Sunday, September 22, 2013

50th Anniversary Countdown: Doctor Who 2012 Christmas Special: "The Snowmen"

“He was different once. Kind. A hero even. The Saver of Worlds. But he suffered losses which hurt him. Now he prefers isolation to the possibility of pain’s return.”
- Madame Vastra

We have come to the Christmas special which starts our transition out of the Ponds and to the new companion. We start in the early 1800s in London as a little boy starts to build a snowman. One of his caretakers comments on how it’s disturbing he doesn’t talk to the other children. The boy says he doesn’t want to talk to other children because they’re silly. The snowman talks back to the boy and says it can help him so long as the boy doesn’t leave. Jump fifty years into the future where the boy is now a man and goes by the name Dr. Simean. He’s got men collecting snow from snowmen all over town and the voice that came out of his snowman as a boy is now in a giant globe thing. They’ve got some nefarious plan cooking and it can’t be good. It’s also sad because he lets the snow eat the guys helping collect samples.

Next we hop over to a pub where a girl that looks exactly like Oswin is working as a barmaid. She heads out back and finds a snowman. She asks the man who walks by if he made it and we see the Doctor. It appears he’s not been doing what Amy told him. He’s been alone and hiding from the world. He asks the girl her name (it’s Clara) and he walks off. Clara is determined to follow after him and manages to hop on the back of his coach as Madame Vastra is chastising the Doctor that it always begins this way with him and new travel companions. Clara pops through the roof and asks “doctor who?” since she’s been listening in on the phone conversation.

The Doctor tries to get Clara to leave but she’s not having it. We get some funny bits with Strax being told to get the memory worm to wipe Clara’s memory so she won’t remember the Doctor since he doesn’t do the whole companion thing anymore since Amy and Rory got taken. It reminds me a tad of ret con on Torchwood. Just…slimier. The Doctor finally nabs the wiggly critter but doesn’t use it on Clara. The snowman comes back and more pop up the more she thinks about them. The Doctor explains she’s caught in their telepathic field and that the more she thinks about them, the more they’ll show up. She succeeds in picturing them all melted. Meanwhile, Dr. Simean pays a man a visit about a woman who drowned in his pond and froze. Dr. Simean says whatever is in the pond, will belong to him.

Oh and it appears the Doctor is living in the clouds (quite literally). Clara follow him after he tells Strax to take her back where they met her. She sees him pull down a ladder and climb up into the trees. Next we see her, she’s dressed as a governess checking up on her young charges. They’re the children of the man with the dead woman in his pond. And quite oddly, the pond is still frozen. The girl, Frannie, says she’s dreamed about the dead woman who says she’s coming back for Christmas to punish the children. Her brother says that she needs a doctor and it would seem Clara agrees. She goes back to where she last saw him and starts shouting for him when Jenny intervenes. She takes Clara to see Madame Vastra and we get an interesting conversation where Clara is only permitted to give one word responses. She needs the Doctor’s help because of the snow. Vastra says the Doctor doesn’t help people ever. When Clara calls her on her lies, she explains that he lost people and he’s taken up isolation as a defense mechanism. But there is a test she can give Clara to see if the Doctor will help her. Clara sums up her troubles in one word; pond. Yes, it’s a direct reference to Amy (he’s wearing her reading glasses from episode 5 when he gets the call). So I guess there’s a bit more link between the first half and second half than I initially realized.

That night, the Great Intelligence (aka the glowey ball full of snow) warns Simean there is danger near. The Doctor shows up and figure outs what the Intelligence is. He also figures out that in order to adapt and survive on Earth, they’ll need to evolve including sampling human DNA in ice form. Bingo! That’s where the dead ice lady comes in. Clara is busy putting the children to bed when Frannie worries she’ll have the bad dreams about the dead woman again. Clara says it won’t happen because there’s a man who lives on a cloud and whose only job is to make sure no child ever has a bad dream. Unfortunately, she’s dead wrong and the ice lady comes for them. They run into a lounge and the Doctor pops in to save the day. But he insists it’s a one off thing. Elsewhere, a man triggers a device that sends snow directly at the house to help reconstitute the ice woman.

The Doctor starts to feel sentimental when he sees he’s put his bowtie on. That doesn’t last long because ice lady reforms and she’s melt proof. So Clara and the kids get the standard “run!” order. Shortly, the snowmen corner the house and Vastra, Jenny and Strax arrive to help defend the premises. Dr. Simean arrives too, demanding they release the ice lady to him. There’s no way the Doctor is going to do that. By this point, the children’s father has gotten in on the action and the Doctor says he’s Clara’s gentleman friend. For good measure as the Doctor starts formulating a plan, Clara goes with him and snogs him (just to keep up pretenses). They make it to the roof and she falls on him. I’m really not keen on the flirting. I prefer my Doctor flirting only with his wife, thank you very much. Anyway, they lead the ice lady up with them to keep her away from the snow. The Doctor and Clara head up to the TARDIS and Clara goes against the grain, noting it’s smaller on the outside. And in a tie in to the first episode of the season, Clara likes making soufflés. In an uncharacteristic move, the Doctor hands over a TARDIS key. Unfortunately, Clara gets nabbed by the ice lady and they fall all the way to the ground. Clara is not looking good. The Doctor is not happy because as we know, he hates losing people. He asks Clara to go with him if he saves the world (and she survives). He straightens his bowtie and gets to work. He taunts Simean and heads to his office to end things. Simean demands to have the box that the Doctor says contains a piece of the ice lady. The Doctor hands it over but it’s got the memory worm inside it. Without his memories, the snow should just disappear. But it’s managed to evolve so that it can inhabit Simean’s body. Back at the house, Clara dies and the family mourns, turning the snow to rain and washing out the Great Intelligence. At the cemetery, the Doctor starts putting the pieces together. Clara’s full name was Clara Oswin Oswald. He now has a new mission and races off in search of Clara. The girl who died twice. We see her again in the present standing by her own grave stone. Thus begins the mystery of Clara.

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