Sunday, December 23, 2012

No one should be alone at Christmas: An Eleventh Doctor Meta

These two pictures explain so much about Eleven. In the first one, he's just saved 4003 people from a crash-landing spaceship, rewritten an old man's timeline, and built over a dozen people. He teased Amy and Rory about their costumes because that's just what he does, and now they're off to another adventure. In the second one, he's alone, mourning the loss of his Ponds, retired, and convinced that the universe doesn't care. And the two episodes are only two seasons apart. From the Christmas Carol to the upcoming "The Snowmen," he's gone from playing Ghost of Christmas Past to being Scrooge (by Word of Moffat).  
 Do you know why I'm going to let those people die?... I don't get anything from it. It's just that I don't care. I'm not like you. I don't even want to be like you. I don't and never ever will care.
--These lines from old Kazran are chillingly appropriate for Eleven from the clips we've seen. Maybe he wouldn't let someone die, but he doesn't seem to care. He doesn't even grin at Starx's declaration of war on the moon. And instead of the grand scenery with fog fish or tree-souls, we're wandering in a London fog, lost and alone.

The most important elements of his previous specials was family.  "A Christmas Carol" begins with a family asking for someone to be returned for Christmas, as well as showing the negative effects of Kazran's family on his life. When Abigail does reunite with her family,  we have a beautiful, cheerful scene of Christmas dinner, complete with paper crowns and crackers. "The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe" has even stronger themes, with Madge trying to protect her children from learning that their father is dead.  But the best, most wonderful scene for family comes at the end. After Madge guilts Eleven into visiting the Ponds-- You can't let them think that you're dead, not at Christmas-- he shows up at their front door.  Despite the initial awkwardness, they not only invite him in, but reveal they have a place set for him. Even though he's let them think he's dead for two years,  they've still held out hope that he'd come back. Just before he turns to go inside, he reaches up to wipe a tear from his eyes. Happy crying, you can almost hear him say.
That's my favorite Christmas special--not just because of the Narnia-inspired plot, but because he's so happy. After all he said to Madge about not having a family, not having a home--the last five minutes of the episode prove him so, so wrong. He does have a home and a family, and he's with them for Christmas. Most of David Tennant's specials featured a one-off companion --Astrid, Adelaide, Jackson--who leaves or dies, but the 2011 special ends with a reunion. 

And then...the snowmen trailer. The prequels. The clips. And, oh, my poor, poor, woobie Doctor. "No one should be alone at Christmas," especially after a loss like that. Even his top hat looks sad; Amy won't tease him about bowties, and River's not going to shoot this piece of apparel.  He needs someone.  River told him, Amy wrote in her letter----don't be alone.  I don't think he'll go all Time Lord Victorious--he doesn't seem to care enough for that. But just the horrible idea of him sitting in his box, day after day, perhaps only venturing out when Vastra tries to get his attention--the new TARDIS interior only makes it worse. If the TARDIS is a reflection of the Doctor, and it's gone so dark, grim, and cold after being so large and bright while he had the Ponds...and I don't even want to think about what those Gallifreyan symbols mean. Something sad, I imagine.  He's trying to get rid of everything that could possibly remind him of them--maybe even River. She said "Don't travel alone," but...okay, part of this is my Doctor/River ship, but I want her to walk up to him, slap him in the face and remind him that people still care. Or maybe have Sarah Jane back (a mad, impossible dream that makes me rather sad) and repeat what she said in Journey's End:
You know, you act like such a lonely man. But look at you. You've got the biggest family on Earth.
That's what he needs. That's why on my wish list for "The Snowman" is 
The Doctor’s smile. A real, honest, happy smile, not to hide pain or avoid questions, but because he’s actually happy.
 I don't care much if Clara snogs the Doctor. I don't care if the logic is silly or the title is simple. I just want him to be happy again.

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