The Twelfth Doctor’s first Christmas special episode, Last Christmas, had all of the key components of an excellent Doctor Who Christmas special – The Doctor (duh), a companion who unwittingly gets into the middle of all the danger, something Christmas-y, a fantastic supporting cast with great chemistry and wit, and of course a crazy dangerous situation that is threatening the destruction of the whole world (and possibly the universe, and all of time and space). Last Christmas not only nailed the Christmas special aspect but it was also a fantastic transitional episode on the fate of Clara and the Doctor and how the two of them will (spoilers, sweetie!) continue.
First let’s talk about how Nick Frost, aside from the utterly perfect real life name, was
stunning as Santa Claus. Proving any and all skeptics wrong from the start, Frost took the traditional role and turned it into more than just a boring, jolly, old man that delivered gifts. Frost’s chemistry with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was instant and perfectly fit into this season’s writing.
Speaking of writing, Moffat managed to take the absolute worst writing trope (ending a story as if it were all just a dream, unbeknownst to the viewer until the end) and actually turning it into something that didn’t make fans throw their TV’s out of their windows on Christmas night. The Alien-esque monsters were both scary and made the dream premise believable. The hints and subtle references from each characters life that infiltrating the dream were done very cleverly. The dream within a dream within a dream played out just right as I was starting to get Groundhog Day flashbacks, the conclusion came about and boy did that hit the Christmas time feels hard.
The episode up until the end was good but it really ended with a bang, and not just because we found out Clara is coming back. Bringing the humor and the scariness together, the Doctor thinks he’s saved Clara and it turns out she’s old and he was really too late. He missed his chance to save the day the way he normally does and his regret was felt just as much as it was seen. The depth of the writing and acting was superb and was a poignant reminder of what Christmas is all about – hope and love.
The Doctor got his second chance, and it looks like Clara will as well. I’m not unhappy to see Clara stay, her character has been developing into a great companion for Twelve. My biggest fear is that the Danny Pink’s woes will be rather frequent and linger too long. It will also be very interesting to see if Last Christmas was a turning point for the Twelfth Doctor and we’ll start to see more of a caring side of him. With Clara sticking around he’s got his ‘care-er’ but she won’t last forever. Capaldi has shown the Doctor has a soft side, but it’s still pretty buried under an apathetic facade.
We will find out what happens next with the Doctor and Clara in season 9’s The Magician’s Apprentice. Season 9 begins filming in February and currently does not have a specific release date, other than sometime in late 2015. Moffat, Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, and Michelle Gomez (Missy/The Master) are all confirmed to return with speculation that there might be an appearance by River Song (Alex Kingston) and our favorite Captain, Jack Harkness (John Barrowman). Moffat has not confirmed the latter however he hasn’t “closed the doors on River Song and Captain Jack”, according to MoviePilot.com.
New excitement and adventure awaits! We will see you for the next season of Doctor Who!