Saturday, December 27, 2014

Doctor Who Is NEW!: Last Christmas

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!  

Er, plus two days. 

Hello, Whovians!  Welcome to the last Doctor Who Weekend of 2014! And for today's post, I take a look at Thursday's Doctor Who Christmas Special which saw the Doctor and Clara reunited to fight telepathic face huggers from outer space with a little help from...Santa Claus? 

Yep, Santa Claus. 

Now before I get into a recap of Last Christmas, let me be sure you are warned of spoilers to come. 


It's freaking' Christmas! Could we not go with a less scary spoiler warning? Geez! 

OK, you have been warned. 

And now...

Last Christmas

by Steven Moffat 

The episode opens with Clara Oswald disturbed from her slumber by roof top clatter so she springs from her bed to see what is the matter.  (Sorry, couldn't resist.) On the roof Clara finds a crashed sleigh full of toys, some flying reindeer flitting about, a couple of frustrated elves and Santa Claus.

Yep, Santa Claus. 

While Clara tries to make sense of this, a blue box appears out of thin air. It's the TARDIS and out comes the Doctor who urgently directs Clara to get into the TARDIS while telling Santa he knows what his game is. 

Our attention turns towards an Artic science base thing where the Doctor and Clara appear to encounter science people facing a bit of a problem: alien life forms who attack when you think about them. Unfortunately, that's all anybody can think about and alien telepathic face huggers fall from the ceiling and all appears doomed (DOOMED, I tells ya!) when there is an intervention of Slinkys and toy robots. Santa Claus saves the day!

Yep, Santa Claus. 

While the Doctor works on sorting all this out, Clara gets zapped by a Dream Crab (as the Doctor calls the alien menace du jour) and finds herself spending Christmas morning with the not so dead Danny Pink.  There are mysterious messages pushing in to Clara's idyllic state but she ignores them until the Doctor directly forces himself into her dream and tells her the truth: this is all a fantasy and what's causing it is killing her.  While just a dream figment, Danny steps up again to save Clara's life from this dream death trap.  And so the Doctor and Clara escape. 

Or do they?

The Doctor surmises that the dream he just pulled Clara out of is a dream within a dream, that he, Clara and the four sciencey people are all in a collective dream state.  So the Doctor leads them out of that dream state and the Dream Crabs are defeated.  

Except they're not, The gang is in another dream within a dream. And the Dream Crabs are hungry and ready to kill and eat. But then Santa arrives to save the day. 

Yep. Santa Claus. 

One by one, the dreamers fade as they wake up in their individual lives (which turned out not to be scientific explorers of the Artic). The Doctor rescues Clara from the last remaining Dream Crab only to find out he's missed 62 years of Clara's life; she is an old woman now. But then he gets a second chance thanks to Santa Claus. 

Yep....well, you know the drill by now.  

So the Doctor AGAIN rescues Clara from the last remaining Dream Crab and she is still young.  The Doctor tells Clara the TARDIS is outside and please don't say no, just travel with him again. She agrees and they giddily run back to the TARDIS for new adventures together. 

If you thought Steven Moffat's Listen from Series 8 was twisty and weird, be prepared for some serious mind warping as he explores the state of dreaming. It's Inception crossed with Alien with Santa Claus

Yep, Santa Claus. 

Let's chat about Santa Clause for a moment. As wonderfully portrayed by Nick Frost (as a better named actor ever been cast as Santa?), Santa is a kick ass guardian of the North Pole with a wicked sense of humor. With much of the story built on a foundation of dreams, we have a clever conceit that makes Santa as real as anybody. And Santa is instrumental in saving the day.  Santa's presence in Doctor Who is very cleverly conceived and executed. 

Steven Moffat's story gets to have its dream cake and eat it to. Yes, everyone is in a dream state but its a dream state that's killing them. Yet because it is a dream, anything can happen. Why are the four explorers at an Artic research base? How did the Doctor and Clara happen to come there? And why is Santa Claus there? The rules of dreams join forces with the illogic of dreams in an imaginative way. 

The "artic explorers" are well realized. Especially Shona who gets a lot of attention in the script. An eccentric type who dances to Slade to get past the Dream Crabs, she is also a lonely girl who doesn't want to lose the experience of this dream adventure. I would almost think that the ground work was being laid for a future companion to the Doctor.  

Speaking of the Doctor, Peter Capaldi is in fine form. Yes, Peter's Doctor is dark and intense but we also get to see his Doctor giving in to the whimsy and joy of driving Santa's sleigh and we get to witness the Doctor's heartbreak as he realizes he's missed so much of Clara's life. And there's that joy again when the Doctor gets a second chance to make it right as he and Clara rush off to the TARDIS for new adventures. 

And let's address Clara for a moment. One of the big mysteries surrounding this special was what would be the fate of Clara Oswald. After all, we had NO information on whether Jenna Coleman was returning to Doctor Who. As we know now, Jenna is returning for Series 9 but if this had been her swan song, it would've been a sad but sweet exit for Miss Oswald. But this is Christmas and as appropriate for the season, we get a new lease on life with renewed hope and joy for the future. As the closing graphic announces, the Doctor AND Clara will be back for another series of new adventures. 

Thank you, Santa Claus. 

Yep, Santa Claus.


No blog posts for Sunday and Monday but look for a NEW post on Tuesday which will be the 600th post for I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Regular posts will resume January 1st. 

Until then, be good to one another. 

Counting Down To Infinity