Thank you for a scary Doctor Who Christmas Story. In previous years it’s been cute but we have scary since Christmas Invasion and for the most part it works.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold together well in the end because the villain while able to make snowmen with teeth doesn’t hold up and turns out to be a possible plot thread for the rest of season 6.
When we last left the Doctor, Amelia and Rory were stuck and never coming home due to the Angels.
The Christmas Episode entitled The Snowmen find the Doctor hiding out in Victorian London with the rest of his irregulars, Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax.
The story begins well enough in 1842 when a young boy enjoys building his snowman instead of his friends and runs when he hears his snowman, voiced by Ian McKellen, talks back to him only to be lured back when the snowman sounds like he’s understanding the boy’s feelings. Flash ahead a few years the boy now played ominously by Richard E. Grant (who also gets my vote for Moriarty if it hadn’t been portrayed so well by Andrew Scott) is the head of a company called The Great Intelligence and is building something that includes a pond where a governess drowned.
The Doctor’s irregulars are following Grant and a few scenes fill in the blanks where Sherlock Holmes stories are based upon Madame Vastra’s adventures. The Sherlock jokes continue through the episode even with the Doctor dressing up to find out what villain is doing.
We are re-introduced to Jenna-Louise Coleman playing Clara and like Eve Myles before her is playing another character that is linked to Oswin from the first episode of the season. The introductions are cut short since the Doctor has already wiped Clara’s memories once already and Strax as the comic relief is played out well when he tries to get the memory worm and it keeps wiping his memory.
One might wonder why the Doctor doesn’t recognize Clara but the only thing he heard was her voice so when a soufflé joke appears the Doctor remembers and through several tragic events cannot find out why Clara exists and so begins an ongoing plot thread for the rest of the season. This continues Moffat’s time trick of introduction of characters out of time or effect by time.
The villain behind the snow is really the only problem with this episode. The giant glass ball filled with snow doesn’t really do it for me even if Gandalf is threatening me. The writers have been trying to make cute inanimate objects a sinister feel and the idea of killer Snowmen is great so long as you can ignore the Jack Frost horror movies.
The idea of the Doctor sitting out on the sidelines is good idea, after losing the Ponds. The new console room is a nice throw back to previous rooms. I’ve enjoyed the previous redesigns so this change looked okay in still pictures released but seeing it in action solidified it for me.
Get’s three and half regenerations, Coleman and Strax dialogue gets a five.