Last week, The Doctor returned to us for his annual Christmas Day special. Since the much awaited episode was penned by the one and only Steven Moffat, we all knew we were in for a good story, featuring a new companion and a mysterious menace perfectly fitting the season...snowmen.
The image of the Doctor (Matt Smith) as a bubbly, quirky creature with a lust for the unknown is put aside in the beginning as we are introduced to a secluded, more jaded side of our hero. The Time Lord is living in a kind of mourning alone in the Tardis, suspended above the Victorian London fog. He has all but forsaken any hope or will to help mankind and turns a blind eye to anything suspicious in snowy London at Christmas time.
The character who hurls the audience into the action by curiously meddling her way into the Doctor's affairs is Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman), a slightly unorthodox governess who is the first to discover that something strange is afoot involving the winter snow. Now, the audience wil recognize this girl immediately from her sad introduction in "Asylum of the Daleks". However, the Doctor, having never actually seen her face, is unaware of her obvious significance to his existance.
Through the urging of his friends, Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), her partner, Jenny (Catrin Stewart), and the clumsy Strax (Dan Starkey), The Doctor joins Clara and is off once again to come face to face with that which will certainly (well, for about an hour, anyway) destroy humankind just in time for Christmas. He dawns a detective persona comparable to Sherlock Holmes and investigates the dry and sinister Dr. Simeon (Richard E. Grant), who is both master and minion to the Great Intelligence (G.I.) (voiced by Ian McKellen). Interestingly enough, we have seen the G.I. before. These ice monsters made several appearances in the time of the second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) in “The Abominable Snowmen” episodes from 1967.
This year's Christmas special delivered a fine bit of ensemble characters and even a few holiday treats like Sir Ian McKellen and Richard E. Grant. It has heart racing action, occasional sadness, and appropriate comic relief. In fact, one of the most fantastic elements is the soundtrack. It is the achingly beautiful music that moves viewers to empathize with the character of Clara. However, one question remains unanswered. How on earth to the Doctor and his new companion finally get together? At the end of the episode, we are left to put the pieces together right along with the Doctor, as he attempts to figure out the mystery that is Clara/Oswin. This Christmas season welcomes us into a new era of adventure. The answers are coming.