This post contains spoilers for The Christmas Chronicles Part 2
The Christmas Chronicles Part 2 returns Netflix viewers to the magical world of Kurt Russell’s North Pole as his splendidly bearded Santa Claus saves Christmas again (with help, of course), but the ending includes a plot hole that makes a key moment nonsensical. In a story that is otherwise knowingly stuffed with festive tropes – to the point that it feels a little like a Greatest Hits parade of them – it’s a head-scratching moment at the end of the film’s most logic-challenging sequence.
The Netflix Christmas movie sequel brings back Russell alongside his real-life partner Goldie Hawn (who cameoed in The Christmas Chronicles) and original star Darby Camp for a typically sweet story set around Santa’s magical village. Adding Julian Dennison’s bad elf Belsnickel (complete with killer festive cat Yule Cat sidekick) ticks the drama along nicely as he takes his Christmas exile as the catalyst for an attack on Santa’s very existence. Cue a heist, a fetch narrative, a backstory deep dive and an illogical time traveling sub-plot that materializes out of nowhere and you’ve got a recipe for a fun festive romp.
The problem comes, somewhat expectedly, during the time travel plot that Christopher Columbus seems to throw in for the chance to do a vintage Home Alone reference. In the sequence, Santa and Kate are sent back to 1990 by Belsnickel as he steals the Christmas Star that powers all of the North Pole and makes Christmas possible. Struck by a sudden need to raise Christmas spirit, Santa sings and breakdances and Kate accidentally bumps into her father, then a teenager and almost three decades before his untimely death. They bond, Kate says goodbye when she realizes the truth and then when eventually parting from Santa, thanks him for the chance to say goodbye. Santa nods sagely, missing the point that he had absolutely nothing to do with the whole affair. It was Belsnickel that advanced the plot that way and the movie never acknowledges the mistake.
The result is that Santa appears to take credit for a little festive magic that he played no part in. Sure, it could have been painted as a moment of ingenuity when Santa and Kate are helplessly sent to the Boston airport in 1990, but he’s too busy dancing with Glee‘s Patrick Gallagher to the sounds of Darlene Love to possibly orchestrate such a thing. Instead, Belsnickel’s plot that randomly chooses a date sets up the opportunity and Kate stumbles upon her father when she’s arrested for shoplifting. Santa’s part in proceedings is distracting background noise and it’s a shame because, remarkably, the rest of the narrative runs quite coherently.
In the end, even the suggestion that Belsnickel unwittingly sent Kate to her father for a chance to say goodbye would have been fitting, because he’s never given a real redemption arc beyond the sudden conclusion that he’s just misunderstood and duly forgiven. And while The Christmas Chronicles Part 2 is a lot of fun and will no doubt give Netflix one of its biggest viewing bumps of the final quarter of 2020, it’s an impossible plot hole to ignore.