‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special spoilers: ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ recap

By @chelean on
"Doctor Who" Christmas Special "The Return of Doctor Mysterio"
"Doctor Who" Christmas Special "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" bbc.co.uk

“Doctor Who” Christmas Special was a treat for both the young and old on Sunday. “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” did not give viewers fresh storyline but it still did not disappoint as the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) once again gave another special child powers he did not ask for.

‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ spoilers ahead

Although it has been a year since “Doctor Who” graced the small screen, “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” wasn’t as anticipated as last year’s special when River Song (Alex Kingston) returned in “The Husbands of River Song.” River has had a rich history with the Doctor, and a significant chapter in her story was still unaddressed then. Hence, her return was highly anticipated.

It’s not the case with “The Return of Doctor Mysterio.” Apart from Nardole (Matt Lucas), the characters are new, and therefore Whovians didn’t have particular attachment to or even expectation on any of them. What it lacks in familiar character it more than makes up for its enjoyable – and Superman-esque – storyline.

In the episode, the Gallifreyan Time Lord accidentally gave an 8-year-old boy superpowers on Christmas Eve 1992 in New York  while attempting to reverse the paradoxes he created the last time he was there (season 7, episode 5 “The Angels Take Manhattan”). If this is familiar, it’s because the Doctor also gave Ashildr (Maisie Williams) the superpower of immortality (season 9, “The Girl Who Died”) without her knowing.

The boy, Grant (Logan Hoffman), swallowed a gemstone, which he thought was a pill given to him by the “Doctor” as medication for his cold and which gave him superpowers like levitation, x-ray vision and superhuman strength. The Doctor warned Grant not to use his powers before he left.

Thinking that the superpowers would pass after a while, the Doctor checked in with Grant after a few years, only to find out that the superpowers were already ingrained in Grant’s DNA and would not go away anymore.

They met again in the future, 24 years later. Grant (Justin Chatwin) now employed as a nanny to an infant by a single mother, who happened to be reporter Lucy Fletcher (Charity Wakefield), and moonlighted as The Ghost, a Superman-like hero who used his powers to save people. And when the plot is loosely based on the DC superhero character, there must be a love triangle à la Superman-Lois Lane-Clark Kent. The episode did not disappoint with The Ghost-Lucy-Grant love triangle.

The bad guys in the episode were body-snatching brain aliens whose evil plan was to conquer Earth. The Doctor and Nardole, whom he kept as temporary companion following the events of “The Husbands of River Song,” were preventing that from happening when they encountered a story-snooping Lucy. And when the scene was about to get violent, they were saved by The Ghost, who flew Lucy to her home before changing back to being “Grant.” And just like that, their lives were intertwined again.

Back to the villains, they weren’t much of a problem. As the Doctor repeatedly told them, they weren’t the first or the most original of aliens who came to the planet with the exact same plan. And so defeating them wasn’t a concern.

As for River Song, it was revealed that the Doctor was still grieving her death but he knew he had to move on to another chapter. As he sagely put it, “Everything ends and it’s always sad. But everything begins again, and it’s always happy. Be happy.”

As good as the episode was, perhaps the best thing about the “Doctor Who” Christmas special wasn’t in the episode itself, but in the season 10 teaser trailer, in which Bill (Pearl Mackie) narrates her adventurous life after meeting “Doctor What.” The one-minute video has effectively excited Whovians for the upcoming season.

Watch ‘Doctor Who’ season 10 teaser