So for those of you who aren’t Whovians (shame on you), every Christmas there’s a Doctor Who Christmas special. Sometimes it’s a stand alone episode, while other times it’s a turning point in a series. This year’s special introduced Clara, the Doctor’s new companion. And, much like with everything else, we have mixed feelings about it.
Ley: Okay, so. Overall opinion on the episode. I thought it had its good points and its bad points, but overall, I thought it was okay.
Emily: Same. As I watched it, I didn’t like it that much. The more I think about it, though, the better I think it was. So, just okay is where I’m putting it. There have been Christmas episodes that were significantly better.
Ley: I might be in the minority with this, but Strax was the best part of the whole episode. Strax is seriously my favorite. He added a whole comedic element that I feel like needed to be there, because otherwise the whole episode would’ve fallen flat for me.
Emily: I agree that Strax was probably the only good comic relief, but I didn’t find him that great. On one side, I didn’t really feel like he was the Strax from “A Good Man Goes to War,” which distracted me a bit. On the other side, I wasn’t really that happy with how the Doctor treated him. Moffat does a thing where he confuses meanness for hilarity, and it makes me amazingly uncomfortable.
Ley: True. I also disliked the Doctor’s treatment of Strax, but on his own, he was precious. I like Clara, kinda. I’m not on board with her being another love interest. I really want her to be Eleven’s Donna. Like, I’m not alright with these theories that Clara is Tentoo and Rose’s daughter. Or that she’s a regenerated Jenny. Or that it’s some massive build up to Rose’s return. Because Moffat doesn’t care about any characters that aren’t his own creation. And he’s going to keep making his female leads very similar to River. And yes, I love River, but if every female character is going to end up being a clone of her, then why bother?
Emily: Honestly, the love interest bit doesn’t really bug me that much. I don’t like it, but that’s sort of the least of my problems with Clara’s character, and how she relates to the Doctor. All of the theories are ridiculous and I’m having none of that bullshit. Moffat really doesn’t give two shits about characters he didn’t create – so Rose, Tentoo, and Jenny? Moffat is never going to touch them. I mean, sure, I’ll eat my words like an adult if he does actually relate Clara to any of them, but I doubt that’s going to happen. And, yes. All of Moffat’s female leads are basic River duplicates. I think Amy became her own character, but I’m not sure if Clara is actually going to be able to shake River and Amy’s influences. Moffat only writes two female character tropes – and Clara falls distinctly into the same one as Moffat’s original female characters before her.
Ley: I’m also kinda tired of companions having these over-the-top titles. With Martha and Donna, they worked up to it, they earned the names The Woman Who Walked the Earth and The Most Important Woman in the Universe. And even with Amy and Rory, the Girl and Boy Who Waited, that was fine. But like…Clara will always be The Girl Who Lived in a Can to me. Or if Moffat’s gonna do what I think he’ll do, The Girl Who Dies in Every Episode.
Emily: Soufflé Girl – that’s Clara Oswin Oswald. No amount of horrible writing will change that – it was already horribly written in anyway. I don’t think Moffat has realized this yet, but if you kill a character over and over again the audience stops caring. The audience will disconnect from them and their plight. It might even become unintentionally funny, in the worst possible way.
Ley: Okay, for the rest of the episode. I really liked the one word test. Just so perfect.
Emily: The one word test was, honestly, the only thing that really saved the episode for me. I think it was the only great scene. It was certainly the only well-written scene. It was Moffat showing off his cleverness, but in the way that he used to. The way that used to be acceptable. It’s quite reminiscent of Moffat’s first episodes, of his simple “Go to your room” solution. I really miss that Steven Moffat, and this scene was fantastic.
Ley: Though I thought the TARDIS in the clouds was a bit too fairytale for me. And I loved the fairytale style elements in other seasons and other episodes. Just not this one.
Emily: Moffat fell away from his fairytale storytelling after series five ended. He keep trying to pretend that he can do it again, but every series has a tone that does not fit with fantastical fairytale storytelling. I like the image of the TARDIS on the clouds, and I liked the idea of the staircase, but it wasn’t executed well.
Ley: Oh my god, the redesign of the inside of the TARDIS is so good. I love it. I think the sort of loss of whimsy and innocence and bright colors is foreshadowing that bad, well…worse, things are coming.
Emily: I love the redesign too. I love the callback to Old!Who consoles of the past. I just don’t know if all the changes – the TARDIS and the Old!Who-esque opening titles – are only because of the 50th anniversary, or if they’re actually foreshadowing. Speaking of the new opening titles – god I absolutely hated them. When they started I pushed my computer away from me. The only thing that saved it was the fact that Matt Smith’s face was there at the end – that’s when I realized what they were trying to do. Smith’s face was the saving grace. I’m not sure if I didn’t actually like it, though, or if I’m still anxious about the fact that they’ve spent the entire series changing the opening credits every damn episode. I’m a really big fan of the series five opening credits, and the theme as well, and I’m irritated that nothing is staying the same.
Ley: The snow could’ve been done so much better. God. It was so bad. I mean, yes, cool, snow that learns, but either make it super serious or not serious at all. But I loved Sir Ian McKellan as the voice of the snow.
Emily: The snow could have been so much better! I feel like if you’re going to use a creature from Old!Who – the Great Intelligence. I mean, the Great Intelligence HAD FUCKING ROBOT YETIS! (You guys know how I feel about yetis!) And yet? Hokey snowmen that made me laugh. As well as the worst of the typical Victorian harpy woman in the ice governess. It’s nothing but hilariously insulting.
Ley: Can we just talk about the cross-referencing for EVERYTHING? It’s like Moffat finally got fed up and said, “HERE. TAKE YOUR WHOLOCK AND LEAVE ME ALONE.” And the “Winter is coming” line. I almost fell off my couch laughing.
Emily: Okay. I think I might be the only person who actually got irritated about the cross-referencing. I was so fed up by the time that the Doctor showed up, playing Sherlock Holmes, that I stopped caring. See, I love Sherlock. I love it a lot. However Sherlock fans have made me not want to actually talk about the fact that I’m actually a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, and have been for the past seven or eight years. At this point, though, Moffat making a single reference would have been fine. Two rather detailed references to Sherlock Holmes, though? It was like Moffat was jerking off on us, and I was not cool with it. As for the “Winter is Coming” Game of Thrones reference? I thought it was fine the first time, but then it got overused at the very end. It stopped being cool.
Overall, I thought it was an okay episode, but not great. It had moments of good. But overall just…kinda fell flat. I give it 8 out of 10 sonic screwdrivers. –Ley
Overall, it was simply okay. It fell flat, like Clara, and it’s leading into a series that I’m not that excited about. I give it 6 out of 10 sonic screwdrivers. – Emily Frances Maesar