santa caus


Doctor Who, Last Christmas and the Return of Magic

“How do you think those presents got under the tree every year?
By magic?

When the dust had settled in Death in Heaven, the world of Doctor Who lay in ruins. Within its universe, the events which had transpired were gruesome enough. The dead had risen from their graves, transformed into unrecogniseable machines suitable, at least at first glance, only for destruction and conquest. But beyond the borders of the seen, in the foundations of the story, an even more unsettling shift had taken place.

Our villainess had infected the nature of the tale, had played the Mistress of stories and twisted them into something else, in which Mary Poppins seeks to rule the universe, the afterlife steals your soul, and the very idea of who the Doctor was and will be is challenged. Even as the Doctor proclaims his identity and rejects her plans, she still wins. The magic has died, because how could it live when all the stories were falsehoods and all the true heroes were the ones who had already fallen?

Left were only our two favourite liars, the Doctor and Clara. The idiot with a box and the woman who claimed to have invented herself. They told each other one more fairytale - one more lie -, hid their faces in the hug of a goodbye, and the story took its final breath.

Except, of course, it has to go on.

The grief and the loss, the world without any good men left were not about to be mended easily, the two friends separated by pride and the mistaken belief they could do the right thing not united by anything short of a miracle. And so a miracle happened, the spark of magic reignited by literal magic, stories resurrected by another story. The fairytale heals itself, by the power of Christmas and, yes, apparently Santa Caus. An unexpected but strangely beautiful path, to save Clara and the Doctor from the one scenario out of which they cannot find the way themseves.

This isn’t the same fairytale which started in Amelia’s garden, made of words and the power to reclaim everything magic had stolen and given. It isn’t the same fairytale spinning backwards and forwards through time from Demons Run, which left its kidnapped child triumphant over her enemies, determined to make her own fate, but still hiding her damage. And it’s not going to be the same fairytale in which a young woman made herself into a storybook heroine with nothing but ideals and the memory of her mother’s soufflé.

This Santa Claus doesn’t bring dolls and pencils and fish, like in the thankful prayer which stood at the beginning of the Moffat era. This Santa leaves deadly crabs in his wake, allows dreams to be weaponised so the dream can be born anew. A new story. New magic. And a reckless, scary, adventurous series ahead of us.