The first new episode of Doctor Who in a year aired on Christmas, finally giving fans a glimpse into the grieving Doctor’s (Peter Capaldi) travels following his final date with wife River Song. Whether or not the superhero story promised by “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” lives up to the hype, however, remains to be seen. Below, Jill Pantozzi and Andrew Husband chime in with there thoughts.
This Was a Christmas Special, Right?
Andrew Husband: Ever since “The Christmas Invasion” introduced fans to David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor in 2005, Doctor Who hasn’t missed the chance to make a Christmas special. The 11 entries preceding “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” have, for the most part, largely centered around the holiday season and everything that comes with it — spending time with friends and family members, giving one another gifts, winter weather, and Santa Claus (sometimes literally). Yet 2015’s “The Husbands of River Song” downplayed the “Christmas” in “Christmas special,” relegating it to the background. “Doctor Mysterio” is no different, albeit to a much more obvious degree as Christmas isn’t really a prominent feature of the episode. Yes, the story takes place during the Christmas season and Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor mentions that it’s Christmas when he first meets Grant (Justin Chatwin), but that’s it.
To be honest I didn’t really mind the absence of Christmas at first, as I was focused more on the superhero origin story (which we’ll cover next). Yet the more I think about it, the more I feel like I was cheated out of something by Steven Moffat and his team. If you’re going to sell me and other Doctor Who fans a special seasonal episode by dubbing it a “Christmas special,” then shouldn’t it involve more than a few passing references to Christmas?
Jill Pantozzi: Yeah, I have to admit I was a bit bummed we didn’t actually experience any Christmas here except in passing. I felt like Jurassic Park‘s Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Ah, now eventually you do plan to have Christmas in your, in your Christmas special, right? Hello?” As you said, it wasn’t a big deal but it was disappointing because I expected something else. I have a feeling most families sitting around their televisions on Christmas night did as well. I almost feel like they could have saved this story to tell with new companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) next season instead, so as to keep the Christmas special on topic. Also, considering the type of Christmas events that take place in New York every year, it seems like another missed opportunity. Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree, holiday window displays, and ice skating in Bryant Park? I mean, The Rockettes are definitely aliens, right? Ah well. Maybe next year.