Doctor Who 2014 Christmas Special Review “Last Christmas”

After a couple years of big, plot-driven Doctor Who Christmas specials, it was kind of hoping for an episode that was a bit more standalone. Sadly, that was not to be here, and while “Last Christmas” served as a solid epilogue to the eighth series as a whole, I would’ve enjoyed a Christmas special that offered a bit more holiday fun.

Because good or bad, this episode didn’t really have all that much to do with Christmas. Sure, there were some fun moments, like the Doctor’s jubilance at getting to ride Santa’s sleigh, but a lot of this episode felt like it could’ve served just as well as a regular season episode. It was also an extremely Moffat-y episode, with a perception-based villain for the Doctor to go up against and plenty of twists and turns along the way.

This isn’t to say I didn’t appreciate the Santa stuff, but it could’ve been any mythical or holiday figure serving as a link to reality. That aside, as a huge Cornetto trilogy fan, it was a lot of fun to finally see Nick Frost make his way onto the show. And he definitely brought a great energy to the role, bringing a mix of jolliness and business savvy to his take on St. Nick. Again, it’s just a bummer that he wasn’t actually a real character or truly that big a focus of the episode.

Ultimately, though, what this episode was about was answering the question of where the Doctor and Clara would go after their last adventure. Their lies about finding Gallifrey and Danny’s death came out early in the episode, which led to a lot of soul-searching for the two – quite literally, in Clara’s case – as they tried to figure out their relationship anew. Given all the rumors swirling about Jenna Coleman’s potential departure, it was a fairly tense hour in that regard, though the old Clara fake out seemed a bit strange, especially as it raised even more questions about the exact way the dream layering worked. Dreamy-weamy, I suppose…

Overall, this was another solid episode of Doctor Who, even if it wasn’t the best as far as Christmas specials go. I have no doubt a lot of fans will be bummed by the news that Clara will be sticking around, but I’m hopeful; her problem’s always been the writing, not Coleman’s performance, so hopefully she’ll be given better material when Series 9 begins next fall.