‘Doctor Who’ 2012 Christmas Special Review – Who is Clara?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated December 26th, 2012 at 7:58 am,

doctor who 2012 christmas special review Doctor Who 2012 Christmas Special Review   Who is Clara?

It’s that time of year again for the Doctor Who Christmas special. After much anticipation, the Doctor’s new companion is revealed in a snowy tale from long ago. But still, the question remains: Who is Clara?

When a relationship between a boy and his snowman turns into an attempt to take over the Earth, the Doctor, who has now spent a long time in the shadows, is coaxed into saving the world by a mysterious woman, Clara, who bears a striking resemblance to someone from the Time Lord’s past. But as Clara’s curiosity continues to draw her toward the Doctor, taking her on a grand holiday adventure, it’s the Doctor’s curiosity which is piqued, and the legend of the “Girl Who Twice Died” is born.

In this year’s Christmas special, a holiday-oriented story is traded in for a fantastical and compelling adventure into the legend that is the Doctor, sending both audiences and Clara into the depths of what it means to be a friend of the universe’s protector. Furthermore, the special breathes new life into one of television’s greatest series while putting a twist on the familiar companion introduction and building anticipation for the tales that lie ahead.

The actual title of the episode, “The Snowmen,” is somewhat used as a veil to hide the true focus of this year’s story, Clara Oswin Oswald: The Girl Who Twice Died. While the actual story of the Snowmen is interesting enough, and Ian McClellan does an admirable job playing the part of an enemy who never really felt all that imposing, watching Clara delve into the Doctor’s world turned out to be one of the most successful introductions of a companion in the history of the series. Even without the inclusion of a timey-wimey twist in the character’s tale, watching someone new seek out the Doctor’s help (and companionship) has never been so enjoyable.

doctor who christmas special 2012 snowman Doctor Who 2012 Christmas Special Review   Who is Clara?

As the story of the Snowmen unfolds, largely only returning to the forefront when it’s absolutely required to progress the plot, Clara’s journey with the Doctor begins by leading her up an invisible staircase, high above the city, to the Doctor’s TARDIS. The next step in Clara’s journey finds her abilities as a potential companion put to the test, as a long, beautifully written scene of single-word responses to questions asked by the Doctor’s friends once again reveals Steven Moffat’s masterful ability to make the simplest, smallest things extraordinary. Although Clara’s use of the word “pond” never really made sense during her “test,” the Doctor’s response to hearing it was entertaining enough to simply ignore its non-connection.

When Clara first made her appearance in the Doctor Who season 7 premiere, “Asylum of the Daleks,” it was difficult to judge her as a character, thanks to her completely inclusive storyline. Without having any other character to physically play off of, audience’s first impressions of “Clara” were based on what could be considered a radio play between her and the Doctor. But now that “Clara” still exists, an explanation of sorts was always going to be necessary. Fortunately, in true Moffat fashion, one was provided.

doctor who christmas special clara Doctor Who 2012 Christmas Special Review   Who is Clara?

The Girl Who Twice Died, as Clara Oswin Oswald is now known, does not exist in a single timeline. Oswin Oswald is dead. Clara Oswin Oswald is dead. Yet, no matter how many times it happens, she still “pops up.” The mystery surrounding the new companion is that we’ve yet to truly meet the new companion, just an ancestor and descendant. However, whether or not that element will be played out is not yet to be revealed, but if the legend of The Girl Who Twice Died even slightly touches upon the potential that this type of story arc can bring to the series, the Doctor will undoubtedly have some thoroughly enjoyable adventures with his new traveler – no matter “when” it happens.

When Amy and Rory left the series, fans of Doctor Who had to prepare themselves for an introduction to a new character who will instantly become the second most important person on the long-running series. Even though this has happened numerous times over, it always takes a bit of adjusting (and perhaps complaining) before companions are widely accepted by the show’s viewers. Fortunately, and to the credit of Moffat, this holiday adventure with Clara helped to breathe new life into both the Doctor and the series at the same time.

Every so often, a new companion must be introduced to the Doctor, to the world in which he exists and the rules that he follows. And even though everyone watching already knows these rules, watching someone new be introduced to Earth’s protector, the Doctor, allows the series to flex its muscle and show its viewers – along with the companion – just how powerful and awe-inspiring one man and one show can be. This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, “The Snowmen”, does just that – beautifully.

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Doctor Who season 7 returns April 2013 on BBC and BBC America

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  1. I really really wanted to like this and reading this review makes me feel like I missed something, but basically nothing clicked for me in this ep. I was even a bit bored at parts, though some parts felt rushed and messy. I actually really disliked Clara and The Doctor’s first meeting here–it felt forced. The banter was meh and I didn’t feel any chemistry. And really, another kiss? Clara falling on top of him? really?
    Clara was likable enough (and oh so much better than Amy Pond…), but at the end of the ep. I only felt vaguely interested in seeing where her mystery leads.

    I thought the Doctor’s self-imposed isolation was interesting (though we’d seen something similar with the 10th Doctor) and would have liked to see it drawn out more over the course of the series. Instead, we’re basically just told about it, and we see it for maybe 10 minutes but since it’s over by the end of the ep it didn’t have the emotional impact I felt it should. With the 9th and 10th doctors we were given time to see how their companions changed them and their outlook on life.

    • It’s an unpopular opinion, but what you just wrote is true. Clara’s meeting with the Doctor did feel extremely forced and, to be honest, I think Clara is slightly annoying. Not as annoying as Amy Pond, but still annoying.
      The Doctor has to kiss every companion, it’s law. The falling-on-top-of-each-other part was unneeded, though. It feels like they’re trying to make Clara into a love interest for the Doctor, which really wouldn’t work.
      And yes, the isolation was interesting, but we barely saw any of it.
      I hope I don’t get ripped limb from limb for saying this, but I really haven’t liked Doctor Who since the end of series 5.

      • The love companion stuff doesn’t need to happen all the time. When they got to the episode Dinosaurs on a spaceship the show stopped having that complex under layer that I like in the first place. I liked the Snowman and I want to know what is going on with Clara and why she just pops up like a person that leaves your life and just randomly disrupts it. This Doctor Who episode is ok.
        But After watching a bit of doctor who with Christopher Eccleston and a lot with David Tennant. I understand why David was really a good fit as the Doctor he really master his on character he showed that bit of human emotion at the right moments.
        Matt Smith he is different. He shows that need of a companion since with out one you see that dark side of an old doctor who has seen too much. It is different seeing that youthful enthusiasm that he brings each time he meets a new companion. It’s like when you meet a new friend for the first time…
        I feel that Doctor Who teaches us to have an open mind to everything new that pops up and to take the time of getting use to all the new personalities in the complex situations the writers put them in. I love Doctor who is just something complex to get use to.

        • Yes, the love-companion stuff doesn’t NEED to happen, but it still does anyway. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was a terrible episodes. So much unneeded innuendo. I feel sorry for the parents trying to explain some of the jokes in that episode to their children.
          Nothing about Clara intrigues me. I value your opinion, of course, but she’s just another Riversong trying to take the ‘mysterious’ route. The episode was very weak, with the enemy being not in the least bit scary.
          David was an immensely good Doctor. Christopher was as well, in fact, he’s my favorite. Matt Smith is a good Doctor too, but there’s just something…missing from his version of the character. I can’t explain it.
          The thing is, everyone else has gotten used to these new changes, especially the people who have only just started watching Doctor Who. But for the people like me who can’t adapt to the vast differences in the program…well…we’re being left behind. I’ve been waiting three years to get used to the new “improved” Doctor Who, but it’s just not working.

            • oh I haven’t thought of that. good thinking. I would hope she is river song that would be a great twist.

            • We saw River when she regenerated into the River Song we know now. It was in the Hitler episode a while back.

              Also, while this would be an interesting twist it doesn’t actually explain the two Claras mystery. I don’t buy it but creative thinking none-the-less.

            • I am sorry. I usually do not take part in forums but when I see everyone saying that she is River, I just have to speak up. Please Please back up how you can possibly think she is River as there are so many reasons to back up why she is not. First off, she died in the future as a Dalek!! No regeneration is possible from that. done. argument over. Yet, if you want to look into it even further, we saw her regenerate into River in the Hitler episode, at which time she was still trying to kill the doctor. Even if you ignore the Dalek factor, if this was an earlier version of River, she would not want to hook up with him but would want to kill him. It cannot be a later version of her because she is in the library. You must remember, the majority of the doctor river stories happened in the gap between him being early 900′s in the to him being 1103 in the beginning and ultimately the end of season 6. When they are in the diner, they are discussing stories and he has already lived them over those 200 years. She most likely is gone to us for good, but I guess there is always the possibility she will pop up again. He is most likely being a hermit because amy and rory are gone and he probably brought her on their last date to the singing towers and it broke him. I dont know for sure, none of us do, but I can say with 99.9% certainty that she is not River Song. If the writers end up making her River song, it is a great great oversight on their part. Thats my rant

            • What if Clara is River and the Doctor’s daughter, or the clone doctor from the tenth doctor.

              • Ok…I never jump in on forum discussions but I very strongly feel she could be River Song. If you remember the first time the Doctor met River Song, and the day she died by the way, it was in the great library (with the previous Doctor). River’s consciousness was saved by the Doctor and uploaded into the great library’s computer generated reality to live on forever.

                I imagine after a few hundred years in a computer generated reality/simulation in a computer the size of a planet River would find a way to travel back into the real world in one form or another.

                I think the Clara’s we keep seeing could be some projection of River out of the computer she was “buried/suck in”.

                Plus, the way Clara talks to the Doctor sounds like the loving way and manner that River used to talk to the Doctor.
                What does everyone else think?

              • She is post library!

            • Can’t be. This isn’t regeneration. Her appearance is the same every time. She isn’t a timelord.

              • It isn’t a regeneration. It’s a reset or reboot.

                • That is because I think she is River downloaded into Cal’s body! She is staying in the guise of Cal!

                  • It could be rebirth. It is like a reset, but instead she looks the same. It would explain the pop ups in time.

    • I agree with your review. Sad and lack luster Holiday show and very don’t like the new companion or the romantic relationship they are suggesting. He is ‘married’ to River Song and their relationship is great, and full of sparks. A romantic relationship never quite works for the Doctor would have been better to bring back Jenny his daughter.

    • She said ‘Pond’ meaning the frozen mysterious pond, he heard ‘Pond’ as in Amy and Rory. Another brilliant ep from Mr Moffat.

    • Re: pond:

      Exactly! Clara was talking about the “pond”, but the Doctor and his friends interpreted it as “Pond”. At least that’s my take on the situation.

      Now that I really think about things, I don’t understand the one-word-answer test. Why play that game? I realize it’s a means of testing a person’s cleverness. But if the Doctor wanted to be alone, why give the test? If the Doctor didn’t want to help humanity anymore, why give the test? It’s like the Doctor saying, “I’m taking my kickball and going home until you find me someone fun to play with.”

      • The one-word response system stems from the Homo Reptilia way of thinking. Their ideas of deception include the concept that in order to hide a lie, one must say other things in order to cover that deception.

        However, by forcing one to speak only in single-word responses, they are (at least to their minds) preventing that covering of the deception. Thus, we get the single-word response system.

    • I think the use of the word ‘pond’ shows that clara has met amy somewhere before, because oswin never new amy’s surname in asylum of the daleks. I think moffat is hinting at a possible return of amy perhaps in the future mabe the 50th anniversary. One thing i do know is the use of pond is going to be relevant at some point for she could have used any word. is clara the doctors daughter? and did she snog him to some how confirm her DNA or something?

      • Karen Gilln said she wasn’t coming back to the show so I think we can rule out that possibility

      • that is because she is River Song

      • Clara cant be the doctors daughter because all timelords can regenerate as the 9th doctor tols rose so when clara died in the christmas special she would have regenerated. And also, would you really snog your dad?

    • I totally agree!!

    • I totally agree!! People remember River’s time stream is going backwards!!

    • I hated a Christmas Carol; I thought this one was infinitely better.

      You are right about the villian being underdeveloped, but this Special wasn’t about the villain. This special was all about getting the audience interested in the new companion. If we, the audience, don’t buy into the Doctor’s new companion, the whole season is blown; Moffat’s no dummy in that regard.

      • He’s no dummy, i agree. But I enjoyed xmas carol better. I thought the story was more fun. I like that while rory and amy were trapped on that ship the doctor kind of had his own little adventure with new companions. I thought it just had a much better emotional journey.
        I am cool with the new companion being a big part of the story, that’s assumed, but we’re left with something so similar to Riversong that I just wasn’t convinced by it all. I just felt like this story kind of undermined the Riversong story as they were suppose have this special relationship. Feel like Moffat is making too much stuff up as he goes along and not sticking to his other story lines.

        • I have to give you credit for pointing out the storyline parallel between River and Clara. I understand your point about wanting to preserve the special connection between the Doctor and River. How would you feel about River and Clara somehow being related, or being one and the same person even? Afterall, River’s consciousness was ultimately uploaded into the library. She’s entirely digital in the future. Eh, seems like a longshot. The season’s previews during the Special’s end credits made me think that we’re done with River’s character having a strong part in the show.

          • true, it looks like River won’t be coming back. Which is rather sad. Her story line was totally mucked up. I think if Clara became River it would cheapen her even more. Don’t you think? The brilliance of her impact was that she knew the Doctor was married to him and then dies right in front of him before he’s even met her. So to swap her into a new young hot body would a little disappointing. Only because i’m really uncool with how Moffat has handled some of these stories. He starts that really interesting ideas then when it comes to ending them they just go spiral out of control and end rather poorly. Even Amy and Rory’s goodbye was rather lame. So idk, i’d like her to not be River. I’d be very cool if she WAS a timelord though. I think they need to bring back some timelords. That’d be a good twist.

            • The more I think about it, the less I’m interested in Clara being or being related to River. And don’t get me started on the way the Ponds were dispatched, or how disjointed the first half of this season felt. It was like every episode was written and directed by a different group of people. At one point I even thought to myself that the acting had changed materially – as if the writers were trying to paint the characters differently to advance some underlying story. Apparently not. Just bad writing/directing I guess.

              • I think you hit the nail on the head. Bad writing is exactly right. The magic of series 5 has been wiped away for poor story arcs and ‘block buster’ style episode. As much as I enjoy DrWho at its current rate I am probably not going to be watching it for much longer. Perhaps a new show runner is in store? I do like Moffat but it seems as a show runner he’s just not THAT good.

                • That’s why I gave up on the show a few episodes into the Smith/Moffat era, bad writing and bad acting.

                  Tried watching this christmas episode because I liked Coleman on Emmerdale (one of the few highlights of that horrible soap) and figured maybe Smith and Moffat had got into a groove after however many years on this show but again, just terrible.

                  • My first experience with Dr Who was the first episode with Matt Smith. I watched and loved series 5 but I also went back and watched series 1-4 and a good portion of the classic series. I agree there was some poor acting from Karen Gillian and a few others during series 5 but they did improve over time. However once series 6 came out the amped budget and better acting couldn’t save it from the massive plot holes and unanswered questions. i.e. who are the silence and why did they blow up the tardis…I’m still waiting on an answer to that since their plan was to shot him via the poor programmed killing machine River. And I was incredibly let down when the ‘silence’ became a religious order. That was a load of rubbish and made everything less exciting. Moffat just likes shock value and quickly changing things in oder to ‘keep us on our toes’ but in reality its just making me turn off the t.v. ha

                    • The silence was a religious group that blew up the Tardis in an attempt to stop the Doctor from reaching the fields of Trenzalore. River was a backup plan, or maybe they planned that before blowing up the Tardis. The order isn’t that relevant.

              • I dissagree i think that it was the best series ever! It was really emotional when Amy and Rory left. Although i think they will make a shock return! When dont they!!!!

              • Yeah but then we can see all those awesome adventures River talked about which would run backwards in River’s time stream!!

            • That probably won’t be the case because in Let’s Kill Hitler she used up the rest of her regenerations to bring the Doctor back to life

    • Yes but River cant regenerate into Clara because we saw her die and she used all her regeneration energy on thr doctor in lets kll hitler. Also she couldnt have regenerated into river because amy and rory’s best freind(and daughter) Mel regenerated into river in lets kill hitler and they had known eachother all their lives so she was never Clara.

  2. Why do you say Clara using “Pond” doesn’t make sense? The Governess was in the pond. The pond remained frozen, the children dreamt of the governess. Makes perfect sense when Clara can only use one word, to use one that seems so central to the mystery to be solved.

    • Yes but she could have used governess or nightmares or help but what is the doctor going to understand from pond! NEVER egnore a coincidence.

    • Backwards time line! Not consistent with doctor’s! Clara would come last! The Mel’s episode confused everyone but I think Mel’s comes after Clara!

  3. Why do you say Clara using “Pond” doesn’t make sense? The Governess was in the pond. The pond remained frozen, the children had nightmares of the governess returning. Makes perfect sense when Clara can only use one word, to use one that seems so central to the mystery to be solved.

  4. The whole Doctor-Clara kiss threw me a bit, dunno where they gonna go with that what with Riversong and all.

    • she is dead…

      • I don’t think she is quite gone yet. I suppose I could be incorrect, but in her first appearance River says the last time they saw each other, the Doctor gave her the screwdriver, which we have not yet seen happen. From all of this, I am assuming we will see River at least once more.

    • Would a police box designed in 1929 really fit perfectly in the 1890′s?

      • Yeah, they may look ancient to us, but still as anachronistic in Victorian London as seeing someone driving around in an Audi TT forty years ago. Not that I’m that taken with the invisible staircase into the clouds idea either, though.

      • I TOTALLY agree with you. It’s a christmas special. It has to be standalone because Christams specials bring in a lot of casual and new viewers. So, it’s a fun romp with some dumbed down canon in and effort to keep everyone happy. End of story. Not the type of stuff we should be over analysing. I thought the ep was great. THe worst ever ever christmas special was the runaway bride one. That was HORRID.

  5. Did know one notice the mention that the Doctor is now over 1000 years old? Hence over a century has passed since events in the last episode!!!

    • I caught that too, but I couldn’t remember exactly how old he was when he last time his age was mentioned. I thought he was around 930 or 970 though.

      • No, he mentions that he is 1103 (or 1003?) during one of the episodes set in the States (the first, I believe), so he has not aged much since the Ponds’.

  6. My theory is that Clara is a past version of River Song. It makes since. She received a key to his tardis which she used in episodes before he knew who she was. Also Clara knew the Pond’s from the episode of the Asylum of the Daleks so she knew exactly what 1 word answer would draw the doctor in or else she would have said ‘ice’.

    • No, it does not make sense. Obviously the Clara from the episode of the Asylum of the Daleks is not the same Clara from this episode in the 1890′s. This is obvious because they both die in the end (or really before the episode but we don’t find out until the end) so neither of them could have gone on the be the other one. And how exactly could a dead and buried Clara go on to become River?

      • The doctor makes the connection between “souffle girl” and Clara at the end of the episode. They are obviously the same person. I went back and rewatch the episode “The Library” and caught a phrase I never payed attended to before that River said “You clever, clever boy”. The same thing Souffle girl said in Asylum of the Dalek and Clara Oswind Oswald said in this episode.

        • Yes. When you put the River comments from “The Library” (not just ‘you clever, clever boy’…but also, ‘you watch us run’) together with the the fact that she is after her death pure consciousness, a time lord and the various references in this episode: ‘Pond’, Clara falling on him in the exact way River did, the Doctor’s reference that he ‘always knows who’, and both River and Clara’s ‘death’ (and, as it turns out…not exactly totally dead death) in their first meeting…it seems highly likely that there is a Clara/River consciousness connection of some sort. It would also explain the Doctor’s very strange warmth/intimacy with her. When have we ever seen the Doctor act lovestruck like that? It wasn’t even portrayed as simply attraction, he was deeply warm and caring–caressing her in a very un-Doctor way…unless she was his beloved wife…

          • or child…

          • Sorry but I have to disagree. Its highly unlikely Clara is River incarnated. River gave up her ability to regenerate even if the Doctor did use some of his regenerative powers to heal her wrist I doubt it its enough for a full regeneration.

          • The word ‘clever’ and the term ‘being clever’ is used quite frequently by the British. In fact, in that same episode, CAL even claimed that she was a “clever girl” and the Doctor has stated on many, many ocassions that he is clever when he does things that makes him stand out from the people (usually humans) around him.
            Also, River telling him to “Watch us run!” is pointless, as well. Running is an integral part of every single Doctor Who episode. I believe that there has been only one of the reboot episodes in which the word was not a major element of the show and that was ‘Blink,” but it did show the Doctor and Martha doing some running at the end, even if the word wasn’t bantered about. ‘Run!’ is so common in each episode that tee shirts are made with it printed on them and there’s one meme after another made because of it, as well. Even Jenny in “The Doctor’s Daughter” spouted that there was an awful lot of running to do and that she loved the running. Sorry for the bad pun, but ‘RUN’ has become a running joke in Doctor Who. :)

      • because she is not dead

    • Clara can’t be a past version of river song. It is already establish that River regenerated only twice before giving up her gift to regenerate. River has nothing to do with this, and by looking at the previews it seems that the fact that she died twice is a HUGE part of who she is and the fact that EVERYONE is intrigued about it shows that there is nothing Timelord about it

      • I have to agree with that. Everyone’s making these strange connections to the two. But it’s a long shot. And people act as if the Doctor’s never been in love before. I’m sure he was before in the classic series and he was for sure with Rose. It’s not like it isn’t possible for him to be in love with Clara. Though I highly doubt he is. It seems like she intrigues him. The story line between the Doctor and River needs to end soon. Her character is boring now that the mystery surrounding her is known. Hopefully after this season ends the Doctor will have sent her off to the library.

        • Agree with your point about people making strange connections between River and Clara. I doubt she is River incarnated since River no longer has her regenerative powers. Also what is the point of making a new character just to be an old one? As for the Doctor not being in love with Clara? Well he does seem terribly eager to find her again so there must be something there. ;)

    • Actually the reason why Clara used the word Pond because she had to think of a single word to get the Doctor to help when Madame Vastra was giving her the One Word test. She was indicating there was something dangerous in the pond since it was the only thing frozen when everything else thawed out in her employers property. Ice would not have worked. It had nothing to do with The Ponds as The Doctor later figured out.

  7. Always look forward to each new season of The Doctor…however was surprised that two (former) enemies are now working alongside him. At least he’s not (completely) alone as River Song urged. Not into the newest (or late) companion, but got a kick out of the ‘one word’ segment prior to meeting The Doctor–and I must say I did think the ‘message’ would be “pond” (read subtext ‘Amy Pond’)–would jumpstart The Doctor back into action! (Bow-ties are cool) I agree it will be interesting to see how the chasing after Clara plays out this season–can’t wait! Ta, all & have a Happy New Year!

    • I think the use of the word ‘pond’ shows that clara has met amy somewhere before, because oswin never new amy’s surname in asylum of the daleks. I think moffat is hinting at a possible return of amy perhaps in the future mabe the 50th anniversary. One thing i do know is the use of pond is going to be relevant at some point for she could have used any word. is clara the doctors daughter? and did she snog him to some how confirm her DNA or something?

  8. I wish Moffat would stop trying to show everyone how clever he is.

    • I wish some of the loose ends would get tied up. The fall of the 11th. The fields of trenzalore (sp?). The doctor revealing his name. You get the idea.

      • So you want them to set up an overarching plot for an entire series and then answer it in the very next episode?

  9. I completely agree with the comments regarding Clara. I was so looking forward to the excitement of her getting tricked or irresistibly drawn into the doctor’s TARDIS. Or even maybe her back story. I am a huge fan of ;”clever” Moffat, but apparently he does need to grasp the concept of EMOTIONAL timing. Though I’m not a fan of the doctor falling in love, the concept of showing his bonding with his companions is critical to the storyline. I just don’t buy Clara’s “rushing on board” so quickly, usually civilians must be convinced that they need the doctor or that he can actually help them. On a positive note, even with the parallels to River, Moffat’s done it again, I can’t wait to find out what’s going on with her!

  10. Wasn’t pond… I mean, FOND of that episode either. I gave Matt Smith more chances that I can think of and STILL find him too fast and nevrotic (I need closed captionning to understand what he’s saying). I miss Russel T. Davies and the old gang, but especially David Tennant. I find Moffatt likes to leave too much loose treads in his stories, sometimes and oftenly enough explained in a whirlwind of words. And as for the one word to convince the doctor, I would have used “please”.

    • I thought she was going to say that too. Thinking about it, however, made me realize that the doctor would have already heard that from each of his friends a hundred times. None of them would have used his loss against him, like Clara unknowingly did.

  11. Correction: its not the concept of his bonding with them, its their bonding with HIM. Newbies need to know why he’s the Doctor and the companions decide to join him. Or maybe I’m getting to old for this and if I were a kid I’d run after him after a quick convo myself.

    And did anyone else question why thd little loner kid was so frustrated with humanity that he was so easily convinced to join the “dark” side? Also, where was the Doctor’s one chance rule? I clearly need to watch this again or delve into classic Who to find how this scenario ties in with the status quo.

  12. Correction- its not the concept of his bonding with them, its their bonding with HIM. Newbies need to know why he’s the Doctor and the companions decide to join him. Or maybe I’m getting to old for this and if I were a kid I’d dash after him after a quick conversation in which he seems to merely be interesting.

    And did anyone else question why the little loner kid was so frustrated with humanity that he was so easily convinced to join the dark side? Also, where was the Doctor’s one chance rule? I clearly need to watch this again or delve into classic Who to find how this scenario ties in with the status quo.

  13. I have a theory that Clara is being moved through time and space, leading The Doctor to the fields of Trenazlore for the 50th anniversary. Or she isn’t human. I just don’t want her to have any connection to River.

  14. I thought this suffered from Moffat’s customary problem of losing focus and trying to cram too much into one storyline, and Murray Gold’s incidental music yet again being too melodramatic and prominent in the overall mix. Good to see Richard E Grant, and a nice lead-in to the Troughton-era serials The Abominable Snowmen and The Web Of Fear, but like so many of the other characters (Smith aside) he remained woefully underdeveloped and ultimately swamped by the goings-on around him. I’m really not keen on the Sontarans continuing to be used as comic relief either. Clara plunging hundreds of feet to a curiously blemish-free end was the exact moment things began to come off the rails for me, culminating with frankly just bizarre tears/salt rain business. Keep it simple for once, Steven: I’m just a shaved ape.

    Still, beautifully shot, and I liked the new angular, utilitarian TARDIS interior, title sequence and main theme (even if the latter was just the previous cluttered arrangement with the lolloping beat replaced by the old school bassline. ’60s/’70s throwbacks all…which is no bad thing in the end…

    • with *the* frankly just bizarre

  15. In the run-up to the Christmas episode the BBC website has been releasing a series of short Doctor Who featurettes, and on the 4th December “Day 4: Steven Moffat on The Evil Of The Daleks” one I found this quote interesting: “The other thing that occurred to me, and occurred to Matt Smith at the same time, was one of the design tendencies in Doctor Who, with the Daleks, has been wrong for all these years. I didn’t see it until I saw them all together. We keep making them bigger. People have been making them bigger since the ’60s. You go back, you look at them, they’re scarier when they’re wee. Small Daleks are frightening.”

    Is this the reason behind keeping the standard post-2005 Daleks, with the fat-arsed, out-of-proportion New Paradigm mob as merely an officer class (in Asylum Of The Daleks and presumably beyond)? If so, then I have to respect the man for admitting he presided over a huge mistake there in the first place.

  16. wow, some of you so called “whovians” take the christmas special far to seriously, take it for what it is and enjoy it. Stop trying to analyze every little detail its the holidays just relax and enjoy the Christmas special.

    • No.

    • Kinda what this forum is about…

  17. The Christmas Specials are always poor. Decent plot and logic goes out the window in an excuse for “whimsy”.

    Liked the new console room and beat-up TARDIS, hated the title sequence (apart from the Doctor’s face)- looks like they ripped it off YouTube, it’s so cheap.

    Altogether, a bit naff, but the same goes for ALL the xmas shows before it. Hopefully the series proper will be better.

  18. What I got from this episode about the rest of the season:
    Ian McKellen’ s character will be an arcing storyline. The ‘Great Intelligence’ will be an antagonist similar to (if not actually) The Master. The Doc seems familiar with the name, and why else would you waste a talent like Sir Ian’s on a voiceover in a single episode?
    Clara will die in almost, if not every, episode. The Doc will keep meeting her and having to deal with the constant recurring loss of his ‘new’ companion.
    It may become a search for a way for her to ‘cheat death’ and life a full life.

    I thought the clouds were a nice touch of whimsy, reflecting his isolation by placing him above the world but apart from it.
    It was a far better idea than flying sharks! It also works as a bit of self-masochism/punishment for the Doctor as he has put himself above his favourite planet, instead of disappearing to another completely alien world far off in space and time. He feels he needs to be reminded of his impact, and thus tortures himself.

    Strax will settle down to grow potatoes and will breed them as an offshoot of the Sontaran race. And then he will blow them up.

    • I doubt that Ian McKellan is going to be back–I don’t think that they can afford him on a recurring basis (same as why Derek Jacobi was only the Master for about 10 minutes).

      But, yes, the “Great Intelligence” is familiar to The Doctor–it was the villian in 2 of the Second Doctor’s stories. (In one of those stories, it was using the London Undergroung as a base–and apparantly it got the idea from the Eleventh Doctor!)

      I hope that Clara doesn’t die anymore–we’ve already had both Jack and Rory die and come back repeatedly; we don’t need that any more. And I hope that she has no connection whatsoever to River Song.

      Overall, I liked the ep. The plot was a bit paint by numbers, but the characters, dialogue, and acting was great.

      • No offense, but I believe that if you’re talking about the Scrooge-like character from the Christmas Carol story two years ago and the voice of the Great Intelligence, that’s not Ian McKellen but Michael Gambon.

        • That was Ian McKellen as the snow

          • Definitely Gandalf in snow form. You shall not pass!

            • Why on earth would you think that was Michael Gambon? Also, the fact that the author of this review has written “Ian McClellan” is somewhat irritating me…

            • Gambon was in A Christmas Carol, but I don’t see how that is relevant to this story?

  19. It was the best ever

  20. Oh I so liked the tribute that is Clara.

    Did anyone else notice her first appearance was facing Hartnell’s biggest baddies while dressed like a 60′s companion? Her second appearance was facing a Troughton baddie, the Great Intellgence, in Victorian clothes … like Troughton’s assistant Victoria perhaps!?!

    I’m guessing that Clara 3 will be rather Sarah Janeish – modern Earth woman – and will face Pertwee and perhaps Tom Baker aliens.

    50 years of Dr Who in 7 eps!?!

  21. How about the TARDIS? Think about it. She randomly kisses the doctor, which is something that the TARDIS (sexy) would have done. Also, her name is an anagram for window across all. The TARDIS is a window across all of time and space. We already know that the TARDIS can become in human form. The fact that she is a TARDIS could explain why she is in multiple points in time. Clara has the characteristics of a perfect companion, and it has been said in the episode with the house hat the tardis was the only one perfect for the doctor ever.

    • Oh very good! I like your thinking. Also @Squibby, great observations!

  22. I’m on the side of those who found this episode underwhelming. I’m willing to forgo an exciting, intricate plot to introduce a new companion, but the trade-off has to be that the new companion is worth introducing. And I just didn’t feel that with Clara.

    Steven Moffat’s biggest weakness has always been crafting characters. I did get to like Amy a lot, but her best episodes were never written by him. Whenever he did write, Amy reverted back into the shallow, spoiled, sassy minx he first envisioned her as. Meanwhile, River Song is dull and lacks depth, and for the amount of importance given to her character, she never lives up to it.

    Clara feels like yet another attempt to re-imagine the same “hot, confident, and sassy” lead female character Moffat always writes. And with each incarnation, he pushes the envelope further until it becomes tedious and uninspiring.

    My favorite companions are the ones that have the opportunity to grow the most. When you take someone like Clara who’s already really smart and really confident and perfect at everything, there’s nowhere to go with it. Clara lacks narrative thrust. The stakes aren’t high here.

    Would it be too much to ask for a normal companion? I would really like to, just once, see the Doctor take aboard a Bilbo Baggins-esque character who discovers their courage and their worth on board the TARDIS.

    I really want to like Clara because hating a Doctor Who character is miserable. But unless she’s softened considerably throughout the series, I just don’t see it happening. And that makes me sad.

  23. Ok back to the Clara theory for 21 April 13. Last night’s episode we find yet further allusions to the secret identity of Clara being linked in some way to River. Firstly, I find it hard to believe the storyline would leave his wife River, permanently locked up in the Library Computer. That’s just pathetic. Secondly the regeneration power non-sense that some people have raised is irrelevant to the issue – n00bs. Third, a way back now, River and the doctor part ways because River says something like “we cannot have the two timelords in the same Tardis for too long…”. Its near the episode where Rory and Amy get married I do recall. Now after last night, the Tardis and Clara have a bit of a ‘smoochy’ or personality clash moment? Moffat doesn’t give it away clearly but what is clear is that this is not a coincidence. We know when the doctor and River meet, River knows how the fly the Tardis, in a manner very different to the doctor. Also who cares if there’s a Clara 1,2,3,4,5 etc. Comeon really?! Obviously, all River would need is a friggin clone to download into, for heavens sake people. So who or what downloaded her might be a question? Oh yes and last but not least; again in last night’s episode someone has again called the doctor ‘little boy’. Even if she’s not River it’s a loose end that must be dealt with. Just like the weeping angels, the two time lords from 3×13, one of which appears by implication to be the doctors mum. Eh? That’s another loose end. So how does that go on to explain why the Angels feed on time energy yet they’re descended or originating from the time lords should make a very good episode. I can’t but point out to all the n00bs that ‘oh its so improbable or ‘unlikely’ is such dumb attitude because Dr Who script writing is featured by that very tenet of surprise. Duh. Add the screwdriver someone mentioned and there’s so many interconnections that Moffat is going to have a hard time closing the threads without the necessary elements one of which has to be RIVER SONG!

    • @WINDUP, no matter your take on the what, why and where of Who, calling people ‘noobs’ or dumb is a very non-Whovian thing to do, and to you Sir, I say Good-Day!

      …I said Good-Day, Sir! ;)

  24. Regarding the adorable Clara’s last response in the riveting “one-word answer” test, has anyone mentioned that it the frozen “pond” was where the previous mean nanny had drowned, the same pond that remained mysteriously frozen? Clara was asked to say one word that would capsulize the danger and why she needed help, and she simply said “pond” i.e., the place where the danger was hidden. Nothing to do with Amy at all.