Nobody likes the tangerines and no one likes Santa. Well, at least this incarnation of Santa. He’s a bit snide and a little condescending rather than the standard jolly fare or the polar opposite, dark and gritty. Instead we have Santa and a few snarky elves dealing with so particularly giddy and free reindeer when Clara walks upon them.
We are then introduced to a group of creatures that are able to operate telepathically. The images of what they see are based on what those who are thinking of them or seeing them. It’s an interesting concept. However, what is so stunningly different strange yet fitting is that Santa has some sort of control of them and is ready to start saving Christmas. Dream Crabs are difficult creatures as they make going against them a challenge. You can’t figure out what is real and what isn’t.
It didn’t seem out of reason or surprising that it was Clara who was attacked by one of the Dream Crabs as it slowly killed her. Clara was transported into a dream world in which Danny was there. A future with Danny was what drove her. She so desired to get back with Danny that despite the chalkboard warnings that littered her dream world. She was at peace. She had some of her happiness that was so roughly taken away from her. It was her chance to have what she no longer could so it made perfect sense that she was completely opposed to the idea that it may not be reality at first.
The Doctor is so desperate to save and protect Clara that he was willing to kill himself with one of the dream crabs. It was a haphazard attempt for the two of them to be in the same dream so he could warn her. It was a testament to how much he has changed over time. The Doctor that appeared at the beginning of series 8 is so drastically different than this Doctor. And even still so different than the Doctor we saw at the end of Death in Heaven. The Doctor was willing to sacrifice himself to save her. He has always been protective of her, but now he is outwardly showing it rather than forcing Clara to prove that she is a worthy companion who can fend for herself.
With the entire concept of dream crabs that manipulate what you think is real we were lead down the now commonplace path of a dream within a dream. It’s inception on a TV level. However, unlike other shows that have tackled the concept of a dream within a dream, this episode actually made it not feel entirely trite and gimmicky. Yes, those dreams were what allowed us to see Santa and all the illusions that came with, but it also allowed some of the characters to work things out on a deeper level. The dreams kept folding inside of each other, forcing them to repeatedly find a way to get out, each step slightly different than the last.
The Doctor finally learned that Danny Pink died in the events of Death in Heaven. Clara in turn learned that The Doctor never actually found Gallifrey. They both suffered losses and their desire to please the other ended up hurting them. However, they are resilient as ever and found a way to bounce back from their own faults and missteps. Sure, things weren’t perfect, but even The Doctor recognized the tenuous ground he was walking on in their relationship.
I loved the moment of appall on The Doctor’s face when he learned that there was a space movie simply called Alien.
I enjoyed seeing Nathan McMullen from Misfits as Wolf.
What did you think of the episode?
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