A Few Thoughts About Last Christmas
All of time and all of space is sitting out there. A big, blue box. Please, don't even argue.
There is so much I would like to say about this episode, but there just isn't time. Time...something only the Doctor can manipulate and not even he has enough of it. I spent whatever few spare minutes I had most days between November 8, the day the finale aired, until December 24, the day before this Christmas special, writing about Death in Heaven. I've done this before with other shows, and it's always a silly endeavor to try finishing something that takes so long. Everyone's always onto the next thing by then. But, still, if I ever have a chance to write more about this spectacularly joyful and profoundly emotional episode, and series, then I may, but I am so tired. Christmas has worn me out; not just the day itself, but the entire run up to it. I didn't have much time for anything or I would have had the "Death in Heaven" post done mere days after it aired.
I'm all by myself running this site (obviously) and I have two day jobs now, plus a number of side jobs that don't qualify as jobs but take just as much time, and just being part of a family is a big obligation. So instead of a summary, recap, or review that will take me well into next month, I'll leave you with a few thoughts, quotes, and my favorite t-shirts since that's the main reason you're here. I wish I could make my own. I'm sure someone will come up with a Doctor Who/Inception tee based on this episode that's nearly a copy of the one in my head before I even get the chance to start drawing it. It's happened before. Anyway...
As always, I had a wonderful time with the show making me laugh and then doing a kind of wrenching, twisty thing with my emotions.
This episode started where we left off, with Saint Nick. Nick Frost was the perfect choice. Best Santa ever. I expected nothing less of one of my favorite funny men. And he got to say that Santa's sleigh was bigger on the inside. I'm still smiling at that one and about committing "several million housebreaks in one night."
After introducing Santa to Clara and the Doctor interrupting to mysteriously whisk her off to the North Pole, then it got super creepy with the Sleepers. "Who were they? What happened to them? Wait, they wake up if you think about them? Yikes!" That was kind of my internal monologue. It was also funny, because that girl went all out dancing past them.
"Do you know why people get together at Christmas? Because every time they do, it might be the last time." Something I thought of a few times over the years after my older relatives started passing away. I never heard it put into words until dreamland Danny Pink said this on that night I might have seen one of my family members for the last time. You never know. It's always hard to think about. Thanks a lot, Samuel Anderson. Good thing we're all lucky enough to see each other at least a few times a year.
More Danny! It was lovely to see him again. I knew this is how it would have to go after the way they left it in "Death in Heaven." Well, not exactly. I figured we would never see him alive again. But this was the last of Danny and he was just a dream, a memory Clara has been holding onto.
"There's a horror movie called Alien? That's really offensive. No wonder everyone keeps invading you." One of a number of hilarious lines, like most episodes. The Doctor needs to stop running for a while, sit down, and treat himself to a movie.
I loved how the Doctor said something about Danny that was offensive to Clara and she slapped him and told him Danny was dead. They got nearly right to the point even when they didn't have a moment to breathe. That's how I pictured it going, but I didn't think it would. Most series drag that kind of thing out and pile misunderstandings and lies on top of each other. I have to stop forgetting that Doctor Who doesn't always do the expected. That's one of the wonderful things about it. Clara admitted she lied so the Doctor could feel free to go home, and the Doctor admitted he lied about finding Gallifrey so Clara could have a life with Danny. It was refreshing that they told each other the truth. But it seemed that it wasn't only wanting each other to be happy, but to save themselves from looking so vulnerable at that moment. They were both so raw, the Doctor is uncomfortable with emotion, and who wants to break down in a restaurant in front of strangers? ;)
Oh, and when the Doctor took the reins of the dream sleigh and pure joy came across his face? Capaldi was brilliant again, as he has ably demonstrated so many times. It was wonderful to see that carefree, childlike side again. It's been a while. The Doctor has been so affected by his new personality that his self-loathing and regret has brought out a bitterness and callousness. While I love the difficulties of loving him, it was beautiful to see his guard drop. It was simultaneously a funny and sweet moment that could easily have been a silly throw-away. Instead it encapsulated the spirit of a man who stole a box to see the universe.
Clara as an old woman. "Oh no, not this way!" I screamed in my head, but all I could do while watching with family was allow my eyes to water as I stared straight at the TV, making sure no one saw my face. I was certain this season that Clara would be leaving because she was in love. Then she decided to stay. I was then certain her end would come soon at the hands of some despicable character or by saving the world. Then Danny died and that was devastating, yet he saved the world. So I thought Clara would blame the Doctor for not being able to bring Danny back and let that be her reason for leaving him. It turned out that she didn't lash out in that way and left because she thought the Doctor had a chance at a normal life, and he thought the same of her. They lied to protect each other.
But we saw at the end of the episode that they would be together again for "Last Christmas," at the end of which I was fooled once again. It looked like the Doctor had missed decades of Clara's life. I was sure that wasn't a dream then and that was how we would be saying goodbye to Clara, from a vibrant young woman moments before to a lonely old woman who had spent her life holding onto the memory of her truest friend, hoping one day he would return, and with a ghost in her heart of the man she would have spent her life with, who had a chance to return and gave it to someone else.
It was an overwhelming moment for me when the Doctor, averse to touching, put his hand on Clara's withered and weak one to help her open a Christmas cracker. Oh, the time he missed. I would have let the tears flow had I been watching alone, as with so many other episodes, especially this season.
The Doctor's face when he's asking Clara to travel with him again. He's so nervous that she'll say no. This is a man who needs some happiness, who needs that second chance that he offers others. It's so uplifting that he got it in the end...that they both did. Because Clara and the Doctor need each other. If that was the series finale, it would have been a perfect ending.
Touching moments are touching -- Any time we can get this Doctor some human contact is a great thing. Adventuring together and almost dying constantly should involve a lot of mandatory hugs, because you never know when the last time will be. Even though it's a way to hide your face and the feelings that show on it, hugging is better than "I love you" or telling someone, sometimes falsely, that everything will be alright. I love how he held her hand when she was attacked by the dream crab. Then he put himself in grave danger (though he was already unknowingly in a dream himself) by doing the same to try to get her out, though he knew they would be dissolving his brain if he did. He submitted to her blitz hug from behind while in the sleigh after a bit of protest. Then put his hand on hers again, without hesitation, when she was an old woman. When they finally woke up, he hopefully asked her to come with him again and took her hand, leaving behind her house...and a tangerine that reminded me of the spinning top from Inception that gave a little wobble, which made me wonder for a second if they were still dreaming or if Santa was real or if it was just a little nod to the imaginary savior of the day. They had to have woken up. They couldn't just leave a Christmas episode on such a note.
The Doctor and Clara are just so wonderful together. She is every bit his match and a companion not to underestimate. Their relationship has gone through so much and there is a lot of love between them.
I wrote some fan fic in my head as I sometimes do between episodes when I'm falling asleep. I'll never actually publish anything, because I don't have that kind of time or the talent that would require. Then no one would read them...and I wouldn't want them to either, so there's no point. Also, I'm not a writer, but for anyone interested, I like this tiny snippet.
Now I'll leave you with a couple of t-shirts that I've been wanting. I wanted to post Drew Wise's 51 Timey Wimey Years, which I have and wore on Christmas day, but it was apparently just a very limited run. There were no new Who shirts yesterday or today at TeeFury or RiptApparel, and I have no idea if there will be any tomorrow or any time this week because they neglected to email me upcoming shirts. I'm not waiting. I always wait too long or take too long. So after scouring my favorite stores for the best of Doctor Who, here are Regenerations by zerobriant, which stacks the silhouetted bust of every Doctor inside the next, and Listen by saqman in the style of Tim Burton, which I don't always appreciate, but I certainly do in this instance. It is also available at RedBubble. I would love to be able to post a "Last Christmas" shirt, but any one with the 12th Doctor will do, especially if it portrays a terrifically creepy scene from one of my favorite episodes and gives the Doctor that hilarious, angry expression.
When I couldn't remember quite how a line went and I didn't have time to search the episode, I checked ThreeIfBySpace.net, which has a wonderful series listing Doctor Who quotes.
[Screenshot] Via Screencapped.net, copyright of the BBC.