Who Review: Last Christmas
By Steven Moffat
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
“Santa Claus does not do the scientific explanation.”
It’s Christmas and everyone is gathering together with friends and family to celebrate the festive holiday either for religious beliefs or not. But most of all a huge number of people around the world celebrate Christmas with something altogether different in mind and that would be the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special. In fact this is the 10th year in a row that Doctor Who fans will be watching a Doctor Who episode on Christmas day and this time will be treated to the first one with Peter Capaldi as The Doctor. Last Christmas is also boasting a unique meet up between The Doctor and a certain resident of the North Pole. But was it good as a Christmas pudding or will it be a Scrooge and give us a humbug.
Well it wasn’t a humbug that’s for sure and it was definitely an improvement from last year’s Christmas special The Time of The Doctor. I really enjoyed Last Christmas and the fact that they were trapped in a dream and trying to see how they would figure it out and wake up. It seemed like every time they figured it out they had to figure it out again. I loved that as it kept you guessing. It was a bit like Inception where you did not know what was real or what was the dream. It was good seeing The Doctor trying to grasp what was going on and then realizing that he did not solve it yet and had to convince everyone all over again. It was like déjà vu all over again watching Last Christmas.
I was relieved that Santa Claus was just a part the collective dream. When I saw the trailer for Last Christmas and that bit at the end of Death in Heaven I thought they were going to meet Santa Claus for real and it would be an adventure with the real Santa at the North Pole and everything and it would be a huge eye rolling experience watching Last Christmas. But having Santa and his elves as a dream induced image was perfect and made perfect sense for the story. Christmas day what are you going to dream about other than Santa arriving and delivering presents to everyone. It was handled perfectly and Santa Claus was played magnificently by Nick Frost. Nick Frost was really good as Santa Claus and his banter with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was a true highlight of this special. They bounced off each other perfectly and the sarcastic comments towards each other were priceless. Steven Moffat struck gold casting Nick Frost as Santa Claus.
Last Christmas had some good moments and some eye rolling moments like Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody made its return and this time we had Shona dancing to it to keep her distracted from thinking about the Dream Crabs. A bit of a silly scene really and did get an eye roll from me. I thought the dreaming then wake up then dreaming went one scene to long but that was minor and it did give us a very touching scene with the old Clara and The Doctor. I liked that scene and wonder if that would have been the end of the story as originally Jenna Coleman was leaning on leaving and now that she is staying we got that other scene where the run off into the TARDIS together. This suits me fine as I really like Clara as a companion.
I found the elves to be pretty funny as one of them was played by Dan Starkey who also plays Strax the Sontaran. I found their names to be amusing as one was Wolf which must have been in reference to Bad Wolf Rose and Ian in reference to Ian Chesterston. Surely this was taken from the Doctor’s memories and something I thought was pretty funny. Plus when you think about it you can’t have Santa without his elves and Rudolph and reindeer. I didn’t like the car fob turning Rudolph off reminded me of The Doctor doing it to the TARDIS in the End of Time which was an eye roller also.
Last Christmas was scary which I liked as I love seeing the kids hide behind the sofa, well figuratively. I liked how it reminded me of The Thing and Aliens especially the way the Dream Crabs fell from the ceiling and the way they attached to your face and I also loved seeing those movies listed on Shona’s list at the end which explains why they were in that predicament. I also like seeing Michael Troughton being a guest star in Last Christmas the son of 2nd Doctor Patrick Troughton as he does sound like him at times throughout the story. Last Christmas also gave us one more moment with Danny Pink played by Samuel Anderson and gave us a last image of him that was not in Cybermen armor. It was good seeing him in Clara’s dream in a Santa suit because it makes us wonder what if.
Last Christmas was a very entertaining and a fun Christmas Special to watch. Right from the get go when Clara sees Santa and his crashed sled it had fun written all over it. Last Christmas was an all-around enjoyable Christmas Special that helps us forget the failures of Christmas past.
Grade B +