Then there was the time that The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) accidentally created a super-hero. “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” is unexpected but not unwelcome. As the show has moved away from doing their own versions of classic Christmas stories we’ve gotten more variation in these specials, and “Doctor Mysterio” certainly fits that bill. After a short introduction in which we see a young boy exposed to a Hazandra gem which will grant him his fondest desire, the episode jumps to present time where The Doctor discovers Grant has grown up into a young man (Justin Chatwin) who has decided to use the powers accidentally granted to him to live out his lifelong fantasy as a super-hero.
For Throwback Thursday we turn our attention back to the two-part finale of the Third Season of Doctor Who. Reintroducing one of The Doctor‘s (David Tennant) most feared enemies in the previous episode, “The Sound of Drums” and “Last of the Time Lords” focus on The Master (John Simm) biggest victory over The Doctor. Having just been elected Great Britain’s new Prime Minister, The Master uses the stolen TARDIS to create a paradox machine which allows him to turn over the Earth to the Toclafane, steal The Doctor’s regenerative energy, cage his rival, and bask in the knowledge of his victory and mastery (so to speak) over the Earth. The only thing he didn’t count on was Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman).
River Song (Alex Kingston) returns for the latest Doctor Who Christmas special in a story than connects to the events of “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” (her character’s first appearance) with what is likely the character’s final appearance on the show. The set-up of River having not yet met the The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) allows “The Husbands of River Song” to use a running gag of allowing the pair to travel together without River knowing the identity of the man she’s mistaken for a surgeon whose help she needs to remove a diamond from the head of her cyborg husband (Greg Davies). Allowing The Doctor to see his wife in an entirely new light, the episode stretches the gag well past its breaking point but does allow for an enjoyable payoff before all is said and done.
The final episode of Series Nine returns The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) to Gallifrey, although the episode turns out to be more about Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) than the Time Lords. I had a very mixed reaction to “Hell Bent” which immediately undercuts the emotion of Clara’s death, and the power of her sacrifice, by The Doctor using his return to Gallifrey to find a way to cheat death and bring her back. Using the Time Lord’s technology to pull Clara out of the final moment of her timeline, The Doctor saves his companion one last time.