I’ve fallen a bit behind on my blogging as of late, due to being out of town visiting relatives for the holidays. I had absolutely no control over what was on the television, nor did I have internet access, so I wasn’t able to watch much Doctor Who. Since it’s quite a bit after the fact, I though I’d just put down a few of my thoughts after finally watching “The Snowmen.”
This is another episode in which the alien plot comes in second to the characters (kind of like “The Power of Three”), but I really didn’t mind it. Richard E. Grant and Ian McKellen did a good job in their limited parts, but the episode really didn’t focus much on the Great Intelligence and his plot to take over the world using people made of ice (copied from human DNA). In some ways, I felt they were a bit wasted in this episode, but I did like the reference to the show’s past (the Great Intelligence being an alien faced by Troughton’s Doctor). The evil snowmen were suitably creepy and the threat posed was just enough to see that the Doctor ended up having to save the world once again.
The real focus of the episode, however, was the story of Clara Oswin Oswald the barmaid/governess. So far, I’m really liking Jenna-Louise Coleman and Clara/Oswin. She’s been very spunky and clever both times we’ve seen her, and was spirited enough to believably induce the Doctor to come out of his exile and re-engage with the world. From the first time I saw her in “Asylum of the Daleks” I’ve been dying to know how she could become the Doctor’s next companion, and I guess I’ll have to wait some more, since “The Snowmen” adds to the mystery. Who’d have thought Moffat could create a character even more mysterious the Amy and River. I will admit that I was a bit disappointed to see that the Clara/Oswin who travels with the Doctor will apparently be from the present. I would love to see the Doctor with a companion from the past or future again, but I guess I’ll still have to wait for that.
I also loved the return of Madam Vastra and Jenny. When they first appeared in “A Good Man Goes to War” I said that I would be happy to watch a show about their adventures in Victorian England (and, for the record, I’d still be happy to watch that show), so I was happy to see them return. I also loved the comic relief provided by the miraculously alive Strax (how he was a. brought back to life and b. came to live with Madam Vastra and Jenny are never really explained except in a throwaway line by Matt Smith). The scene in which the Doctor sends Strax to get the memory worm was one of my favorite parts of the episode, as silly as it was.
And, speaking of favorite scenes, I thought the one word interview scene was one of the best scenes Steven Moffat has written in a while. It was a clever way to avoid having Clara repeat all of the things we, the audience, already knew and I loved the reactions of Madam Vastra and Jenny to her answers.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode. I’m hoping this sets the tone for the rest of the season, with its blending of the old and new. Even the new title sequence and TARDIS interior exemplified this. They both reference the past versions from the classic show while still being a new version. Even though the alien plot was a bit underdeveloped, I still thought this was a good episode. I’m very curious to see where Moffat is going with the Oswin/Clara storyline. I’m assuming that Moffat isn’t just going to turn her into the new Rory, the companion who just keeps dying. It’s going to be difficult to wait the months until the show comes back because I think the rest of the season looks promising with more Oswin/Clara, a Neil Gaiman written cyberman episode, and the return of Madam Vastra, Jenny, and Strax.