Doctor Who Re-Review: S07E06 — The Snowmen

Season 7’s Christ­mas special was the offi­cial intro­duc­tion of the new compan­ion Clara as played by Jenna Cole­man. Of course she had appeared previ­ously in the show but this is where her story really begins. And her inter­ac­tion here with Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor, just like the previ­ous verbal spar­ring in Asylum of the Daleks is the high point of the episode.

The core of this partic­u­lar story is the Doctor find­ing himself again. He’s essen­tially moping after what happened with the Pond’s (okay I’m not being very sympa­thetic… but it’s true) and he’s largely cut himself off from inter­ac­tion with the world. Not completely though, which is the first hint that this isn’t really what he wants.

This is also the point in season 7 where the empha­sis on the series history really starts to become notice­able. Watch­ing it again I’m reminded how much I like the latest version of the title sequence which incor­po­rates so many elements from the past. But that’s just the start. Here we get the Great Intel­li­gence and refer­ences to the London Under­ground (The Web of Fear). We get a new TARDIS inte­rior, my favorite from the new series, which while not the old style console again has more elements in common with that than we’ve previ­ously seen.

3110733-high-doctor-who-christmas-special-2012As with much of Doctor Who during Steven Moffat’s tenure as show runner this story is more about atmos­phere and the feel­ings it evokes than about logic. Those who prefer a more science fiction approach prob­a­bly won’t like it. Clara’s death gives the story its heart. Yes it’s another power of love story­line of the type that some hate.

And yes you can pick at the details pretty easily here. It’s a story that relies on a fair amount of coin­ci­dence, all be it wrapped up in the notion of the universe as an entity. The larger story arc of the season will even­tu­ally address some of those coin­ci­dences, but you don’t know it while watch­ing this.

Moffat was pretty clear when he took over that his vision of Doctor Who is heav­ily influ­enced by the feel of fairy­tales. And it’s that, more than science fiction which gives us these sorts of stories. I’m very happy with that, others not so much and I think that’s one of the big sources for the crit­i­cism that his run receives.

So here we have lots (and lots) of faux-Victo­ri­ana. Basi­cally it’s Victo­rian England as we see it in our heads rather than as it may actu­ally be. We have blatantly incon­gru­ous elements like Madame Vastra and Clara herself and yet the result­ing mixture, for me, is highly satis­fy­ing.

The acting across the board is great here. But Richard E. Grant as Doctor Simeon deserves special atten­tion for being able to so effort­lessly move from arro­gantly super­cil­ious while in control and then seem­ing old, scared and cowed when the Doctor chal­lenges his core belief in what is happen­ing.

1s8zDI don’t think this is an episode that’s going to wear well on multi­ple repeat view­ings however. The story itself is really quite shal­low. And while it sets up a lot of things, there’s not much depth here. It’s fun and Christ­massy and has me look­ing forward to re-watch­ing the rest of the season but I’m not in a rush to watch this partic­u­lar episode for a third time.

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?