Yay, new Doctor Who, finally! It took me a few days to track down and watch the 2012 Doctor Who Christmas special, but if you’re further behind than me, don’t read ahead, because – you guessed it. “Spoilers!”
I’ll start off with a few odd notes on characters and casting. I hadn’t remembered that Madame Vastra’s human sidekick (and wife, apparently,) was named Jenny, and so when I read somewhere that the trailers hinted that Vastra, Sontaran Strax, and Jenny would be back for the Christmas special, the first character I connected with Jenny was the title character of the David Tennant episode The Doctor’s Daughter.
Also, the first thing I thought when I heard the voice of ‘The Intelligence’ was “OMG, it’s Patrick Stewart”, and I couldn’t shake that connection even when I found out that the voice acting was actually done by Ian McKellan. Weird.
Okay, so – great adventure with the Doctor. I liked lots of things about it, starting with the plot arc where the Doctor began as very withdrawn and remote, observing the Victorian world but not interfering in it, and ending as once again very engaged and excited about the future. Also, loved all the Sherlock Holmes references.
Jenna-Louise Coleman. Clara Oswyn Oswald. There’s a lot that Moffat is obviously trying not to give away about her still, so I’m really looking forward to more regular episodes coming out – whenever they do. Moffat does well with women of mystery, I think, looking back on Amy Pond, and River Song, so if he’s specifically trying to keep us off balance and not sure what to expect next, I think we’re in for an amazing series; though I do have one guess, as I’ll mention later.
What I was most aware of in a lot of the scenes with Jenna-Louise and Matt was how they were going through a lot of the established tropes of a long-term companion falling in love with the magic of the Doctor’s universe – but that this was really the first time we’ve really seen those tropes in a Christmas special, at least with New Who. Rose Tyler and Amy Pond were both established companions before their first Christmas with the Doctor. Many of the Christmas specials have had ‘one-shot Companions’, and even Donna Noble, who became a long-term companion in the end, was not established that was in “The Runaway Bride.”
Clara Oswyn, on the other hand, has appeared before, but since she didn’t act as a companion in “Asylum of the Daleks” and didn’t remember any of those events in “The Snowmen”, this was really her first exposure to the magic side of the Doctor, and despite the way the special ended, (or because of it,) it’s clear that she’s going to be a long-term companion – if not exactly how or why.
Speaking of which, I think it would be really cool if they continue the trend of having her die again, maybe not every episode, and then continually pop up in other places and other times, without the Doctor knowing why or how, but absolutely sure of who she is each time… and maybe, like Rory, she starts to remember him a bit without understanding how or why.
Okay, moving along. I loved the scene with Clara and Vastra with the one word answers, and the little conceit that ‘a single word is truthful, but lies take many words’ – including the moment where Clara just says ‘words’ to indicate when she thinks that Vastra is lying to them both with a passionate little speech. The bit at the end where Vastra passes on Clara’s answer to the test was fun, but I was a bit confused: Were Vastra and the Doctor both just overwhelmed at the apparent coincidence that the word Clara chose, ‘Pond’, was also a name that had so much meaning in the Doctor’s past? Or did they already understand enough about the crystal aliens to know what the significance of a frozen pond could be?
Strax provided great comic relief, and Matt Smith was as amazing as ever. How long before we get new episodes? Is it going to be Easter 2013?