Doctor Who: The Return Of Doctor Mysterio by Steven Moffat

December 25, 2016 | By | Reply More


From an exciting 8 minute opening before the credits, things tended to shift down a gear with far too much going on, even for an hour long show. Aliens taking over a major American company by replacing particular brains. An adult with a swallowed power source exhibiting super-powers and parallels to a certain Man Of Steel’s relationship with a news reporter. Into this mix, intersperses the Doctor (actor Peter Capaldi) and Nardole (actor Matt Lucas) jumping in and out to sort things out. There also are plot issues.

For instance. The device the Doctor is making to ward off an alien invasion is incomplete and then ignored completely. Was it these new aliens he was keeping out or someone else? Why didn’t he find another power source? He’s the Doctor and has all of space and time to find something equally efficient.

The super-hero aspect just becomes a domestic issue as it shifts down from something potentially exciting. Considering that writer Steven Moffat appears to be using ‘The Man Of Steel’ mini-series by John Byrne as his template, as seen by the comicbook example shown and its intentional tip within the story, although that could be down to budget. We’re so used to seeing super-heroes on the big screen, TV still can’t compete on how expensive it can be, more so when over time things need consideration as well. Even so, it does lack a certain amount of energy.

The alien invasion seems to get lost in the mix, although there is a hint of more to come and tends to come over as more a case of invasion of the brain-snatchers. The overall plot just putters along once the dangers are revealed.

Probably the biggest disappointment is at the end where Nardole points out that the Doctor has spent the last 24 years with River Song. Does that mean they had no adventures during that time or just domestic bliss before she does her final trip into the past? I don’t know about the rest of you who’ve seen this, but I feel more than a little cheated here. Reading Steven Moffat’s comments that no one seems disappointed that he’s going, I can’t help wonder if it’s because he’s relying on old tropes than moving things forward. Even creativity needs some battery recharging.

That’s the bad stuff. I do think Peter Capaldi did a good performance and certainly seems settled in the role even better than a year ago. Although I’m not Matt Lucas’ greatest fan, he isn’t an irritation here although I’m not entirely sure about his role as a companion. Why should the TARDIS need guidance to materialise when there’s been no problem in the past? It isn’t though the Doctor hasn’t appeared in the middle of a crisis before. The preview of the next season in the spring does show a lot of promise but so can anything with showing the best clips.

Sorry if this review seems a bit of a downer. I’m being a bit cautious about how much plot to reveal so have targeted holes more. It might be a matter of script, direction or both. The opening is certainly a stunner and I’m glad we’ve gotten away from too much Yuletide connections after so nine seasons worth. Things can be special without it.

(c) GF Willmetts 2016

Category: Doctor Who

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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