DOCTOR WHO – THE RETURN OF DOCTOR MYSTERIO
The Doctor Who Christmas Special of 2016
Directed by Edward Bazalgette
Written by Stephen Moffat
Here’s a special Festivus gift you probably couldn’t get from anywhere else: A review of a very special Christmas episode of the current Doctor Who by sci-fi fan who — you may want to sit down — has never seen a single episode of any Doctor Who! That’s right. The view from the mountain top of virginity. Or whatever you’d like to call it in your own column. Since its creation in 1963 there aren’t many who can turn fresh eyes to it, so here is a completely new look at that institution at the time of year the Beeb turns out the chapters for which fans eagerly wait weeks or months.
From the famous 1967 Dragnet Christmas episode to the present day, shows have tried to outdo themselves for a holiday episode. Some, like Matthew and Mary’s engagement in the final, visually arresting scene of Downton Abbey‘s third season Christmas special, are everything viewers hoped for and more. Well, I had no hopes for “The Return Of Doctor Mysterio,” but it was, in a word, delightful.
Oh, sure, there are aliens determined to invade Earth, but I get the idea from watch Class that that’s SOP, right? He doesn’t show up to remind people releasing balloons endangers wildlife (it does) or warn us that climate change will destroy the planet and every living thing but termites (it will). Earth-invasion is The Doctor’s thing. This time he is teaming up with an investigative reporter who knows she is getting to the bottom of something very wrong at the massive Harmony Shoal conglomerate, his eccentric (okay, even more eccentric) companion Nadpole (Matt Lucas), and a young man he actually met on another Christmas Eve long ago.
Forget the brains in jars and– While you’re at it, forget I said that. The show has the TARDIS and Nadpole and the sconic screwdriver and everything I’m certain fans will want, but on to the really, for me, enchanting part.
To see someone exposed to a franchise only as an adult and be amazed at some of the things that any normal person would have seen through immediately (déja vu!) is such an affirmation of your own credulity. (See this deleted scene from “Batman v Superman” to get my point and because it makes me wet ’em every time.) To watch the Doctor watch this theme play out before his mystified eyes is priceless, especially someone who has supposedly seen everything up until now.
Can he save Earth again? Can he? Will he be able to allow Grant (humble to creepy in 4.1 seconds Justin Chatwin) and Lucy (Wolf Hall‘s Charity Wakefield) to work out their little…differences without giving away Grant’s secret? Interfering is second-nature, or first-nature, to him, after all. Will Grant drop in his tracks of exhaustion before he can do anything?
Back up a bit. I want to know more about that first Christmas night years ago, the very strange man swinging like a pendulum past a little boy’s window as he tries to stop sneezing. Those comic books the man was fascinated with — my big sister and I had some like those, maybe even those exact issues. And we had the same bones of contention, too; we weren’t oblivious like L–
Nope. You know I don’t allow spoilers here! If you’re a fan, you’ve already watched it, of course. If, like me, you’ve never been one, know that this may not change your mind about the series, but I’m watching Class and..that…plus the Christmas special… It’s a slippery slope.