To me Last Christmas was, at best, confusing. Not in it's reconditioned plot, that was adapted from American television and film then simplified and spoon-fed, but in a way which I'm hoping you can help me understand. I shall explain...
I'd enjoyed the holiday and stayed on media-blackout before the broadcast of Last Christmas, so after viewing it was a shock to me to read it so effusively praised. I really have grown to love Twelve, and I already loved Clara, but I didn't imagine this episode would be very well received. How could the mind that gave us air sharks (wait, the doctor drove a flying sleigh then too) and even trees that led a flyer home (light in the darkness, like a flare, perhaps?) and the villain mash-up that ultimately worked for Eleven's swan song, how did that same mind gave us this pablum?
There was a good look and pace to the piece, but overall it felt obvious. Moffat didn't even phone this one in, he faxed it back in 1988 (after all, we wouldn't want to miss the 1989 deadline). If everything is coming up rosy for the Twelfth Doctor then why the reassurance of Clara's return in the end title sequence? I believe this shows the position the Doctor holds going forward. It's "The Magician's Apprentice" and the promise of Coleman that is being sold now - perhaps in a hope to keep the audience engaged?
So whilst we're still gathering for Christmas, Who friends, I'm asking for a gift from you. Please, help me understand the praise for this episode, because in Indiana USA it just left me sleepy. Maybe because we got it at 9pm and filled with commercials on BBC America? Maybe because it was a recycled mishmash of Hollywood movies? From Inception to Alien through Star Trek: Generations, when Picard gets his dream Christmas. Weirdly Last Christmas chose to use our Coca-Cola Santa, and not the Father Christmas from Britain, maybe that disoriented me? (Though Nick Frost was fabulous.) Whatever it was, Last Christmas was not an instant classic.
I know this sounds argumentative, and I have to be honest that it is a little...because...well, the disparity between us really shocks and disappoints me. I like to think as fans of Doctor Who we're all connected like the people in the fugue dream state, we're all experiencing the joy of the show, - whether its real or not. But, how did this one fall so flat? (And I don't believe it's because I wasn't weaned on classic Who).
There were good points:
- We definitely lost Danny Pink, and he went out with class. Finally, a decent scene for Sam Anderson.
- Coleman's dedication on "believing in Santa" line showed pure adoration.
- The Doctor helping Clara with the cracker. Fragile and lovely
- Clara never looking any different to the Doctor. Until we lost him, my dad always said mom looked 16.
- Twelve embracing the freedom to enjoy flying the sleigh and absconding with Clara.
- Second chances can happen and we don't need to deserve them.
Finally, a happy 2015 to you all, and here's to not EVER hearing Twelve say "Yippee Yi Ay" again. It felt like Peter Capaldi almost gagged. I know I did.
Risk adverse, Stacy would never even enter the TARDIS, but admires those who do. Happily watching and writing from the distance of Indiana, USA. She enjoys writing and discussing her observations and critiques.