After fans have seen assorted super heroes battling each other and villains, it seemed natural that a super hero would find his way into the world of Doctor Who. This one is known as The Ghost, actually a guy named Grant (Justin Chatwin) who is a manny, caring for the baby of an investigative reporter. He’s kept his secret life under wraps for quite a while, and it looks like events may change all that.
Not only that, it’s the Doctor who is responsible for The Ghost’s origin story. Seems that Grant got his powers as a kid when he accidentally swallowed a powerful alien gem the Doctor gave him while he was trying to deal with time distortions in New York that seem to have dated back to the 1930’s. It’s an encounter that’s similar to the 11th Doctor meeting Amy Pond as a child and later as an adult.
Grant has tried to avoid using his new powers through adolescence (imagine such a tough time…), and at some point he gave in to being a real life Clark Kent/Superman.
Meanwhile, aliens who are brains with eyes, have invaded New York and plan to transplant themselves into people of importance to take over Earth. Their a company Harmony Shoal that will make it happen. The reporter, Lucy Fletcher (Charity Wakefield), wants to find out the truth about the company, as does the Doctor who she meets after hours.
Since the Doctor had his date with River Song last Christmas (our time), he’s been traveling with Nardole (Matt Lucas), who got his body rebuilt. Lucas is actually pretty funny as the new companion. He’ll be sticking around for the new season next Spring.
The story is wise to give equal weight to the super hero and the invasion stories. Grant’s dilemma of caring for Lucy’s baby and rescuing people (while giving PSAs about fire safety) is really amusing, right down to his impression of Will Arnett as Batman. Lucy, of course, is the Lois Lane stand-in in this story, right down to her interview with The Ghost that fans of the 1978 Superman movie should recognize. However, she has ways of making the Doctor talk, like squeezing something called Mr. Huffle.
What’s really strange (!?!) is that Grant practically confesses he’s The Ghost by removing his mask, but Lucy never sees his face. Let’s just say that’s not the end of it, thanks to the aliens.
As for the Doctor, he hasn’t lost a step. In his quirky way he’s able to fend off the brainy aliens (was there everany doubt?), but there is a hint they could be back somehow. It should be forgiven that The Doctor isn’t into comic books. He’s been to places not even Jack Kirby and Stan Lee could create….yet.
It ends with a poignant comment that could relate to River, Clara, or maybe himself since some suspect 2017 will be Peter Capaldi’s last year as the Doctor (along with Steven Moffat’s last year as showrunner): “Everything ends, and it’s always sad. But everything begins again, too, and that’s always happy.”
Among all of the Christmas shows this would be in the middle of the pack, and able to fit in the super hero angle pretty well. Some fans may consider it sillier than most, especially after BBC America showed the past specials and even the animated version of “Power of the Daleks”. It’s still a good return from someone who’s been gone too long. Let’s just hope the Doctor doesn’t take another year-long break.
The episode will be shown in hundreds of theaters across the country, with special behind-the-scenes featurettes, on December 27th and 29th. New episodes, meanwhile, will arrive on BBC America in the spring. Here’s a trailer on what to expect, including Pearl Mackie as Bill:
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