Spoilers… To be honest you should’ve seen this one already.
It’s not that I’m late to the party. It’s that the party was over, the room was closed, the china was stored, the leftovers have been eaten and then I showed up. Nevertheless, I wanted to write a quick review as I’ve just caught up with our esteemed Timelord and companion.
The Doctor and Clara are back again. The truth is spoken and the lies are laid to rest. The evil to match wits this time is profoundly troubling. A monster that devours you slowly, keeping you in a happy dream. If you can manage to recognize you’re in a fantasy land and reject it, the monster will be turned to dust. The episode starts with Santa Claus (Nick Frost) crashing on Clara’s roof. Things are not what it seems as usual.
Eventually the Doctor shows up and whisks Clara to the North Pole. An expedition has run into the monsters that hug your face… Ok, it’s the facehuggers from Alien. Even one of the members of the expedition has to make a remark on the likeness. Leave to the Doctor to brand the movie racist because of the title.
The trick not to provoke the monsters is to not think about them. That’s easier said than done. As the Doctor and Clara barge in on one of the members precariously trying to avoid the sleeping threat, the monsters that already have victims rise – human bodies and possessed heads – to attack. The Doctor urges Clara to think of something else, and brings up Danny. Cue slap to the face. The rest of the crew shows up. New monsters descend and… Santa shows up again. Huh? They are safe?
Doesn’t take Benedict Cumberbatch to realize that the scene transitions don’t match. Something is up. The Doctor and Clara clear the air and confess their past fibs. Clara reveals Danny Pink is dead. The Doctor reveals he never found Gallifrey (you and I know different, but that knowledge has been erased). As the research begins on both monster and Santa Claus, the facehugger-by-any-other-name escapes and captures Clara. The result is a tender Christmas scene with Danny Pink, interrupted by the Doctor who’s donned a it’s-totally-a-facehugger himself.
Eventually we all get it. It’s an inception to the Nth degree as the Doctor and Clara realize that their entire adventure is a dream within a dream ad nauseam.
- Clara Oswald returns to the TARDIS. I didn’t expect it any other way. The Impossible Girl almost meets her doom, and even gets older if just for a second.
- Clara has a tender moment with the Doctor when she tells him that she believes in Santa but that he looks different to her.
- Nick Frost plays a sassy, albeit completely out of place, Santa Claus.
- The dream-within-a-dream feels like a real, compelling threat.
- The monsters are a ripoff of Alien’s facehuggers although they mostly resemble the headcrabs from Half-Life including the zombie behaviour of their guest bodies. The guests look like they’re wearing a turkey on their heads.
- The inception-level of the dream within a dream gets a little annoying when you’ve managed to figure out already each of the onion layers and are just waiting on the show to catch up.