Synopsis: When a brain-swapping alien prepares to attack New York City, the Doctor teams up with a investigative reporter and a masked superhero known as the Ghost to stop the invasion. But who is behind the mask?
What I LikedThe Doctor
Of course, my favorite part of any Doctor Who episode is the Doctor and his interactions with the other characters. Peter Capaldi continues to inhabit the Doctor with his own whimsical and wacky habits and shenanigans. I love it. I mean, at one point he was eating sushi while spying on the creepy guys. Classic. This episode in particular was touching because the Doctor spends most of it with a boy named Grant. There's just something about the Doctor interacting with children that I adore. He can speak to them on another level, and they understand him much better than adults. Most of their conversation was about superheroes and comic books, so it was insanely adorable. And Grant thought the Doctor was a real doctor, so he swallowed the weird rock/gem/space thing and got super powers! It was exciting. Plus, the Doctor kept tabs on Grant throughout his life, instead of abandoning him, and it was just so fun to watch. I love you with both of my hearts, Doctor.
(Easily the best conversation of the episode.--source)
It came as no surprise that the mysteriously clad superhero of New York City, The Ghost, was actually Grant. I mean, we watched a kid get superpowers and now there's a grown-up superhero running around? Duh. But I loved older Grant just as much as I loved younger Grant. Despite the very stereotypical superhero lifestyle he lives, Grant was still complex. First off, he's a nanny. Which is absolutely perfect. I mean, have you ever heard of a nanny superhero? It was hilarious. Second, he's in love with the mother of the baby he nannies. Which is even more perfect--and squishy. He also has a big heart and wants to help people, which is what I love the most. He's pretty adept at juggling his nanny lifestyle and sweeping journalists off their feet. A+
Brock: One hostage? Isn't there a child downstairs?
Grant: Nobody touches that child.
Brock: And who are you?
Grant: I'm the nanny.
(That robe though.--source)
Lucy is an investigative reporter also trying to balance her home life and her work life. Thus, she needs a nanny. Just like with Grant, Lucy fills a common superhero trope (the damsel in distress/love interest), but she's also complex and holds her own. First off, she's a mother. Now, I don't know about you, but there aren't a whole lot of kick-butt journalists in the comic book world that have to handle a baby at home too. She rocks. Second, her husband ran off after the baby was born, which means she's not only a kick-butt journalist juggling home life, but she's doing it all as a single mother. That takes courage and strength. So even though she has to be rescued by the Ghost and some of her character arc is driven by love, she's still pretty cool. And come on, I loved the cheesy story line where she realizes that her ideal man isn't the strapping, heroic Ghost, but the glasses-wearing, sweet guy who babysits her baby. It was adorable.
I'm so happy to see him in this episode. It's been so long since I said goodbye to Merlin and Sir Elyan. I miss your face, sir. Your gorgeous, Knights-of-the-Round-Table face. Thank you for gracing us with your presence in this episode. You did great.
(Even if your face was cut in half by creepy brain surgeon aliens.--source)
Stereotypical superhero tropes
For once, I absolutely loved all the superhero tropes in this episode. It was funny and cliché on purpose, mimicking the Superman movies of the 70s and 80s, and it worked. It made me happy. I mean, of course the Ghost can fly and he has super-strength and x-ray vision. Of course there's an alien invasion. And of course the lead female is a journalist. It just works that way, and a part of me is sentimental to the "Superman" stereotype. It's the story that made me fall in love with superheroes first. (*wipes eyes*)
It wouldn't be Christmas on Doctor Who without a good ole alien invasion. And for once, these aliens were pretty smart. And super creepy. There were creepy brains with creepy eyes that used creepy surgeons to "hijack" bodies to take over. Creeeepy. Their plan was to hijack world leaders, so when the invasion began, they could be in control of all the countries. That's pretty good. Good job, creepy brain aliens.
(Even the Doctor admits it.--source)
What I Didn't LikeThe Doctor's sadness
Throughout the episode, despite the fun and excitement, there was still a dark cloud hanging over the Doctor. The last we saw him, he had to say goodbye to River... for good. Her next adventure would take her to the library where she dies. And the weight of that was hanging over him. It made both of my hearts hurt for him. It's just so sad, and he loves her so much, and I'm so glad we got to see River with Capaldi's Doctor. But it still hurts. (
The Doctor: "Things end. That’s all. Everything ends. And it’s always sad. But everything begins again too, and that’s always happy. Be happy. I'll take care of the rest."Creepy brains
Okay, but the creepy brain aliens were creepy, okay? Did not like. It was a great plot idea, but it was creepy. No. Get out. Go away. Don't come back. Bye.
(Creepy surgeons are creepy.--source)It wasn't about Christmas
This episode wasn't really about Christmas, not in the way past Christmas specials have been. At the very beginning young Grant thinks the Doctor is Santa for about half a minute. (Then he thinks he's an actual doctor. It's a good thing you're cute, Grant.) But other than that, I don't recall anything Christmas-y. No snow (or fake snow). No evil Santas or killer Christmas trees. Plus, if they're in New York on Christmas, they would need to wear warmer clothes, I'd think. *shrugs*
Young Grant: Mom says you can come in. You're expected.New companion
Doctor: Expected? Argh! Sorry, did you say I was expected?
Young Grant: Yeah.
Doctor: Who did you say I was?
Young Grant: I told her I saw an old guy at the window.
Doctor: Ho-ho-ho-ho. Merry Christmas, Grant!
I was hoping this episode would give us an introduction to the new companion, Bill. But it didn't. That was only slightly disappointing since they don't usually introduce new companions in the Christmas special. I'd forgive them for this, but I still have to wait until April for the next episode after I just waited an entire year. Geez. It's like waiting for Sherlock at this point. (And we were stuck with this bozo as the companion. Sheesh.)
Overall, the episode returned us to the fun, zany adventures of the Doctor. I'm grateful for this episode even though it wasn't spectacular and it was full of cheese and cliché. Sometimes I miss just having fun with the Doctor instead of having a big, looming threat to save the world/galaxy/universe and deep, dark story lines that shroud the whole season. Thank you, Christmas special, for restoring my faith and adoration for this show. You did good, Doctor.
What did you think of "The Return of Doctor Mysterio"? Are you excited for a new season of Doctor Who this year?