Series 8, Christmas special episode – Last Christmas

Come on, it’s Christmas, the North Pole, who you gonna call?

The ones who have watched special Christmas episode preview know that the Doctor and Clara arrive to a research base i North Pole and there are some problems involving everyone’s survival. And Santa Clause, with his reindeers and elves, appear. Actually they not only appear, they storm in the scenery. Twice, every time with very good reasons.

This year Christmas special episode is one of the most… confusing episodes of Doctor Who I’ve ever watched, 60 minutes as elaborated as it can be – and it’s on purpose. But, in the same time, it’s one of the best episodes, having a dream inside of dream inside of dream. And it continues like this for 5 level of dreams – everything but the last scene of the episode is not real, it never happened. Or maybe not even that is real, it remains to be seen. This episode succeeds in surprising you several times during the crazy race in waking yourselves up and beat the creature putting your lives at stake – some telepathic monsters called Dream Crab that feed with human minds and looks a lot like the creatures from the Alien series. So let’s start from the beginning.

It’s the North Pole, it’s Christmas Day. You’re dying. Who you gonna call? Just one last time, huh? One last Christmas, as if your lives depended on it. Please! Ho-ho-ho!

The answer is quite simple: you call the man that everybody knows. No, not the Doctor, although he would not say “no” to such thing. Or almost sure he would not refuse. But sometimes even the Doctor need help from father Christmas / Santa Claus. If you still believe in Santa Claus or father Christmas you don’t need more explication. If you don’t believe, well, you may not get your most desired gift next year. Don’t tell me you are all grown up or too mature to expect such gifts or to refuse them because I don’t believe it. And if Santa Claus would surprise you with such gifts, your inner child would be so happy, just like the times he was expecting impatient the arrival of the man dressed in red that comes down the chimney or gets inside through the cracked window if the fireplace is unavailable.

Don’t ask me to tell you the story of this episode – it’s too complex and I should start from the end to the beginning to make sense, and doing that I will spoil the surprises (especially the big on in the end) and I don’t want to. I’ll tell you only some short conclusions about the reasons this is the last Christmas.

  • it’s the las chance Clara and Danny Pink can say goodbye. Because Danny appears again in the show, even if he’s only a part of a dream.
  • it could have been the last episode for Clara and the Doctor traveling together, The episode is also about they, not only about Clara and Danny – they get over the lies said in the last episode, Death in Heaven.
  • it could have been Clara’s last episode – she could have dies because of Dream Crabs or because of old age, but (at least this time) she survives.
  • every Christmas is the last Christmas.

Yes, Clara Oswald will accompany the Doctor in the ninth series – the name of the first adventure is The magician’s apprentice. You can never say what other people are thinking and that could get some surprise and twists in the season 9 – if Clara will stay until the end of the season she will outrun Amy Pond as the number of episodes (36 to 33) as Doctor’s companion.

Inspiring sources for this episode: Alien series, the movies The Thing from Another World and Miracle on 34th Street. They can be found on Shona’s Christmas list 😀 (but for this you have to watch the episode to its end).

Directed by Paul Wilmshurst, based on a story by Steven Moffat, the producer is Paul Frift, the executive producers are Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin. Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald), Nick Frost (Santa Claus), Samuel Anderson (Danny Pink), Dan Starkey (Ian), Nathan McMullen (Wolf), Faye Marsay (Shona), Natalie Gumede (Ashley), Maureen Beattie (Bellows), Michael Troughton (Professor Albert).

Series 8, episode 1 – Deep Breath

After a long time we have waited (it seems to have past only 8 months and change from the Christmas special episode, bur for some people they seemed like years), a Doctor Who world tour to promote the new series (with the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, his companion, Jenna Coleman – Clara Oswald, and the executive producer, Steven Moffat), the first episode of season 8 was broadcast last night. With success: the BBC1 audience between the hours 19:50 and 21:10 was an average of 6.8 millions people with a spike to 7.3 millions. Without including the viewer from other parts of the globe, the ones watching through internet (BBC iPlayer) or the ones that have downloaded the episode from the torrents.

As you have probably expected, the Doctor Who universe changed with Peter Capaldi’s appearance. And the one worried about how he was going to perform his role have no reasons to be afraid: he is an extraordinary Doctor. Even if during a big part of his first episode he is lost in space and time, still suffering the effects of the regeneration that transformed the Matt Smith’s character into the new Time Lord. Or maybe that’s why he is making such a big impression? Anyway, as you have (again) probably expected, Doctor’s relation with Clara, his companion, changed: now he is a new man, that reacts different, and she, a control freak, has some problems with that. His dark side started to emerge, preparing you (at least in some part) for what’s going to happen next. Matt Smith’s surprising cameo at the end of the first episode (the part has been recorded when he still was the Doctor and it was added to the new episode) of series 8 clarified (if it was ever needed) the continuity between Matt and Peter.

The action is happening in Victorian London, where we meet again Madame Vastra and her wife, Jenny Flint, but also the Sontaran commander Strax, a dinosaur and some robots that use human organs as spare parts. You should remember the episode 4 of series 2, The Girl in the Fireplace (20 October 2006), with the robots with clock mechanism from the SS Madame de Pompadour, the spaceship built in the 51 century, that did the same thing. Of course, the Doctor could not stay aside to let them do it, as he could not stay aside back then – even if he changed his face twice and have lived some centuries. Some time ago you were told don’t blink!, now you are told to keep your breath from very similar reasons: to survive, and to survive with all your organs inside your body. And that’s all I can tell you about the action in this episode, for additional details just watch the episode.

Directed by Ben Wheatley, writing credits: Steven Moffat. Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dan Starkey (Strax), Michelle Gomez (Missy).

If you are speculating or guessing who is Missy and why is she calling herself The Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere or why she welcomes people to “Heaven”, well, let’s speculate / guess further. Maybe we’ll find some answers in the next episodes of series 8 that she is Rani / Master / Doctor’s daughter / any other character you can think of.

The next episode is Into the Dalek: a Dalek fleet surrounds a lone rebel ship and only the Doctor can salve them. He is facing his greatest enemy with Clara by his side.

Doctor Who, series 7, episode 13 – The name of the Doctor

I think that many of the ones expecting the final episode of series 7, The name of the Doctor, were in some degree dissapointed about the way Steven Moffat has chosen to solve the Clara Oswald’s mystery. Last week, since the release of the last episode, Nightmare in Silver, a lot of ideas about her identity appeared: she was the Doctor and River Song’s daughter, she was a future incanation of the Doctor (the 12th or the 13th), she was some lost Time Lord from the old series (especially that Steven Moffat said that Clara and the Doctor have met many times in his past), etc. You can search for these ideas, unless you already had some of these them (or similar). But, eventually, the impossible girl was a regular human girl, as you all know – the Doctor studied her life closely.

But how she got to be that special? Not only for the Doctor, but for the entire Universe? Let me tell you, but for this I have to start with the beginning: a convict in the Victorian England told Madame Vastra that the Whispers have spoken about the greatest Doctor’s secret, the one he will take to the grave, and that it was found. Worried, Vastra and Jenny make a conference beyond space and time summoining Strax (left on vacantion), Clara Oswald from 2013, and River Song. The deceased River Song, the one saved by the Doctor as software in the Library’s database (the episodes Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead). The general conclusion, just before being attacked by the new monsters (first time presented in this episode), the Whisperes, is that they have to get to Tranzelor.

Everyone return to his own reality: Vastra to Jenny’s dead body, Strax to the place he was spending his free weekend – they get captured by the Whisperers… and the Great Intelligence impersonated by the same doctor Simeon you could watch in the Christmas special episode. Or almost the same: the Great Inelligence used only his image. Probably you remember that Strax was a nurse at some point, he was recruted along with Vastra, Jenny, Dorian and many others to save Amy Pond and her daughter in the episode A good man goes to war. That knowledge help Strax to save Jenny, but they were of no use when all 3 of them are in danger to lose their lifes, several minutes later.

Clara, along with River Song’s ghost, returns home, meet the Doctor and she tells him about the conference, the message and the trip they have to make to Trenzalor. The expresion “to keep a secret to the grave” has a new meening: the Doctor’s grave is on Trenzalor, the Time Lords’ and their TARDIS-es planet-cemetery. Everybody dies, even the aliens with regenerative powers, and one of the problems about the time travels is that the travelers are put (sometimes) in the situation to visit their own grave. Hardly, Clara, the Doctor and the TARDIS get there, meet their friends and they are almost put to death in order to make the Time Lord to speak his name loudly in order to open his grave to all the visitors.

Do you really think that was a body inside? After the Doctor changed so many bodies during his long life in order to survice? I am letting you find out alone what was in the grave. I only can say that the Great Intelligence’s plan for revenge was to kill the Doctor in all the moments of his life, and the access to his remains was necessary for that action. To save the Doctor Clara accepts to break her being into millions of pieces all along the time and space – the entire Universe. She was always present in Doctor’s life, helping and saving him in ways he would never have suspected until now.

It was an excellent episode, showing the vulnerabilities of a man who’s name alone made entire armies to run away. River and Doctor’s love endures even after her death, and their story will continue further – it remains to watch it how. And John Hurt’s appearance in the end was sensational, he is that incarantion that will betray the name of the Doctor by taking tough decisions necessary to peace and sanity – probably of the entire Universe.

The next episode will be released in November 23drd, 50th anniversary from the release of the first episode of Doctor Who, and it’s created special for this. And, as it is said, it will be extraordinary. 😀

Director: Saul Metzstein, writer and producer: Steven Moffat.

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald), Richard E. Grant (The Great Intelligence), Samuel Irvine (Messenger Boy), Alex Kingston (River Song), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dan Starkey (Strax), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Nasi Voutsas (Andro).

Doctor Who, series 7, episode 11 – `The Crimson Horror` review

“Yes, I’m the Doctor, you’re nuts, and I’m gonna stop you.”

“In the wrong hands, that venom could wipe out all life on this planet!”

Do you know about the not scientific proved story that the retina from a dead man’s eyes keeps the very last thing he had seen before dying? The medicine says that things can’t happen, at least in normal conditions. In the victorian times, in Yorkshire the year 1983 (the very next year after the events in the Christmas special episode, The snowmen, from London), started to appear dead man in the canals with a strange spect: scarlet-red skin, almost shining, and with the images from the moment of dead imprinted on the retina.

The Doctor and Clara arrive in Yorkshire by accident (they wanted to get in London) and become interested by the mystery. They discover that it was about some poison and the Sweetville mill, managed by Mrs. Gillyflower, is somehow related to that deaths. They try to get inside the society presided by the old lady and her silent partner, Mr. Sweet, and they disappear from the face of the Earth – at least from the point of everyone else. It’s not something unusual: about everybody accepted in the group disappeared without trace… or they were found dead in mysterious circumstances.

Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax get involved in the story when the brother of a deceased reporter shows them the pictures he has taken… the Doctor’s image was very clear in the reporter’s eyes, so they go to solve the mystery and save the Doctor. Jenna gets inside the mill and finds the prisoner – a waste of the process that transformed the normal humans into scarlet dead corps. The only reason he was still alive (beside his internal alien chemistry that made him partially immune to the virus) was the attachment Ada Gillyflower (the blind daughter of the old lady responsible for everything) felt for him – she preferred to keep a monster as companion instead throwing him into the canals, along with the rest of the waste.

The Doctor is saved, along with Jenny they save Clara, and the team reunited (Vastra and Strax join them) try to save the world one more time: the Sweetville is the Winifred Gillyflower trial to save the most beautiful and the most intelligent from an disaster she was intending to do. She and the very old leech (the reptilians had very similar problems about 65 million years ago) was bound into a symbiotic creature – its red colored venom was produced in industrial quantities to transform and kill people.

I let you to discover yourselves how they finished their adventure. I only have to mention that Strax was funny as usual, but he did his job: he saved his team twice in this episode. The most cool scene from the show was in the end of the episode, when the children Clara is taking care about show her some old images (from 1970s’ and from 1983, but also a picture from Victorian London) and they blackmail her promising they would tell their father that their nanny was a time travel unless she was going to take them along in her next adventure. So, in the next episode the Doctor will have more companions than before… in an amusement park pillaged by Cybermen…

The director is Saul Metzstein, and the writer is Mark Gatiss.

The cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald), Jack Oliver Hudson (Urchin Boy), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Diana Rigg (Winifred Gillyflower), Dan Starkey (Strax), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Rachael Stirling (Ada Gillyflower).

Series 7, episode 11: `The Crimson Horror` preview

“Yes, I’m the Doctor, you’re nuts, and I’m gonna stop you.”

“In the wrong hands, that venom could wipe out all life on this planet!”

In “The Crimson Horror” there’s something very odd about Mrs Gilly flower’s Sweetville mill, with its perfectly clean streets and beautiful people. There’s something even stranger about the bodies washing up in the river, all bright red and waxy.

When the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman), go missing, it’s up to Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey) to rescue them before they too fall victim to the Crimson Horror!

With special guests Diana Rigg and Diana’s daughter Rachel Stirling appearing together on screen for the first time!

Related External Links

Doctor Who filming series 7, The Crimson Horror

 Doctor Who series 7 episode 9, “The Crimson Horror” by Mark Gatiss, in Rhymney, Tredegar. In the video appear the Doctor, Clara and Edmund

 Dan Starkey in between takes, playing Commander Strax from A Good Man Goes To War, from the filming for series 7 episode 9 of Doctor Who, “The Crimson Horror”.