Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 13 Review: Last Christmas

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Happy Crimbo, everyone!

If Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 13 didn't put you in mind of a good old-fashioned British Christmas what with the ripping of Christmas Crackers, wearing of Christmas hats and, well, dream crabs... wait. That's not right!

Yet it is. It is right. "Last Christmas" managed to be kind of scary and yet still festive and funny. We were even introduced to a couple characters it might be nice to see again, Nick Frost as Santa and Faye Marsay as Shona.

Whovian Christmas - Doctor Who

Although, essentially, the entire hour was a dream, there were a few things that made you stop and think. Of course, that's exactly what you are not supposed to do when faced with a dream crab trying to suck the life out of your face, but as we witnessed, not thinking isn't as easy as it's cracked up to be.

The Doctor: You know what the big problem is in telling fantasy and reality apart?
Ashley: What?
The Doctor: They're both ridiculous.

Actually, if I'm going, by way of a dream crab wouldn't be so bad. You might have a bit of an ice cream headache while you pass slowly away, but altogether dreaming only the best things as you die seems a great way to go.

The question all season has been whether or not Jenna Coleman would remain with Peter Capaldi as his companion after this installment. I'm betting on a mixed reaction at the news she'll be sticking around. 

It's impossible to deny the chemistry Coleman shares with Capaldi and her strength as an actress, so retaining her makes a lot of sense. When the duo admitted to the lies they shared with one another at the end of Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 12 in an attempt to ensure each other's happiness, couldn't you just feel Clara being pulled back into The Doctor's orbit?

They imagined some heartfelt and bittersweet moments together as they lay dying under the power of the dream crabs. The power of the crab meant all who were dying  into sharing the same dream experience. (Why only some of those affected landed in the dream? Eh, that's for Santa to determine.)

I've always believed in Santa Claus, but he looks a little different to me.


There were a lot of fun pop culture references, including several nods to Alien and a segment when Shona used some fancy footwork and the British Christmas classic by Slade, "Merry Christmas Everybody," to try to remain free from the lure of the crabs. Rest assured, Americans, we do not share the same taste in either classic Christmas specials or music of the season. It's kind of a shame we miss out on Christmas Crackers and the funny hats.

These are Christmas hats. I've seen people use them. You put them on and absolutely everything seems funny.

The Doctor

The special was all about believing, whether in each other or in the fantastical. Even Santa told one of the fellow dream travelers to have a little faith when The Doctor tried to enter Clara's dream state to get her out. 

There were dreams within dreams and it got pretty convoluted in some spots, but it never lost its momentum. Even dredging up Danny Pink to urge Clara back into her adventures with The Doctor didn't feel hokey. That wasn't even the oddest of moments.

When The Doctor woke up and rushed to Clara's side, it was 62 years since they last saw each other. 

The Doctor: No one ever matched up to Danny, eh?
Clara: There was one other man, but that would never have worked out.
The Doctor: Why not?
Clara: He was impossible.

Coming so shortly after Clara hugged The Doctor on Santa's sleigh and compared the two, here's hoping that is the very last time a reference to anything other than a friendly relationship is ever hinted at again.

Let's touch on the sleigh ride over London. Peter Capaldi had a chance to really let loose with The Doctor and enjoy something. For an ancient Time Lord who flings himself across time and space in a disguised alien ship, grabbing the reins of Santa's sleigh was something that tickled his childish funny bone and the effect was amazing. Considering how dark Doctor Who Season 8 has been, getting the opportunity to lighten up a bit on Christmas was perfect.

If The Doctor can be real, then so can Santa, right? How does Santa get all those gifts into his sleigh? It's bigger on the inside!

The Doctor and Clara will be back next year. The Doctor Who Season 9 premiere will be titled "The Magician's Apprentice." That sounds like a lovely way to throw the spotlight on The Doctor and Clara. Merry Christmas everyone. Until next year!

Don't forget, you can watch Doctor Who online via TV Fanatic to catch up on all of the 12th Doctor's antics.

Last Christmas Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (96 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 13 Quotes

Shona: If you are Santa, what are you doing here?
Santa Claus: It's the North Pole. I own it.

Oh. Sorry about this. Well! We are just three passing, perfectly normal roof people doing some emergency roof things. Carry on. Merry Christmas, if it is Christmas, I mean. Ha ha. I don't much care for things like that. Ha ha ha haaa.