It explored the possibility of many more alternate Clara Oswalds existing than those originally portrayed in the television series. This subsequently led Clara to meet Winnie Clarence, one of her "splinters". As a result of meeting the "prime" version of Clara, Winnie becomes the first splinter to become aware of her purpose. She's also the first splinter of Clara to not die saving the Doctor, as Winnie survives and leads her own life.
The Doctor and Clara are on a tour of Snowcap University, which Clara finds uninteresting. They are at a point in which Dr Audley is supposed to speak; however, she has met a delay, so to Clara's relief the tour moves outside. As Winnie and a fellow student watch the tourists, Dr Audley is apparently now ready, and the tour moves back inside.
Audley announces that this tour may be the location's final one: the Antarctic Treaty, which forbids military activity, mineral mining and the dumping of nuclear waste, is coming up for renewal. Audley also mentions that this spot is the only one which humanity cannot legally exploit or destroy for its own gain, placing the year at 2048 according to the Doctor. Snowcap University has dedicated its time to clean up pollution on Antarctica, and if the treaty is abandoned, these efforts will become useless. Consequentially, some students and staff members have chosen to stay on campus even after the end of the term, in order to conclude certain experiments which otherwise may never be finished. George Evans, another tourist, asks to speak to Dr Audley; she refuses, but Evans will not take "no" for an answer...
As the tourists ride a helicopter after the tour's conclusion, Evans discusses with the tour guide his dissatisfaction with the experience. Rather than wishing for sightseeing, Evans desired answers which he did not receive. His daughter Polly did not come home at the end of the term; Audley initially claimed she did indeed leave, before explaining that she was involved in a top-secret research project. Mr Evans eventually convinced Audley to let him see his daughter, though he could not enter the experimentation room; Polly claimed to be fine, but her father noticed something wrong in her eyes...
George Evans responded by threatening Dr Audley, which the Doctor doubts was a particularly wise move. Suddenly, Clara spots something: a man wearing shorts and a t-shirt, despite the temperature of negative fifty degrees. Closer inspection reveals the man to be frozen solid - and yet, he manages to let out a faint sound. The Doctor recognises this as impossible.
As Clara attempts to comfort him with promises of a medical centre, the man lets out quiet calls of help. Steeping up onto the helicopter, the man scratches his arm on a piece of metal sticking out from the door, bizarrely bleeding blue blood. Due to this extra weight, as well as the Doctor's curiosity about this man, the Doctor and Clara do not reenter the helicopter - fortunately for them, as suddenly, a flock of wandering albatrosses attacks the vehicle, causing it to crash.
As Winnie, Navin and Roger arrive to help, the Doctor regrettably announces that all of the helicopter's inhabitants, among them Quinn (the boy with blue blood), are deceased. The students recognise this name: Quinn Norton was a student who moved to Project Sub-Zero, the same project which Polly Evans was involved in.
The Doctor decides to visit Dr Audley's office, while Winnie takes Clara to her room to get clean clothes. Clara and Winnie remove their snow hoods and goggles, and draw back in for a shock: their faces are identical.
The Doctor mentions the helicopter crash to Dr Audley, who he believes to be responsible. Claiming to be an inspector, the Doctor asks to see what he wasn't shown on the tour. Clara, meanwhile, learns that Winnie is a nickname for Oswin (a password devised by Clara, used in several of her echos' names), confirming her to be one of Clara's echoes.
The species examined in the laboratory - nematodes, springtails, and ice fish among them - share a fundamental thing in common: they all are capable of living in freezing temperatures. Audley explains that Project Sub-Zero is focused on surviving in the extreme cold. The Doctor is still suspicious, and he's convinced that this isn't his first visit to Snowcap University. After learning that the building was once a rocket base, he realises that he is in Snowcap Base - the place where he experienced his first regeneration. Recognising this, the Doctor decides to find Clara.
Clara explains that Winnie's roommate Marianne is taking part in Project Sub-Zero, allowing Clara to stay in her room. However, the Doctor, having just investigated the research project, knows it does not contain any living quarters...
As Winnie attempts to phone Marianne, the Doctor and Clara discuss Clara's echo. They contemplate whether Winnie should know of her purpose to die and save the Doctor. Winnie happens to overhear this conversation just as Clara mentions making a decision that fates her to death. Hearing this, Clara's echo angrily escapes on a snowmobile, and a horrified Clara chases after her. Unfortunately for the two, the ice below them cracks, sending both Winnie and Clara into an abyss...
The Doctor visits Mr South, the head of security, and points out some observations. Instead of watching the Doctor himself, a mysterious stranger, South was focused on his own boss, Dr Audley. South admits he is unaware of Audley having any unwholesome ideas; he is merely suspicious. However, in fear of others asking questions about him, South keeps his worries quiet.
Winnie and Clara have safely landed in a cavern. Winnie, naturally, is still angry at Clara, despite not knowing the full story of her actions. Back in the University, South explains his life: he works undercover as a member of Ophion Oil, which wants to convert Snowcap into headquarters for their proposed drilling project. South is not brave enough to end his alliance with Ophion, despite no longer agreeing with it. And while he no longer approves of the company's intentions, South is convinced it will eventually find a way of carrying them out. South also mentions the continent's suspected ice caverns; The Doctor suspects these could contain a secret underground lair, and decides to investigate them.
Clara is bleeding, and her blood appears to be blue; however, closer inspection reveals that the lighting was playing tricks, and that the blood is actually a normal red. Clara mentions Quinn's blue blood; Winnie explains that only certain octopuses normally have blood that colour, which helps them survive in the cold. As the two look for an exit, Clara tells Winnie of the full story of her creation. Despite the story's apparent absurdity, Winnie does believe it; she can recall faint memories of the event. However, she is still frustrated, since Clara did not consider the consequences which her echoes would face.
This conversation is cut short when Winnie and Clara hear what seems to be animals. They follow the noises to a laboratory housing unusual creatures - converted forms of the University's missing students. A now monstrous-looking Marianne explains to Winnie that Audley was behind their new forms...
The Doctor and South happen to arrive at the base at exactly this point, and the Time Lord confronts Audley. The scientist explains her intentions: she wants humans to be able to truly live and survive on Antarctica, and is supposedly "saving" the place for humanity. She believes that allowing these humans to survive on the continent would help the Treaty be renewed.
After learning that oil companies are already on the continent in the form of Mr South, Audley is forced to advance her plans at a faster speed. She orders her scientists to bring the entire University to the base, a task soon completed; the only person missing is Oswin Clarence. Clara responds by stepping out, pretending to be her echo.
As Audley leaves, the real Winnie steps out while the Doctor finds a key. Marianne and Winnie have their first conversation in quite some time; despite Marianne's now bizarre appearance, the two are happy to see each other again. However, Marianne is still trapped in a cell. The Doctor's key does not fit, and the sonic screwdriver cannot achieve the task either. To make matters worse, Audley reenters at this point, putting everyone in a cell and giving both Clara and Winnie the choice to experiment or be experimented on.
Clara refuses to cooperate, but since letting the Doctor die has a chance of saving herself, Winnie is quite willing. She's happy to work with Dr Audley...
Marianne insists that Winne would never betray them, but the Doctor waits to believe her until he sees proof. Meanwhile, Audley is showing Winnie around the base. After being shown a vat of "liquid ice" which freezes the body instantly, Winnie is introduced to an octopus that switches from calm to attacking when reaching a certain sound frequency. Winnie asks for a demonstration; using his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor finds the frequency, deciding that Winnie intended for this to happen and that she is indeed on their side. Winnie also questions whether the animals are ever a distraction; the Doctor sounds the screwdriver to upset the animals in response, allowing Winnie to throw him the cell's key in the chaos.
After the Doctor opens the cell, Audley threatens to kill Winnie for her betrayal. However, using the information he picked up earlier, the Doctor uses his screwdriver the alter the frequency of sound in the room, shattering the animals' crates and causing them to attack. Unfortunately, however, the animals attempt rather violent attacks, and the sonic screwdriver will not stop them. Audley still attempts to kill Winnie in the process, and as Winnie fights back, they both fall into the liquid ice pit. The Doctor orders everyone around to run, suggesting Marianne swim instead. However, with her bruised leg Clara cannot run, so the Doctor and Clara set to find transport at the University.
The Doctor fixes a broken snowmobile with his sonic screwdriver, allowing himself and Clara to make an escape. Following a firework set off by the group, they end up in the same location as the rest of the base's inhabitants, as well as many of their relatives.
Winnie's mum is among the people there. Clara suggests pretending to be Winnie, but the Doctor disapproves, forcing her to consider what it would have been like if someone had taken the place of her own mother. Suddenly, Marianne emerges from a thin sheet of ice, holding the real Winnie's body.
The Doctor notices a syringe protruding from her leg - surrounded by blue blood. He realises she has "antifreeze" in her "radiator", and uses his sonic screwdriver to give her a "jump-start". Regaining consciousness, Winnie explains that she was holding the syringe while falling, and the Doctor concludes that it gave her blue blood and the ability to survive in the freezing water. Clara realises that Winnie's survival means not all of her echoes die in the process of helping the Doctor, and the Doctor admits to having "defeated a few demons" as well.
Helicopters arrive in shifts later, bring everyone off the continent. Marianne describes her plans to reverse the processes of Audley's experiments; even if these ideas fail, Marianne would be more than happy to live in Antarctica.
As the group watches the aurora australis, the Doctor, Clara and Winnie ponder over whether the Antarctic Treaty will be renewed. None of them are sure, but they conclude that they can at least try to save Antarctica.
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- Twelfth Doctor
- Clara Oswald / Winnie Clarence
- Paul South
- Patricia Audley
- George Evans
- Polly Evans
- Quinn Norton
- First Doctor
- Ben Jackson
- Polly Wright
- Mabel Clarence
Original print details
- (Publication with page count and closing captions)
- DWM 485 (12 pages) Next: Reflections!
- DWM 486 (12 pages) Next: Truth and Consequences!
- DWM 487 (12 pages) Next: Shattered Mirror!
- DWM 488 (12 pages) The End.
- Clara recalls jumping into the Doctor's time stream when she realises Winnie is one of her echoes. She later recalls how the Doctor's entire life was being erased and the stars were going out. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
- This story marks the first known time Clara has encountered one of her echoes, and it is implied that she has not done so before.
- The echoes featured within the story feature throwbacks to many different eras of Doctor Who. One of them appears in the same astronaut gear from Silence in the Library. Another is dressed in the same style of dress as many of the women from The Ark.
- Upon discovering he is at Snowcap University, the Doctor recalls his first regeneration at Snowcap Base. (TV: The Tenth Planet) He also compares the change to death. (TV: The End of Time)
- Clara mentions her story started "one day when [she] lost the Internet". (TV: The Bells of Saint John)
- Part 2 includes an illustration of some of Clara's splinters including the first comic strip depictions of Oswin Oswald (TV: Asylum of the Daleks) and Clara Oswin Oswald, (TV: The Snowmen) as well as previously unchronicled incarnations including an Egyptian, a monarch of some sort, a WWII military officer, an astronaut, a cavewoman and a tribal member.
- This story establishes that echoes continue to aid the Doctor beyond his eleventh incarnation; additionally, there is no indication given of any involvement by the Great Intelligence suggesting not all encounters are related to the entity, either.
- Prior to his regeneration, the Twelfth Doctor would return to the South Pole, where he would encounter his first incarnation (TV: The Doctor Falls, Twice Upon a Time), who is also due to regenerate (TV: The Tenth Planet).
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