As the episode begins, we’re transported to the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa. Captain Forbes (Ben Lamb) speaks with King Gezo (Derek Ezenagu). Forbes makes it clear that Britain will no longer accept slavery. King Gezo gives a young girl to Forbes in hopes of satisfying the queen. Meanwhile, Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) tries to encourage Victoria (Jenna Coleman) to get into the season and play holiday music on the piano. Next, we see that Mrs. Forbes (Catherine Steadman) and her husband have started caring for the young girl, Sarah (Zaris-Angel Hator). Back at the castle, Albert gives Penge (Adrian Schiller) orders for preparing the hall for Christmas. Later, Penge tells the other servants that he has acquired more shares in a certain Northern railway. He believes that his investments will pay off and get him out of the palace by next Christmas. Victoria learns that Forbes wishes to give her something. She agrees to meet with him.
Forbes tells his wife that he intends to give Sarah to Victoria as instructed by the King. Mrs. Forbes is not happy to lose Sarah. Victoria speaks with Skerrett (Nell Hudson) about her first Christmas without Lehzen. Albert arrives with a surprise. She finds her mother and Leopold (Alex Jennings) in the music hall. She is also given a parrot. Francatelli (Ferdinand Kingsley) tells Skerrett that he would like to marry her. She suggests otherwise, since she is married to her work. Next, Forbes takes Sarah to Victoria. The Queen learns about Sarah’s troubles and the death of her family. She quickly agrees to make her a member of the family. Next, Albert and Ernest (David Oakes) go on the hunt for a Christmas tree. During their search, Albert speaks about his fond memories of Christmas. The Duchess of Buccleuch (Diana Rigg) speaks with Wilhelmina (Bebe Cave) about Victoria’s decision. She scolds her for bringing an African child into the palace.
She also encourages Wilhelmina to find a man and settle down. Ernest is forced to spend time with Princess Gertrude (Nina Pavlovic). The Duchess suggests that Alfred Paget (Jordan Waller) would make a good husband. Albert and the Duchess of Kent (Catherine Flemming) try to convince Victoria that adopting Sarah would be a bad idea. She refuses to listen. Skerrett receives a letter from a prominent lawyer. Victoria gets a portrait painted for Christmas. She intends to give it to Albert. Meanwhile, Albert works with a jeweler to get Victoria a suitable Christmas gift. Skerrett visits the lawyer and learns that a relative in South Carolina has passed. She is the only living relative, so she is set to inherit his property. She intends to sell, but has a change of heart when she learns that she now owns slaves. When she returns to the palace, Francatelli wants to know all about it. Victoria’s painting is finished. Her mother is not happy with it. Leopold speaks with Ernest and tries to convince him that he can still marry, despite his condition.
Victoria attends an opera, while Sarah sobs in her bed. Alfred begins to cry. Coke gives him a handkerchief. Victoria’s uncle, the King of Hanover (Peter Firth), interrupts. He makes a comment about Victoria’s necklace, which belonging to his mother. Brodie (Tommy Knight) and Francatelli speaks with Penge about the railway. They try to convince him that he has made a mistake. Again, Albert tries to convince Victoria that keeping Sarah would be wrong. Victoria suggests that the girl has no one else. Albert doesn’t believe so. The next day, the family goes out in the snow. Victoria and Sarah make a snowman, while the others skate. Victoria gets a visit from the King of Hanover. He tries to force her to hand over the necklace. She refuses. Skerrett reads the will and learns that one of the slaves is a young girl. Victoria complains to Albert about the necklace. He tells her to hand it over. That starts an argument.
Sarah wanders the halls and speaks with the parrot. She seems to connect with it, since the bird is caged. She hears Victoria crying and cheers her up. Later, Victoria and Albert venture to the servant quarters. They dance and party with the servants. Instead of dancing with Gertrude, Ernest dances with Cleary (Tilly Steele). Albert speaks with Leopold about the necklace. Then, he chats with Penge about the railway. Ernest leaves. Harriet (Margaret Clunie) follows him back to his room. They begin making out, but Ernest stops and tells her that he has changed his mind. He only likes forbidden ones. A distraught Harriet leaves. Skerrett speaks with Penge. He admits that he has lost his life savings. She explains her situation and they agree they’re in a similar boat. Both insists that everyone should be able to make their own choices. Sarah writes a letter to Mrs. Forbes. King Leopold finds Harriet in the hallway. He tells her that Gertrude has left. He also tells Harriet about Ernest’s condition.
Coke gives Alfred a lock of Drummond’s hair. He tells her that he wouldn’t have been able to endure the past months without her. Alfred asks Wilhelmina to marry him. She says yes. Once again, Albert and Victoria get into an argument about Sarah. Albert insists Sarah had a home with the Forbes. He suggests that Victoria is simply trying to show up her mother. Skerrett visits the lawyer and gives the slaves their freedom. Ernest speaks with Albert about his Christmas memories. He tells him that he is wrong. The Christmas he remembers is the last one they spent with their mother. Sarah goes missing. Victoria begins to search for her. Instead, she finds Albert on skates. The ice breaks and he goes under. Albert manages to emerge from the water and climb back to safety. Later, Victoria and Skerrett speaks with Sarah. They learn her name back home. Sarah also admits she missed Mrs. Forbes. Ernest apologizes to Albert. He admits he was angry, because he will never be able to marry the woman he loves. Francatelli is proud of Skerrett. He asks her to marry him. She agrees.
They admit that they do not carry if they get dismissed. The next day, Victoria hands Sarah over to Mrs. Forbes. Victoria tells Sarah that she is sending a gift along too. Harriet speaks with Ernest. She admits she doesn’t care about his condition. He explains that he cannot drag her down to his level. The Christmas celebrations begin. Sarah enjoys Christmas with the Forbes family. We see that she has the parrot at her new home. The King of Hanover arrives and agrees to let Victoria have the necklace as a Christmas gift. Albert learns from Leopold how he manages to change the King’s mind. Victoria encourages her uncle to stay for dinner. Afterwards, Victoria and Albert exchange gifts. Albert admits he loves the painting. Then, they speak about Lehzen. Albert reminds Victoria that they’re no longer children.
The Christmas special of Victoria was great. It might have been a special add-on episode, but it covered a great deal and still moved the story forward. Harriet finally learned about Ernest’s condition. As expected, she really didn’t mind. She still seems interest in developing a relationship with Ernest. Alfred and Wilhelmina agreed to get married, while Skerrett and Francatelli did as well. Perhaps the episode was a little too perfect for everyone, except Penge?
All in all, I enjoyed the episode greatly. It scores a solid 8 out of 10. Catch up with previous recaps of Victoria now!