Doctor Who: Last Christmas (2014)
The Doctor and Clara face their Last Christmas. Trapped on an Arctic base, under attack from terrifying creatures, who are you going to call? Santa Claus!
Whoo-hoo, the Twelfth Doctor’s first Christmas special! 🙂 Pretty exciting…not to mention clearing up some loose story threads from the end of the series (namely: is Clara leaving?).
Well, I certainly enjoyed this Christmas special compared to the previous two. The mystery as to what’s going on at the Arctic base was intriguing (why did they say “Long story” when asked a question about why they were there? I think we’ve come to the point where anything written by Moffat needs to be questioned, that nothing is what it seems, look for the out-of-the-ordinary
and in the process the plotholes, oops), and the concept of the dream crabs as well (also = they are very gross. Would not want that wrapped around my head). As curious and fast-paced as the situation was regarding the dream crabs, after a while it really reminded me of Inception (review) with all of the levels, lol. But did it go one dream level too far? More on that later. I enjoyed the inclusion of Santa Claus in this story, not just because it’s Christmas and adds the festive element to lighten the story, but it also adds to the story about what’s real. Gosh, this Santa had sass! His elves were a little annoying though with the tough guy/snarky act, but they had some good lines too.
As engaged as I was with the story, the typical Moffat tropes continue to wear me out–what was it this time, don’t stay in the dream? Question everything, don’t believe what you see (I swear I heard Moffat talking at that moment and not the Doctor O_O)–and once again reinforcing time and again how Moffat is a one-trick writer. I’m glad this episode was entertaining, but it’s hard to ignore all of his glaring set pieces and story elements.
The Doctor and Clara’s reunion in this episode and why they met up again made sense in the context of the story, and I’m glad that the lies they told each other at the end of series 8 (review) was cleared up almost immediately. I was surprised to learn that Clara is staying for another series as the end of last series was a perfectly good exit for the character and I honestly can’t see where else the character can go at this point (this can’t end well, can it?). When the Doctor arrived to the house and it had been 62 years since he and Clara parted ways, I was honestly shocked and sad; I asked myself whether Moffat had the cajones to stick to this plot because I hadn’t seen something like this in new Who and added a whole level to the story (of course, I also thought that at that point the Doctor would jump into his TARDIS, fly back 62 years prior and bring Clara along again, but that moment when he remarked that he regretted not visiting really resonated with me, brought their relationship to a really human moment at that point, that regret on the Doctor’s face).
And then it turned out to be a dream =| Which on the one hand was good because that would’ve ended the story on a rather sombre note for Christmas Day (not to mention the “second chance” bit; it’s not often that the Doctor gets this, and after everything Clara has been through last series, she could use some happiness and fun) but on the other hand I was like “Ehhh, actually, I really wished that dream was reality” and liked the idea of Clara having moved on with her life, teaching everywhere and traveling but still missing Danny (which was bittersweet. Felt like another goodbye, but this one felt better than the long goodbye-vibe I was getting at the end of “Death in Heaven”). In short, I’m not sure what I feel about Clara staying another series; I like Jenna, I like her chemistry with Peter Capaldi, and Clara’s become much more of a character in series 8 than in series 7, but I am ready for a new Companion and new stories that aren’t always so…big (much as I like the change in direction for Clara, the whole “impossible girl” bit is just never going to fully go away).
Peter Capaldi continues to be awesome as the Doctor, from petulently arguing with Santa Claus for explaining the dream sequences (lmao that he said he’d only hold Clara’s hand) to driving Santa’s sleigh to his chat with an older Clara. And yay for rocking the hole-y sweater and the hoodie in this episode xD I think my favourite line from him this episode is still the “Happy Easter” greeting he gave to Santa (well, that and when he gives that disgusted like “There’s a horror movie called Alien? That’s really offensive. No wonder everyone keeps invading you”, lol). It’s so this Doctor, lol.
So overall, I enjoyed this Christmas special. It could’ve passed as a regular episode in some ways but the set direction was ace with Clara’s house and all of the lights and decoration during the dream sequence. It was wonderfully Christmas-y (minus the blackboards and the “dying” scrawled everywhere–yes, we get it, Moffat). I suppose we’ll wait and see where Clara’s character goes in series 9, but I was left with one particular question at the end of the episode: where was the Doctor when the dream crab got him? What was he doing there? Is it important? Also: missed opportunity for not playing Wham’s “Last Christmas” somewhere in this episode 😛
Edit: Apparently the old Clara sequence was supposed to be the original ending, but Jenna signed on for another series at the last moment?