Xmas Special – LAST CHRISTMAS

Although this Christmas special is another instance of Steven Moffat blatantly ripping off a famous movie, in this case Alien, it’s actually one of his most enjoyable Christmas scripts. The Dream Crabs were designed very well and although Moffat himself included a line in the script that referred their likeness to Alien’s Face Huggers, they were a good and creepy set of monsters. The Sleepers in the infirmary who were being consumed by the Dream Crabs were also very sinister. I liked how they turned out to be the crew and that most of the episode was a dream. The Doctor making the crew look up the same page in four of the ship’s manuals to find different first words on each page was a very clever way of proving that everyone was still dreaming. I also liked the scene where Clara was in her own dream with Danny at Christmas. Seeing the Doctor try to get through to her with the writing on the blackboards was another clever aspect to the script. Clara herself though was a bit of a mess throughout the episode. She was so inconsistent towards the Doctor. One minute she was snapping at him and the next it was as if they were best friends again. The Doctor going back to save Clara from the Dream Crab should’ve been the end for her character. Her ending in Death in Heaven was great and this would’ve also been a fitting departure. The Doctor removing the Dream Crab to see a version of Clara who was much older was a lovely scene and the fact it turned out to be another dream was a bit too far. The Doctor flying the sleigh and saying “yippe-aye-ay” was a badly out of character moment that should’nt have been in there. Other than that though, this was a solid Christmas special that had enough of a sci-fi feel to please me. 7/10

Episode 1 – THE MAGICIAN’S APPRENTICE

This was a stunning way to open a series. Seeing a young Davros was shocking and despite the Doctor’s presence in the middle of a war being rather random, it set up the story terrificly. After this dynamic start before the opening titles, the episode did admittedly slow down for a while. Missy stopping all of the planes just to get Clara’s attention was a bit pointless and a time filler. The confession dial was something that was key throughout the series but I didn’t like it. Moffat has written a few storylines around the Doctor’s death and although it was great to begin with, it’s lost its effect now and is a bit boring. You never really believed the Doctor was going to die, confession dial present or not. Missy stole the show in this episode. She was marvelouslly entertaining to watch. Her performance was a massive improvement from series eight and she had firmly established herself as a bonkers and evil incarnation of the Master. Once the Doctor, Missy and Clara arrived on Skaro, the episode was kicked back into life. The reveal of Skaro when Missy and Clara left their cell was stunning, it looked beautiful. I loved the Doctor’s exchanges with Davros. Seeing past incarnations talk with Davros, and then Tom Baker’s dilemma in Genesis of the Daleks was brilliant. If you haven’t seen that story, the fourth Doctor is sent to Skaro by the Time Lords to destroy the Daleks at their point of creation and he has to make a decision to wipe them all out while they’re innocent or let them live, it’s a classic story. It was a poignant scene to show as the Doctor faced a similar issue with young Davros in this story. Should he save him from the war zone, or leave him and let him potentially die, and in the process the Daleks would never have existed. The episode ended spectacularly too. Missy and Clara were seemingly exterminated, the TARDIS was destroyed and the Doctor was trapped on Skaro. For a season opener, this was brilliant. Colony Sarff was a terrifying villain and the Daleks actually shot some relevant characters which was good to see. Despite a slow fifteen minute spell, I really like this episode. 8/10

Episode 2 – THE WITCH’S FAMILIAR

This second part does an excellent job at continuing the story. Missy and Clara’s vortex manipulators being charged from the Daleks’ fire was a clever way to escape. I liked that Missy’s escape in series eight was also cleared up in the same sequence. If the Doctor’s exchanges with Davros were good in the last episode then they were simply sensational here. Like Michelle Gomez in the first part, Julian Bleach completely stole the show here with the best performance of any Davros in the show’s history. To see this evil genius seemingly plead with the Doctor for help and the two actually sharing a joke was quite a shock. I’m sure I’m not the only one who believed Davros may have mellowed in his old age on first viewing. I’m glad he did show his evil and manipulative side though as he appeared to have tricked the Doctor into using regeneration energy to help mend Davros and all other Daleks. The dead Daleks in the sewers killing all of the other a Daleks was maybe a bit dubious but it didn’t take away from a magnificent battle between the Doctor and Davros. Clara inside the Dalek was an enjoyable sub-plot as she and Missy looked to find the Doctor. After Missy had been helping Clara for the whole episode, it was then great to see her urge the Doctor to kill her inside the Dalek casing. I liked the ending to the episode where the Doctor went back and saved young Davros and taught him about mercy. It cleverly linked to the Dalek having that word in its vocabulary so Clara could call out to the Doctor before he exterminated her. As I said, I wasn’t totally bought by the dead Daleks being able to kill all of the other Daleks but apart from that, this was a gripping story that kicked off series nine in spectacular fashion. 9/10

Advertisements