25th Dec2014

‘Doctor Who: Christmas Special – Last Christmas’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

doctor-who-last-christmas

If there is one thing I know about myself it is that I am a cynic, so when I saw the teaser to the Christmas Doctor Who featuring Santa Claus it was a moment when I truly dreaded what was to come.  I will always be a hardcore fan of the Doctor though and will have hope that it can deliver.  To my surprise Nick Frost made a good Santa and Stephen Moffat provided us with Last Christmas, an episode that not only answered all the questions raised but also turned into what is probably the best Doctor Who episode this year.

Last Christmas is an episode that works best if it is not spoiled, so the obvious things that have already been revealed is that Doctor Who (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) are reunited and joined by Santa Claus (Nick Frost) to do battle with the Dream Crabs at the North Pole.  That is all I will say on that..

There are two main influences to Last Christmas and movie fans will see them straight away, and one of them is directly referenced if you don’t pick it up (yes, one of those knowingly geeky jokes).  The “Dream Crabs” are an interesting new enemy that I do hope come back, just because they provide a unique way to give the excuse for the story to go into bizarre directions.  This includes the reason that Santa Claus is in the episode and on that subject Nick Frost actually makes a very good Claus, and the scenes with him verbally sparring with Peter Capaldi are very fun, which is something a Christmas version of Doctor Who needs most of all.

Though fun though, we also know that this year’s Doctor Who have a few issues that need to be given focus before things can carry on, and one of these was the Danny Pink problem, who does make an appearance which will either please or annoy fans in equal measure.  These scenes are some of the best in the episode, and as expected are emotional and sad.  Jenna Coleman does a very good job in these scenes and gives a performance that will bring many tears to the eyes of Doctor Who fans.  There is a feeling of resolution here though and a further confirming of just what Danny Pink represented to the show and Clara.  It was nice to see Samuel Anderson return for this, and I do feel that it was a much needed scene for the episode.

Last Christmas is an episode with a few false paths to put a few fearful moments in fans, you’ll know what I mean as you near the end of the episode.  For the most part though what this episode does manage is to show that although Stephen Moffat does go wrong, when he gets it right he reminds us just how good he can be (remember Blink?).  In my view Last Christmas was an episode that had to deliver a little magic, and for me it managed to.

The most important thing for Doctor Who at the moment is to start the next series in a strong way, and before Last Christmas I wasn’t sure if it could manage that.  What we say in the Christmas episode though was some redemption, some wake up calls and a strong story that pulled Clara and The Doctor together and prepared them for what is to come.

***** 5/5

One of my favourite episodes of 2014, this is one where Moffat, as writer, definitely delivered.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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