In Review: A Christmas Carol – Episode Two

Scrooge is visited by the first of three spirits.

Synopsis: Scrooge is visited by the first of three spirits.

Review: Scrooge is taken on a journey into his past and shown the consequences of his actions.

The Story

After having told Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts. Marley returns to the bonfire where the Ghost of Christmas past is waiting. Marley tells the ghost that he has told Scrooge and got absolutely no indication of remorse from him. Christmas Past then puts his top hat on and heads out for a haunting relishing the challenge that Scrooge holds for him.

While sitting in his chamber Scrooge is somewhat anxiously awaiting the challenge of the haunting and doing his best to convince himself that it is all a trick. He then hears bells and sees a little white mouse with a bell. It was his pet from childhood and the root of great pain for him because his abusive father killed the mouse before he sent scrooge away to a school where it is strongly intimated that he was abused by the schoolmaster.

As the Ghost gives Scrooge a tour of his past. We begin to learn the true darkness that soils Scrooge’s soul and just how irredeemable he is. We also get a glance at just how courageous his sister was when she rescues him from the abusive schoolmaster. Throughout the haunting. The Ghost takes on various forms so as to make particular points to Scrooge.

The episode concludes where Scrooge exploits Bob Cratchet’s wife and her family’s situation for 30 banknotes. The deal is she service him at 4 pm on Christmas day.

The Acting

Andy Serkis is absolutely brilliant as the Ghost of Christmas Past who offers up a challenge to Scrooge’s logic. Especially when he tries to justify the hurt he has caused in the name of the business. The scene where he gets Scrooge to tell him exactly how much profit that was made year on year was really strong. Guy Pearce continues to be really strong as Scrooge and is particularly impressive in the final scene, which is where this show is at its darkest and where Scrooge shows his true colors.


This second episode fully commits to the darker tone that was hinted at in last night’s opening chapter and deviates quite heavily from the book and prior interpretations of the book. In this version, Scrooge is the victim of abuse and becomes an abuser to a point where you actually begin to wonder if he can be redeemed at all. The part where the Ghost is taking Scrooge down a mine that he and Marley owned was about as subtle as a sledgehammer. It even goes as far as Scrooge trying to give the official story that he and Marley used to justify it.

The most disturbing part is toward the close of the episode where the ghost shows Scrooge one of his worst crimes. We see Mary Cratchett coming to his office for a loan. Scrooge refuses and instead offers her the £30 pounds she needs for her son’s operation in exchange for her services on Christmas Day where she will have to do exactly what he says. Thankfully the scrooge observing himself during this scene begins to show some indication of remorse, but nowhere near enough for my liking.

Overall. This deviates a hell of a lot from what we know, but by the same token is quite believable if Scrooge was a real character, which of course he isn’t. But you could imagine someone with so much wealth and power using it in such a way as Scrooge does in this version of events. The question is whether or not they’d ever truly been able to redeem themselves because I think anyone with any sense of conscience would not be able to pay such a high debt when it comes to having caused some much human suffering.

While this edgy approach to the story may be too dark for many people. It certainly does give cause for an interesting discussion about the human condition in general, but it also isn’t something that is as fun to watch as the original story, which is a cartoon when compared to this.


A Christmas Carol - Episode Two
  • 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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