Doctor Who “The Snowmen” Recap

2013 Christmas Special Twist

By Iris Lee

On Christmas day, 9.87 million viewers tuned into this year’s highly anticipated Doctor Who Christmas special “The Snowmen.”  The hour-long episode aired on BBC and introduces Doctor Who’s newest companion Clara—the next main character—as well as interrupts the show’s hiatus, which runs from September 2012 until April 2013.

The Christmas special takes off with a drastically different turn of events: rather than the typical opening with the Doctor saving the Earth, the episode begins with a depressed Doctor locked away in dreary Victorian England.  As chaos brews outside the walls of his time machine, the Doctor chooses to turn the other cheek and bitterly vows never to save the world again. Ironically, the “Great Intelligence,” an alien form of snow that controls thoughts, uses the Doctor’s absence to its advantage and hatches a plot to bury the Earth in a frozen wasteland.

Rather than centering the episode on the Doctor, Moffat, the show’s writer, focuses on introducing Clara.  From the beginning of “The Snowmen,” viewers who have been following the most recent Doctor Who series immediately notice that this character Clara is identical to a previous character called Oswin Oswald. Interestingly enough, Oswin died in an earlier episode.  As “The Snowmen” progresses, it draws on the parallels between the two characters and ends with a twist: having realized the two characters are the same woman, the Doctor leaves Victorian England with the paradoxical knowledge that the same woman exists in several different places of space and time at the same time.

Doctor Who is scheduled to continue in April 2013. The British time-traveling television series initially ran from 1963 to 1989, but recently started again in 2005.  The show has received recognition from top critics and the public as one of the finest television programs, winning the 2006 Academy Award as well as five consecutive Nation Television awards.