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The Doctor tangles with Santa in 'Last Christmas'

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2014-12-25 Chicago Tribune.jpg

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'DR. WHO' REVIEW


Two time- and space-defying stars of the season face off in this year's "Doctor Who" holiday special, "Last Christmas," which airs Thursday on BBC America.

The courtship of reality and illusion is showcased in this latest battle to save the universe, as are issues of courage, death and the one-night present-delivery system. But it's the wary dance between two holiday icons that steals the show.

The Doctor (currently played by Peter Capaldi) has fought plenty of fake Santas, but he's never come up against the man himself. Neither have we, for that matter, or at least not Santa as envisioned by Steven Moffat and played with action-hero hilarity by Nick Frost.

In the years since it was rebooted by Russell Davies in 2005, the BBC series has always included a Christmas special, which can reveal big changes for the next season.

The Doctor is regularly reborn on the day that traditionally marks the birth of Jesus.

The 12th Doctor, Capaldi was introduced last Christmas as the replacement for No.11, Matt Smith, so everyone can relax on that front: Capaldi's not going anywhere. Current companion, Clara (Jenna Coleman), on the other hand, is the focus of much speculation.

Make of this what you will: There will be no breaking of the overzealous spoiler prohibition plea that accompanied the critics' preview of "Last Christmas"

Suffice to say that although the "Doctor Who" specials often skew toward Christmas past, this one stays current. Reunited some time after this year's season finale appeared to tear them asunder, the Doctor and Clara come to the aid of a group of scientists beset by monsters more sci-fi than seasonal.

The action is truly creepy and occasionally festive, a signature mashup of humor, unease and deep thought.

Over this past season, Capaldi and the show's writers struggled to find the newest iteration's personality and place in the Whovian universe. But as one impossible man of Christmas spars with the other, the Doctor loses the awkward brittleness that has plagued him and softens, just enough, to let Clara, and us, love him once more.

Should Clara leave the Doctor's side, for whatever reason, though I'm certainly not saying that's what happens, Frost's Santa would be a terrific replacement.

Every day would be Christmas, indeed.

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  • APA 6th ed.: McNamara, Mary (2014-12-25). The Doctor tangles with Santa in 'Last Christmas'. Chicago Tribune .
  • MLA 7th ed.: McNamara, Mary. "The Doctor tangles with Santa in 'Last Christmas'." Chicago Tribune [add city] 2014-12-25. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: McNamara, Mary. "The Doctor tangles with Santa in 'Last Christmas'." Chicago Tribune, edition, sec., 2014-12-25
  • Turabian: McNamara, Mary. "The Doctor tangles with Santa in 'Last Christmas'." Chicago Tribune, 2014-12-25, section, edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The Doctor tangles with Santa in 'Last Christmas' | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Doctor_tangles_with_Santa_in_%27Last_Christmas%27 | work=Chicago Tribune | pages= | date=2014-12-25 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 June 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The Doctor tangles with Santa in 'Last Christmas' | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Doctor_tangles_with_Santa_in_%27Last_Christmas%27 | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=24 June 2024}}</ref>