(This was (mostly) written right after Christmas)
Oh hey there Doctor! How’ve you been? It’s only been, what? A YEAR?!…Dammit Moffat.
Oh well, at least we get another Christmas Special out of it…that doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas…Dammit Moffat. Welcome to ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’.
WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS FOR THE DOCTOR WHO 2016 CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
The Doctor lands in New York…somehow.
(Before we go on with the summery: Uh, hey Doc! Wasn’t the fact that you couldn’t come back to New York the whole reason you couldn’t save Amy and Rory? Yes? No? Screw you then! And if you’ve fixed that, WHY HAVE YOU STILL NOT SAVED AMY AND RORY!!?…Sorry, I’m still bitter.)
Anyway, he comes across a young boy named Grant Gordon while building a device and accidentally, after the kid swallows a wish granting stone for his machine, give Grant superpowers. Years later, the Doctor investigates a company called Harmony Shoals along with Nardole, Matt Lucas’s character from the previous Christmas Special, where they discover a reporter named Lucy Fletcher, played by Charity Wakefield, investigating the same company for shady business practice that, of course, ending being an alien invasion. They are saved from one of the aliens, Dr. Sims played by Aleksandar Jovanovic by an honest to God superhero called The Ghost, played by Justin Chatwin, who the Doctor realises is Grant, Lucy’s childhood friend who works as her nanny. The race is on to uncover the aliens’ plot while engaging in superheroesce hijinks. All while the Doctor is mourning River…it’s not a spoiler. We knew at the end of the last special it would be the last time the Doctor, and thus us, saw her.
In terms of being a Christmas Special, it’s really just window dressing, but as a superhero story starring The Doctor, it’s actually very good. In a world where we fluctuate between the fun and optimistic Marvel and the dark and downer “realistic” DC in terms of live action superhero films (X-Men films being hit or miss depending on who you ask unless they’re R-Rated), it’s nice to get a mix of the two. By that I mean, what if DC was run by Marvel? Also, what if the Doctor was there?
Grant Gordon (Alliteration Names, a true sign of a superhero) is essentially Superman-lite with the same powers, same mild mannered alter ego in love with a reporter (though he’s a city raised nanny instead of a country raised reporter), but he isn’t as much of a boy scout as Superman. More like a well meaning nerd standing up for the weak…kinda like Captain America (movies, not comics. Screw HYDRA.). Captain America with Superman’s powers. I like it! Lucy, likewise, is Lois Lane-lite, but with a child. She’s strong headed, intelligent, ready to do whatever it takes to get the strong, and, of course, susceptible to Clark Kenting. Though, to Grant’s credit, at least he wears a mask.
Speaking of the Doctor, Capaldi is on point as always and I pretty much never have any complaints about his Doctor. I love him. I wanna say he’s overtaken Matt Smith as my favourite revived series Doctor (and thus second favourite overall), but Matt Smith will always have a special place in my heart since he was the one on when I started watching the show. It’s nice to see Nardole again, having shifted from River’s companion to the Doctor’s. Wonder if he’ll be sticking around for the next season.
The bad guys…more body snatching aliens. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’re the same species as the last special. Honestly, they’re more just plot devices. The superhero stuff is a lot more interesting. The invasion stuff? Please. We get at least one a year. Bodysnatchers aren’t exactly new. They’re pretty much as effective as they were in the last special.
There are so many references to comic books in this episode and I love it. It’s great when a superhero property embraces the comic origins and the silliness and fun of that medium. It’s not just DC, it’s Marvel too. Probably because the BBC isn’t affiliated with either side. The top of Harmony Shoals looks like the Daily Planet, All the Superman stuff, specifically homaging the Richard Donner films. Marvel and DC characters are seen on walls. They use Spider Man’s motto. It even opens with a Marvel style comics opening. The fact this special was set in New York helps as well. It tends to attract superheroes after all.
If you’re a fan of superheros, I highly recommend this special especially if you’re starved for good live action DC films. Adding the Doctor into a superhero story is something I don’t think the show has ever done before and I’m so happy they did it. I love superheros and I love Doctor Who. This special may as well have had my name over it in big goddamn neon. While not really a Christmas Special, it’s still a fun story and a nice interlude while we wait for the new season and the first appearance of the new companion.
I am extremely late in getting these out and I am so sorry. I’ve fallen in to another three month depression and I hate it when that happens. But, I’m feeling much better, I’ve gotten a new roommate (whom I shall call [Angel]), and a job. I can’t wait to watch the rest of Doctor Who. Just going by the trailers, it looks like it’s gonna be a fun ride.
Finally, I wanna talk about something sad for a second. My aunt’s dog just died this week. She’s had her for a long time and I used to dogsit her. We were close and I miss her a lot. It’s been getting me thinking about my own dog. She’s nearing old age in dog years and I’m not around very much anymore because she lives with my parents halfway across the country (my flat doesn’t allow dogs). It’s getting me kinda worried. I don’t want her to die without me there. I would hope that, should she ever get that bad, my folks would let me come home so I can be with her. Here’s hoping.
Goodbye Black Dog. We’ll Miss Your Licks, Your Silly Pink Tongue, And Your Fast Tail Flicks.