“Last Christmas” also happens to be one of the better Christmas specials.
Coming across as a mash-up of Alien meets Inception via The Thing, oh and probably Miracle on 34th Street or something. I don't really do Christmas movies. It ticked a lot of boxes for me. The use of Santa was epic, and the delivery by Nick Frost made it work all the more.
So much of “Last Christmas” revolves around the same thing as Inception does. That of 'are you dreaming?' and it never lets it go. Even the ending is ambiguous. Santa points out repeatedly that he's just as bizarre as the Doctor. We go through multiple levels of dreams where each seems as reasonable as the last, and we get to see Danny Pink again, as Clara gets her ideal Christmas, and then the dream-Danny manages to step up and be down right awesome by giving the Clara the Big Damn Hero speech. There's a lot of hate for Danny, but with scenes like this I really can't understand them. I can only guess it comes from the side of the fanbase that get upset that a regular character could dare insinuate that travelling with the Doctor isn't the best thing in life.
One character that might need that though was Shona, who seemed to have a lot more going on with her. The others all got significant ends to their story, especially the woman waking up in a wheelchair, but Shona had so much more story to tell, with her last minute cries of being friends, and waking up to a very lonely Christmas. I wouldn't be surprised to see her again in 2015. If the rumours are to be believed she just might be Clara's replacement.
Speaking of Clara. What is it with this show and giving Clara the perfect exits and reneging on them? She chooses to leave to be with Danny made a lot of sense. Her departure after the death of Mr Pink was bittersweet. Then the fakeout here with her and the Doctor meeting 62 years later was a lovely touch. But again we're going back, she wholeheartedly jumps back aboard the TARDIS looking for a distraction from the death of Danny. The credits even end with “The Doctor and Clara will return”. Not that I'm complaining about more Jenna Coleman. I'm just worried that when we do get around to Clara leaving it's not going to work as well as those we've already seen.
Oh, and Capaldi got to briefly let out the side of the Doctor that drove so much of Smith. I thoroughly loved it.