Viewers didn’t have long to wait for the Doctor Who Christmas episode after season 8 had finished; the tease at the end of the last episode showed Nick Frost as Father Christmas offering a Christmas wish to the Doctor. What could this wish be?
The trailers for the episode were scary, and promised excitement and a reunion for the Doctor and Clara as they had said goodbye to each other at the end of season 8, with each saying what the other believed they wanted to hear. The opening scenes in the Christmas episode were brilliant – on a rooftop with Santa! Clara is disbelieving at first that the person in front of her is the real Santa. The Doctor then turns up and whisks Clara away, and there does seem a bit of distrust between the Doctor and Santa.
We then meet a group of scientists at a base which turns out to be the North Pole. This was a great section of the episode as Santa turned up to save the day after an attack by an alien threat known as a Dream Crab. There were already victims of the aliens, in a deep sleep with their faces covered with the Dream Crabs.
Influence can clearly be seen from the films Alien, The Thing and Inception. It’s good that the episode did not ignore the tension between the Doctor and Clara, with each finding out what the other lied about. However, after the initial outburst the moment may have been brushed under the carpet and was not discussed again.
We get to see Danny again, but it turns out he isn’t real – in fact it is hard to distinguish what is real in this episode.
It was also nice to see the actor Michael Troughton in the episode, as he is the real life son of the actor Patrick Troughton who played the Second Doctor (shame about his character’s fate though, maybe he could have made a permanent companion).
I thought it was one of the scariest Doctor Who Christmas Specials over the past decade. The outcome left the viewer guessing whether Clara would stay with the Doctor or go on her way to live her life. I had a feeling of what would happen though, and turns out I was right – we will indeed get to see Clara again in season 9.
The episode left us guessing what had been genuine and what hadn’t been, even whether Santa was real or not! I hope the showrunners can progress Clara’s character in the next season, possibly adding a new fellow companion. We will have to wait and see.