THE SHOW: Doctor Who
THE PAIRING: Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) and Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson)
THE EPISODE: “Death in Heaven” – (aired November 8, 2014)
THE MOMENT: Danny turns into a Cyberman but is able to still save Clara and all of humanity because his love for her was too powerful to be destroyed.
For this week’s romantic moment I wanted to pick a couple that’s been unfairly ignored. We all focus so much on the love between The Doctor and Rose or even Amy and Rory, that we forget that Danny and Clara also have a wonderful love story. The epic scene (or scenes) between Danny Pink and Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who series 8 finale “Death in Heaven” solidified them as a TV Couple worth remembering. And while I had a few issues with the Doctor Who series 8 finale (are we really supposed to believe that many characters we love from the past were turned into Cybermen?), I still really appreciated the episode as well as the growing romance presented between Clara Oswald and Danny Pink, even if their ending was tragic and frustrating.
Clara, companion to the Doctor, fell in love with Danny Pink, fellow teacher at Coal Hill School where she works. He was a soldier turned teacher and unimpressed with the Doctor. I actually really liked this guy. He felt “real” to me in a way the characters haven’t felt since the Russell T. Davies era of the show. Now don’t get me wrong, I liked Amy and Rory but somehow they always felt dreamlike and more like a distant fairy tale which I think may have been the intent. And somewhere along the way, Clara also began to feel like a real person (a criticism plaguing her character since her introduction) once Danny came into the picture. But then he died, run over by a car, leaving Clara broken and desperate. She tries to save him, but found she could not. And stuck in the Master’s Time Lord version of heaven, Danny finds himself being turned into a Cyberman.
So for this week’s actual romantic moment, I wanted to focus on the transformation of Danny into a Cyberman and how his love for Clara transcended his new monstrous state. Again, it is problematic when looked at from a place of consistency. On one level it could be looked at as insulting to humanity in general. That somehow people connected to the Doctor are more elite and have stronger feelings of “love.” But let’s forget all about that, ignore the inconsistencies presented, and look at it from the perspective of an epic love story.
The idea itself is very romantic; these two characters had such a soul connection even death could not separate them.
When Danny is first turned into a Cyberman he still has all of his emotions. And his first mission as a Cyberman? Save Clara, who he finds in a bit of a bind.
Pretending to be the Doctor to save her own skin, Danny kills the other Cyberman to protect her. He then flies her off to the graveyard where the romantic moment begins.
ROMANTIC MOMENT – DANNY AND CLARA
Clara finds herself in the graveyard surrounded by Cybermen, confused yet intrigued. They aren’t harming her after all…at this point anyway. She finds one particular Cyberman acting strange. She asks him if he was the one who brought her there. He confirms her suspicions while holding onto the morgue slip with his name on the paper. She still has no idea that he’s really Danny on the inside.
He tells her that he knows she’s not the Doctor and is only his associate. She tells Danny, who she thinks is just another Cyberman, to not harm her because of what the Doctor would do. She then goes on to make (unfortunate on her end) a speech about her connection to the Doctor.
“I would never, ever give up the Doctor because he is my best friend too. He is the closest person to me in this whole world. He is the one man I will always forgive, always trust. The one man I would never, ever lie to.”
Yes, Clara is trying to save her life once again by making her importance to the Doctor known. BUT, all her speech does is hurt Danny in the process. He wants to be the closest person to Clara in the universe. But with Clara, who lies just as easily as the Doctor himself, it’s hard to tell what’s a lie (or even an exaggeration) and what is not. With this speech, Clara breaks Danny’s heart – even if what she’s said isn’t really all true.
Upset, Danny holds up his weapon, arm shaking. It’s easier to give into rage as a Cyberman, but he still loves Clara. He lowers his weapon, leaving Clara even more confused.
Danny then pulls off his Cyber Mask and reveals his true face to Clara. She says his name in surprise as the slip with his name falls to the ground.
“Danny Pink is dead,” he says.
She walks over to him, tears falling from her eyes. “Danny, I’m so sorry.”
“Help me,” Danny pleads to Clara. He then asks her to do something for him. He wants her to turn off his inhibitor that controls his emotions. He doesn’t want to feel all the pain he’s feeling, both from turning into a monster and also from Clara’s hurtful words.
Clara wants to help him and calls the Doctor for assistance. She tells the Doctor that Danny is a Cyberman and that “he feels it and he’s crying.”
Danny wants to die and Clara wants to ease him from his pain. The Doctor doesn’t agree. He pleads with Clara to not activate the switch, because then Danny would become a full Cyberman and then kill her. She pleads with the Doctor to either help her or leave her alone.
Clara then attempts to turn off Danny’s emotions by turning on all the switches. But nothing seems to work. (At this point, I was personally hoping for her to fail in this attempt to turn off his emotions.) Clara touches his face and once again apologizes, both for what’s happened to him and for what she said that caused him such pain.
As the Doctor makes his way to the ground, escaping the crashing plane, Clara continues to try and help Danny. As nothing continues to work, The Doctor appears running out of the TARDIS telling her to stop. The Doctor again makes his case that if they turn off his emotions he will simply kill Clara and then continue killing many other people.
“I will not harm her,” Danny explains. The Doctor relates to Danny his own past with the Master and points out the need for feeling pain. “Pain is a gift. Without the capacity for pain, we can’t feel the hurt we inflict.”
But Danny will hear none of it. He convinces the Doctor to turn off his emotions, because then he’ll be better connected to the “hive.” If the Doctor wants to learn the Master’s real plan he will have to activate the switch. Danny recognizes the hypocrisy in the Doctor and finally pushes the right button. The Doctor knows he’s right and now agrees. But Clara wants to be the one to do it and asks the Doctor for the sonic screwdriver.
Clara approaches Danny once again where they say their goodbyes. Once she activates it, his emotions will be gone. In a way, he’ll really be dead this time.
“I wasn’t very good at it, but I did love you,” Clara tells Danny tears in her eyes.
“I love you too,” he reminds her, his voice breaking with emotion.
“I’m never going to say that again,” she promises.
Clara holds up the sonic screwdriver, but finds it difficult to actually go through with it. “I feel like I’m killing you,” Clara cries.
“I’m already dead. You’re here this time at least,” he tells her comfortingly.
“Goodbye Danny,” Clara says.
Clara then turns on the screwdriver and attempts to activate the switch that will turn off his emotions. It seems to work as his face goes blank.
Unable to control her emotions, she runs over to Danny and hugs him as he stands there.
The Doctor is then able to learn what Missy’s, or the Master’s, plan is from Danny (that all humanity will be turned into Cyberman from the “rain”) who is still activating.
Missy then floats down to the ground in full Mary Poppins style. Missy tries to kill Clara to put her out of her misery, but the Doctor takes away her zapper and tosses it away. After Missy reveals her true purpose and that the Cybermen are a birthday gift for the Doctor (giving him the control bracelet which gives him power over the Cybermen), he tells her that he doesn’t need an army because he has “them,” and that love is “not an emotion,” but rather a “promise.”
At this point, Danny puts his arm around Clara.
“And he will never hurt her.” The Doctor then takes the control bracelet and throws it over to Danny who catches it.
“You didn’t notice, did you?” the Doctor questions Missy gloating. “While you were doing all your silly orders, while you were showing off, the one soldier not obeying…”
Realization begins to hit Missy.
“The rain will not fall,” Danny announces. Danny lets go of Clara as he puts on the control bracelet and walks toward Missy.
“The clouds will burn,” Danny tells her. He reveals that they will burn because he will burn, but not just one Cyberman burning, all of them.
Danny speaks into the bracelet and yells “Attention.” The Cyber Army follow his command. He then makes a grand speech:
“This is not a good day. This is Earth’s darkest hour. And look at you miserable lot. We are the Fallen. But today, we shall rise. The army of the dead will save the land of the living. This is not the order of a general, nor the whim of a lunatic…This is a promise. The promise of a soldier.”
Danny then turns to Clara. “You will sleep safe tonight,” he tells her with love proving that his love was so deep he could not actually lose his emotions and especially his feelings for her.
Danny then flies up into the sky as all the other Cybermen follow suit. They fly into the clouds and explode until the sun once again appears through the clouds.
The sky clears around the world, leaving no clouds behind. So Danny gave up his life for Clara and the rest of humanity, proving himself a hero until the end.
But he’s not finished. Two weeks later, Danny once again makes an appearance. With obvious reference to the season 2 finale “Doomsday,” Clara and Danny are separated by a barrier of death. Where Rose and the Doctor were separated by a metaphorical death – Rose trapped in a parallel universe, Clara and Danny are separated by literal death. It was a cruel trick considering in a previous episode this season Clara meets a descendant (supposedly) of her and Danny.
Danny calls out to her in her sleep in a scene filmed almost exactly like the Doctor calling out to Rose. Clara wakes and walks down her hallway calling out: “Danny? Danny? Is that you?”
He says her name through a shimmery white light that appears. Clara says that the Doctor told her the bracelet could bring him home. But he reveals that “there’s only enough power for one trip.”
And in true Danny style, heroically he gives up the spot to the young boy he once accidentally killed in war. He asks Clara to help the boy find his parents. Danny then disappears as he tells Clara he’s sorry. The light fades away into nothing.
Unfortunately, the story of Clara and Danny turned into a bit of a tragedy. However, with the episode leaving the audience completely depressed, one wonders if there’s still another way to bring him back. It seems unlikely, but it is a fantasy/sci-fi show where there have already been many returns from death. So here’s to hoping Clara gets her happy ending. If not, perhaps she’s already pregnant with his child, which would make the future she saw with the man who was likely her great-grandson still possible. We shall just have to wait and see.
Did you enjoy the romance between Danny and Clara? What did you think of the series 8 finale? Let me know in the comments!
Photo Credit: BBC
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