This Christmas special found itself with a really difficult task to accomplish. Following the almost-perfect anniversary special was always going to be difficult, but it also had to steer clear of the normal festive schmultz to head rapidly towards a regeneration.
It was still a heartwarming piece in places, the children of the town called Christmas, the Doctor’s dedication to staying in spite of himself, and Clara’s constant despair at being left behind.
There was a lot about this episode that I didn’t really understand. All the different enemies coming back together, how and why and what and who. The Doctor’s aging process. The whole 13th regeneration thing. He said it wasn’t possible and then did it anyway.
The high priest nun lady was half a Dalek but able to control that enough to not be a Dalek at all. Were we supposed to be emotional about that part? It’s hard to tell. Where did the Cyberman head come from?
Some of the unexplained story of the Silence was determined, but other things were left hanging in the air. More questions were raised than answered, but that’s the way of Doctor Who these days.
Previously, when I haven’t necessarily followed the intricacies of an episode, I have gone back and rewatched it, but to be honest, I have no desire to do that with this one.
Whilst the job it faced was hard, it did the main things that it needed to - give Matt Smith the chance to say goodbye, and welcome Peter Capaldi into the chaotic world of the TARDIS.
The brief sight of Amy Pond bidding farewell to her Raggedy Man was pretty much all I needed to see. The rest was just noise.
It’s going to be something new with Capaldi, I’ve not really seen much of the older-style Doctor in action. Already, the reaction of Clara to him mirrors my own - shock, horror, but enough of a tinge of intrigue to make it a worthwhile journey.