Caution: the following entry is a recap of the 2012 “Doctor Who” Christmas Special episode “The Snowmen.” It does contain spoilers.
After several months of waiting and hours spent speculating, Whovians around the world finally had the chance to (re)meet the Doctor’s new companion last night, Clara (played by actress Jenna-Louise Coleman), a barmaid / governess. And although the Doctor was willing to give Clara a key to the TARDIS and have her come along on his adventures, by the end of the episode it was obvious that their relationship will not be as straightforward as it has been with previous companions. With the appearance of Clara, series head writer Steven Moffat has gifted the audience with a mystery that needs solving, and fans can expect the mystery to unravel as “Doctor Who” finishes the second half of season seven in 2013.
As previously revealed, the Doctor has retreated from humanity, and he has set up a rather beat-up TARDIS on a cloud high above London in Victorian England. A chance encounter with Clara outside of a pub where she is tending bar is enough to intrigue him, but he’s not immediately ready to welcome her into his life, even going as far as trying to erase her memory with a large worm. However, when the villainous snowmen of the episode’s title begin to appear and are defeated by Clara imagining them melting, the Doctor realizes that he can’t interfere with Clara’s thoughts since she has to remember how to defeat them. He therefore decides to have Strax chauffeur her back to the pub, but Clara exits the cab and follows the Doctor up the magical hidden stairs to the TARDIS. Although she knocks on the door, she runs away before the Doctor answers, and he is left holding the scarf she dropped.
The villain this Christmas special is a disembodied artificial intelligence (voiced by Sir Ian McKellen) locked in a snow globe-ish contraption who has invaded the mind of Dr. Simeon, a once anti-social boy who has grown into a sociopath running an organization named the Great Intelligence. Dr. Simeon visits the home of Captain Latimer, whose previous governess died when she fell into the pond outside his home and turned into a human ice cube. The captain’s new governess turns out to be Clara, who is wonderful with his two children, Francesa and Digby. Francesca has been having nightmares about the previous governess coming back to punish them, and the children show Clara the pond where she drowned. Clara notices that the pond is still frozen, although everything surrounding it has thawed. When Francesca says that her dreams reveal the old governess returning on Christmas, Clara goes searching for the Doctor. Instead, she finds Jenny who takes her to Madame Vastra for questioning. Vastra forces Clara to answer her with one-word phrases, and when Clara offers the word “pond” for why he must help her, Vastra immediately informs the Doctor, who is moved to investigate.
The Doctor (dressed hilariously as Sherlock Holmes) pays a visit to Dr. Simeon to learn more about his devious plan. Not learning much, he goes to investigate Captain Latimer’s house, where he and Clara spy each other through the window. Clara is putting the children to bed, and upon hearing a disturbance, she assures Francesca and Rigby that it is the Doctor coming to protect their dreams. Instead, the Ice Governess barges into the room and begins to chase them. Cornered by the frozen minion in the library, the Doctor saves them by jumping out of a Punch and Judy booth and melting the Ice Governess with his screwdriver. However, Dr. Simeon is outside the house, spraying alien snow particles which causes the Governess to reassemble. She chases the foursome down the stairs, until Jenny manages to imprison her in a pink force field. Dr. Simeon and his band of snowmen make it known that they want the Ice Governess, since she’s the perfect combination of ice and human DNA, and he plans on copying her to make a whole army to invade the world.
In a bid to get the Ice Governess away from Dr. Simeon, the Doctor and Clara have her chase them onto the roof of the house. Clara then deduces that the Doctor has planned for them to board the TARDIS, since they’re not hiding or running away. As they climb the stairs, the Ice Governess begins to follow them. Finally, Clara enters the TARDIS, and like all of the Doctor’s companions, she comments on the size of the TARDIS, but not in the way you’d expect. “It’s smaller on the outside,” she exclaims, rather than the traditional “It’s bigger on the inside!” While aboard, Clara asks if the TARDIS has a kitchen since she likes to bake soufflés, making the Doctor immediately curious about her. As he hands Clara her own key so that she can go off on adventures with him, the Ice Governess makes a reappearance and drags her off the cloud, causing Clara to land on the lawn of Captain Latimer’s house, mortally wounded.
Strax is able to revive Clara with his technology, but she only has a short time left to live. The Doctor and Vastra then tempt Dr. Simeon with a supposed piece of the Ice Governess, and he follows them to the Great Intelligence. He opens the box the Doctor was holding, where the Doctor had hidden a memory erasing worm, and Dr. Simeon collapses on the floor. Vastra and the Doctor assume that the artificial intelligence has been defeated since it has nothing to mirror, but it is able to take over Dr. Simeon’s lifeless body. Right when the icy Dr. Simeon is about to freeze the Doctor, Clara begins to cry which causes the snowmen and Dr. Simeon to melt.
The Doctor returns to Clara to say goodbye while the Latimer family cries in the background. As they’re saying farewell to each other, Clara whispers, “Run, you clever boy and remember,” repeating the same line that Oswin told the Doctor in “Asylum of the Daleks.” At her funeral, Clara’s full name is revealed on her gravestone: Clara Oswin Oswald. Upon reading it, the Doctor makes the connection between the two women (with the show also providing a montage in case anyone wondered if it wasn’t the same person), revealing that since he never actually saw Oswin since she was inside a Dalek, he couldn’t make the connection, and he is baffled at how she has been able to live twice. In the present day, Clara is seen taking a shortcut through the graveyard and she passes by her grave, stating that she’s not afraid of ghosts. Suddenly, the Doctor has a new mission: to find out whom she really is.
“The Snowmen” was an excellent episode, and it was thrilling to see the wonderful chemistry between the Doctor and Clara, especially since fans often view the introduction of a new companion with a degree of wariness and doubt. But Clara has proven herself to be intelligent, resourceful, witty and beautiful, definitely making her a worthy companion. And with audiences now compelled to find out who she really is, fans will definitely be tuning into the second half of “Doctor Who” in 2013. To watch the teaser video that was aired during the episode, click here.