Reviewed By: Mercury
Review Date: 3/20/19 11:08 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
Despite the contrived nature of creating a Christmas special featuring Santa (following on from all the other slightly contrived Moffatt era Christmas specials - one based on A Christmas Carol, one based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and one featuring a town called Christmas) this episode, like A Christmas Carol manages to rise above its contrivance to be a thoroughly enjoyable story. It has the usual Moffatt obsessions of the 'darkness' of the Doctor, lots of complicated storytelling and over the top bits but it just works on this occasion. Moffatt has managed here, as in his other best work, to balance things so that the complications are clever. In a lot of this era the complications end up turning out to be illogical and the showiness is out of control. This episode makes enough sense so that the confusing dreams within dreams and seemingly unrealistic events have internal logic. The showy stuff like Santa, elves, reindeer etc are made to fit into the context of the episode in a way that makes them work within the world of the show and they are used to great comic and dramatic effect.
Nick Frost is great as Santa, he is funny but also grounded with a more serious side. The comedy works brilliantly and there is smart dialogue throughout. Capaldi is, as always, terrific with both humour and depth. Jenna Coleman puts in a good performance and all the guest characters have depth and quality. All the acting is of high standard and it is lovely to get Michael troughton, son of 2nd Doctor Patrick Troughton, in the cast.
The darker and more dramatic elements mostly work really well too. The dream crabs are creepy and menacing and the serious themes raised work well. I was not a huge fan of how the dream crabs turn out to be in random people's homes and just disintegrate and we move on. Why and how were they there and isn't there a likelihood they would be elsewhere on Earth rather than just those few random places. Some explanation or resolution would have been nice. I also was not a fan of bringing Danny Pink into the episode. Moffatt just cannot let characters die! I strongly disliked Danny and was glad to get rid of him. Thankfully he is not a huge issue in this story.
The episode is rather copied in some respects from the great episode from a couple of years earlier Amy's Choice which is a shame in a way but it is just different enough to still work in its own right.
Overall this was a funny, entertaining and clever episode. 9.5/10.