I hope everyone reading this had an enjoyable Christmas yesterday. Mine was very pleasant, with everything going as it ought to – and it also featured the first new episode of Doctor Who since last Christmas, The Return of Doctor Mysterio.
- Is that shot of Joe’s Pizza at the beginning a reference to Spider-Man 2?
- And the Doctor gives another human child unnatural powers through alien technology. You’d think he’d be more careful after last series.
- The Twelfth Doctor is still excellent: thinking he’s clever for noticing that Clark Kent and Superman are the same person, trying to apply realism to Spider-Man’s origin story, and delivering threats to the Harmony Shoal that the Tenth Doctor would be proud of. (On the subject of mercy: “It’s not a request, it’s an offer.”)
- Matt Lucas’s Nardole is back, with the episode explaining why he’s no longer a head inside a giant robot just as I remembered to wonder about it. But really, he serves little purpose except to give the Doctor someone to talk to when he’s not with Grant and Lucy.
- Quite a few elements in this episode felt more like the RTD era, from the big suspicious company that’s a front for an alien invasion, to the aliens staging a “fake” invasion like the Slitheen tried to do back in Series 1.
- But really, the alien threat is a secondary plotline – there’s more focus on the romantic comedy playing out between Grant/The Ghost and Lucy. I didn’t mind this very much though: it uses classic superhero tropes in an amusing way, and having the hero’s secret identity working as a nanny for the love interest is certainly a new twist – just the love interest being a working mother isn’t something you often see in superhero stories.
- I really enjoyed Justin Chatwin’s performance as Grant, particularly the cool heroic attitude – complete with one-liners – he puts on as the Ghost, which is surely deliberate given that he’s a comic book fan.
- There do seem to be a great many threats requiring the intervention of a superhero in a short space of time here. And while the Ghost does appear on the news, you’d think there’d be an even bigger worldwide fuss about the existence of an actual superpowered being – or is everyone desensitised to this sort of thing, after the constant alien invasions, that time where nobody on earth could die, etc?
- In the scene where Grant tries to reveal his identity to Lucy, but can’t get her to look at him, was anyone else reminded of Sherlock trying to surprise John in The Empty Hearse?
- Yes, it’s terribly corny, but when Lucy tells Grant she’ll help him into his superhero costume, and then puts his glasses back on, I was mentally going “Awwww.”
- It feels quite different for this episode to end with the Doctor defeating the villains without wiping them out. Guess that’ll come later – no second chances, after all.
Overall, this was a pleasant and amusing episode – appropriate for Christmas – though nothing truly special as Doctor Who stories go. Rating: 3.5/5.
And now to wait for Series 10 – though based on the trailer, I’m still not sure how much I’m going to like the new companion.