Doctor Who News Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara in Doctor Who Series 7b

Published on February 3rd, 2013 | by Philip Bates

The Oswin Theories

Silence will fall when the question is asked.

That question, obviously, is Doctor… Who?! Not, it seems, who is Clara Oswin Oswald? Yes, everyone’s got an idea, an inkling, a slight notion, mad ramblings, scribblings in a notepad or the phrase, ‘we’ll have to wait and see’ cemented in their brains. But a few air their views, and one such person is Gabe Newell, podcaster (is that a word?) for

Clara in the TARDIS

His idea, based a lot on the workings of the Dalek Asylum, has caused a bit of a stir, with some saying it’s too confusing to think about, others claiming it makes perfect sense, most saying it’s almost definitely possibly incorrect and others sticking by the notion that Clara is either Romana or, failing that, the Rani. Gabe says:

I have a theory about Oswin. So… how do they bring Oswin back? So she keeps saying, ‘Remember me, remember me’… and he’s taken his watch off, so the nanophages are working on him. So that’s what she’s doing… she’s actually inserting herself into the nanophages, so she can be brought back later.

To be fair, his theory is confusing, might make perfect sense, also doesn’t make sense at all, is definitely possibly incorrect and Clara could be Romana or the Rani. Everybody in Doctor Who might be the Rani. Even Bernard Cribbins.

So let’s pick this theory apart like the good Whovians we are.

The ‘watch’ in question is probably the wristband the Doctor wore in Asylum of the Daleks, which stopped him, Amy and Rory turning into slaves of the Daleks. Now, if you recall, he surrendered his when Amy’s was stolen. The ‘nanophages,’ I presume, is the nanoloud, which transformed anyone in the Asylum into the plant’s defensive stystems.

Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara in Doctor Who Series 7b

Oswin was a genius, so Gabe’s theory is that, somehow, she planted herself in the nanocloud, which the Doctor is affected by, and so she’s brought back to life every time he remembers her.

Why this might be right: Moffat likes this sort of explanation. It’s clever and spacey-wacey, and he has previous with both the nanogenes (The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances) and memory (The Big Bang; The Snowmen and the Silence).

Why this might not be right: for much of The Snowmen, the Doctor doesn’t make the link between Clara and Soufflé Girl. Also, how could she have planted herself into nanogenes? And how could this help? Furthermore, at the very end of The Snowmen, we see a presumably-modern-day Clara in the graveyard, sans the Doctor – so how would this work?

So c’mon. Give us your theories. I quite like the ‘Clara as Scaroth, last of the Jagaroth’ one, but would Steven Moffat really reuse this idea, when he knows a vast amount of the audience will have seen City of Death?

We’ll have to wait and see.


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About the Author


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

15 Responses to The Oswin Theories

  1. avatar Doctor Oho says:

    Just as long as it doesn’t involve flesh avatars or time-traveling, shape-shifting robots!

  2. avatar Adam says:

    Cpt. Jack’s daughter.

  3. avatar Autumn says:

    Either the Doctor’s Daughter or Jack’s Daughter. Either way, she’s a genius who never fully dies…

  4. avatar Woj says:

    My pet theory is that she is related in someway to Victoria Waterfield. What with the GI references and all. Victoria’s mother died Nov. 23 1863. Victoria was said to look like her mother.

    My other pet theory is that James May will play Pertwee’s Third Doctor sometime this year. Remember the one sentence Facebook post?

  5. avatar Andrew says:

    He is in the Matrix set up by the Dark Lord (the Valeyard), and Clara is an illusion.

  6. avatar Blakey says:

    I think it may be something to do with the tardis as she did spread bad wolf across all space and time this wouldn’t be such a leap to spread a perfect companion across space and time as well, plus she did work at the ROSE and crown pub but they slightly covered the crown bit up like it was the rose part that was important.

  7. avatar Bradondo says:

    I had a pretty good theory before “Asylum” aired, but subsequent developments have disproven it…which is just as well as it was a real cracker of an idea which I’m using myself in a fan production! As to who Clara really is I think we can rule out Romana or the Rani or any other Time Lady (I entertained the notion thet it might be the woman from “End of Time” who kept projecting herself intoo Wilf’s thoughts–she did call the Doctor her “clever boy” after all!). A Time Lady would have regenerated at the end of “Snowmen,” yet we were clearly shown that Clara died and was buried. I don’t think we can find an answer in the Doctor’s past, but that Clara is from his future. I believe she constitutes a sort of causal loop for him–someone he was only able to save by scattering her backwards across his own timeline in conformity to his own experiences with her. This would explain her reminders to him to remember her–a sort of subconscious implant or cue. She wouldn’t consciously remember him because to her scattered selves the rescue has yet to occur. It’s a very timey-wimey, very Moffatesque scenario–all we would need is the necessary tech/anomaly/plot device to make it happen when the time comes. It’s just conjecture, of course, but I must say it hangs together much better than anything else I’ve heard. What do you folks think? :)

  8. avatar Bradondo says:

    Oh, and incidentally I thought of the thing with the nanocloud some time ago but dismissed it as having too many holes in it. Bitt who knows? The Moff has been known to tolerate a few plot holes here and there so as not to spoil a good story!

  9. avatar Jim says:

    I think something along the lines of someone splintered through time like was done in City of Death seems plausible as well.

  10. avatar Drew says:

    I have come to think that she is simply the universe’s way of getting the Doctor back to well, saving the universe again. To paraphrase Vastra in The Snowmen, she says that the Doctor is trying to save Oswin through a pact with the universe. But what if the universe had already made it’s own pact and created Oswin to get the Doctor off his cloud and back out there doing good in all of space and time?

  11. avatar Drew says:

    BTW, I loooove Oswin (I still feel weird calling her Clara) in a way that I just never did with the Ponds. She’s charismatic, smart, quick, and JLC is, well, extremely good-looking. I just never thought Amy & Rory had much charisma…they were fine, but just pretty Blah to me. There are rumors (apparently) that Oswin’s time MAY be limited on the show, which I hope is not true. I hope Moffat comes up with something to keep her around even if her storyline (or whatever) ends. Oswin-Clara could immediately be one of the best companions ever.

  12. avatar Bradondo says:

    Yes, I heard that rumour as well. I hope she sticks around as I find her more engaging than the Ponds as well. I think it’s time for a companion who sticks around for more than one Doctor. We haven’t had that since Rose and I think it always (well, not always–see Nyssa, Tegan and Adric who acted like it was just Tuesday to them) gives a companion’s arc a little extra nuance to see how they deal with a regeneration, especially if his or her feelings for the Doctor are complicated to begin with. I would love to have seen how Martha would have reacted to 10 becoming 11 considering her unrequited longings. Of course Captain Jack is going to be in love with every Doctor because he’s Captain Jack!

  13. avatar Drew says:

    Captain jack and Oswin meeting would be a dangerous combination! (Well, unless they are actually father-daughter.)

  14. avatar Seth Nelson says:

    Ok here`s my theory on Oswin. We haven’t seen a ship or way or travel other than normal ways. That possibly rules out a ship unless it’s not shown yet. The nanocloud should have made her a sale and did, but where was her corpse? Everyone that died, you saw their corpse but not her body. I don’t think she a time Lord or rani. Maybe she could be possibly the white guardian and in need of the doctor so he uses Oswin.

  15. avatar Anon93 says:

    On re-watching asylum I feel everybody is neglecting the fact Oswin was in the ‘intensive care’ part of the asylum, in her own room, chained to the floor. She must have done something bad. Notice then how she says the one’s in Intensive care are ‘Survivors of particular wars’.
    She is a timelord. End. Of. Story.

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