Xmas Special – A CHRISTMAS CAROL

This was Steven Moffat’s first Christmas special and truthfully, it wasn’t very good. I much prefer RTD’s Christmas stories on the whole compared to Moffat’s and this is a story I struggled to watch. It did start off promisingly to be fair. When Rory and Amy emerged from the honeymoon suite on a crashing spaceship, it looked as though we were in for an action packed thriller, but that’s not what we got. Kazran was a strange character who was probably meant to resemble Scrooge, but really he wasn’t just against Christmas, he was just a plain old nasty man. The whole concept of the story was the Doctor going back in time to Kazran’s childhood to try and soften him up and make him a better man in the present. Although this was a nice idea, after ten or so minutes it got pretty boring. The CGI shark was brilliant, it looked beautiful and could’ve been a great villain but it was only used scarecly. After the scene with the shark the episode just dwindled for about half an hour and it was a test to keep focussed. It did round off nicely after Kazran eventually let Abigail out to live her remaining days and then agreed to save the crashing spaceship. But the episode should’ve had more depth to the storyline, it was just too cheesy. There weren’t enough Doctor Who or sci-fi elements in this story and it badly missed Amy and Rory too. So far, this is the worst Christmas special I’ve reviewed. 3/10

Episode 1 – THE IMPOSSIBLE ASTRONAUT

Steven Moffat’s attempts at creating a finale styled episode for the series opener was a success, in what was a stunning start to series six. The Doctor getting shot within the first ten minutes of the series was a superb and shocking beginning. The four envelopes sent to Amy and Rory, River and Cantin was very clever and seeing the Doctor emerge in the diner after his body was burnt was brilliant. Again, this episode utilised time travel perfectly and it’s surprising a story like this had never been attempted before. The only thing I didn’t like about the opening sequence was the regenration energy that initially shone from the eleventh Doctor after he was shot the first time. As we found out in The Time of the Doctor, this incarnation was the last and he had no regenerations left. Moffat himself claimed that it was the Teselecta putting on a lighting show, but why would they bother doing that? That was a bit of a lame excuse in an attempt to cover up a plot hole. Other than that though, this episode was a real thrill. The Silence debuted after being mentioned throughout series five regularly. Their design was terrifying, and the concept that you forgot everything about them when you looked away was another genius idea for a monster from Moffat. The Silence that killed the woman in the White House toilet in front of Amy displayed how powerful and ruthless they could be when they wanted and that they were an enemy to be feared. We saw Richard Nixon in this episode too and the prosthetics to recreate Nixon’s facial appearance were amazing. The Doctor’s cockiness in the Oval Office was very entertaining to watch and it was clear he was having a great amount of fun throughout this story. There were some great exchanges between the Doctor and River. My favourite was when the Doctor said that River had the face she pulled when the a Doctor did something clever and River said it was her normal face, to which the Doctor simply replied; “yes it is”. It was a hilarious scene that was well written and brilliantly performed. The ending that saw Amy shoot the astronaut suit that shockingly had a little girl inside, because she thought it killed the Doctor was a fitting end to conclude a wonderful start to series six. 9/10

Episode 2 – DAY OF THE MOON

The second part to this story continued very strongly as we saw Amy and Rory seemingly executed in the opening few minutes. River too had jumped from a building and the Doctor was being built the perfect prison. It was a huge relief when we found out this was part of an elaborate plan and Amy and Rory were still alive. River landing in the TARDIS swimming pool was excellent and the attempts to rid the Earth of the Silence began. The scene in the TARDIS when Canton’s nano-recorder started to flash straight after the Doctor implanted it was fantastic and showed how hard it was to battle the  Silence as you literally couldn’t remember a thing after seeing them. Amy and Canton’s visit to the children’s home led to some very creepy and eerie scenes as Dr Renfrew had seemingly gone mad from encountering the Silence and being unable to recall anything. Filming one of the Silence say; “You should kill us all on sight” and broadcasting that video through the moon landing was a very clever way to resolve the story. Most of the Silence probably did leave the Earth afterwards but I wonder what happened to the bodies of the dead? Could humans remember them for long enough to bury them or burn them? Or did they just rot away? In the scene where River shot several of the Silence as everyone else tried to escape, I don’t get why the Doctor waved about his sonic screwdriver. I know it led to some mildly amusing lines, but it really made the Doctor look like a fool. The end of the episode saw the beginning of the stunning regenration of the little girl who’d escaped from the spacesuit. It was a great and mysterious conclusion to a great two parter that opened the series in style. 9/10

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