I can’t type that without a twinge of regret that last year’s Christmas special wasn’t titled ‘Twelfth Night.’ Ah well.
I just watched this episode for only the second time. My first impression was not that great, as I recall. I didn’t remember especially liking the episode, in spite of having a great first impression of Matt Smith in the regeneration scene.
Well, I am here to tell you it holds up brilliantly.
First of all, it’s really, really funny. Amelia is perfect: her face, her accent, her youthful world-weariness. The food scene is hilarious. She takes everything in stride, and in the end enjoys an unconventional snack time with her new friend. A friend who is as alien as she is – a Scottish girl forced to live in England, home and parents lost. No wonder they get on so well.
Then, as the little girl with the suitcase runs past a door suddenly open – all at once it’s terrifying.
I watched this immediately after ‘The End of Time.’ I had never gotten to see the three as a set; although in-universe they happen all one right after the other, in broadcast they were months apart and the wait for the S5 DVD was at least as long. They make for an interesting contrast. I found myself wearying of Ten’s angst and melodrama. It was high time for a spot of fun, and Eleven’s first outing supplied it. It was time for a spot of horror, and Prisoner Zero supplied it. The episode was a breath of fresh air.
I would also like to comment further on Olivia Colman. Lots of guest stars appear on Doctor Who; lots of people show up once and are never seen again. Mostly I don’t remember their faces; if I see them again, they may or may not look familiar, and even if they do I usually can’t place them without looking up a filmography. But when promos for Broadchurch turned up, I recognized her at once. She had that big of an impact.
On re-watching, I can tell you she is terrifying. Expressionless and flat of voice, she is the vessel through which the monster and the Doctor speak. I had thought it impossible to love her even more, and yet I do. 🙂