Doctor Who’s Christmas Special and The Return of Sherlock

So I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and watch Doctor Who and Sherlock. My quick first impressions of both episodes?

Sadly, after the brilliant anniversary episode, Doctor Who’s Christmas special was fairly disappointing. There wasn’t much character development at all, the plot moved a tad bit too quickly, explanations to long unanswered questions felt rushed, and the whole Christmas theme felt like an afterthought. A town called Christmas. Really? Also, what was with that whole naked thing? Not the least bit funny. And when did Matt Smith start doing his Usain Bolt poses? “This old thing? I’ve been rocking it for centuries!” (cue Usain Bolt pose)

Also, the whole extra regeneration cycle explanation was awful. I feel cheated. I expected a bit more background or detail or just something better. A little cloud of regeneration energy and everything’s solved? We’ve got a whole new 12 regenerations? That’s it? The Timelords didn’t even say anything! Just a little cloud, and that’s it. Job done. Everyone go home. While we’re at it, let’s just close this crack in the universe and have some tea. What just happened? I’ll probably need to rewatch it in case I’m getting something wrong (and if I am, I apologize in advance) but right now, I feel cheated with this poor excuse of an explanation.

Regeneration

[Image courtesy of smittenbybritain.com]

And there are still so many unanswered questions. WHERE’S THE VALEYARD? Does he show up at the end of the new cycle of regenerations? I’ve been looking forward to his appearance for ages! The Dreamlord episode was so much fun. Just imagine how cool the Valeyard would be! And how exactly did they blow up the TARDIS? When did they blow it up, anyway? Where’s Madam Kovarian? Am I spelling that right? How did this Tasha Lem person learn to fly the TARDIS? When Captain Jack clung to the TARDIS, it killed him (savvy?). How did Clara survive the journey? She’s a paradox so the TARDIS should have tried to get rid of her ASAP like it did with Jack, no? The paradox being that she jumped into The Doctor’s timestream to save his life, but now he doesn’t die at Trenzalore so there’s no timestream to jump into so she can’t have save him etc. She truly is the Impossible Girl. It’s all timey-whimey and I’m still having trouble getting my head round it.

Also, where’s the Great Intelligence? What happened to it/them/him? And how did The Doctor get out of his timestream in The Name Of The Doctor? He was carrying Clara and walked off when the camera panned over to the War Doctor. We didn’t see him leave the timestream at all. Did he jump out some time in the future? Did he jump out through the same point in time he went in? I’m confused. How does The Doctor (or anyone, for that matter) know what the Silence/Priest things are if they all forget the second they look away? As far as I can remember, none of them was wearing an eye patch memory thing.

I don’t mean to be extremely critical; it wasn’t all bad. I did enjoy some of it. The Silence as priests was a clever idea. The regeneration scene was brilliant, and easily the most anticipated part of the whole episode (admittedly, the only thing I wanted to see in the entire episode was Peter Capaldi). The second he showed up on screen, you knew the wait until Series 8 would be completely worth it.

While I still prefer 10th’s regeneration (don’t look at me like that, the ‘I don’t want to go’ line gets me every time), 11th’s regeneration was a fitting send-off to Matt Smith’s amazing 4 year tenure as the madman with a box. The Amy Pond cameo, complete with fish fingers and custard, was a lovely little touch. It made Matt’s final speech as the Doctor even more emotional and powerful.

I Will Always Remember

[Image courtesy of scifi4me.files.wordpress.co]

And Matt proved once again that he is an outstanding actor. He is and always will be the Doctor. And I believe I speak for all Doctor Who fans when I say that we will not forget one line of this, not one day, we swear. We will always remember when Matt Smith was the Doctor. Raggedy man, goodnight.

#SherlockLives

After watching Doctor Who, Sherlock, was a much more welcome return. How he faked his death was the anticipated thing. We all had our own theories. Some say he threw Moriarty’s body down. Others shot this theory down immediately (John SAW him jump!). Then there was that random truck which just happened to drive away as John ran to the body. Did Sherlock perhaps jump in the truck and then throw Moriarty’s body on the street wearing a Sherlock mask (which he used when dealing with those mercury eating kids)?

Sherlock & Moriarty

[Image courtesy of cdn-static.denofgeek.com]

The theorising was a lot of fun. Ultimately, when we finally saw how he did it, it had to be a disappointment. There was no other possible outcome. It had been hyped to such an extent, the only thing possible was for it to be a let-down. But let’s be honest, we still loved it 🙂

Though, to be fair, it wasn’t really fair to the viewer, was it? How were we supposed to know there’d be a massive airbag? I think we did the best we did with the scenes we had seen and I applaud everyone’s effort for that. But I feel, as I assume we all do, that Anderson’s reaction reflected the viewer’s thoughts perfectly.

Anderson

[Image courtesy of i.i.cbsi.com]

*Sherlock explains entire death-faking sequence*

Sherlock: Neat, don’t you think?
Anderson: Hmm….
Sherlock: What?
Anderson: Not the way I’d have done it…

Speaking of theories, the whole Moriarty and Sherlock theory was hilarious! I thoroughly enjoyed watching them as if they were doing a prank call.

The second most anticipated thing was John’s reaction to Sherlock’s return. And it was brilliant. Definitely different to that in the books! Also, Sherlock acting as a French waiter in his attempt to surprise John was very amusing; it was very similar to the Sherlock Holmes played by Robert Downey Jr. in the movie versions. However, while RDJ’s humor was built into his portrayal of the character, seeing this cold and detached version of Holmes act like a phony waiter was an unexpectedly funny surprise. It reminds me more of The Doctor than Cumberbatch’s rendition of Sherlock Holmes, to be honest.

We also got a look at Mary, John’s wife-to-be. She seems likeable enough and is clever/witty as well, but I’m not entirely sure how she’ll fit into the story. Will she act like her counterpart in the Sherlock Holmes movies or will she play the role a bit differently? Depends on the writing, I suppose. Either way, I think the fact that she’s played by Martin Freeman’s real life partner is very cool.

Sherlock Watson Mycroft

[Image courtesy of scifipulse.net]

Mycroft and Sherlock’s little deduction game was very cool, too. I loved how they threw the hat around, with Sherlock trying so hard to outsmart Mycroft. The banter was brilliant.

Now for the negativity. For a 1.5 hour episode, the plot felt a bit weak. There wasn’t a real sense of engagement or urgency. It was more of a filler episode than anything. It gave us a glimpse at what everyone’s been up to since Sherlock’s death, it showed us how they all reacted to his return, it also gave us a glimpse at the new villain, played by Lars Mikkelsen. While we’ve got that to look forward to, I can’t help but think: is Moriarty really dead? I guess we’ll just find out…

Lars Mikkelsen

New Sherlock villain [Image courtesy of walesonline.co.uk]

As for Sherlock himself, he’s changed a lot since his death. I imagine dying would do that to most people. He’s sort of mellowed out a bit. He’s complimenting people now. He’s thanking them. He actually admitted he doesn’t know everything (gasp!). He’s lost his ego/arrogance. Is it because he no longer has anyone to show off to? Also, he’s now got a sense of humour. He’s developed a lot since we last saw him. It’s like he’s become more human. It’s weird.

Not too sure how I feel about the new music either, it’s a bit too loud/bassy/electronic/dubsteppy (is that even a word?). The title music is still the same (thank god) but the sequence now has some scenes from the new series. Also, the visual effects department have definitely kicked it up a notch! Lots more to look forward to.

All in all, after waiting for 2 long years, this episode was a solid return for Sherlock. It was worth the anticipation and constant theorising. And Sherlock’s best quote of the episode pretty much summarized what many a Sherlockian (yes, apparently that’s what they call themselves) had been thinking about their life for the past two long years:

“What life? I’ve been away.”

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