doctor who recapping: the snowmen

Previously on Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan

If it’s not spider aliens below the Thames or kamikaze cruise ships careening past the stars, then it has to be biting snowmen in 19th century London. Christmas and the Doctor collide once again, and the result is just as chilling, charming, and wondrously campy as the best Moffat and co. have offered in a while.



  • The Doctor mourns the loss of the Ponds in his own way; i.e., by sulking around 19th century London and parking his TARDIS in a seemingly permanent cloud bank.
  • Enter Clara. Clara is a clever and very familiar looking barmaid/governess who becomes instantly intrigued with the Doctor.
  • Clara and the Doctor accidentally discover the iceberg tip of evil Doctor Simeon’s plans to take over the world with parasite snow, a sentient snowglobe, and the hybrid forms of a couple frozen corpses. (It’s best to just accept the feasibility of this plan without a fight.)
  • Unfortunately, the Doctor is out of the whole “world saving business” and he just wants to leave the Earth alone (albeit from a couple hundred feet above its surface).
  • Clara is not a girl you can easily say no to though — even if you’re a Time Lord.
  • Together with old friends like lizard alien Vastra, Vastra’s wife Jenny, and Sontaran Strax, the Doctor and Clara take on a dead ice woman (Clara’s predecessor at her current governing gig).
  • Things seem to be going along fairly smoothly: fun outsmartings of the frozen governess, flirty back-and-forths between Clara and the Doctor, and comic relief from our alien friends…and then it all falls apart.
  • Immediately after the Doctor offers Clara a key to the TARDIS — a physical representation of his willingness to move forward and enjoy life once again with a new companion — the ice woman emerges from the cloud bank to throw Clara hundreds of feet to the icy ground below.
  • While mostly dead Clara is left to Strax’s medical ministrations, the Doctor and Vastra confront Doctor Simeon and the evil alien parasite that eventually is revealed to control him.
  • All hope seems lost, but then the snow minions are defeated by a magical salty rain brought about by an entire family crying on Christmas (specifically, the family Clara serves as a governess for — again, just accept it.)
  • The Doctor returns in time to hear Clara’s last words: “Run, you clever boy, run. And remember.”
  • What? The Doctor is no idiot. He realizes an impossible connection must exist between Oswin Oswald, the girl turned Dalek turned dead from his adventures in The Asylum of the Daleks, and Clara.
  • As he happily flies away in the TARDIS in search of his twice-dead girl, viewers are treated to a modern Clara doppelganger in the middle of an overgrown cemetery, blissfully reading, of course, the tombstone for one Clara Oswin Oswald.

BTalking Points

Clara Oswin Oswald…Who?
Are we all caught up? Actress Jenna Louise Coleman has mysteriously already played two characters in her short time with the show. First off was souffle-baking Oswin Oswald in the season’s premiere. She turned out to be a Dalek right before dying. Now we meet Clara. Clara gets to actually talk to the Doctor face to face, and their flirty and feisty repartee lays easy groundwork for a whole season’s worth of entertaining chemistry. Of course, that Clara died as well, but presumably the next Clara will hit it off with the Doctor as well as the first two. My theories are all half baked (besides the one where Clara is a cat alien with nine lives), so I’m resigned to wait with the rest of the Whovian world.

It’s no secret Moffat likes to have a little fun with his scripts, and why shouldn’t he? From no less than four “Doctor who?” jokes to potato-inspired jabs at Strax, this special seemed made for Doctor Who fans who love the show as much as Moffat does. Could some tighter editing have been employed? Sure, but all has to be forgiven in the face of the Doctor masquerading as Sherlock Holmes while music reminiscent of Moffat’s other hit show Sherlock plays in the background. Meta-magnificence! Add in a fantastically sinister performance from Sir Ian McKellen as the voice of the parasite, and I was sold.

Quick Gripe
As much as I enjoyed The Snowmen, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have at least one silly complaint. What’s up with the “winter is coming” line? I get that it’s a seemingly generic and pithy way of announcing the arrival of the next season, but come on…That was literally the promo line for Game of Thrones’ first season. References are fun (see above), but the mention here — twice! — does absolutely nothing for Game of Thrones or Doctor Who. For the former, it’s the noble words of everyone’s favorite honorable family; for the latter, it’s just the power-crazed rambling of a parasitic snowflake. If there’s an insightful connection there, I refuse to see it.


The Doctor: I’m the clever one. You’re the potato one.

Clara: It’s smaller on the outside.

The Doctor: I never know how. I only know who.
Clara: Who’s this?
The Doctor: Me. Giving in.

Strax: Madame Vastra wondered if you were needing any grenades.
The Doctor: Grenades?
Strax: She might have said help.

Vastra: Good evening. I am a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife.

Clara: Run, you clever boy, run. And remember.

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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