It’s hard not to wonder how much of what is happening in Doctor Who Season 9 when it comes to Clara is a clue about Jenna Coleman’s upcoming exit from the series. In fact, the latest episode, “The Zygon Invasion,” the second part of which will air this weekend, saw Clara in a position that could, if it were nearer to the end of the season perhaps, be part of that departure.
While any specifics surrounding how Coleman leaves Doctor Who are obviously being kept under wraps, Radio Times has reported that Peter Capaldi teased that her exit is “sad over a number of weeks” on BBC Radio 1.
“I don’t want to go into what happens, because it’s very clever what happens in it, but it’s very sad. It’s really sad. …It’s not quite what you think’s going to happen. You think what’s going to happen is going to happen, and then something else happens.”
It’s nothing new to tease that a companion’s exit will be sad; just look at the last companions who left, Amy and Rory, and how that ended for Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor.
“Literally I have nothing in mind for Clara, she’s vanished from the fictional universe forever. But I think what she’s going to do by the end of this series will shock, horrify and surprise you, in roughly that order.”
The latest Doctor Who episode brought back the Zygons, brought back Osgood and raised the questions of who can be trusted, who’s human and who’s Zygon. In Osgood’s case, she’s both, a hybrid, as she explains it, living on after her “sister’s” death last season, and there’s no way to tell if she was originally the human or the Zygon Osgood, as the Doctor learns after rescuing her.
When it comes to Clara, those questions are raised as well when UNIT finds Zygon pods underground and she says they should destroy them – and there happens to be a pod with Clara inside. These weren’t the Zygon duplicates in the pods, but the human originals, and a Zygon has taken Clara’s place. But how far back did that happen? Much earlier, when Clara spotted a boy on the stairs in her building and found his parents acting very strangely (a.k.a. obviously Zygons). With her cover blown, the Zygon posing as Clara turned her sights on something much bigger than UNIT and fired a missile at the Doctor’s plane.
Next, in the second Doctor Who episode of this two-parter, “The Zygon Inversion,” with shapeshifting Zygons everywhere and no way of knowing who’s Zygon and who’s human and UNIT neutralized, the Doctor is the only one who stands in their way. How will the Doctor save his friends?
As for the sneak peek posted, it’s Clara versus Clara (in a way), as the Zygon Clara makes a threat, only to be met with some kind of block. Instead, it’s the human Clara who seems to be more capable of doing some damage.
Doctor Who Season 9 airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on BBC America.
[Image via BBC America]