Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio
December 26, 2016 9:46 AM - Season 9, Episode 14 - Subscribe

The Doctor join forces with a masked Superhero for an epic New York adventure. With brain-swapping aliens poised to attack, the Doctor and Nardole link up with an investigative reporter and a mysterious figure known only as The Ghost.

I was on the fence about this one, based on the previews, but it turned out to be a relatively endearing little episode. At the end, there was an implication that the evil aliens might be a recurring bad guy in the upcoming season, for which I'm kind of "please don't" with that idea. They were ok baddies, but not recurring-quality baddies.

I liked that the show didn't have squat to do with Christmas, save for the initial setup.

Great to see Nardole. I hope he's a semi regular this season.

And, we get previews featuring the Doctor's new companion.

It was an interesting turn that Nardole identifies the Doctor's "great loss" as being River, and not Clara. Perhaps, now we'll get a Doctor looking forward, rather than brooding on his losses?
posted by Thorzdad (28 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, and the "Turn around and explain shooting people in the back in self defense" bit really had some serious cops-v-people overtones for this US viewer.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:01 AM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

He does not remember Clara, his memory was wiped.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 12:09 PM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

Anyway, cute episode.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 12:09 PM on December 26, 2016

I though this was fun and enjoyable. "The Ghost" was mostly a parallel (expressly so) to and send-up of Superman in the episode, but he also did the raspy Christian-Bale-as-Batman voice when in costume.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:01 PM on December 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

There has got to be a better more accessiblle place to store your gun. But I do like the idea that in America guns are literally on the brain.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:50 PM on December 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

I liked this one a lot. Doctor Who does superheroes could have turned out very poorly, but this was lots of fun.

I also generally dislike stories where aliens take over human bodies because it usually leads to big unearned reveals at the end. But having the flicking eyes (and later big scars) let the viewer in on it and didn't feel like a cheat.
posted by Gary at 2:57 PM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

He does not remember Clara, his memory was wiped.

Not entirely true. If you recall throughout the episode "Hell Bent" (the one with Clara in the diner/tardis) he's relating his memory of a person named "Clara", whom he feels is very important to him. While it's true he doesn't remember (or recognize) the real individual Clara, he still recalls...someone...named Clara. There's obviously some level of vague remembrance.

I don't think, though, we'll ever see her again, at least not without Me.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:46 PM on December 26, 2016

The arc of River Song is so much poignant and I am remembering all the earlier episodes with Doctor #10, and how weighted her death in the library was and with a version of the Doctor who did not know her.

The best line was,"there are some situations which are too stupid to be allowed to continueā€¯ This did encapsulate my feelings for years regarding Superman and Lois Lane. Overall, I liked the episode and this Doctor was the right balance of charming and crusty to not be off putting.
posted by jadepearl at 5:12 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I didn't realize we had seen these aliens before until I rewatched The Husbands of River Song today.

I liked it, it was cute.
posted by Kyol at 6:34 PM on December 26, 2016

Rather than the magical space crystal having fused its powers with Grant's DNA, I was hoping instead that he'd been secretly shitting it out, washing it and swallowing it every day for the past fifteen or so years to retain his superpowers.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:09 PM on December 26, 2016 [13 favorites]

I always check Den Of Geek's reviews after watching a Who ep (or a new film). Their "geeky spots" piece didn't hit the one which jumped out at me though. Ordinarily it'd be unremarkable off-the-peg plotting, but in the context of a self-aware Superhero Story "aliens dramatically destroy New York in order to unite the Earth [under Harmony Shoals]" has to be a Watchmen wink, doesn't it?

Also, to spare you all googling it too, the reason you recognise-but-can't-place Not Lois Lane is her stint in Wolf Hall. HTH!
posted by comealongpole at 7:25 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Good episode!
posted by comealongpole at 7:25 PM on December 26, 2016

Not Lois Lane was also recently on a cancelled show called The Player which was actually pretty intriguing but probably ahead of its time.

I liked this special, it felt tied in with the previous one. I couldn't place the 24 years reference until I read the recap of Husbands of River Song and realized that their last night lasted that long. I really appreciated it.
posted by numaner at 9:41 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Matt lucas was criminaly underused
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 12:00 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is Mister Hoffle. Mister Hoffle feels pain.

That's all I have to say.
posted by michswiss at 12:57 AM on December 27, 2016 [9 favorites]

I feel this episode should be given some sort of award for best-execution-of-a-premise-that-sounded-stupid. Just a straight story with no meta-fiction twists or stunt scripting - I was entertained.
posted by AndrewStephens at 8:15 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

oh yeah I also want a Mister Hoffle that feels pain and maybe can sympathize with my emotional states
posted by numaner at 9:50 AM on December 27, 2016

I liked it, but the Mister Hoffle thing was the one part of the episode that didn't work for me. Why was she playing this weird game like she was torturing a squeaky toy? The Doctor seemed to have the same reaction I did. "Is this... supposed to be funny?" I guess she'd figured out he probably wasn't anybody dangerous, but it seemed like an awfully cutesy way to extract information and clearly wasn't affecting the Doctor much. The scene might have worked a little better for me if the Doctor had seemed genuinely upset by the "torture," and it actually was playing a part in his confession. "You know, I really wish you'd stop doing that! There's something really creepy about it." "That's the IDEA, Doctor!" It still would have been too cute, but I would have at least felt like I got what they were going for.

I'm surprised more people aren't carping about how the "nice guy" superhero lurked around the corner's of this woman's life for years, pretending to just be a friend when he was secretly nursing a crush, and then in the end his deception pays off and she gratefully falls into his arms. Is this still Metafilter? (To be clear, none of that stuff bothered me because this was all playing on classic superhero tropes. But how is this episode not sending Fanfare-ites into outraged frenzies at their keyboards?)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:22 PM on December 27, 2016 [9 favorites]

Great to see Nardole. I hope he's a semi regular this season.

According to IMDB Matt Lucas has credits in four series 10 episodes.
posted by nathan_teske at 5:56 PM on December 27, 2016

I also thought that the "stalker works his way into her household and insinuates himself into her life to the point that he recognizes her red sex dress" wasn't that cute.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:10 PM on December 27, 2016 [5 favorites]

Well, as I said it didn't really bother me. Real life has its own complications, but this guy was so clearly a Clark Kent boy scout type that there was no doubt his motivations were superhero-pure. I mean, holding babies literally makes his heart glow.

It's funny how the Doctor's level of Earth pop culture knowledge varies so much between incarnations. His last few incarnations were very well acquainted with Harry Potter and Ghostbusters, but this one has never heard of Alien and is only now figuring out that Clark Kent is Superman. I was also surprised he didn't rush in and save Mr. Brock from being possessed by the brain aliens. Yes, the Doctor was probably playing a long game there and wanted to learn more about the brain guys, but I don't think his earlier incarnations would have stood by just eating sushi while somebody met a grim fate like that.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:07 PM on December 27, 2016 [6 favorites]

The prediction in my household was that she'd be pissed when she found out not for the deception or the weird stalkerish aspect but because it meant that he had been habitually leaving the baby alone
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:54 AM on December 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

The leaving the baby alone was the part that bothered me the most. I mean, yeah, you're super so you can get back quick, but if you're in the middle of getting trapped people out of a burning building, you aren't going to just drop them and let them burn while you race back to the baby, are you?

But, then again, this being Dr. Who, it's best not to think too logically about these things.

I think they tried to explain-away the stalking aspect with the scene in high school where she actually says "hi" to him in the hall, implying that she acknowledges his existence (and implying a minimum level of attraction.) Then, there's the unspoken fact that she knew who he was when she hired him as a nanny.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:59 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Melody Pond --> River Song --> Harmony Shoal.
posted by plastic_animals at 12:47 PM on December 28, 2016 [25 favorites]

Oh my god, plastic_animals.

Knowing how Moffat works, this is definitely A Thing.
posted by sleeping bear at 4:48 PM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I've only watched it once but in addition to the obvious nods toward River there were some subtle ones as well. Plus I assume that time distortion equalizer contraption the Doctor was building on the rooftop was him working out a way to visit Amy and Rory in New York.
posted by plastic_animals at 9:50 AM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I didn't like this episode much. I felt like I didn't enjoy the Grant/Ghost character nearly as much as Moffat did, and that the script kept on giving me unappreciated "Hey, this is funny, right? It's just like Batman. And Superman. Right? Funny." nudges.

(Also: in one of the Inside The Episode interstitials Moffat described The Doctor as a superhero, which felt to me somehow fundamentally wrong.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:08 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Doctor as a superhero, which felt to me somehow fundamentally wrong.

While I agree there is something wrong with that I think that idea, the Doctor as superhero, is how he has been mostly portrayed in the Nu Who series. The overuse of the sonic screwdriver in stories is a particularly egregious example of that. That's not to say making the Doctor into a superhero didn't happen in Classic Who... In the later Tom Baker years every other serial had him develop some hitherto untold power that gets him out of a jam and is never used again.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:31 AM on January 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

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