Doctor Who “The Snowmen” Review
Story: Steven Moffat
Starring: Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman and Richard E. Grant
BBC America summary posted on IMDB.com:
Christmas Eve 1892 and the falling snow is the stuff of fairy-tales. When the fairy-tale becomes a nightmare and a chilling menace threatens Earth, an unorthodox young governess, Clara, calls on the Doctor for help. But the Doctor is in mourning, reclusive and determined not to engage in the problems of the universe. As old friends return, will the Doctor really abandon humankind or will he fight to save the world – and Christmas – from the icy clutches of this mysterious menace?
This review will contain spoilers.
A young Walter Simeon, a rather antisocial child, doesn’t want to play with the other children even at his parents behest. He’s content building his snowman alone. A strange snowman that can talk to him. 50 years later Walter—a doctor now—has a business, which seems to have been built around this talking snow. Which is kept in an industrial strength snow globe. Clearly Dr. Simeon intentions are less then pure.
During his evil chicanery, we clip over to a barmaid, Clara. Someone that everyone will recognize as the “Souffle Girl”. Right off the bat she runs into the Doctor and a snowman that appears to her at random. The Doctor is not looking for a companion and is separated himself from “helping”. After a brief exchange the Doctor goes away in a carriage. Clara chases after him. The Doctor has an exchange with some mysterious woman who show’s a definite familiarity with him. I’m going to guess it’s Amy Pond’s future self trapped in the past Manhattan. He’s telling her that the days are behind him traveling with companions and that Clara has no way of finding him she doesn’t know the two words. He says, “Doctor” and Clara pops in from the top of the carriage and says, “Doctor Who”
The whole everyone running around asking, “Doctor Who” is really getting irritating.
When next we see Dr. Simeon he is being chased by the Silurian, Vastra or as he calls her, the”Veiled Detective” and her leather clad ninja wife. Vastra has figured out that the snow has a telepathic field of sorts to it and realizes the threat it poses. Dr. Simeon more or less tell her, “no shit Sherlock” pun intended and walks off. I do find it amusing that in Victorian England a woman wearing tight leather pants doesn’t cause a social scandal.
Even though the Doctor isn’t helping anymore because apparently the universe hates him, he’s running around with Strax the Sontarian, in a Watson/Holmes kinda way. The Doctor, still trying to divest himself of Clara, tells Strax to get the “memory worm” to wipe the last hour of memory from Clara. The Sontaran doesn’t grab the worm with the “gauntlets” and keeps forgetting what he’s doing—Hilarity ensues. Actually Strax is rather amusing in the episode. I do give the nod as he, for me, stole quite a few moments. Clara and the Doctor get cornered by the snowmen. The Doctor tells her that she’s manifesting them because she’s caught in their psychic web. So to defeat them she thinks about them melting.
It would have been better if she just knocked off their magic hat.
The Doctor is doing his best to kick Clara to the curb but she has the uncanny ability to escape and meet back up with him. Clara sees the Doctor climb an invisible ladder to an invisible spiral staircase to the clouds. At the top—you guessed it, the TARDIS. What made the stairs and cloud floor, no idea. She doesn’t sneak in the TARDIS like you would assume she knocks on the door does a bit of a run around the police box and scurries back down the stairs but leaving he scarf behind.
So it turns out that Clara isn’t some Eastender barmaid tart like she appears, she’s the Governess for Captain Latimer’s children. The good captain’s daughter is having nightmares about their old Governess haunting her dreams. The children show where the Governess drowned in the pond on the property. A pond that hasn’t thawed like the rest of the town. The little boy tells Clara that his sister is mad and needs a Doctor. Good thing Clara knows a Doctor.
Clara in a desperate attempt to find the invisible ladder gets brought before the Silurian, Vastra. Vastra tells Clara that the Doctor won’t help anymore, that she is one of the Doctor’s fiends. There’s a test, she gives Clara, why does she need the Doctor’s help and why would he help her? but she must answer in one word. Answer correctly and the Doctor will help.
That one word Clara says is “Pond”
I literally bit my teeth.
While waiting for the Doctor to help, Clara and the children are attacked by an ice version of the deceased governess. Fear not, for in the nick of time, the Doctor appears! Which was cool. After making short work of the Ice Governess, the Doctor states again that he is not here to help, but catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror and notices that he put on his bow tie again. Clara notices that the temperature has gotten cooler. Well, Dr. Simian is outside with his contraption launching the evil memory snow at the mansion of Capt. Latimer.
Slowly…very slowly, the Doctor is coming to realize that no matter how much he wants to avoid helping, it’s in his nature to do so and Clara is the catalyst. Dr. Simeon gives the good Doctor 5 minutes to turn over the animated ice governess to the snowmen and him. Realizing that this will be the downfall of mankind because an army will be crafted from her, the Doctor and Clara lead the ice governess on a chase to the cloud side TARDIS. Getting there ahead of the Ice Governess the Doctor believes he has her trapped in the super dense water vapor. With that he shows Clara the TARDIS. As a first she declares that it’s “Smaller on the outside”. The bridge has been redesigned from the steampunk sort of look to a clean sleek almost battleship looking bridge. After a quick glance around Clara asks the Doctor where’s the kitchen because she “loves making souffles. Which gets a wayward glance from the Doctor—but before anything can happen the Ice Governess comes in and grabs Clara dragging her off the side of the cloud to a free fall.
Landing on the ground in one piece, Clara is dead but surrounded by snowmen. The TARDIS materializes around her and brings her back to the house where the Strax is working on her to restore her life because apparently she’s just mostly dead. Once again the Doctor is brooding as someone was hurt who was in his care. Vastra asks him what’s the point of blaming himself, which snaps the Doctor out of his funk. He goes to Clara’s bedside, gives her the key to the TARDIS and tells her that she will live.
Believing that the universe owes him one, her goes off to defeat Dr. Simeon and the parasitic snow. The Doctor announces that he has a chunk of the Ice Governess in a box and that Simeon and he shall meet back up at Simeon’s office where the main evil snow globe resides. Tricking Simeon to open the box, he’s attacked by the memory worm, which bites him. In doing so completely drains off his memory. The Doctor hoped that this would cause the parasitic snow to lose it’s connection with Simeon. Unfortunately that didn’t work—for the parasitic snow now inhabits the empty shell of Simeon. Much to the Doctor’s chagrin. In an instant the snow melts due to salt water rain. The only force powerful enough in the universe to cause this is an entire family crying on Christmas Eve. The family is crying because Clara is dying, moments from death—she tells the Doctor to “Run. Run you clever boy” the clock strikes midnight, it’s Christmas Day, Clara dies.
At the grave site the Doctor puts together that Clara is the soufflé girl, She’s Clara Oswin Oswald. Oswin was the Dalaek soufflé girl. The Doctor realizing that this is impossible dashes off to find her. We get a brief moment of present day with a shot of an over grown cemetery two girls taking a shortcut through, the one wants to leave, the other turns and says, “No, I don’t believe in ghosts”. That girl as you probably have guessed is Clara.
It appears this season will be the search for who really is this new companion of the Doctor. She’s died twice in two very different time periods and is currently living in yet another one. Most likely we’re in for another convoluted story telling ride of Moffat. I wonder if Clara will turn out to be River Song’s second cousin. From the quick teaser of the season there looks to be some fun action, which I’m all for. I do believe that Clara will be a stronger companion over Amy Pond. As of now I get the feeling she has more of Rose’s sense of adventure over Amy’s barking at the “raggedy man”. I was happy to see the Amy Pond character die off. I’ll miss Rory cause he was funny, as for Amy, don’t care. Amy reminded me of Martha, another companion, that was dull and listless but nice to look at.
How was the episode you ask? It was okay. Typical Moffat. Typical, “I’m clever” but he’s really not. He’s about as clever as a gaping rectum.
There were elements I liked about the episode. I do like Clara—I like the potential she’s looks to bring to the season. The Doctor is still the same tortured being where the universe is against him no matter how much good he does. As for the all new opening, it’s okay, I still prefer the time vortex opening. The acting was good in the episode. I didn’t feel anyone phoning it in. It was a bit slow in the beginning and it was odd to see the Doctor working with a rag tag group. I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea, but I get the symbolism that even with the group the Doctor was still alone.
What I want is memorable episodes. I want the fun and adventure brought back. I don’t want these convoluted story lines that have little to no payoff in the end. The last episode that I actually remember was “The Doctor’s Wife”. It was clever, it was fun and it had adventure. Probably because it was written by someone with actual talent, Neil Gaiman. As I said the teaser of the upcoming season looks to be promising but we’ll just have to wait for April to see.
I give Doctor Who, “The Snowmen”, 2 Magnificos! out of 5.
If you want to see a really fun episode of Doctor Who with Richard E. Grant. Check out the Comic Relief special, “Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death.”
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