Finally, after a year of waiting impatiently, “Doctor Who” is back. The long-running series took 2016 off, meaning “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” the 2016 Christmas special, is the first new episode since the last special, in 2015. It also happens to be a very unique moment in “Doctor Who” history.
Typically the Christmas special is a one-off adventure for the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), often with special guest stars. In “Doctor Mysterio” though, the Time Lord essentially plays sidekick. What plays out instead is a mix of a comic book movie and a romantic comedy between two longtime friends — neither of whom is an alien.
Grant (Justin Chatwin) has a very old crush on Lucy (Charity Wakefield), a woman he’s known since he was a kid. He also happens to be the superpowered hero The Ghost, thanks to a mishap with the Doctor when he was a kid. These are the true stars of the special, as the Doctor’s relegated to — get this — the role of a companion.
It’s not often the Doctor gets shown up — but given that it’s been a year since we’ve seen him, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, there’s no ongoing story for him to be reacting to: His most recent story was a year ago and led up to the death of River Song (Alex Kingston), which is something he’s still clearly reeling from.
With that in mind, it makes sense the Doctor would take a backseat to the story of Lucy and the Ghost. The holidays are a joyous affair, and examination of a Time Lord’s grief isn’t exactly an uplifting story to help ring in the new year.
And, of course, in the end fans got a happily ever after as Grant and Lucy got together, while the Doctor and Nardole (Matt Lucas) took off onto their next adventure — which will surely lead into the next season, and the introduction of his new companion Bill (Pearl Mackie). Season 10 can’t get here soon enough!