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The Doctor Who 2012 Christmas special “The Snowmen” started off with a new title sequence that is pretty interesting.
The special begins with a young boy talking to a snowman, and then the snowman talks back. The child tells the snowman the other kids are “silly,” and the snowman repeats the sentiment.
Flash forward 50 years and the child is now an adult, named Doctor Simeon (played by Richard E. Grant). He fed people to the snowmen. Simeon also keeps a giant globe of the villainous snow in his home (voiced by Ian McKellen).
Next, we meet Clara, a barmaid who sees a mysterious snowman outside of a pub. Clara is inquisitive and asks a passing stranger about the snowman. The stranger turns out to be the Doctor, who is wearing Amy Pond’s glasses from the previous episode. The Doctor tells Clara the snow is somewhat psychic and can use people’s memories.
Clara is curious about the Doctor and follows him after he leaves her outside the pub. The Doctor doesn’t want to get involved anymore. He is still distraught after the loss of his two companions, Amy and Rory. Clara follows him and somehow is able to catch up with him and ask the question, “Doctor who?”
In a humorous scene, the Doctor tells Strax the Sontaran to get a memory worm so he can take away Clara’s memory of meeting him. Strax keeps messing up though and forgetting what he is supposed to do because of touching the worm.
The snowmen attack and the Doctor tells Clara they are feeding off her memories and to imagine them melting. He lets her keep her memory so she knows how to defend herself against the snowmen. Clara follows the Doctor to a park and sees him climbing a ladder into the sky. She follows him and discovers the TARDIS. She knocks on the door, but ends up running away.
The following day, the audience learns Clara was just filling in at the pub and is a governess for two children. The previous governess drowned in the family’s pond and the daughter keeps having bad dreams about her returning. Clara goes to find the Doctor and instead finds Jenny, who takes her to her wife, Madame Vastra.
Vastra asks Clara questions and has her respond with one word answers. Clara uses the word “pond” to tell her why she wants the Doctor’s help. Pond was the last name of Amy, his last companion, although it also refers to the pond in which the governess died.
The Doctor meets Doctor Simeon, dressed as Sherlock Holmes, and discovers the snow is an Intelligence that wants to change by using the dead governess.
Clara returns to the children and tells them the Doctor will save them, which he does when the old governess returns, made of ice. Clara also kisses the Doctor. He said nothing about River, which was a bit odd given they are married.
The two have a discussion and then escape to the TARDIS. Clara finally sees the inside of the TARDIS and says “It’s smaller on the outside.” The TARDIS interior has changed quite a bit since the last episode, reflecting the changes the Doctor is going through since losing Amy and Rory.
Clara asks if there’s a kitchen because she likes making soufflés. Oswin Oswald who was in the first episode and also played by Coleman, liked making soufflés. The Doctor decides (quite suddenly) that Clara should be his companion and he gives her a key to the TARDIS.
Clara is pulled out of the TARDIS by the evil ice governess and falls to the ground, almost dead. The Doctor and Vastra go to Simeon and use the memory worm to try and destroy the evil snow, a.k.a. the Intelligence. The snow has been feeding off his memories since he was a child and takes over his body.
But then everything stops when the snow turns into what the Doctor and Vastra believe is rain. They discover it is actually tears. Apparently the force that could stop the snow was “A whole family crying on Christmas Eve.” It was a bit of a letdown as it was over very quickly, but we may see the Intelligence at some point later on in the series. Classic Doctor Who featured the Great Intelligence as a villain.
Clara dies, but not before mirroring the exact words Oswin said to him in “Asylum of the Daleks”: “Run, you clever boy. And remember.”
The Doctor visits her grave with Jenny and Vastra and sees her name on the tombstone is Clara Oswin Oswald. He believes now they are the same person and runs off to the TARDIS to go look for Clara.
The final scene shows Clara in the future, standing in the graveyard with one of her friends.
Comments and questions:
I really enjoyed having Strax, Jenny, and Vastra back! It would be great to see more of them, or even a web series or spin-off show focusing on their adventures.
There were many pop culture references in the episode, some of which included the saying “winter is coming,” from Game of the Thrones and the Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes attire in one scene. Did you enjoy the references?
Did you enjoy the special? Did you like Clara? What were your favorite parts and/or lines?