Barnaby Grimes: Return of the Emerald Skull. Paul Stewart , Chris Riddell. The Hunting Season. Dean Vincent Carter. The Devil's Footsteps. Harvey Angell Beats Time. The Hazel Wood. The Sacrifice Box. Spellbook of the Lost and Found. The Demon Undertaker. Mr Sparks. The Grimm Conclusion. The Doctor doesn't help people. Not anyone, not ever. He stands above this world, and doesn't interfere in the affairs of its inhabitants.
He is not your salvation, nor your protector. Do you understand what I am saying to you? Perfect, absolutely perfect. Vastra is stunned that Clara has the kind of presence to take Vastra's own words and turn them against her. And this gets to one of the great points of this scene.
Vastra says that singular words are more true than a multiplicity. Clara's rebuke of Vastra's description of the Doctor seems to be a confirmation of this philosophy. But in hindsight, Vastra has not lied. The resolution of this story bears out her description. The Doctor does not save Clara, does not protect her. He doesn't even save the world -- Clara and the Latimer family are ultimately the ones who accomplish that task. Kind, yes. A hero, even.
A savior of worlds.
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But he suffered losses which hurt him. Now he prefers isolation to the possibility of pain's return. Kindly choose a word to indicate your understanding of this. Vastra negates her previous words -- which set of words are true, and which are false? Both, and both. However, she does point to the central concern of this story, which is the Doctor's reaction to loss.
This is what the entire story is about, and the truth of it is spoken at the halfway mark of the episode, at the center. When Vastra asks for Clara's response, she asks Clara to do so kindly.
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This establishes Clara as someone who is kind, who possesses the lost aspect of the Doctor, who can function as his mirror. And her response is beautifully two-fold, not singular. On the one hand, "Man" can refer to all of humanity, that this propensity to avoid grief is an aspect of the human condition, and this is certainly true. But it can also be taken in a gendered fashion. In this scene, we have three women.
They all care, they all engage in relationship despite the inevitability of grief. Back in Victorian times, at least, this was also a truthful way of distinguishing the gender roles expected of men and women. We assist him in his isolation, but that does not mean we approve of it. So, a test for you. Give me a message for the Doctor. Tell him all about the snow and what fresh danger you believe it presents, and above all, explain why he should help you.
But do it in one word. You're thinking it's impossible such a word exists,or that you could even find it. Let's see if the gods are with you. We don't actually hear Clara give her response. In the climax, we get empty space, a beat before the reveal. The ultimate negation. There are two refreshments in our world the color of red wine.
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Wine is a metaphor. To the Sufis, it is used to talk about divinity, the movement of God within us. And the gods are with Miss Clara. A single word, which carries so many meanings.
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The physical pond at the Latimer estate. The loss the Doctor has suffered. And also the Frozen Mirror, the central metaphor of the story. Perfectly perfect. The work of gods.
It's probably very silly to respond to an almost three-year-old comment, but I mean, it carries all the meanings necessary for the Doctor to come out of isolation To her, the word "pond" evokes only the danger she came to discuss. Why would she choose that word? If that's the best answer she could've come up with then it was a desperate shot in the dark on her part. A measly one-note word that just happened to be the right one. It says nothing about Clara's intelligence or abilities besides sheer luck.