Ever since the beginning of the Doctor Who reboot, the Doctor has been destroying the lives of his companions.
When he took Rose away, he didn’t return her home until six months later, utterly disrupting her life. Traveling with the Doctor ruined Rose’s relationship with Mickey, whom she had really loved before. And in the end, Rose’s relationship with the Doctor actually cost her and her family their world, as they found themselves living in an alternate version of earth.
Martha’s family was captured and tortured by the Master for years. In season four, it was revealed that the Doctor had “turned her into a soldier.” She became a woman who would destroy the world.
Donna’s memory was destroyed, her character re-written.
And the Doctor ruined Amy. That’s how it was written: he met a beautiful, brilliant little girl, and by failing her he turned her into a stripper with acres of psychological problems.
River’s life was both ruled by and destroyed by the Doctor. Her presence in his life never threatened to tear its overall fabric apart, but his presence in her life was how she defined her life. Her career, her skills, her hopes and dreams: they were all formed by her relationship with the Doctor.
People have been talking a lot about how Clara’s backstory is under-developed, while her mystery is over-developed. I think there’s some merit in that argument, but I also think I know now why the writers have made the decisions they made about her backstory.
We found out at the end of “The Crimson Horror” that Clara has kept her nanny job. The kids just thought the Doctor was her boyfriend until they found the pictures. Clara can come home, fix her hair, and walk right back into her life. The Doctor has simply added to her life, not destroyed or disrupted it. He still hasn’t taken over her life, as he did with other companions.
But strangely enough, I think she may have taken over his life. Ever since the Snowmen, his travels in time have been solely based on finding her, or finding out more about her. In a funny way, Clara has destroyed his life. But the life he had before her wasn’t really worth living, was it?
The traditional companion-Doctor effect is being inverted with Clara and the Doctor. If anything, she’s ruining his life. He left his cloud behind because of the effect she had on him, he went running through space and time solely to find her again. And let’s be honest: she’s definitely a threat to his marriage.