Wait, we have an episode here about a being that lives off stories and it was somehow not written by Neil Gaiman? No offense to the episode he actually did write (since it was awesome), but the premise here sounds like a much closer fit to his usual line of work.
OK, big surprise: Clara does opt to travel with the Doctor. It turns out she’s actually met him before because, since she died twice in two different time periods, the Doctor really wants to know what makes her special and opted to spy on her parents as they met, fell in love, had baby Clara, and then to the moment Clara’s mother died young. All that because a large autumn leaf smacked Clara’s father in the face, causing him to wander into traffic blind until his future wife saved his life with a meet-cute.
Point is, there doesn’t seem to be much special about Clara aside from her parents having a really unique story on how they met.
But now in the present (more or less considering I come to this episode years after it aired), Clara gets to visit a far-off star system where there’s a marketplace where people sell stuff not for money but for items of sentimental value. The Doctor’s been there before. There’s a pyramid on another asteroid closer to the sun, and when the two get separated, Clara uses her awesome nanny skills to help a little girl feel better about having to sing for her grandfather some traditional song.
Grandfather terrifies her for some reason. For some other reason, she has the title “Queen of Years”.
OK, that may be odd, but it is an alien planet. Odd things happen. So, really, what could possibly…
Oh, the performance is public, “grandfather” is a nickname for an alien mummy that might be a god of some kind, and if the girl does screw it up, something could destroy the entire system.
Something does go wrong, but I couldn’t tell you what. All I know is Grandpa decides he wants that girl and pulls her across the void to his pyramid. The Doctor doesn’t walk away, so instead he rents a scooter and goes over with Clara to save the girl because the girl’s life is too precious to give to some long dead thing, even if his metal-helmed goons think otherwise. Plus, there is one piece of good news as the Doctor saves the day: the mummy is not the god thing.
Bad news: the god thing might be the system’s sun.
Potentially good news: the god thing is really just a parasite that lives off stories and memories. Giving up items of sentimental value feeds it generally, but sometimes it wants a kid’s soul because it sucks like that.
Can the Doctor stop something that big?
Oh, he tries. He offers his own memories, but somehow even a Time Lord’s memories aren’t enough for this thing.
But Clara still has her parents’ leaf. Apparently, the lost potential of her mother, seeing as the woman died young, is enough to make the parasite implode for some reason before it destroys a few civilizations.
So, is Clara….special?
I guess I’ll have to find out. Special isn’t necessarily bad, and though my cultural osmosis says Clara isn’t a fan favorite, it seems to come more from her time with the next Doctor. For this one, well, she just isn’t Amy and/or Rory…