Title: Doctor Who Special “Last Christmas”
Released: 2014
Series:  Doctor Who

Previously on Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Clara saved Earth from The Mistress and her zombie Cybermen army, and series 8 drew to a close with the two possibly saying goodbye.

Happy Boxing Day, friends! I hope y’all got everything you asked for, and more. One thing I was excited to unwrap yesterday was the Doctor Who Christmas Special. And although I had to put on the “gee thanks, this is awesome” face you put on when you get a present you don’t really love by the end of the special, there were some actual grins throughout.

Before we get into the recap, however; was anyone else wholly disappointed that there was no mention of Wham’s “Last Christmas” in an episode titled “Last Christmas?” HUGE missed opportunity, IMO.

Here We Go Again

Clara’s awoken suddenly from dreams of sugar plums and dancing oods by a clatter arising on her roof. She springs from her bed to see what’s the matter and finds … a snarky Santa Claus and two cheeky elves having crash-landed. The Doctor arrives soon after, and tells Clara to get in the TARDIS, no questions asked. He follows after, but not before telling Santa he knows what’s going on, and being his grinchy Doctor self.

At the North Pole, a science expedition is dealing with an invasion of unknown creatures that are extremely similar to the facehuggers of Alien lore (which, thanks be, is actually called out and not glossed over) but are causing their victims to dream while devouring their brains. The Doctor and Clara arrive to try to help the scientists, and Santa arrives soon after. The group tries to figure out what the alien creatures are doing, and how they can save those already dying. Clara’s attacked, and taken a to a dream in which she gets to see Danny Pink again—hullo, Danny! You left too soon—and the Doctor can barely pull her out of it. But once he does, the rest of the group soon figures out, with Santa’s help, that they’re actually in a dream, too.

They wake themselves up, but the Doctor realize that they’re still in the dream. (Dreamception!) The facehuggers Dream Crabs begin to go on the offensive, and take out one of the “scientists” before the rest run. The Dream Crabs follow, and multiply, but Santa arrives to take them all home.

One by one, the group wakes up, for real this time, in their true lives. Clara’s the last, and the Doctor finds that she’s become an old woman, that they haven’t seen each other in more than 60 years. As the two catch up, the Doctor wishes that he’d come back sooner. Santa arrives, and the Doctor wakes up from yet another dream. He goes back to visit Clara, and kills the final Dream Crab on her face, and the two run off for more adventures.

Don’t Blink or We’ll Exterminate

Steven Moffat was definitely inspired by Alien when writing this episode. The Dream Crabs have a ridiculous name, but they’re freaky as heck, just like facehuggers. What makes these iterations even worse, to me, is that they give you lovely, happy dreams while they’re melting your brain. In all, it wouldn’t be a bad way to go, I suppose?

Best Doctorisms

Doctor: “There’s a horror movie called Alien? That’s really offensive. No wonder everyone keeps invading you.”

Doctor: “Are you OK?”
Clara: “No.”
Doctor: “Good. There are some things we should never be OK about.”

Doctor: “Do you know what I hate about the obvious? Missing it.”

Doctor: “Yippie-ki-yay!”

Also, major pants to Santa for his “it’s bigger on the inside” burn.

Companion Annoyance Level: The Ponds

Companion Annoyance Advisory System

Clara: Severe Risk of Annoying Entitlement

Martha: High Risk of Ridiculous Mooning

Donna: Significant Risk of Overbearing Bossiness

The Ponds: General Risk of Bothersome Smothering

Rose: Low Risk of Irritating Smugness

Sigggghhhhhhhhhhh. I feel like I keep having to repeat myself when it comes to Clara lately. She’s not awful, but her relationship with this regeneration of the Doctor is so weird and awkward. I feel so bad that Danny had to die, because their relationship made her so much more interesting. We now know that she’ll continue to be the companion into series 9, which y’all know I’m not too pleased with. Let’s just hope that Moffat’s heard the complaints about series 8 and makes some drastic changes with their relationship and her character in the episodes to come. (Hahahaha, right.)

Keep Moving

The bright spot in the special was definitely Nick Frost as Santa. I knew he was going to be great even before seeing him in the actual role. The special was also a fun nod to horror movies, and an oddly sweet reminder to believe in the magic of Christmas. I feel a little cheated by the fact that the scene with Clara being an old woman wasn’t the real ending, but I suppose we don’t always get everything we want for Christmas, do we?

But, what did you think of “Last Christmas”? Where does it rank on your list of Christmas specials? Let’s discuss in the comments.


Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.