YES MOFFAT, go on my son.
Not only was this one of the finest Crimbo specials, but it was also one of the best Capaldi episodes so far. I’d go as far as to say it enters the pantheon of Moffat classics. YAS. It can now make friends with ‘Listen’, ‘The Eleventh Hour’, ‘Blink’ and all the others. Bessie mates.
This wasn’t just a stand alone special, it was really the topper for all of season 8, a culmination of the character journeys we’ve been taken on this year. It was the Doctor and Clara dealing with the lies they told and where it left them, with Clara accepting what has happened and moving on, the Doctor mellowing to show more human emotion and even unbridled joy. Oh, I’m sure he’s still going to be rude and acerbic, but it’s clear this version of the Doctor has also turned a corner.
So yeah, by gum that was a lovely special, now let’s take a quick gallop through some of the highs and lows:
Okay, I’ll admit it, when Santa turned up at the end of season 8, I CLENCHED. Well consider me now to be as loose as a goose. Nick Frost was brilliant in the part, his offhand matter-of-factness was perfect. And the explanation behind Santa worked wonderfully and helped elevate the episode further.
Shona dancing to Slade through the scary-ass room full of monsters. What an awesome, funny, spooky scene.
IN FACT: Shona. Just Shona. What a brilliant creation, wonderfully played. I can’t have been alone in thinking we had a new companion on our hands, she seemed perfect for it. Add the fact she referred to the Doc as a ‘Magician’, and we know the next ep is called ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’, and her almost desperate desire to keep in contact, it seemed we were being presented with the latest friend for the Doctor, but… she’s not there at the end. The Doctor and Clara will return. Shona is left alone in her disappointing looking life. THIS WILL NOT STAND! Surely we will be dropping in on Shona again? I DEMAND IT! PLEASE ME AND ME ALONE, BBC!!!!!
This was, at times, pretty scary stuff. The face-hugger things were creepy as all hell, the aforementioned dance through the infirmary, being pulled through a TV screen, Clara under the bench trying to do maths in her head to distract herself; this was creepy stuff for a family show! And yay to that, cuz I like my Who a bit scary, ta.
Dream Crabs. Moffat did it again. Another brilliant monster creation. Surely they’ll turn up in another episode as a sudden unexpected twist in the tail? Think of the nightmare worlds we could visit.
Troughton’s son appeared! And yes, how nice that the slimy creep was roundly mocked, then bumped off. Sexist swine!
The monsters fooled me. All this speculation that Clara would be leaving, I totally bought it when the Doctor pulled the Dream Crab (what an ace monster name) off her fizzog and she was old; that this was it. What a sad/lovely ending. BUT THEN NO! Santa is back, the Doc is still in a dream, Clara is young and raring to leap aboard for adventure again. Past angst and uncertainties between the two are now resolved and they race gleefully towards wonder and danger. Now some sorry souls will have been choking on their sprouts at this point, cuz weird as it might seem, lots hate Clara. They decry season 8 as being ‘Clara Who’. I know, total dumb-dumbs. Personally, I think 12 and Clara have shown themselves to be one of the finest Doctor-Companion pairings in the shows long history, and if we’re getting the chance to see more of that, then yay, and woo-hoo, and all that sort of jazz. (Aw, but Shona… Yeah, she would’ve been ace) (bah)
The sort-of return of Danny Pink. His last scene, telling Clara to feel the sadness of his loss for only five minutes a day, and to live life to the full for the rest of the time, was proper lovely stuff. But Moffat can’t write real emotion! Yeah, clear off, that complaint got old (and just plain wrong) a loooooooong time ago.
The Doctor taking control of the sleigh. JOYFUL.
‘I feed them magic carrots’.
The chalk boards, wiping away words to reveal others.
There’s just so much good, I could blather on for ages.
This is tricky… I’m not saying it was perfect, but I’m having difficulty really picking out stuff that annoyed.
OKAY! Shona not joining up at the end. WANT SHONA, WAAA….!
I worked out early on who the patients would be, but is that a bad thing..? Nah.
I guess it was a bit heavy on the Doctor explaining stuff in big chunks..?
Errr….. nope. That’s it. I got nothing.
A brilliant way to finish off a fine year for Doctor Who. To compliment one of the strongest seasons we’ve had, we get one of the strongest Christmas specials. How very fitting. I can’t wait to see what Moff has up his sleeve for next season (And if Shona is up there, I’ll be a happy chappy). Now hurry up season 9, I’m waiting..!
The Doctor and Clara will return in ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’