Warning- Whilst ill try not to go too deep into spoilers, Spoilers will be included, read at your own risk.
Now for anyone that knows me they know that I am a massive Doctor Who fan. Like huge. Have been since 2005. That’s 11, almost 12 years of my life. So for Doctor Who to have taken a break throughout 2016 was tough. Don’t get me wrong it did need it. Whilst series 9 was a massive step up from series 8, a series were I also grew to love Capaldi and has some of my outright best episodes in (Heaven Sent). It was evident that Doctor Who needed some time to be able take time to create fresh new stories and adventures for us to love.
This meant on Christmas Day 2016 at exactly 5:45pm I was sat ready to watch the first new episode of Doctor Who in exactly a year. Now I will admit when I heard the theme of my favorite show again it was a great feeling. Doctor who was back.
Now in this review I’m going to try and be as unbiased as possible. It’s going to be hard but I shall put my fanboyness aside and be critical when it needs to be.
Now overall I actually quite enjoyed this episode. Which was a relief because I was quite nervous. That’s not to say it was perfect because for me it wasn’t. But after a years break it certainly felt as if Doctor Who was refreshed and ready for the year ahead with its new adventures. Now for this special It was Doctor Who meeting superheroes. You see why I was nervous?
The superhero genre is a genre that has blown up in recent years, with brands such as marvel and DC making multiple films in that specific genre. So for Doctor Who to now tackle this they had to tackle it right, and to an extent I actually think they did a good job. The premise of the episode is a young boy by the name of Grant meets The Doctor on the roof of his building. Now after an incident with a gemstone and grant. Grant develops superpowers. It’s from here the episode then shifts to the modern day. As the episode develops we do get flashbacks into how grant is dealing with these powers as it goes on. This includes a quirky scene where the Doctor meets a Teenage Grant at his school. This quirky scene is a funny insert where it shows how Grant is dealing with both his superpowers and puberty.
Now from here the modern day storyline kicks in, The Doctor and Nardole (Played by Matt Lucas who returns from last years Christmas special who I shall talk about later on) are investigating global company Harmony Shoals. It is here we are introduced to our other main character in the episode Lucy Fletcher. She is a reporter doing a similar investigation into the company. This is when The Doctor and Lucy along with Nardole meet and discover the company is actually run by living alien brains that can transfer into people’s minds. (Keeping up?!).
After this the three characters have an encounter with one of our antagonists of the feature Doctor Sims. It is here we are reintroduced to Grant but this time as his superhero named “THE GHOST!”.
Now all of this happens within the first half of the hour long special. In my opinion I think the first half of this special is handled pretty well, in the first 30 minutes you connect with the new characters whilst reconnecting with the old ones. Whilst I had some reservations about the superhero ‘The Ghost’ I feel that his initial introduction is fun and entertaining. We also get some great scenes between The Doctor and Nardole.
Now I was hesitant when I heard that Nardole was returning, this was for multiple reasons, this isn’t due to Matt Lucas or his acting ability more for the fact he seemingly had his head chopped off and glued to a robot in last years special. Also because I felt like his character wouldn’t suit a full time companion basis. However, in this special I was proved wrong. The chemistry between the Doctor and Nardole is fantastic. Capaldi and Lucas get on really well together and Nardole even has a slight mysterious element to him. He also cares a lot about The Doctor and vice versa. We even get a brief explanation into how he survived. It is said the Doctor saved him so that The Doctor wouldn’t have to travel alone.
Moving to our other two Main Characters Grant and Lucy. Grant is the Nanny to Lucy’s child and they live together. Now the plot between the two characters is the typical will they/wont they, like in a lot of Superhero dramas and you knew what the outcome was going to be straight away. Yet both actors Charity Wakefield and Justin Chatwin still managed to keep me hooked to their characters throughout the episode, even if I did know what the outcome was going to be. I hadn’t really heard of these actors before and was unsure if they would fit their roles. Yet for me they did, like I said even though I new what the outcome of there relationship was going to be they still kept me hooked and entertained throughout the episode.
I don’t want to say a lot more about the plot and its second half as I don’t want to spoil it as much as I already have so instead I’m going to speak about the story as a whole. Now whilst I did enjoy this episode there was parts of the story I feel it fell flat at points. This is more with the antagonists of the episode. I didn’t really feel threatened or intimidated by them as I assumed The Doctor would end up saving the day. There plot for me wasn’t all that intimidating either. This isn’t to say that there not a good villain, I would like to see them again as I feel like they still have so much to offer just next time I hope they are excecuted a little better than in this episode.
However, there are a lot of points that in my point of view outweigh the negatives. There were moments in this episode I just genuinely enjoyed and had fun with. Moments again between The Doctor and Nardole or even The Doctor interacting with Grant or Lucy. These always made for entertaining moments. There were also many emotional moments in this episode that I really enjoyed. Mainly a speech towards the end about The Doctor and how he has been alone for a long time and how it can hurt him. During this you see a more vulnerable side to Capaldi’s doctor.
Can I just say as well Capaldi shines in this episode as does the rest of the cast. I really connected with our four main characters in this episode, I loved the dynamics between everyone and was interesting to see The Doctor interact with these new people. This was also one of the first times we see Capaldi’s Doctor without Clara. (Except in heaven sent which is AMAZING). This was really interesting to see how The Doctor communicates with new companions and fresh faces, something I feel like writer Steven Moffat dealt with well.
Now the writing in this episode wasn’t spectacular, some lines and moments I did feel were out of place and sometimes cheesy. Yet I overlooked that because of the nature of the episode, not only being a Christmas special but also creating and introducing its own superhero in the special is no easy task and I feel Moffat did deal with it well, not to say it was great though but again it wasn’t awful. I enjoyed how he incorporated Superman and Lois lane into the episode as well, that was a nice touch. Now as we approach Moffat’s final series as show runner its safe to say most fans are excited to see new show runner Chris Chibnall step on. Whilst I am as well I am also very excited about his final series, which we got a glimpse of in the Series 10 trailer at the end of the episode.
Whilst I wont go into too much detail about this trailer its safe to say it looks great. New companion Bill – Played by Pearl Mackie – Looks like she is going to shine in the next series, plus she’s a university student so she shall be relatable to a lot of us! Judging by the trailer too the overall look of the new series looks very exciting, taking us to new alien worlds and new situations. After watching this trailer its safe to say I’m super excited for series 10. I’ve attached the trailer at the end so give it a watch if you haven’t already.
Overall ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’ is a fun and entertaining episode that had me hooked throughout, again there was moments where it lost me or I found it predictable yet the interesting characters and emotional and poignant moments kept me interested throughout. I would rate this episode a 7.5/10.
That’s it for this review guys! This one was quite a mess so I’m sorry about that!
What did you think of the special?! Let me know your thoughts and comment below.
I hope you enjoyed this review guys and I hoped you all enjoyed the episode, I sure as well did. After a year of being away Doctor Who is back and I for one cannot be more excited than I already am.
Spring cannot come soon enough. Roll on Series 10!
Next week: Sherlock is back! My series 4 episode 1 review will be up Monday evening!