"The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe"

One Christmas Eve an injured space “angel”, the Doctor (Matt Smith), is aided by a woman. It is 1938 and the Doctor is traveling alone. He has just saved the Earth from another incoming alien attack, but in the process he has broken up the ship he was on. He has enough time to grab and drop a spacesuit before he lets go and follows the suit. He gets it on in time to enter Earth’s atmosphere, but puts the helmet on backwards. The young woman sees him land and goes to help. He tells her that he will repay her someday; she just needs to make a wish.

Fast forward three years and the woman, Madge Arwell (Claire Skinner), is devastated by grief, but intends to give her children a good Christmas. Her husband and the kids’ father Reg Arwell (Alexander Armstrong), has been lost over the sea while flying a plane during a WWII mission. The kids don’t know yet, she is waiting until after Christmas to tell them. So, to escape a war-torn London they go to Uncle Digby’s country estate.

Uncle Digby’s place is quite dilapidated and comes with an absentminded caretaker. You guessed it, the caretaker is the Doctor. The kids, Cyril Atwell (Maurice Cole) and Lily Atwell (Holly Earl), had broken a wishbone before leaving home and that is when Madge finally made her own wish.

The Doctor has upgraded some rooms inside and also left a tree with a gift. Once Cyril thinks everyone is asleep he unwraps the gift and finds a portal inside. Curious, he steps into it.

Meanwhile, Lily has become worried about her brother as she had seen a bright light come from his room. She seeks out the Doctor and they realize he is not in the house. They catch Cyril as he steps into the portal. The Doctor and Lily step in behind him. The Doctor explains that the portal led to the safest planet he knows and he was going to take them on a chaperoned tour of it.

Madge starts to feel anxious back at home. She goes to check on her children and finds no one around. She does find the portal, though. She also goes through it in search of hers kids.

To tell you much more would spoil it. The last few things I can say matter, though. Cyril was lured to the planet and it is not as safe as the Doctor thought. The story also shows the strength of a mother’s love.

In the end the Doctor goes back to his Companions, Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill). It has been two years since he last saw them. Amy invites him in for dinner, letting him know they always set a place for him. Sometimes a family is what you make it.

Next up: "The Snowmen"