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Doctor Who, “A Christmas Carol” (2010 Special)

Don’t you just want to change what happens on TV, sometimes? What if you could? Or, in this case, what if what you were watching could change you? The Doctor returns for Christmas and the review for the special is after the break…

How’s The Doctor?

Matt Smith plays the loony and frantic Doctor for this special. He get’s married to a certain Marilyn! He goes fishing for flying sharks (and for his sonic screwdriver in said shark’s mouth)! That single type of Doctor wouldn’t be enough for an episode if the story wasn’t good enough. And it is. Something weird happens in this special: The Doctor is in a scene (likely a few, but the dinner at the family home scene struck me the most) but isn’t the centre of attention. The story doesn’t revolve around him and is able to shine past his own antics, something that’s pretty impressive when you’re dealing not just with The Doctor but “Show-off-y, Look at me” Doctor.

How are Amy and Rory?

May I just say: The Honeymoon Suite Suit Screwup is one of the best things ever. Having these adult “If you get it, you’re old enough to get it” jokes are part of what what makes the Series 5 of Doctor Who special. Also, congrats Mr. Arthur Darvill for getting a well-deserved spot in the title sequence. Mind you, it’s not because of your work in this special; Amy and Rory barely make an appearance in the episode and do very little beyond establish the crisis behind the episode and filling in the “Christmas Present” part of The Doctor’s scheme. But, I truly can’t complain since they really aren’t needed with… well, I’m getting there…

How’s The Story?

Great. In case that wasn’t obvious already. The special offers a wonderful, touching story that’s both happy and sad. I was worried when I heard that the show was going to make a Christmas Carol redo. I mean, we know the story already or know it enough. Here, however, the story of A Christmas Carol acts more as an inspiration for The Doctor than a firm guideline or an accidental series of events that are similar to the story. I mean, the “Christmas Future” part of the story certainly has you going “Oh Shit!” and thinking how clever it was.

Other Observations:

  • This episode has some good going for it in the music department. Not only do you have new versions of the categorically great theme they have for the new Doctor but dang, can Abigail sing!
  • I was impressed as to how seamlessly and quickly the world and atmosphere is created in this episode. You aren’t shocked at the idea of floating fish.
  • What is up with those weird transitional wipes? I was taking a peak at one of the Star Wars films recently while someone else was watching it. I think that’s were this episode’s editor got his ideas… unfortunately.

And now, the triumphant return of…

 

Philosophical Wonderings with Professor Stéphane De La Chance

Despite the quality story this episode has, it somewhat glosses over the fact that this might be The Doctor’s most blatant and ballsy messing around with time I’ve seen in Doctor Who‘s new series. Regardless of the reasons for this act, The Doctor, when it comes down to it, rewrites the life and history of a man. This seems like a shocking act in light of past infractions. Look at “The Waters of Mars.” SPOILER ALERT. There, The Doctor’s audacity makes him save the members of a doomed Martian base despite their demise being what he refers to a time-locked event. Realizing this move by The Doctor has corrupted him and could cause a fundamental change in the future, the head of the survivors promptly kills herself to keep time in check. There, we see The Doctor’s meddling quickly and blatantly punished. But in this episode, he changes the very core of a human’s emotions and ends up being able to save Amy and Rory. What changed? Why is he rewarded for his actions now?

One big element I’m sure is The Doctor’s realization that he isn’t the only one or thing that can change time (Think back to the Cracks of last seasons). He might figure he has more leeway now to do what he wants. There’s also the fact that Sardick’s life likely isn’t involved in a time-locked event. I believe he acknowledged that you can change things that aren’t time-locked back in “Cold Blood”. That still doesn’t take away from the fact that he crosses a certain moral barrier by making such large changes on such a personal scale. The question now is “Is this an indication of The Doctor’s future time trickery?” If it is, will it escalate and back-fire on him like in “The Waters of Mars,” teaching him – once again – that time isn’t just a thing he can play with?

In Conclusion

Again, A great episode. Even if it does leave me wondering if the good Doctor has crossed a line.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Doctor Who, “A Christmas Carol” (2010 Special)”
  1. Tim says:

    I agree that the Who Xmas special was really rather wonderful – funny and whimsical and with a tragic love story underpinning rather than overwhelming it.

    Matt Smith continues to grow in the role. He does both spoken and physical comedy brilliantly. His “go and kiss her” pep talk to Kazran was brilliant, as well as weaving a little footnote about the sonic screwdriver into the Doctor’s own history.

    I know some have been complaining that the Xmas special was light, fluffy and relatively meaningless – but I think they miss the point. Xmas episodes are supposed to be light, fluffy and meaningless – we can leave the serious stuff for season six proper.

    As for the season six trailer – ooh! Stetsons are cool. The Doctor asks for Jammie Dodgers (what is he going to do – bluff the Daleks again?) And in the shot of him as a bearded prisoner we get a brief glimpse of the lettering spelling out ‘Area 51’ on a wall behind him. Alien conspiracy theory! I can’t wait …

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2010/12/26/doctor-who-2010-christmas-special-a-christmas-carol-review/

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  1. […] Doctor and yet he decided to have them mowed down like… wait, I used that one already. Just like his messing around in one man’s past at Christmas, the Doctor appears to have gone over a line this time. The difference between that line crossing […]



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