Clara Oswald and the School of Death was the eighth story of the Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor comic series published in 2016. It was the first story of the second year of the series and saw a restart of the issue numbering, with the series now taking place during the events of the ninth series. The story featured the surprise return of the Sea Devils.
The gothic, sprawling Ravenscaur is the top private school in the UK, educator of the children of royalty, politicians and celebrities, and epicentre of generations of power and influence. When an old friend of Clara's dies at the school under mysterious circumstances, she and the Twelfth Doctor go undercover to investigate.
Late at Ravenscaur School, Christel Dean is packing up her things, when a piece of chalk lifts up and writes on the chalkboard, "I must not murder my teacher." She runs out of the school, and as she drives away, leaves a voicemail for her friend Clara. A group of students appear in the middle of the road, and Christel swerves into a tree. As the children approach her, she runs onto a bridge, where the water rises and she is attacked by a sea creature.
In 2242, the Twelfth Doctor is being harassed by an alien in the bar of a starliner. He uses the sonic sunglasses to hack into the aliens' jetpacks, sending them flying, and hops into the TARDIS with an extra drink for Clara. When the TARDIS arrives in her flat however, he finds only a note waiting for him.
Arriving at Ravenscaur, Clara reflects on the history of the prestigious institution, while enduring the slimy Mr. Beck's flirting, before the Doctor suddenly pops up, incensed at being left behind but eager at the prospect of going undercover. In Clara's room, the Doctor is brought up to speed on everything before Clara shoves him under the bed when Mrs Mariner, the headmistress, arrives to meet her. The headmistress is a stern, cold woman who makes very clear that Clara's post is conditional before seeing herself out. As the Doctor gets to his feet, Clara remarks that Mariner's eyes were unnerving.
Early the next morning, Beck is overseeing a gruelling physical fitness class before they're drawn off by a woman's scream coming from a damp cave. Within the cave, they find glowing green eggs. When they get too close, the eggs burst, releasing tadpole like creatures that wrap themselves around the humans' heads.
The next day, despite the strict rules for teachers, Clara tries to connect with her class and expose them to more modern forms of media but only succeeds in sparking a verbal brawl between the students regarding who deserves to attend. When class lets out, Clara is approached by the two misfits, Jack Irvine and Lucy Walker, who recognize her from Christel's photographs. When Clara asks what happened to her, the two quickly take their leave, warning Clara to not go near the water.
At The Slaughtered Whale, the Doctor, in a rather cliché nautical guise, enters the pub and tries to strike up a conversation with the glaring and silent barflies. After getting a mug of water from the bar, the Doctor tries to gleam information from a burly sea captain before he's lifted off the ground. When the Doctor pours his water on the man, his head begins smoking, melting away to reveal green flesh with red fins. As one, the pub telekinetically lifts all manner of weapons and throws them at the Doctor, who deflects them with a stuffed fish before a sonic scream sends him flying out the window, the Doctor jumping into the TARDIS before they can catch him.
The TARDIS materializes in Clara's bathroom, as she's in the bath, and tells her of what he just encountered, saying she was right about something fishy going on. The Doctor does have a theory on who's behind this but if he's right, it means the whole world is at risk. Though Clara is eager to investigate, the Doctor has her stay put, suspecting that Ravenscaur is at the centre of everything, confident that Sonny, the stolen stuffed fish, will watch his back.
The next day, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Daniel Claremont, arrives for a visit. That night, Clara heads deep into the school's lower levels, finding a sealed blast door. Using a sonic screwdriver, that she's held onto ever since their encounter with the Fractures, Clara enters and finds the Prime Minister having dinner with the school board, being very eager to wash away the disgusting human society before dinner is served, live sea creatures. As Clara watches, Lucy and Jack come up from behind, giving away their position but the trio are able to run back to the door before they're caught.
As the three head deeper into the caverns, Clara is told more about how the students seem to change while attending Ravenscaur before a tidal wave floods the cavern, depositing the three in a bright, humid environment. Though Lucy and Jack are caught off-guard, Clara quickly deduces that the environment is artificial, designed to simulate Earth's climate 1,000,000 years ago back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. At that, a voice says that the dinosaurs ruled nothing, that this environment is how Earth is meant to be and what it will be returned to when its true masters reclaim their planet.
For humankind's extinction will come about by the hands of the Sea Devils!
In 1909, the Raven Peninsula was rocked by a mighty earthquake. One so powerful that it turned the peninsula into an island. No bodies were ever recovered from the disaster, the media presuming them casualties of nature, but the survivors were in fact taken captive by the newly awakened Sea Devils.
In 2015, the Sea Devil trio lunges at the humans prompting them to flee. As Clara tries to lead Jack and Lucy back to the surface, a figure in a scuba suit emerges, quickly revealing himself as the Doctor. After introducing himself, he reveals that Sea Devils communicate via sonics while underwater allowing him to throw off their pursuers via sonic screwdriver. During their escape, the quartet finds a hatchling lair, the Doctor explaining that when an intruder gets too close, the gelatinous newborns burst free and latch themselves on the intruder's neural cortex which, in more evolved species, causes the development of extra-sensory powers, such as the telekinesis that Clara saw earlier. When their pursuers catch up, the Doctor leads them all down an underwater shaft where he's hidden the TARDIS.
After the Doctor and Clara argue over who is more reckless, Jack and Lucy ask about the "monsters." The Doctor corrects them and explains the history of the Sea Devils. Over 66 million years ago, the Earth was ruled by two breeds of homo-reptilia, the land-based Silurians and the aquatic Sea Devils. Between the two races, they created a thriving, technologically advanced civilization, far beyond human capabilities. Their reign came to an end when they concealed their society underground to survive the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. The Sea Devils first reemerged in the human era in the year 1972 (or possibly 1982) but these creatures seem far more powerful leading the Doctor to speculate that they are a warrior caste. After reclaiming his title of President of Earth, the Doctor retrieves a briefcase and gifts its contents to his human friends.
As the Prime Minister gives his speech, saying he must, until there is a reasonable alternative, endorse the continued usage of fossil fuels, something that gives Kate Stewart and the Osgoods worry, the Doctor's party meets with Mariner. Mariner quickly reveals that she knows who he is, and confirms his suspicion that the Sea Devils intentionally separated Raven's Isle from the mainland while inflaming global warming so as to terraform the planet into their ideal environment. Slipping on his sunglasses, the Doctor finds the sprinkler system and activates it, the water burning away the human guises and revealing the Sea Devils beneath, leaving Kate and the Osgoods to bemoan another alien Prime Minister.
Mariner lunges at the Doctor and shatters the sunglasses before laughing that he has accomplished nothing. Their armies have been lying in wait for decades and now they have extra incentive to attack. At a command from Mariner, the ground begins to shake as Sea Devil warship rise from the deep, ready to retake their planet.
Three UNIT ships advance on the newly emerged towers only to be instantly sunk by Sea Devil technology. At Ravenscaur, Claremont orders the BBC to keep filming him announcing that the Sea Devils will be turning their sonic devastators on Scotland and sink the country below the sea level. The Osgoods confirm that he's not bluffing and advise that Kate calls the Doctor.
In Mariner's office, the Sea Devils are sent flying back, the Doctor revealing that, inspired by the hatchlings, he's fitted neural enhancers to the humans allowing to access their untapped psionic potential. As they flee, the Doctor refusing to allow Jack and Lucy to keep the enhancers, Kate calls the Doctor where they're quickly revealed to be dealing with the same crisis. Though a navy group is close, the Doctor, by direct presidential command, orders them pulled back. 21st century human technology is no match for the Sea Devils. After telling Clara to get as many humans back to the mainland as possible, the Doctor runs off to do "something so mind-bogglingly brilliant" that it'll amaze even him. When he actually thinks of it.
In the dining hall, the Sea Devils are directing the last group of humans to be converted before Clara, Jack, and Lucy use telekinesis to send the old suits of armour flying, with Clara even bringing down the chandelier, before all the Sea Devils fall to their knees, with the human hybrids literally vomiting up the hatchlings. The TARDIS appears overhead and the Doctor reveals that he's exploited the sonic frequency by which the hatchlings communicate, amplified by the TARDIS, and severed their grip on the human hosts. Or in simpler terms, he's made the Sea Devils seasick.
The reprieve is short lived as the sonic devastators come to life. The Doctor sends Clara to watch over the children, assuring her that Sonny will keep him safe, before he heads off to the roof. Arriving, the Doctor is met by Mariner. When the Doctor asks why she couldn't have tried co-existence, Mariner retorts that she's seen humans attack their own race for the most trivial of differences and doubts they'd embrace the Sea Devils. Disappointed, the Doctor says he would have helped them sue for peace before she lunges at him, impaling Sonny on her trident and knocking the Doctor down.
As Mariner tries to awaken the rest of the Sea Devils, the Doctor uses his screwdriver to alter the trajectory of the devastators, shooting them back at Raven's Isle. Though Mariner notes he's signed his own death warrant, Clara appears, using telekinesis to lift herself upwards and carries the Doctor to safety as Raven's Isle and Mariner are consumed by the sea.
With all said and done, Clara allows Jack and Lucy to keep the enhancers, trusting them to be responsible with them, and coyly approves that they've graduated to hand holding. As the TARDIS sails away, the Doctor mourns for Sonny before asking Clara if she wants to go home. Jumping into the Doctor's arms, Clara says that with him, and in the TARDIS, she's already home.
- Twelfth Doctor
- Clara Oswald
- Jack Irvine
- Lucy Walker
- Christel Dean
- Mr Beck
- Mrs Mariner
- Lucifer van Volk
- Catriona Stewart
- Daniel Claremont
- Kate Stewart
- The Doctor takes a trip to the Rosette of Sirius in 2242. Lucifer van Volk, captain of the Steel Reivers, considers killing him with a firestorm incinerator cannon and a Kronaan laser-ax.
- The Doctor once knew a woman named Van Dyne who was visible through a magnifying glass. He also knew a man named Von Doom who was a "humo[u]rless ... tin-pot".
- The Doctor once ended up conducting the last night of The Proms, where he played the Sex Pistols' version of "God Save the Queen".
- The Doctor's contact image for Kate Stewart is photo-shopped to give her her father's moustache.
- Clara's outgoing voicemail message is, "Hi, it's Clara. I'm either banging my head against a brick wall trying to teach Class 2B Shakespeare, or, y'know, out saving the universe."
- It is confirmed that Clara attended teacher's college.
- Clara notes that Sea Devils are less sophisticated and more savage than Silurians.
- Sea Devil hatchlings communicate via sonic telepathy.
- The Doctor drinks a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
- The character of Christel Dean is named for, and takes the likeness of, actor Christel Dee, host of the BBC-produced webseries The Fan Show.
- The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster originates from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
- "Van Dyne" (The Wasp) and "Von Doom" (Victor von Doom / Doctor Doom) are characters from Marvel Comics.
- For the first time, we see what the Doctor sees through his sonic sunglasses.
- The story implies that Clara has taken a leave from Coal Hill School given that she is able to take on a full-time (if temporary) teaching position at Ravenscaur. At the end of the story, the Doctor offers to take her back to Coal Hill.
- A running joke in the story involves the Doctor taking on a new "companion" - a stuffed swordfish he names Sonny.
- In keeping with the format of a number of series 9 stories, the Doctor and Clara spend much of the story separated.
- The presence of two Osgoods dates this story as happening after the events of TV: The Zygon Inversion.
Original print details
to be added
- The Doctor now uses his sonic sunglasses. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice etc.)
- While not recognising Lucifer, the Doctor queries whether he knew "a mop-head in a fedora and rainbow scarf", "a skinny chap with electro-shock hair", or "a bow-tied whippersnapper". (TV: Robot, The Parting of the Ways, The Eleventh Hour)
- Lucifer first appeared, and was defeated by the Doctor, in COMIC: The Fractures.
- The Doctor claims that he gets distracted rather than running off. (TV: Into the Dalek)
- Clara is said to have used psychic paper to get the job with the school, leading the Doctor to remark that she is acting like him. (TV: Flatline)
- A teacher shows attraction to Clara, a la Danny Pink, but in a more negative manner and she shoots down his advances (unlike in TV: Into the Dalek).
- Clara refers to herself as being impossible. (TV: The Name of the Doctor, et al)
- In keeping with Year Two being set in the Series 9 continuity, the Doctor is now wearing more casual clothes, in particular his hoodie. (TV: Last Christmas)
- The Doctor once again claims to be a master swordfighter, and fights using an unconventional weapon. (TV: Robot of Sherwood)
- Clara possesses a sonic screwdriver, which she held onto after the Doctor gave it to her during the Fracture invasion. (COMIC: The Fractures)
- Clara attended teaching college before taking her job at Coal Hill School (TV: The Day of the Doctor). The story does not indicate whether she is still employed by Coal Hill at this point.
- The Doctor and Mariner both reference the emergence of the Sea Devils in the English Channel. (TV: The Sea Devils) The Doctor notes that it happened in either 1972 or 1982, referencing the UNIT dating controversy. When discussing the differing appearance of the creatures, the Doctor suspects that the ones he is facing now are a warrior caste. The same explanation would be used to explain the redesigned Silurians in The Lost Dimension.
- The Doctor tells Mrs. Mariner that he "had a run-in with some intelligent fireballs a while back". (COMIC: The Hyperion Empire)
- When Kate finds out that the Prime Minister isn't human she remarks, "Not again". (TV: The Sound of Drums)
- The Doctor gives Clara and the students a device that boosts their mental abilities. (TV: Hide)
- The Doctor again refers to an unusual object as a companion and mourns its loss. (TV: The Time of the Doctor)
- Clara refers to the TARDIS as her home, much as Ace did in TV: Survival.
- Claremont mentions Scotland's wish to separate from the UK. (TV: The Beast Below)