April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “Last Christmas”

The Doctor, Clara, and Santa Claus do battle with Dream Crabs.

Well, if this series of Doctor Who got anything right, it may be casting Nick Frost as Santa Claus.

Also, the guy who plays the Sontaran Strax is one of a pair of surly elves helping Santa out.

Wait, Santa isn’t real.  Everyone at one point in time or another in this story keeps telling him so, but there he is.  He brings the Doctor and Clara to a North Pole research station where four researchers are hiding from these things that attach themselves to people’s heads and won’t pay any attention to you as long as you don’t look at or think about them.  The Doctor, when he isn’t offended at the title and premise of the movie Alien, says they are Dream Crabs, psychic creatures that attach themselves to a victim’s sleeping face and slowly drain their brain away.  Anyone with one on their head will be in a dream state and will not be able to tell the difference.  But fortunately, the Doctor is there to help…and so is Santa.

None of the research scientists seems to want to believe Santa is real despite his being, you know, right there.

Now, if the victim can wake up in time, the Crab will fall off and disintegrate, something the Doctor learns when Clara gets hit with one and he has to go in and help her.  She’s dreaming of Danny, and the Doctor has to remind Clara something the Doctor himself only just learned, namely that Danny is dead.  He died saving the world, or as Danny in the scene says, he died to save Clara and the world was just an added bonus.  That’s why every Christmas is special because it can always be the last one you spend with someone.

That’s a depressing thought for a Christmas special.

Also, is that why Danny did what he did, or is that just what Clara believes he did?  Interesting thought either way.

Alright, so how can Santa help?  He’s not much of a fighter, and endless toys only distract for so long.  Simple:  he’s not real.

Well, you know, obviously.

No, Santa is a sign of the dream, the collective subconscious of the victims fighting back.  He even tells them as much because Santa just wants to help.  So, if Santa is there, the Dream Crab is still feasting because, as the Doctor points out, the victims in the infirmary that the scientists are hiding from are the scientists themselves…and none of them are actual scientists, just victims of the Dream Crabs who don’t even have a lot of details for what they are doing at the North Pole or even how they got there.  Same with Clara.  Dream logic.  Too much is missing.

So, the thing to do is get everyone away before the army of Dream Crabs grabs the dreamers.  The lone man in the party disappears, so he’s probably dead, and the group is cut off from the TARDIS.  So, how can anyone escape the North Pole in such a situation?  Simple:  Santa’s there with his sleigh.  Everyone climbs on, and as they wake up to a dusty thing next to them, they forget what happened.  Clara is the last as the Doctor goes to save her, but he was missing for the previous 62 years and she’s an old woman now, one who never married and…oh wait, there’s Santa again.

Yes, Clara and the Doctor will continue to travel together.  Apparently, that ambiguity was based on whether or not Jenna Coleman wanted to do more of the show.  She did, so she stayed.  And another Christmas is saved, drawing an end to this series of episodes.

Now, in the recent past, I actually stopped here and did some spin-offs, maybe an adjacent series like Blake’s 7, but I thought I had covered all the spin-offs and the like, you know, except for that one-episode wonder K9 and Company.  But it turns out there was one more modern Who spin-off.  It came from the Capaldi era, only ran for 8 episodes, and is apparently on the free streaming service Tubi.

It’s called Class.

Is it any good?  A single eight-episode run suggests not, but I’m going to check it out anyway and find out.