Season 9 of Doctor Who is less than a month away so of course speculation is flying all over the Internet about what is in store for us. But if you’ll recall from our list of reasons to get excited about the new season, the relationship between Clara and The Doctor is definitely among our priorities. In fact, Whouffaldi, as the fandom has dubbed it, is very, very important indeed.
Before, and even for a little while during season 8, there was a lot of talk about Twelve and Clara being strictly platonic. Then there were a lot of moments that completely contradicted that statement. So if you’re wondering if Clara and The Doctor are really a canon couple, the answer is: Yes. Yes, a thousand times, yes. And here’s the proof.
1. “Beat that for a date!”
The Doctor arrived to take Clara away because he had “a whole day worked out” but she’s leaving for a date with Danny. Then the TARDIS phone rang and he convinced her to fly off with him anyway for a time heist adventure robbing a bank. They even get dinner afterward. Then she goes off for her date and The Doctor triumphantly says:
2. “I love you.”
To be honest, “Mummy on the Orient Express” is a full blown shipper episode. There’s that hallway scene that radiates with sexual tension. There’s the heart to heart on the beach. But most importantly is the end, when Clara is quietly talking on the phone with Danny. From the balcony she looks straight down at The Doctor and, in a purposefully louder voice, says, “I love you.” And just in case there’s any doubt who she was really talking to, Jenna Coleman clears it up.
3. The Doctor says “I love you” in his own way
Let’s set the stage. Clara has just acted out a scenario where she tries to blackmail The Doctor into rewriting time so Danny doesn’t die. She does this by systematically destroying the keys to the TARDIS. It turns out this was a dream sequence so the keys weren’t melted by lava but the feelings of betrayal were real. And yet The Doctor is still going to help Clara save Danny, the boyfriend he doesn’t even like, and he’s going to do it because he loves her.
4. “He absolutely loves her”
Confirmation in the show is one thing; flat out confirmation from the showrunner is entirely different. So when Steven Moffat gave an interview and spoke about the above scene he gave us a glimpse even further into Twelve’s “devotion” to Clara.
5. “Death in Heaven” hug
The build up to this moment is just as feels heavy. Both The Doctor and Clara are lying about finding happiness for the sake of each other. He thinks she’s gotten Danny back so he lies about finding Gallifrey to give her an easy excuse for staying with Danny. She in turn decides to conceal Danny’s true fate so The Doctor won’t hesitate to return to Gallifrey. It’s all very “Gift of the Magi”. Then, because they’re saying goodbye, Twelve makes an exception to his dislike for hugs. This is the first time we see him agree to hug anyone, including his companion. He opens his arms to her and, with tears in his eyes, he embraces her.
6. Clara would have married The Doctor
The entirety of “Last Christmas” is a shipper manifesto. It’s all about getting these two time traveling, love sick fools back together. Choosing just two moments is a tough job but here goes. First is the part where both The Doctor and Clara think they’ve actually woken up and it’s revealed he’s missed 62 years of her life. He’s clearly devastated, even later telling her he wishes he’d come back sooner. She tells him about her extraordinary life and how she turned down proposals because there were only two men she could imagine marrying: Danny or The Doctor.
7. A Christmas proposal and a kiss
And second from this glorious episode is the end, when Santa arrives one last time to give our heroes a second chance at love. The Doctor wakes up for real this time and rushes to Clara’s bedside. She’s young again, he hasn’t missed her life, and just as his regret was palpable before, so now is his relief. He doesn’t hesitate to
propose ask her to come away with him. And Clara replies the only way appropriate when a man you adore looks at you with so much affection and offers his hand, his spaceship, and a life together.
8. “So I love her”
In March, Capaldi, in costume and character as The Doctor, surprised a group of young Whovians at the Doctor Who Experience. During his Q&A with them he spoke about the relationship between Clara and The Doctor, saying she helps him when he “gets things wrong” and that’s why he loves her. This is extremely important for many reasons, including Capaldi was once one of the most outspoken advocates against a romantic relationship between the two, though he’s since said those claims were exaggerated by the media. No denial now.
9. “Clearly besotted”
Back before season 8 premiered all the talk was about The Doctor and Clara having a very platonic relationship. They were going to be friends and go on adventures but any kind of romance was completely off the table. When that turned out to be utter nonsense, Steven Moffat explained The Doctor’s, and maybe his own, hesitation and mind change by confessing Twelve never stopped loving Clara.
10. Series 9 Promo Photo
Yeah, let’s talk about said promo photo. Here we are weeks away from the season 9 premiere and these two are in matching outfits and look at Clara’s heart eyes face and the hand holding with The Doctor who doesn’t like physical contact. This is fan art levels of shippy goodness. And then the BBC follows it up with a tweet because they ship it too
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) August 4, 2015
10. Trailer #1: The spinny hug
I first saw this trailer at San Diego Comic Con in Hall H with thousands of Whovians. When the hug happened, hand on my heart, I stopped breathing. And then I may have cried a little bit. This was the first indication we had that season 9 was continuing on with the Whouffaldi and even stepping it up in a big way. I MEAN SERIOUSLY COME ON
12. Trailer #2: The couple hug
Yeah these two are definitely together. No room for doubt. You don’t platonically hug anyone like that. You just don’t.
Honorable mentions (yeah, okay, I cheated and found a reason to add more so sue me):
When The Doctor was totally cool with Clara dating an Eleven look-alike
“Do you have your own mood lighting now?”
The one where they both realize they love each other selflessly
Aforementioned Hallway of Sexual Tension
“Clara Oswald, you’ll never look any different to me”