Doctor Who – Last Christmas episode review
So, I was extremely busy in December, and beaten up by a case of the holiday blues, so doing a post on the the Doctor Who Christmas special was really one of the last things on my mind. Now that the calendar has flipped to 2015, and the episode is now out on DVD, I feel should put out my thoughts on Last Christmas, this year’s special. Was it special? I didn’t really think so. It wasn’t that it was terrible, but it certainly wasn’t a classic.
As unoriginality continues in the writing department, we were given Steven Moffat’s Whovian version of Inception for Christmas. I went into this one with the expectation of not liking it. I don’t like that, but unfortunately these last few years have soured me a lot on the show I love. It seems to have become a merchandise machine that only pumps out material related to the Moffat years, and ignores the (in my opinion) superior earlier works. Perhaps it’s all Christopher Eccleston’s fault. If his Doctor had only appeared in the 50th Anniversary Special it have forced more attention onto the first years of “New Who”. Ah well, we can’t change the past (unless it is written out of continuity).
Clara had said goodbye to the Doctor at the end of Series 8, and has moved on with her life, happy with Danny Pink, or at least that’s what she told the Doctor. The Doctor has moved on and back to Gallifrey, using the information that the Master (or Missy if you must) gave him. Of course both of these were just lies they told each other. Through a series of events the Doctor rushes to Clara’s rooftop to save her from an interaction with Santa Claus (Nick Frost) and two of his elves, one played by Dan Starkey who is better known as Strax. They end up going to the North Pole where they find an Arctic expedition who have had half the members of their team infected by face grabbing aliens who only react when you think about them (This time out, Moffat is telling us “don’t think”, kind of sums up his run as showrunner perfectly doesn’t it?) The Doctor, Clara and the remaining members of the team; including Shona (Faye Marsay) and Professor Albert (Michael Troughton who is one of second Doctor Patrick ‘s sons); are attacked and enter a dream state. The aliens/parasites send their victims into a dream state where they are then free to eat the brains of their prey. Eventually everyone discovers this and wakes up to find out that they still inside a dream, from an earlier attack of the creatures. Of course everything turns out well when the Doctor realizes what has been going on and how many nested dreams they’re all trapped inside. He finally wakes up and goes to find an aged Clara who he hasn’t seen in some sixty years. In a touching piece of writing, the Doctor shows how much he really does care for all his companions. It had pretty much been announced that Jenna Coleman was leaving the show and I thought this aged Clara scene was a tasteful, classy way to write her off. But then obviously something changed and Jenna has signed back up for at least a part of season nine, and it turns out that this was just another dream state.
I like Clara and I like Jenna Coleman, but I really didn’t like the about face, mainly because I doubt they’ll be able to write her exit any better than it was done here. I also didn’t like that her first question when she was rescued was if she was young. Congratulations on showing the audience how vain female characters are supposed to be. I think that Clara is a character that they’ve forgotten how to write. She was a nanny, she became a super computer genius, she became a teacher, and at some point I think they lost her. It’s like they wanted a Zoe (Wendy Padbury) character, but didn’t know how to do it. Now that I’ve said that it kind of makes sense. Zoe was a “girl-genius” that travelled with the second Doctor, and we all know how much Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor was influenced by Troughton’s take.
Alien, The Thing, Inception, Nightmare on Elm Street. Everything seemed to be borrowed in this one. Some people said it was like Alien meets The Thing meets Miracle on 34th Street. I didn’t get the 34th Street thing, other than Santa Claus was involved. By the way, did anyone else think the tangerine shot at the end of the show was supposed to be like the top spinning at the end of Inception? Overall the episode was okay. A few neat thrills; the obligatory over complication of the story to show us that the writer is clever; and a few new characters that had potential. I really liked the Shona character, and it looked as though they may have been teasing her to be the new companion, but alas, we’ll never know. She seemed fun, and just interested in adventure, which is something I think all companions should be.
Bottom Line: Saturday night is still Doctor Who night. Felt right to put this post up today.