Hurrah, it’s time to analyse another Doctor Who episode! Today we’re taking a look at this year’s Christmas special, The Snowmen and along the way we’ll attempt to clear some things up and speculate about what might happen next. Of course there will be spoilers if you’ve yet to see the episode, I suggest you look away now!
So the episode begins with a young boy unexpectedly being talked to by a snowman with the voice of Ian Mckellan. We then meet Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman and she asks a passing Doctor if he built the snowman that suddenly appeared. He didn’t and the conversation is enough to make Clara follow the Doctor. The opening is always important and this one is pretty good- we’ve got a scary voice, an angry Doctor and the introduction of the new companion. Sort of anyway.
Cue the brand new title sequence:
I think they look brilliant, with a bit of a retro feel to them without feeling too old-fashioned. I love the bit where Matt Smith’s face appears in the time vortex especially. I still prefer the previous Eleventh Doctor titles though, I really liked the dark time vortex with lightning in it.
Obviously I’m not going to go through every single aspect of the episode because it would take forever. In summary, the Doctor is persuaded by Clara’s persistence and the use of the word “pond” to investigate the snowmen and discovers an intelligence is trying to replicate a human being using an ice version of a human. He invites Clara to be the next companion but the ice-woman pulls her off the cloud where the TARDIS is parked where she ultimately falls to her death. Her death does mean that everyone cries which somehow stops the snowmen. The Doctor realises that Clara is the same person as Oswin and realises the universe is doing him a favour and there must be another version out there somewhere. We get a quick scene where we see an obviously contemporary Clara in the same graveyard as the Victorian Clara died in.
Phew! What an episode and a great way to introduce the new companion. Clara is still a huge mystery to us at the moment. Obviously the Doctor is going to find the modern day Clara and whisk her away but there’s still a lot of questions to be answered. Is Clara going to die in every episode of the new series, or maybe at the end or maybe not at all? And how come there are different versions of her throughout time and space? The only explanation I can think of at the top of my head is cloning but if that’s the case who did the cloning, who was the original Clara and why are they spread out through time and space? The mind boggles!
For me there were two particular highlights in the episode. The first of these is Strax, the friendly Sontaran. The scene where he keeps touching the memory worm is hysterically funny and Strax has all the best lines in the episode:
- Sir, do not discuss my reproductive cycle in front of enemy girls. It’s embarrassing
- Sir, please do not nookie me in combat prep.
- Do not attempt to escape or you will be obliterated. May I take your coat?
- Madame Vastra said you might need some grenades… she might have said help.
The other highlight was when the Doctor not only returned to his usual cheery self but was also disguised as Sherlock Holmes. The Doctor was brilliant in this bit but it was all the more amusing because Who writer Stephen Moffat also writes Sherlock. Even the music for this scene was suspiciously similar to some of the music from Sherlock!
Moffat did a great job at linking to the past in this episode. You may have noticed that the pub Clara was working in at the start was called “The Rose and Crown”, surely a reference to Rose Tyler? The idea of the Doctor retiring was actually one from the late great Douglas Adams but was never used- until now. And then there’s the great intelligence which is actually an enemy we’ve come across before. Most casual viewers probably had no idea that the Second Doctor fought the great intelligence on two occasions. In The Abominable Snowmen the Second Doctor, along with companions Jamie and Victoria, fight the great intelligence as it controls giant yetis in Tibet in the 1930s. Then in The Web of Fear the yetis are wandering around the London Underground, which of course can now be explained because of the Eleventh Doctor showing the great intelligence a map of it! It all ties together wonderfully but can easily be ignored for people that don’t know all the details!
As we would expect, after the closing credits we were treated to a preview of the next set of episodes, which look like they are going to be known as Series 7b. Here’s the preview:
Wow, it really looks like we are in for a fantastic 8 episodes. A few bits from the trailer I spotted:
- All the cybermen bits are from Neil Gaiman’s episode!
- The bits which look like they involve TARDIS corridors are probably from Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.
- The submarine and the ice bit are from one of Mark Gatiss’s episodes.
- The ghost looking thing is from one of Neil Cross’s episode and the bit where Clara is surrounded by lots of different aliens is probably from Cross’s other episode.
The series will return in the Spring, probably in April and you can join us on every Sunday from then on where we’ll be discussing every episode. Until then watch out for the latest Who news and the occasional special feature!