One of the many joys of Series 9 of Doctor Who was the way it kept confounding expectations. Just when you thought you knew where the show would take the characters – and you – it thwarted you, and them. (One of my favorite examples was “Before the Flood.” When a Part 1 ends with your main character turned into a ghost, the last thing you expect to see at the beginning of Part 2 is that same main character playing an electric guitar and going on about Beethoven. But it was PERFECT.)
By now, we all know this season ended with Twelve losing Clara, getting her back, and finally letting her go. Together, those three episodes put him, her, and us through an emotional wringer. So it would make sense that the Christmas special would lighten up and allow all of us to enjoy a holiday romp.
And it would also make sense that Steven Moffat would confound us once again. Love or hate him, it’s why we keep watching him.
Instead, he gave us exactly what we wanted. And needed.