The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

Some days just don’t go very well for the Doctor, as you could already see in the prequel to this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe.

The story starts pretty explosive, with the Doctor ending on Earth in something of a predicament. Luckily for him, the very friendly and caring Madge Arwell lends him a hand and gets him into a his faithful Tardis. It is pre-World War II England and Madge’s family is happily living in a quiet village.

Years later, the war has errupted into full blast and her husband, Reg, is an RAF pilot in trouble somewhere over the Channel. Presumed death, Marge receives a telegram. Being evacutated to the country to the manor of a family member, she decides not to tell her children Lily and Cyril that their father has died, not wanting them to forever see Christmas as the thing that took their father away.

She tells the Doctor this much while believing he is nothing but the eccentric caretaker of the manor house who builds in all sorts of ridiculous “improvements” (lemonade tap anyone?).

The children meanwhile are not only impressed by the giant Christmas tree (which is indeed rather epic), but especially by the strange enormous blue-wrapped gift with the white ribbon (Tardis colors, what else did anyone expect?).

And, of course, the kids go wandering at night. Lilly ends up in the Doctor’s room, asking a lot of questions about the Tardis, while Cyril decides to go exploring inside the present, which turns out to be a pathway too another planet entirely.

Where the question poses itself, just like in any good Doctor Who episode: “Why does a forest need people?”

What should have been a present shaped trip to a safe forest planet with wonderful live Christmas tree-like inhabitants and beautiful stars ends up in a struggle for survival of the planet’s inhabitants filled with acid rain, a huge mech-type robot and a shortcut straight into Christmas through the Time Vortex. Only to find out what and who exactly Madge managed to guide home all the way accross from 5345 future alien planet back to mid-Second World War England.

Having incidentally saved the Arwell family Christmas (“Hold on and pretend it’s a plan!”), it is Madge who, on realizing who the Doctor is when she sees the Tardis, incites the Doctor to go celebrate with his loved ones, giving the lonely Timelord the realization that he isn’t as alone as he really thought and that, deep down, he may be more human than he realized.

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