10:00 pm EST, December 25, 2014

‘Doctor Who’ Christmas special recap: Life is but a dream

Doctor Who‘s annual Christmas special reunited the Doctor with Clara, but was it all a dream?

Hi Ho Rudolf, away

After Santa (Nick Frost) and his elves crash land on Clara’s roof, or so we are lead to believe, we are off for an adventure to the North Pole at a research base. Before Clara (Jenna Coleman) and the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) enter the base, we are treated to snarky elf banter that is trying to make some point about racism and political correctness, but darned if we know what it is. All we are sure of is Jenna Coleman is short, Dan Starkey, who usually plays Strax, is shorter, and newcomer Nathan McMullen is the shortest, and calling people elves or humans is possibly racist… go figure. Or have another egg nog! It might make more sense after some rum.

Yes, Clara, there is a Santa Claus

Upon landing at the North Pole base, the Doctor and Clara are thrown into the middle of the latest threat: space crabs. For those of you who may have already have had too much egg nog, you probably giggled every time those words were uttered. As we come to learn, space crabs are not an intergalactic STD. As St. Nick and the Doctor explain, they are a parasite that attaches itself to anyone who thinks about them, and they literally suck the life out of their hosts through a straw-like device inserted into their brains like an ice cream parlour shake. To accomplish this task, a la the ultimate ice-cream brain freeze, the space crabs lull their victims into a dream state so that they can suck them dry without being fought off. Clara becomes their latest victim.

Not such a Grinch after all

The 12th Doctor spent the better part of last season being a curmudgeon, and even being downright rude and unfeeling. Although there’s definitely a trademark sarcasm that’s still present, the Doctor actively risks his life to save Clara. He willingly becomes a victim of a space crab to reach Clara, because only those on the space crab’s dreamscapes can engage others in similar situations. Little did he know what or who he’d find there.

All I want for Christmas is Danny Pink

Clara soon finds herself in a world where Danny Pink is alive. Needless to say she doesn’t want to wake up, but the Danny of Clara’s memory, much like the real Danny, sacrifices himself to save her. He forces her to face reality, leave him, return with the Doctor, and wake-up. After she does, Clara and the Doctor have a touching heart-to-heart conversation on their losses, and how each tried to protect the other. It’s kind of like Tiny Tim melting the heart of Scrooge.

I’m dreaming of a loopy Christmas

After saving Clara, all would seem fine, but is it? The Doctor realizes that there are some unanswered questions. What is the mission of the North Pole base? Why has Santa come to the rescue? Why doesn’t anyone know precisely why they are there? Unfortunately, it’s because they are all still dreaming. It’s a dream within a dream. It’s nearly impossible to tell in the never-ending loops where dreams end and reality begins.

It’s a wonderful life

One more time, the Doctor thinks he has it all solved. Santa is their unconscious savior, or the savior of their unconscious minds fighting back. So, it’s all aboard Santa’s sleigh and one-by-one everyone starts to face their reality, waking up where they were taken. The Doctor wakes up and runs to save Clara who was the last left on the sleigh. In an almost Peter Pan moment, the Doctor arrives to save Clara, and finds himself faced with a Clara who last met him 62 years ago. She tells him of the life she lived without him before the Doctor realizes that this too is another dream.

Merry Christmas to all, and to to all a good night.

As he does finally wake up for real, the Doctor rushes to save Clara, and it’s the young version of Clara. She seems relatively unscathed. The two put their differences aside, and enter the Tardis ready to take on new adventures which presumably will start in fall 2015 with the first episode entitled “The Magician’s Apprentice.”

How did this Christmas episode rate compared to others for you?

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