The Doctor Who Christmas Special just finished airing in the UK. It was our first look at Jenna-Louise Coleman playing the new companion, Clara? So what did you think of the episode and of Jenna-Louise Coleman’s debut? ***BEWARE OF SPOILERS***
The episode opened with the setting as Christmas 1842 on a snowy day with a lonely boy named Walter making a snowman (voice of Ian McKellen) that suddenly talks to him. Flash-forward fifty years and Walter is the evil Dr. Simeon in league with the voice of the snowman to take over the world with an army of snow and ice creatures.
Simeon has founded created the GI institute, which stands for Greater Intelligence. It is here that he conducts experiments on the snow with human victims.
We then meet Clara for the first time as a barmaid in the famous Rose and Crown pub. She walks outside and sees a snowman that has just appeared out of nowhere and mentions this to a man (The Doctor) who happens to be passing by. The two have instant chemistry and playful back and forth banter. The Doctor finally leaves Clara saying , “those were the days” wistfully under his breath.
The Doctor enters his carriage and proceeds to speak to Madame Vastra on a steampunk communications horn. Vastra mentions to him that Clara could be the one, and that it always starts with the same two words. The Doctor states that it’s impossible that she doesn’t even have the right words, only to be surprised when Clara pops in the roof of the coach to ask, “Doctor Who?”
We then discover that Dr. Simeon is unusually interested in a pond where a governess drowned and was then frozen in the ice a year ago. He is shortly thereafter confronted by Vastra and Jenny. We learn that Vastra is the basis for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes character. Simeon reveals to Vastra and Jenny that he is going to take over the world and there is nothing they can do about it.
The Doctor has stopped his coach and is examining the snow with Strax, his driver. They have left Clara locked in the coach. It is revealed the that snow is alien and new and contains a telepathic field. The Doctor is still declining to get involved no matter what the snow really is. He thinks the universe doesn’t care one way or the other if he is involved.
The Doctor intends to wipe out Clara’s memory with a memory worm. Strax begins to fumble around under the coach looking for the worm that was accidentally ejected. The worm is dangerous. If you touch it, you lose an hour of memory, but if it bites you, decades of memory are lost. After Clara helps find the gloves needed to safely retrieve the worm, more playful banter happens with the Doctor.
Clara’s thoughts conjure more snowmen. After the Doctor tells her to imagine them melting, they disappear. Rather than wipe her memory (because if he does she’ll have no defense against more snowmen), the Doctor just decides to let her go home and asks Strax to take her.
Clara instead evades Strax and follows the Doctor. She climbs a hidden stair that goes up into the clouds and eventually lands at the TARDIS. She runs around it and knocks on the door, but runs away before meeting the Doctor. The Doctor however knows that is is Clara that found him because she leaves behind a scarf.
We then learn that Clara has been leading a double life. She is a barmaid, but also the sometime governess to the children whose previous governess drowned in the pond. In speaking with the children she learns they are having bad dreams of their governess coming back to hurt them on Christmas Day. Clara realizes this must all be related to the attack snowmen and seeks out the Doctor. She returns to where the invisible stair was and starts shouting for the Doctor. This attracts Jenny’s attention, and Jenny brings her to Vastra.
Vastra plays a game of words with Clara stating that lies are many words but the truth is able to be told in single words. Clara is incredibly clever and honest and convinces Vastra to contact the Doctor. When The Doctor says to Vastra that Clara could not have passed the one word test. He asks what one word did Clara say that she thinks will get his attention. The word is “pond”, and the Doctor leaps into action.
The Doctor proceeds to Simeon’s lair attired as Sherlock Holmes and proceeds to question Simeon. The Doctor states the snow is more like Moriarty plotting and planning. The Doctor realizes that the snow and the governess in the pond are connected and investigates. Clara, who has been watching the Doctor, proceeds to tell the children a story about a Doctor on a cloud who saves children. Before she can finish her story the ice governess enters the room and begins to attack.
Clara and the children run and eventually are in a room with the Doctor where he melts the ice creature. Vastra, Jenny, and Strax all enter the house stating Simeon has more snowmen coming. Jenny traps the resurrected ice governess. The Doctor sends the family and Strax into a secure room for safety. He and Clara run past the ice warrior getting her to follow them to the TARDIS. Between brief kisses with Clara, discovering he is wearing a bowtie, and loving the adventure, the Doctor is realizing that he is getting interested in traveling again, and having Clara (to whom he hands a TARDIS key) be his companion. He tells her “I never know why, I only know who.” Clara, upon entering the TARDIS, unlike other companions, states “It’s smaller on the outside.”
More playful banter ensues between the Doctor and Clara. Including Clara asking about a kitchen because she likes to make souffles. This instantly rings a bell with the Doctor. It’s obvious they are attracted to each other. Before too much conversation can happen, the ice governess grabs Clara and the two crash to earth mortally wounding Clara. The Doctor materializes the TARDIS around Clara and then brings them both into the house. As Clara lays dying, the Doctor repeats to her that she is going to live because he never knows how, he just knows who, and asks her formally to be his companion.
The Doctor and Vastra confront Simeon. The Doctor and finally destroys the snow and ice monsters, or so he thinks, by using the memory worm on Simeon. Unfortunately, the body of Simeon now springs back to life almost killing the Doctor. Without warning the snow mysteriously melts and all the snow turns to rain. We learn that the tears of an entire family crying on Christmas Eve is what has done this, and the snow tapped into their strong telepathic field.
The Doctor returns to the house to discover Clara is moments from death. He tells Clara they saved the world, and Clara asks if he is going back to his cloud. As the clock chimes midnight, Clara’s final words echo those of Oswin Oswald, “Run, run you clever boy, and remember.” At Clara’s burial, the Doctor looks at Simeon’s business card and the title of his company Great Intelligence, and states the name rings a bell but he can’t place it. When they bury Clara, the Doctor finally sees her full name on the tombstone: Clara Oswin Oswald. He realizes there most be a connection, they are in fact, according to The Doctor, the same woman.
The Doctor then tells Vastra and Jenny that he isn’t coming back and he is off to find the impossible, to find Clara. He enters the TARDIS and seems to use the words “Clara Oswin Oswald” as a setting. In the present, we see a modern day Clara/Oswin visiting Clara’s tombstone at a run down graveyard with a friend. Clara/Oswin tells the friend the graveyard isn’t creepy because she doesn’t believe in ghosts.
The episode ends with the Doctor saying, “Watch me run!”
So, now that the episode is over, what were your favorite parts? How do you think it ranks among previous Christmas episodes? What are your first impressions of Clara?