Last Christmas is another fun mix of Christmas stuff and a good Doctor Who story, it’s pretty much Inception with facehuggers and Santa Claus, and if that doesn’t sell you on it, nothing will! It also teased a better ending for a companion that she actually got in the end, but there you go… Let’s take a look!
The Doctor and Clara face their Last Christmas. Trapped on an Arctic base, under attack from terrifying creatures, who are you going to call? Santa Claus!
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
“I’m pretty sure one of us isn’t a real person, and I’m sure it’s not me: the time travelling alien in a wooden box!”
Last Christmas is a really fun story, a good mix of horror and humour. Clara wakes up to find Santa Claus (Nick Frost) and two elves named Ian and Wolf (Dan “Sontarans” Starkey and Nathan McMullen) on her roof. After a brief chat The Doctor arrives and takes her away to a research base in the North Pole, a base where four of its crew are tucked up in bed with weird blue … well, let’s face it, facehuggers on their heads. They meet the rest of the crew: Shona (Faye Marsay), Ashley (Natalie Gumede), Bellows (Maureen Beattie) and Albert (Michael “son of the Second” Troughton) and find out the “Dream Crabs” arrived at some point, and that it was a “long story”. There is some amusing banter, including Albert straight up saying they’re “like facehuggers, you know, from Alien… the horror film?”, with The Doctor snapping back “You made a horror film called Alien? No wonder you’re always getting invaded!”, as well as Clara telling The Doctor that her would-be husband Danny is dead after all, which is less banter and more moving their relationship along.
Anyway, Clara becomes Newt for a moment as she hides from a Dream Crab, but is soon attacked and sent to a dream world where Danny is still alive, finding it extremely hard to pull herself out, even when The Doctor arrives to help. She does eventually, with Dream Danny telling her to never forget him, but to try and move on with her life. The Doctor soon drops a bombshell on everyone, saying that when they first met they were surrounded by Crabs so it’s most likely they’re all in a dream, and proves the fact by getting everyone to read a specific page in a manual, with each one reading out a different word because their heads are making it up. Also Santa Claus arrived again and started taking out Crabs with explosive tangerines, but apparently it was the manuals that convinced them…?
They all wake up in the real North Pole station, or so they think as once again The Doctor reveals that everyone keeps giving the same vague answer of “it’s a long story” because the dream doesn’t fill in the details of how people got to where they end up, and they are in fact still dreaming. To make matters worse the four people with Dream Crabs on them are the four crew, a reflection of what they’re like in the real world. Albert gets killed by his own Dream Crab self, but everyone else escapes thanks to Santa arriving on his sleigh, each person being dropped off back into reality… Apart from two. The Doctor wakes up and rushes to Clara, removing her Crab to find her an old woman, having lived a full, but lonely life without him. There are some rather touching scenes and then… Santa Claus arrives and tells The Doctor that he and Clara are still dreaming, followed by the same scenes again but Clara is still young and the two head off for adventures new… That still feels like a cop out, years later.
Ah yes, a poignant but satisfying ending… for a few minutes.
Well, as I just mentioned, the bittersweet ending of Clara already having lived her life and The Doctor was connected to her from different time periods was a really good, unique ending. Sort of sad, but also quite a nice ending. The fact it was all undone and we were forced into yet another series of Clara “being amazing” that ends with a really over-the-top stupid ending that was far less satisfying still annoys me when I think about it. Oh well, it’s all in the past now, I guess…
Beyond that though, it’s a really fun story!
The Doctor briefly thinks about telling Clara about alternate timelines and what happened when Rose lost hope, but decides against it.
Clara is still mourning the death of Danny Pink, seen in “Dark Water / Death in Heaven”, and that’s about it, really. A few references to past Christmas specials here and there, but just in passing…
You didn’t think I’d miss posting a picture of the Dream Crabs, did you?
Last Christmas is nearly right up there with my favourite festive Who offerings, but every time I see that far better ending for Clara get destroyed by Nick Frost’s admittedly entertaining Santa it just makes me sad… and a little annoyed. Still, the 55 minutes before that are great, so I can still give it a good score!