The year is 1892. It is Christmas Eve. Some creepy snowmen are haunting London and a voice has whispered for the last fifty years to a small child who now runs The Great Intelligence Institute. The Doctor is in mourning after the loss of the Pond’s and not even a young and inquisitive bar maid can pique his interest. At least not initially…
I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Christmas special, especially after the lukewarm turn last year with The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. The plot was passable. I enjoyed the return of Jenny, Vastra and Strax and Clara was a breath of fresh air in the (now revamped) TARDIS. Richard E Grant is always great value and he didn’t disappoint with his face set into a permanent scowl. I also liked the cheeky literary references to The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and Sherlock Holmes. I especially loved the use of the Sherlock theme when The Doctor masqueraded as the great detective.
Like The Eleventh Hour, this episode has a fairy tale vibe, especially with the positioning of the TARDIS in the clouds, the stories that Clara tells the children (she was born on the clock face of Big Ben on account of her precision) and the way that Clara taps an umbrella against the TARDIS ladder to escape the old governess. Nice reference to Mary Poppins there, Moffat.
From the retro opening credits (featuring Matt Smith’s face at one point) to The Doctor’s newish outfit, to a reference to classic Who with the 67 story of the intelligence, it is clear that the Christmas special is ramping the action up for the s7 story arc and for the 50th anniversary of our beloved show. Moffat constantly kept us on our toes with the introduction of Oswin in Asylum of the Daleks as a modern gal junior entertainment manager but then pulled the rug out from under us with the second introduction of the same actress as Clara- a Victorian bar maid and a posh governess. Just when you thought that wasn’t intriguing enough, Moffat pulled the rug out for the third time by having Clara die uttering the same words as Oswin. “Run you clever boy, and remember.”
Who is Clara? Is she the same person existing paradoxically in multiple time periods? Is she a bargain that The Doctor has made with the universe in exchange for saving it? Is she an old school Time Lord like Susan or Romana or The Rani? Only time will tell. I for one can’t wait to find out.
Who else is with me?
The Snowmen: 7/10 inky tv stars
Maureen is a lover of Dr Who and of all other things fantasy. She agreed to guest blog for Wine and Roses last year, but somehow time was the boss of her and it never happened. This year, she means to keep her promises…