If one was paying attention to the plaque — listing those people who have gone missing or died — mounted on the wall of Coal Hill Academy, the names of Clara Oswald and Danny Pink would have grabbed your attention. They appeared to grab the Doctor’s attention, as well.
It is amazing what details can be seen when rewatching a program. While Class premiered two Saturdays ago — with the focus on it being a new show, plus the Doctor making his cameo appearance — certain details can easily be missed. If you look closely, there are a lot of Easter eggs that showrunner Patrick Ness has included for our enjoyment.
One point in particular that could be overlooked was in ‘For Tonight We Might Die,’ when the Doctor was examining the plaque naming those who either died, or mysteriously vanished. Quite a few names were listed there, such as the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan Foreman, a former student at the school. But two in particular should grab our attention – teachers Clara Oswald and Danny Pink. It would seem as though the Doctor took notice as well, as he zeroed in on their names while examining the solemn tribute.
Yet, based on the events from Series Nine, he should not be able to remember either. Clara erased the Doctor’s memory of her, foiling his plans to do the same to her in an attempt to bring her back to life. Other than having later relearned her name and some of the things that they had done together, he certainly had no memory of her in the diner at the end of the season. Her official parting of ways with the Doctor was one of the more poignant moments in the show’s history.
When something goes missing, you can always recreate it by the hole it left. I know her name was Clara. I know we travelled together. I know that there was an Ice Warrior on a submarine and a mummy on the Orient Express. I know we sat together in the Cloisters and she told me something very important, but I have no idea what she said. Or what she looked like. Or how she talked. Or laughed. There’s nothing there. Just nothing. — the Doctor, ‘Hell Bent’
By extension, has he forgotten Danny, as well? Whether he has or not, did seeing his name above Clara’s stir any more memories of her?
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Perhaps this pause was similar to when he first met Ashildr. While the Doctor maintained that he did not know who she was, something about seeing her made the Doctor take note. It could be that something similar happened in Class, in which the plaque provided a brief premonition of sorts.
It could also be that Clara is not completely removed from the Doctor’s memory. While he may not be conscious as to who or what she was, Clara could well live on in his subconscious, a thought in the back of his mind that he cannot quite grasp. That name, seen at random amongst all the others, could be the mental version of an itch that he cannot scratch — a postmonition, if you will.