There are some really great things happening in Doctor Who Season 7, and the addition of Clara Oswin Oswald could turn out to be one of the most monumental characters in the show's history. She was back in "The Snowmen," but had the audacity to - get this - DIE again by the end.
However, and I struggle with this, I daresay The Doctor is in love with Clara. While I never thought the idea of watching The Doctor travel the earth with a companion and lover might be a draw, I've officially changed my mind. The chemistry between Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman works in that regard far better than it would work as mere friends, as I dangled on the edge of the couch hoping Clara was not really going to kick the bucket.
The Christmas episode took us back to Victorian England and introduced us to some really fun characters. First, we had the evil Dr. Simeon, played by Richard E. Grant. Interesting casting, as in 2003 Grant played The Doctor in a mini-series, Doctor Who - Return of the Shalka. You have to wonder how he felt to be on the other side of the Tardis.
We also met a group who I can only hope are are going to be more than one-off characters. A lizard woman from the dawn of time, Madame Vastra, on whom "Dr. Doyle" may have been basing his Sherlock Holmes character and her wife, Jenny Flint; and their cohort, Strax who may or may not have been in "A Good Man Goes to War," because his kind is known to have a plethora of clones. One thing is certain, the dude had a hell of a lot of fun Doctor Who quotes to brighten Christmas day.
Even though we've already had a run-in with The Doctor's new companion, I was completely swept up in the re-ignition of the relationship between he and Clara. With all the evidence stacked up, I didn't imagine Clara giving the correct one word answer to the test from Madame Vastra. Pond. Of course, she had no idea the relevance of Pond to The Doctor, but it made my hair stand on end nonetheless.
The Doctor was giddy with Clara. He was trying not to get involved, not wanting to go up into the house to speak with her and attempting to force himself to walk away, but he was unable to do so. I bought into every blasted moment of it. Far before they started actual flirting, I thought, by golly, The Doctor is falling for Clara! Yes, it's Christmas and I used the word golly. Rather fitting, don't you think?
Enough about love for the moment, because Steven Moffat outdid himself with Doctor Who lore and updates with the continuation of the season and "The Snowmen." Did you know The Great Intelligence were first introduced back in 1967 in an episode called "The Abominable Snowmen?" I bet you were wondering why an episode with such fierce creatures and their pointed, razor sharp teeth had a nice, pleasant title. Because The Doctor has already dealt with the abominable version, and in the process run into The Great Intelligence, who had been trying to find a body.
They got their wish, however short a time frame, and if all goes well, we'll see even more of the GI controlling their environment to achieve their goals with The Doctor fighting against them. After all, Ian McKellen? You can't argue the casting of The Great Intelligence. With Richard E. Grant and Ian McKellen running about saying "Winter is coming," it was as if we were smack dab in the middle of Westeros.
What did you think of the newly redesigned Tardis? It was a little less busy and kind of sleek inside, with more room to rumble around. Was I the only one surprised to hear Clara was the first person to tell The Doctor the Tardis was larger on the outside than on the inside and inquire whether there was a kitchen? You'd think they would be pretty run of the mill comments. Maybe that's why I like her so much. She seems a lot like me. Less concerned with the science and possibilities and more interested in the reality of what's happening around her. She points out the obvious. And she noticed The Doctor is kinda cute. Duh!
As we move on into the season, will Clara keep dying? Is that going to be her thing? That will definitely put a crack into the idea of The Doctor being in love, if he's living a sort of "50 First Dates" with his companion situation. I think that would rip some of the magic out of their charm. Their attraction is real and I'm looking forward to seeing what it will mean to The Doctor to feel something other than platonic love for a companion. Am I alone in that wish?
Let me know your thoughts on the episode, and what you hope to see now that you've seen Clara Oswin Oswald die her second death on Doctor Who. Clara, we barely know ye. Happy New Year everyone!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.