Television: ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special (2014)

Posted 29 December, 2014 by Lianne in Entertainment / 8 Comments

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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?

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8 Responses to “Television: ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special (2014)”

  1. I think I’m with you — I enjoyed the Christmas special, but I was ready for Clara to be done. The Impossible Girl storyline never worked for me, and I liked the idea of her traveling the world on her own and having an adventurous life. I’m not sure that I really want more Clara for another season. On the other hand, I love Peter Capaldi and thought he was wonderful, as always.

    When the dream crab got the Doctor, wasn’t that the volcano planet where Clara had been throwing away the TARDIS keys in the season finale? But how does that connect? (Or am I just completely wrong?)

    I find that I enjoy Doctor Who best when I live in the moment, so to speak, and don’t try to hard to put the pieces together. 🙂

    • Same here, very few companions in new Who have been able to walk away and been able to live a wonderful and adventurous life. Those who overstay or want to stay forever have a tendency of having not-so-great endings =S (though it worked out for Rose in the end…and, well, Rory & Amy did have a good ending, albeit not in the present day).

      Hehe, I thought about that too (and my brother mentioned it too). Either it might factor in next series or the production ran out of time to make an elaborate, alien set and opted to re-use one, lol.

      That’s very good advice to keep in mind xD Still working on that, especially when Moffat’s involved directly with the script -_-;

  2. I thought it was pretty good. I also was wondering about the doctor waking up at the volcano planet but it didn’t seem like they were going anywhere with that. Trust Moffat to bring it in later though. 😉

    • I imagine it will be either be mentioned in the beginning of series 9 (I was thinking he might searching for clues re: Gallifrey) or it was just a random planet and they ran out of production time to make an elaborate set 😛

  3. I actually stopped watching the last season halfway through just because I kept forgetting about it–which, I suppose, is telling about how I felt about it. However, I did seem most of the Christmas special and it was a lot better than the past few specials have been. I’m not entirely sure, obviously, how a lot of it fit into whatever happened at the end of season eight, but I was actually kind of disappointed when the meeting with older Clara turned out to be a dream. It kind of felt right for the character. I just feel like it’s time for Clara to exit. She never had much of a personality and Moffat seems confused about how to give her one, or at least one that is consistent, and I would have liked to see someone new in the TARDIS.

    As for the “Moffat tropes”–I’m sometimes unsure if Moffat means to satirize his own writing or if he’s being serious.

    • Agreed, it makes me sad that the older Clara bit turned out to be a dream because…yeah, it was pitch perfect (and now I shudder to think what Clara’s actual exit will look like). But like you, I feel it is Clara’s time to exit. I’d love to see the Twelfth Doctor at the beginnings of a new friendship with a new Companion and working through a new dynamic.

      As for the “Moffat tropes”–I’m sometimes unsure if Moffat means to satirize his own writing or if he’s being serious.

      The question for the ages, lol! 😛

  4. I’m totally with you on the ‘Moffat is a one issue writer’ opinion! He has already been writing for 4 seasons know, I’m ready for a different head writer!

    • Same here. I’m looking forward to Peter Capaldi’s second series as the Doctor but I dread to know what Moffat plans on concocting plot-wise *le sigh*

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