Monday, December 26, 2011

The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe

The Doctor (Matt Smith) literally crashes into another unsuspecting human's life on Christmas when he plummets from space to land in a crater at the feet of Madge Arwell (Claire Skinner). Despite being stuck in the suit, The Doctor is able to return to the TARDIS with Madge's help and three years later he returns to repay the favor.

On learning her husband has died (Alexander Armstrong) Madge packs up the kids to an old house in the country, safe from the London bombings. There she meets, but doesn't recognize, a quirky caretaker (Smith) who attempts to give the widow and her children one great holiday before she breaks the news to her son (Maurice Cole) and daughter (Holly Earl) that their father isn't coming home for Christmas.

This adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe may not be quite as good as last year's take on A Christmas Carol, but it works well all the same as the Doctor's present into a world with living Christmas trees puts the entire family in danger, but also serves to bring the family back together in their hour of need.

We also get a schmaltzy coda tacked on as The Doctor visits Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) for Christmas. Although it's sure to make fans of the Ponds happy, the entire sequence feels somewhat awkward (not to mention unnecessary). Even with this extended ending, and no flying sharks (like last year), the episode provides everything you'd expect from a Doctor Who Christmas Special including weird aliens, timey wimey space stuff, and a happy ending.

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