By Joseph Walter
Most intriguing, however, is that one of the thirteen episodes is a dedicated Christmas special.
In the future-1940s world of the show, the setting is Paradigm City. It's an art-deco metropolis, with portions covered by immense domes. A mysterious event forty years ago wiped out everyone's memories of anything prior to that time. Things as common to us as flying are nearly unfathomable to them, so you can imagine that they have no idea what Christmas is. To them, it's the day Paradigm City was founded. Despite this, they celebrate much like us: Gifts are exchanged, trees are decorated, and people spend time with friends and family.
On to our second Christmas Special present!
Despite the festive season, numerous terrorist threats have been popping up around the city, threatening a cataclysm of some sort. The police are on high alert but can't seem to figure out if the threats are credible or not.
Oliver, who has been playing every day in the hopes of earning enough money before the 25th to purchase his blind girlfriend something worthwhile is approached by a strange man one night. The man, looking like a decrepit Santa Claus, hands Oliver a shimmering gold seed before laughing exasperatedly and disappearing into the night.
It turns out that that man was the one who made the threats in the first place, and while Oliver plays in the heart of the city the next day, the seed in his pocket hatches and an enormous, biological, tree-like terror grows, quickly taking root through multiple city blocks and causing massive devastation.
Roger Smith calls upon his giant robot, The Big O, and does battle with the creature. He outlasts it, saves Oliver, and then exchanges a gift with Dorothy while Oliver plays "Jingle Bells" and finally gets some recognition from the crowd that's gathered around them in a jovial, touching celebration.
Alex Rosewater, the CEO of the Paradigm Corporation (and de facto governor of the city) refuses to be escorted to safety during the fracas. He turns to the general at his side and asks "do you know the true meaning of Heaven's Day?" The general is frazzled and confused, unsure how to respond. Alex calmly but authoritatively replies "it's the day God's son of was born," and marches back into his building.
Another element, although not nearly as meaningful, is the huge tree creature, when fully grown, looks like a Christmas tree, and the decorations hanging from the dome fall on it to complete the look. Apparently, it was designed to grow up until that point and simply expire. A twisted Christmas wish from the mad Santa scientist? I suppose so!
Lastly, at the end of each episode in the series, they end with either "We Have Come to Terms" (meaning the case is closed) or "No Side" (When it isn't). This one ends with "Merry Xmas."
I know a lot of that seems so heavy-handed, or overly blatant, but there's something truly genuine about it. It's not sarcastic, or cynical. It simply understands and exudes that nearly intangible "Christmas Spirit" that many talk about, but few can describe.
In the end, the show perfectly nails the nostalgia that is so deeply tied to this particular holiday. So many of our Christmas memories become rose-tinted and even more cherished as the years go on, and it even happens in a world with no memory.