The Doctor Who Christmas Special is always highly anticipated, and this year’s certainly did not disappoint. Full of twists, turns and an abundance of evil snowmen it was an entertaining Christmas treat for us all.
We last left saw the Doctor in the special prequels that led up to today’s episode. Mourning and lonely he did not seem in a fit state to save the world any time soon. Although, as soon as he sees the danger within Doctor Simeon’s plan to take over the world with his evil snow, he begins to pipe up and return back to his old ways.
The story begins in 1842 when a young boy refuses to play with the other children in the snow, choosing instead to build a snowman on his own. This snowman is not at all ordinary, however, as it begins to talk to the child in a deep and menacing tone telling him what to do and to follow his advice. Fifty years pass and we are introduced to the adult version of this young boy – Doctor Simeon, played by the remarkable Richard E. Grant. He has stored the snow and plans on using it to some day take over the world and destroy everyone and everything in it. This snow is capable of growing in the form of snowmen which becomes clear when we are introduced to the bar maid, Clara.
Stepping out of the pub she is met by a snowman which appears suddenly, from nowhere. Conveniently, the Doctor is passing by and she questions the nature of the snowman to him – with no idea who he may be. The Doctor, dressed in traditional Victorian clothing complete with top hat, explains that it is “snow that has fell before”. However, due to his state of isolation from the world, he has no interest in detecting the snow any further and leaves, quite to Clara’s confusion. Out of curiosity, she follows him – which automatically plants her in the whirlwind adventures of Doctor Who’s world.
After following the Doctor, Clara finally catches up to him, she questions the snowmen and how they are turning up all over London so mysteriously. Due to her concern the snow mirrors her thoughts and snowmen begin to surround them, popping up everywhere. The Doctor tells her how she has to think about them being melted as the snow reflects what you are thinking. This stops the Doctor’s plan to erase her memory as she needs to know how to protect herself from the snow in the future. Doctor Who, however, is very reluctant to help with the “possibly alien” snow and states that it is simply “not our problem”. Clara remains concerned and decides to follow him. She watches him jump grab a hidden ladder hanging from a nearby tree. Intrigued, Clara decides to follow the Doctor and attempt to grab the ladder, on the first try she falls straight back down into the snow but is successful the second time around. She climbs the ladder and the spiral staircase that follows it – this brings her to the TARDIS, settled high above on a cloud. Bewildered, she runs off after knocking on the door of the famous police box.
Christmas Eve then arrives, along with Doctor Simeon’s sinister plans, “tomorrow the snow will fall and so will man kind”. Clara, back on the ground, turns up at the house of Captain Latimer – father of two young children, Francesca and Digby. She is the children’s governess and looks after them in their grand house. Clara is told of Francesca’s recent recurring nightmares, where she is haunted by dreams of her strict, old governess – who died by falling into a pond and was still “in the ice for days and days” – coming back to life, claiming “she said she would come back at Christmas, tonight”.
This worries Clara who decides to pay a visit to a friend of the Doctor’s, Madame Vistra, and her human assistant Jenny Flint. Through a ‘one word test’ Clara is able to send the Doctor a warning about the nightmares. She sends the word ‘pond’ to the Doctor. He automatically reacts and decides to pay Doctor Simeon a little visit to find out more about what it is he is dealing with. He works out the evil Doctor’s plan, how he will need the snow to evolve into a human form as snowmen cannot be used all year round. With that in mind, the Doctor flees to the Captain’s house and is met by Clara’s face at the window asking him to come upstairs and help. As the Doctor goes to meet Clara the ice begins to crack along the pond. Waiting expectantly for the Doctor to come up and comfort Francesa, Clara is shocked when they are met with the old governess in ice form. She attempts to reach Clara and the children to change them into ice as well – as part of Doctor Simeon’s evil plan.
As always, the Doctor is there just in time to save the day and leads them into another room whilst melting the evil ice woman with his trusty sonic screwdriver. However, they are not safe for long as the governess re-appears. Doctor Simeon is outside the house demanding them to release the governess, as part of his plan for her to multiply. The Doctor and Clara, however, lead her out to the roof and lure her onto the TARDIS’s ladder, to get her away from the snow. This plan has horrific consequences as the governess manages to board the TARDIS and grab Clara, leading to them both falling to the ground. Good news as the governess is destroyed but Clara is close to death and has to be taken inside to lay down.
The Doctor feels responsible and is adamant to get back at the evil Doctor Simeon. He offers him a box of pieces of ice from the governess to help him create his ice army, but when they go to his lair to give it to him the evil Doctor is met with a memory worm inside said box – to erase all memories from his adult life.
The Doctor did not predict the ability of the snow being able to switch who is in control, leading to the snow being able to control the body of Doctor Simeon which was the plan all along – to transform the snow into human form. The evil plans are stopped in their tracks, however, as Clara is seen shedding a single tear at the same time as the children weeping in the background whilst they look on to her almost lifeless body. There had been a “critical amount of snow at the house”, therefore the snow in Doctor Simeon’s lair was starting to mirror what happened at the house. This meant the life-threatening snow mirrored the tears and was turned in to salt water. Such an event as a “whole family crying on Christmas Eve” was able to change the pattern of the snow and save Earth.
The Doctor rushed back to Clara to tell her of the news: “we saved the world Clara, you and me”. Peacefully, she closed her eyes and passed away just as the Doctor had let her know, only after saying to him “aren’t you a clever boy”. The family, Doctor Who, and the other detectives were later stood by Clara’s grave when the Doctor realised he did not know her full name: Clara Oswin Oswald. He then began to piece things together and realise that Clara was in fact the souffle girl he had met before, who had also said to him “aren’t you a clever boy”. We are then introduced to the future Clara, after we see the Doctor hurriedly rush off “to find her, to find Clara”.
So, there you have it – it was one intense episode full of adventure and tense scenes, but what would Doctor Who be without all of the chaos? In between such madness the Doctor and Clara even managed to find a moment to embrace in a loving/unexpected kiss and joke around with each other, including Doctor Who doing a one man version of Punch and Judy – what more could you ask for? It gave us all a brilliantly entertaining hour on our Christmas day and I am sure it has left most of us wanting to know what happens next! We will just have to wait very patiently for later on into the year.