Sorry about the delay, life got in the way. It happens. The following contains bits by Rich and bits by Brendon.
1. Let It Snow
We first meet Oswin/Clara in The Asylum Of The Daleks. A planet covered in snow. What memories might they have brought with them when they came to Earth? Could snow be transferring her from place to place. Is she also some kind of mirror, reflecting that around her? Was the ice governess a foreshadowing of that? There are plenty of mirrors here, Holmes and Vastra, Vastra and the Doctor, the Doctor and Holmes, The Doctor and the Intelligence, Vastra and Jenny, Jenny and Styx, Clara just has that reflection in herself…
2. Villains You Hate To Hate
Richard E Grant played one of the greatest screen villains in Hudson Hawk, a bad guy that not even the most cynical member of the audience could find themselves rooting for. He isn’t quite so loathsome here, his villainousness is centred in the weak power fantasy of a child. But still, he’s quite a tit. He played the Doctor a couple of times before, once in Steven Moffat’s Comic Relief special and then as an animated 9th Doctor. He plays the bad guy sooooo much better. Especially when he has the tragic backstory.
3. Victoriana Vs Prop 8
The lesbian human/Silurian partnership of Lady Vastra and Jenny give us yet one more twist, they’re now married. One thing to note for those screaming about the gay agenda, this was not an uncommon arrangement. Women getting married, if not common, was accepted, even though no sexual arrangement would be presumed. It was just one of those things. And even in Victorian London, people have more important things to worry about. Such as Clara’s new gentleman friend…
4. Great Intelligence, Weak Powers Of Observation
Judging from early reviews, the appearance of the Great Intelligence is something of a twist that pops up late in the episode. And maybe it is for people who can’t read English, were watching on their phone or forget their glasses – not once but twice did we see an in-focus business card bearing the GI logo and the words Great Intelligence, very clearly. Add to this the disembodied voice of Sir Ian McKellen and this is less of a big surprise than something that sifts the fans of old Who from the newbies.
Can we add though that we also did enjoy how the Intelligence seems obsessed with controlling snowmen, abominable or otherwise?
5. Iced Over
If I were The Doctor and the one word I heard was Pond, I’d probably get even more depressed. Maybe he saw it as a sign – it wasn’t. It has no more to do with Amy and Rory than The Rose and Crown has to do with Clara being crowned the new Rose. Ahem.
But he does seem to give his key away quicker than usual. Such a slut, that Doctor, opening his TARDIS doors for anyone who flutters their eyes, points out a pair of gauntlets and is handy with an umbrella.
6. A Great Defective
Not one but two gags about Sherlock Holmes, Steven Moffat’s “other” show. First of all, the proposal that Lady Vastra was Arthur Conan Doyle’s inspiration from his creation. Well, he certainly enjoyed a whole vat load of liberties if that’s the case.
And then Matt Smith in the Deerstalker, a bit of “Wholmes” fan service. It was funny and silly but I don’t quite know why the Doctor took this tack, and seeing how unnecessary it apparently was, why he didn’t just turn up as himself. Still, he knew that the Intelligence’s servant had a penchant for Doyle’s work, maybe it just got him through the door. And does he know that the French word for a type of fish is Colin? Not a goldfish, but close…
Will we see like for like? Cumberbatch investigating an anachronistic Police Call Box that suddenly appeared on Baker Street?
7. Eighties On The Inside
A new looking TARDIS on the inside and it’s a crash back to the eighties, if it had had a decent budget. Plastic instead of copper (and a lot less reflective surfaces for the production crew to deal with) and everything moving, this is the Pater Davison TARDIS that should have been, and Matt Smith’s face in the titles. Bring on Nyssa.
Also the Doctor going into retirement and yet being dragged back was originally a Douglas Adams that was turned down back then. Looks like Moffat managed to keep it with him.
8. Don’t Forget The Worm
There’s a bit of set-up about a memory wiping worm at the start. It’s particularly fun because the structure of the episode works best if you kinda-sorta forget that it featured and “Aha!” when it pops back up. Which means you’ll enjoy this episode more if you have a sort of mini-worm in your top pocket. Which most people do. It’s just Brendon that doesn’t.
9. A Fairytale Of Old London Town.
Part Mary Poppins, part Cloud Man, we are back to the Doctor being a Fairytale again. Literally with Clara here, and a man in the clouds living among us, with new worlds to show us and a set of rules to play by and puzzles to solve in order to meet him. Last series, the fairytale became a legend and then became a fact. Thanks to Clara and his faked death, he’s managed to put some of that frog back in the box and has become a story for children again. And that’s true about the show as well. Even though we also get…
10. Oh My God They Killed Clara
She’s got a really nasty case of whatever Rory had. If she’s even a she, singular, and not actually several shes. Is this a woman? An echo of a woman? A haunting of some kind? Clones? Moffat has promised that there is a solution, but it will be a long time coming.
Anybody watching the show “cold” might have been surprised by Clara’s demise, providing they were invested enough in her. Most of those who knew she was the “new companion” likely knew enough to know this wouldn’t be the end thanks to all of the set pictures and cast and crew interviews. And that corset is seriously strong enough to keep her body from being a pile of bloody mush in the snow when it lands. Must be the alien snow.
Things to watch for are clocks… Clara was born in Big Ben clock tower apparently, she dies with the clocks chiming midnight, it’s about time. But then again it always is.
And no one seems to obsess too much about Styx’s impossible return in comparison. Never mind, take it away for some Songtaran Carols…