Monday, January 2, 2017

Doctor Who - The Return of Doctor Mysterio

Then there was the time that The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) accidentally created a super-hero. "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" is unexpected but not unwelcome. As the show has moved away from doing their own versions of classic Christmas stories we've gotten more variation in these specials, and "Doctor Mysterio" certainly fits that bill. After a short introduction in which we see a young boy exposed to a Hazandra gem which will grant him his fondest desire, the episode jumps to present time where The Doctor discovers Grant has grown up into a young man (Justin Chatwin) who has decided to use the powers accidentally granted to him to live out his lifelong fantasy as a super-hero.

Along with the comic book set-up, the episode also features a definite horror slant given the villains of the piece. Sentient brains surgically implanted into the bodies of people of Earth, the Shoal of the Winter Harmony are a bizarre species that are both immediately dangerous to the planet and insidious in their long-range plans. Thankfully The Doctor has a little super-powered help to stop the group before their planned disaster which would have put all the world's leaders at risk to having their minds replaced.

"The Return of Doctor Mysterio" plays on several comic tropes, most importantly that of Superman and Lois Lane. Here the role of intrepid reporter who, while mooning over the hero, is unable to see his true identity as one of her closest friends, is played by the delightful Charity Wakefield. The episode also offers us Matt Lucas as an unexpected short-term companion to The Doctor, the first character not born on Earth to assume that role since Turlough. I hope, though doubt, he may stick around awhile longer.

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