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Doctor Who Extra: 5 Thoughts About “Vastra Investigates”

by  in Comic News, TV News Comment

If Steven Moffat isn’t angling to convince fandom to demand a Madame Vastra Investigates spin-off from Doctor Who, then it’s hard to imagine what he’s up to with the second prequel to this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special. Five quick thoughts about “Vastra Investigates,” perhaps? Why not?

Finally, The Sherlock/Doctor Who Crossover We Were Hoping For (Kind Of)
I have no idea whether or not it’s intentional or entirely accidental, but the Vastra/Jenny/Police relationship in this minisode feels to me in many ways a parody of the Holmes/Watson/Police dynamic, or at least the way that the dynamic is (mis-)understood in popular culture: Not just the homosexual relationship between the Victorian-era World’s Greatest Detective and sidekick, but the stupidity of the police both in comparison to Holmes/Vastra and just in general. And, of course, the sidekick being the one (a) who doesn’t display disdain when talking to the clearly-less-intelligent police, but is also (b) the more approachable, “human,” one of the pairing (In this case, literally). Whether intentional or not, it’s a really nice little touch that makes Vastra and Jenny even more fun to watch, and as a concept in general.

Funny-Looking Fellow
Even aside from the great “Turkish, is he?” line, I love Strax as the enforcer/heavy of the alien detective agency as seen at the start of this minisode: Even as it competes with the Holmes/Watson parallels of Vastra/Jenny, it gives the Victorian Extra Terrestrial Investigation Agency a “team” dynamic that makes it even more irresistible: They have the brains and the brawn! Seriously, if we could get The Sarah Jane Adventures as a spin-off from the RTD era of Who, isn’t there some way the BBC could manage to make this into a show of its own? Come on, BBC: It’s Christmas!

No Clouds…?
The minisode ends with the direct shout-out to “The Snowmen”: The fact that it’s snowing without there being any clouds in the sky. Clearly, something mysterious is going on with the weather, but what? Tune in on Christmas Day to find out, presumably; it’s a subtle cliffhanger (The viewer could, if they wanted, just assume that it’s an oddity and ignore it), but also a fairly significant signpost as to where the Christmas Special is headed.

The Man With Two Broken Hearts
Moffat, at his best, manages to put things that have become (overly-)familiar in Who lore into sharp relief with a well-turned phrase or simple plot development (Think of the way that “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang” really took advantage of the Doctor’s actions throughout the years and also the time travel aspect of the basic concept in ways that made both seem fresh); here, he does the same with the concept of a man with two hearts being sadder than most when he’s brokenheart(s)ed. I admit that I still have problems with the idea that losing Amy and Rory to the past would upset him this much considering the far worse fates that other companions have suffered throughout the series, but still: I’ll forgive the concept if it means we have this kind of thing.

Clara Is The Secret (Weapon)
Two prologues, and still no Clara. It’s not that the BBC is keeping her under wraps, because she’s all over the trailers, but I’m curious as to why we’ve not even seen a sneak of her in the minisodes so far; is it that her character/personality is meant to be more of a surprise when we actually meet her, or that the weirdness/interesting stuff doesn’t begin for her until after she meets the Doctor…? Or perhaps, of course, the producers and the BBC know just how eager we are to meet her, and so they’re keeping that back to give us even more reason to watch the episode itself.