. She’s lied, deceived and changed her mind so many times this season it was difficult to really believe she had really decided to leave the TARDIS for good. We can only wait and see.
The Doctor is Not a Good Man
I am not a good man! I am not a bad man. I am not a hero. And I’m definitely not a president. And no, I’m not an officer. Do you know what I am? I am an idiot, with a box and a screwdriver. Just passing through, helping out, learning.
The Doctor’s relief upon realising he was not a good man, or a bad man, was palpable. This ‘good man’ journey for the Doctor has been beautifully crafted this season. It’s not as if the question has not been asked before but the story arc this season was summed up in a series of memories, of Rusty the Dalek telling the Doctor he was a ‘good Dalek’, of Danny’s constant mockery that the Doctor is an ‘officer’ and Danny’s contemptuous salute, of the Doctor telling Robin Hood “I am not a hero”, to Clara’s uncertainty of the Doctor’s true character. What I was reminded of was a speech that our beloved River Song gave to her husband in A Good Man Goes to War.
You make them so afraid. When you began, all those years ago, sailing off to see the universe, did you ever think you’d become this? The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name. Doctor. The word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean?
The Eleventh Doctor faked his death in The Wedding of River Song so ‘they’, the universe, could all forget him. Yet the Eleventh Doctor would later spend a millennium on Trenzalore fighting a war. He’d lost sight again of the idiot with the box and the screwdriver. When Missy presents him with the ultimate temptation, an indestructible army at his complete disposal, the Doctor has the strength enough to refuse. This is what is at the heart of every great science-fiction story, the classic fight between good and evil, and fighting the evil that exists within ourselves.
And of course, a mortal enemy. And who better than the Mistress?