Another Last Christmas

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.

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Listen Closely…

One of the great hopes I had for series 8 of Doctor Who was that we’d see the show step back from its plot-heavy storytelling of recent seasons, and focus more on exploring the characters. With a new Doctor (and especially with THAT actor playing him), I hoped Steven Moffat would seize the great opportunity before him: the opportunity to craft stories that are less about what the Doctor does, and more about who he is.

But I thought it too much to hope for an episode as inspired as “Listen.”

Maybe I should have aimed a little higher…

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