‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special Recap and Review: The Snowmen


Evil snowmen on the Doctor Who Christmas Special… Do British kids ever get to sleep through the night?

A quick recap for those who were still in a turkey-induced coma last night:

The Doctor has parked the still rather rough-looking TARDIS high up on a cloud in Victorian-era England and decided to sulk for a while. Our old friends, Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax are keeping an eye on things for him down below, but The Doctor is rather grumpily refusing to engage outside of his little circle.

Enter Clara, a barmaid-turned-governess who happens to notice something odd about a creepy-looking new snowman just as the Doctor is tromping disinterestedly past. Given that it’s been pointed out by an attractive British woman with an innate sense of curiosity, the mystery starts to bring the Doctor out of his figurative and literal fog.

Investigation brings both Clara and the Doctor to the pond outside the home of Captain Lattimer, Clara’s rather smitten employer. As it happens, Clara’s predecessor was frozen in the pond’s ice the previous year, and now she’s coming back as the template for an army of ice warriors.

The Doctor, who seems to be rather smitten with Clara himself, invites her to travel with him on the TARDIS and traces everything back to Professor Simeon, the man behind all the malevolent, empathic snow creatures. Simeon was a dark, lonely child who grew into a Scrooge-like, cadaverous old man who has imprinted the snow with all of his own cold “Victorian values.” Simeon wants to populate the world with his ice creatures so that he never has to interact with humans again.

In the requisite chase, the ice governess brings Clara down from her TARDIS cloud in the most dramatic and painfully final way possible. Leaving her fatally injured in the Lattimer’s drawing room. The sheer amount of empathic snow picks up on the family mourning for their dying governess, turning the snow to harmless, if heart-wrenching, tears.

Clara is gone, but she’s managed to bring the Doctor back to the land of the living. At her funeral, he finally learns her full name, Clara Oswin Oswald, the same name and voice of Soufflé Girl from “Asylum of the Daleks”! The Doctor is reenergized and determined to solve the mystery of the Soufflé Girl Doppelganger. Now we have somewhere to go for the rest of the season!

The Christmas Special introduced us to the new companion and the new TARDIS design all in one go. I have to say, two thumbs way up for Clara. She had Rose’s cleverness and street smarts with Donna’s sass. She was fun from the get-go, but I really got the New Companion vibe from her one-word answers to Madame Vastra. If “curiosity” doesn’t sum up everything about the Doctor Who experience as a whole, I don’t know what does. Assuming the modern-era Clara has half the personality of the Victorian one, I think this season is going to be a hell of a ride.

I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed that Victorian Clara isn’t the one who’ll be staying on the TARDIS. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a long-term companion who isn’t from the current time period in the UK (and he ended up with his own spin-off… set in modern Cardiff). I was really looking forward to seeing someone with a wildly different perspective on the TARDIS. Maybe we’ll meet another Clara/Oswin from yet another time period? One can only hope.

Happy Holidays, and I’ll see you all for Season 7, Part 2!

Best Quotes:

Doctor: “I never know why. I only know who.”

Strax: “Please do not noogie me during combat prep.”

Clara: “It’s smaller on the outside.”

Things to ponder:

  • So we’ve officially established the season mystery. Any guesses on who/what Clara really is? (Y’know, other than the doppelganger. I can only assume vampires throughout the time/space continuum are currently hankering after her blood.)
  • Clara/Oswin and the Doctor have been awfully flirty in their last two encounters. How does River Song figure into this?
  • Are we going to be traveling with an Oswin Prime, or are we going to be meeting several different versions over the course of the season?
  • Final note: did anyone else catch the Sherlock musical cue when the Doctor was masquerading as the famous detective? Nice touch, Moffat!
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  1. loved the episode, loved the preview for the next season. Loved the new companion, but will love the Ponds most of all. Great show, getting nothing but better.