Sunday, December 28, 2014

Doctor Who - Last Christmas

With more than a passing resemblance to "For the Man Who Has Everything," the latest Doctor Who Christmas special reunites The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) at the North Pole to deal with Dream Crabs which have infested a small arctic science station and have begun to feed on their hosts while offering each of them dreams of better lives while slowly digesting their brains. Oh, and did I mention Santa Claus (Nick Frost) and his Elves are there, too?

With an Inception-like premise, the show traps the characters in layers of dreams within dreams forcing The Doctor, Clara, and the station workers to face the fake reality of each scenario and attempt to awake while they all still have brains in their skulls. Clara's dream state allows for the return of Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) in a reality that Clara has no wish to ever give up. The scenario also forces Clara and The Doctor to be truthful about the lies each told in the season finale and put aside the past to survive and continue adventuring throughout space and time together.

The odd mix of humor and horror works well making good use of Frost as Kris Kringle and a plausible (if a bit timey-wimey) explanation of Santa's part to play in the episode. The Dream Crabs act a little too much like the Black Mercy for my tastes but the concept behind them continues allow for very interesting stories to be told (even if the Justice League Unlimited episode did it better). As a Christmas episode it works better for me than either "The Time of the Doctor" or "The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe" but not as well as either "A Christmas Carol" or "The Snowmen" (which features what is still my favorite version of Clara). It's probably safe to say it's also the best Doctor Who episode named after a Wham single covered by Ariana Grande, Ashley Tisdale, and Hilary Duff.

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