In Review: A Christmas Carol – Episode Three

Scrooge is shown the consequences of his actions by Spirits of Christmas Present and Future. 

Synopsis: Scrooge is shown the consequences of his actions by Spirits of Christmas Present and Future.

Review: The story wraps up in a very different way that illustrates that not all of Scrooge’s actions are forgivable, but we all move forward.

The Story

The episode picks up from where last night left off. A bargain has been struck between Scrooge and Mary, but while it is an act of selflessness for Mary who is only doing it to help her son. It is nothing more than a cruel experiment to Scrooge who wishes to find out how far a good person will go in order to get the money that they need. Mary is totally humiliated by Scrooge’s cruel experiment and departs threatening to summon the spirits to give Scrooge the reality check he so needs. On that note. The Ghost of Christmas past leaves Scrooge and passes the Bataan to Christmas Present.

Christmas Present makes her self known to Scrooge and to his surprise it is his dead Sister. The sister who saved him from the Schoolmaster and pretty much holds the keys to Scrooge’s heart. She takes him on a tour of the here and now. Showing him the things that he never sees. The after-effects of his cruel actions. It is here that Scrooge begins to soften and it is also here that his heart begins to feel for the fate of Tiny Tim.

The next spirit is that of Christmas Future who shows Scrooge the fate of Tiny Tim and his own fate if he doesn’t change his ways. After this final visitation, Scrooge gets one more conversation with Marley who reveals that he needs to change for both their fates.

The Acting

Charlotte Riley puts in a strong performance as The Ghost of Christmas Future who very much speaks like a social worker while she is showing Scrooge the various things that she needs to show him. I felt the Ghost of Christmas Present was very underused in this adaptation, which is a great shame because I’d loved to have seen more of Riley’s interpretation. The chemistry she had with Guy Pearce’s Scrooge was really good. It seemed very true to how an older sister would treat their younger brother. The finale scene they have is brilliantly done. I loved the line where she tells her brother not to give Christmas Future any of his excuses or justifications.


I really loved the fact that Scrooge’s dead sister was the Ghost of Christmas Present. Logically she is the only person that could have filled that role given that in life she was the person that tried to teach Scrooge how to love and how to embrace the world instead of keeping it at bay. Also in the book, she is the trigger point for Scrooge turning to his miserly ways. So as far as a modern take goes. It made perfect sense for his sister to be the person that shows his present and the true meaning of family and community.

For those expecting Scrooge to be totally redeemed and running around town filled to the brimming point with Christmas Spirit by the end of the show. Think again. He is a changed man for sure, but it is only the beginning and he will never be fully able to redeem himself in the eyes of Mary Cratchet. But it is her power to reach the spirits, which offers Scrooge a second chance at life. Thankfully she doesn’t forgive him and he doesn’t go on to be the kindly uncle to Tiny Tim like in the book and all prior adaptations. That sort of ending just wouldn’t work given the implication of how he treated Mary and the fact that she still keeps it secret. Instead, Scrooge gives Bob £500 to help his family. Warns Tim not to go skating and pretty much announces that he is closing up shop.

Overall. This was a very dark and bleak adaptation with a lot of dark humor thrown into the mix. I doubt we’ll ever see a darker interpretation than this. This only means that future interpretations will likely remain fairly moderate and not be so bleak.

I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get any scenes of Scrooge and his nephew other than the one scene at the start of the story. But was probably sacrificed in order to add the new twist involving Scrooge and the Cratchets as well as Marley’s journey through purgatory.


A Christmas Carol - Episode Three
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI & Stunts
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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