The Return of Doctor Mysterio
Doctor Who Logo 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio'
(Story Code 9.X)

by Steven Moffat
A Super Hero for New York

“Oh my god, he’s real… The Ghost… a masked vigilante. But he’s… super!” – Lucy Lombard

New York, Christmas Eve: a young boy named Grant sees a strange man dangling from a cable outside his bedroom window; believing him to be Santa Claus, Grant lets the man inside his bedroom and gives him milk and cookies. After reading through some of the boy’s comic books and pointing out the discrepancies in the logic of Superman and Spider-Man, the man leads Grant from his apartment on the sixtieth floor and up to the roof, where he is building a bizarre contraption out of odds and ends. Having identified himself as the Doctor, the man hands Grant a glass of water to help his cold, and entrusts him with a red gemstone; he then explains how his ‘time distortion equaliser thingy’ device will fix some temporal problems in the city for which he is responsible. After Grant tells the Doctor that his super hero name would be ‘Doctor Mysterio’, the Time Lord lets him activate the machine, then explains that the gemstone is a rare alien crystal called ‘The Ghost of Love and Wishes’, which takes its power from the nearest star. Unfortunately, Grant thought the gem was a pill – and he has swallowed it. To the boy’s surprise his chest starts glowing and he levitates, and when the Doctor grabs him he flies them both up into the sky over New York. When they eventually come to rest atop the Empire State Building, the Doctor tells Grant that the intuitive crystal has granted him his greatest wish: he is now a super hero!

The present: A grown-up Grant wakes from a dream of his origin story and hears a baby crying; he now works for a woman named Mrs Lombard, as the nanny to her baby, Jennifer. Elsewhere in New York, at the skyscraper offices of technology innovators Harmony Shoal, their spokesman Mr Brock wraps up a press conference. After fielding a question from an attractive Daily Chronicle reporter named Lucy Fletcher, who wonders about the company’s mysterious benefactors, Brock gives directions to the rest room to a short, chubby man in a duffel coat – the Doctor’s friend Nardole. As the press leave, Brock is approached by Doctor Sim, who reports a problem with brains, and bleeds blue blood from his nose… At midnight, when their employees have gone home, Doctor Sim leads Brock to a secure laboratory; they are unaware that they are being followed by Lucy, now in disguise as a cleaner, and also Nardole. Inside the circular lab, Sim shows Brock a collection of brains suspended in fluid inside cylindrical jars, specimens donated by Harmony Shoal’s benefactors for a secret project; Sim explains that despite there being no deliveries, the number of brains has increased from twenty-four to thirty-six. Their conversation is overheard by Lucy, listening from the corridor outside; she is surprised to find another man also listening: the Doctor, busy eating takeaway sushi. Sim tells Brock to tap one of the jars, and when the man complies, he is startled to see a pair of eyes open in the brain, which stare malevolently at him. When all the other brains start watching too, Sim points to the real Doctor Sim’s brain in a jar and reveals that his body has been hijacked. Hidden doors slide open in the laboratory walls and three masked surgeons close in on Brock: now Sim’s colleague can have a change of mind too… After Doctor Sim leaves and locks the lab, the Doctor and Lucy compare notes; the Doctor explains how Harmony Shoal have set up offices in every capitol city. They are joined by Nardole, who points out that NY isn’t actually a capitol, but the argument is interrupted by Doctor Sim, who levels a gun at the intruders. The Doctor tries to stall for their lives, but stops when there is a knock at the window of the skyscraper: outside the hundredth-floor hovers a man dressed in black suit, mask and cape, a vigilante whom Lucy identifies as ‘The Ghost’. The masked man breaks through the window and renders Sim unconscious; seemingly recognising the Doctor, the Ghost then picks up Lucy and flies her home. The Doctor realises the Ghost is Grant, the boy to whom he accidentally gave super powers. The Ghost takes Lucy to her apartment building, but has to leave when an alarm sounds on his device; he immediately flies off – but not to fight crime, instead to answer the cries of baby Jennifer. However, when Grant gets to Jennifer’s bedroom, he finds the Doctor holding the baby and Nardole with a bottle of milk, having tracked Grant by the gemstone inside him. The Doctor thinks Grant’s dual identity and always being on call is an insane idea, a situation shown to be even more complicated when Mrs Lombard returns home and is revealed to be none other than Lucy. Unconvinced by the explanation that the Doctor and Nardole followed her, Lucy puts Jennifer to bed. Grant explains to his new friends that Lombard is Lucy’s married name, her husband having left her when she became pregnant; Grant also confesses he has loved Lucy ever since they met in high school (around the time when the Doctor last checked up on him, when his X-Ray vision started), but apart from looking out for her and her baby, he has never made a move. Hearing a report of a fire in Manhattan, Grant transforms into the Ghost and flies off, leaving the Doctor with Lucy. With the aid of a stress toy named Mr Huffle the reporter cross-examines him about the brains in Harmony Shoal’s lab, and listens to his explanation: the brains are an independent alien life form that migrates from planet to planet, where they take over key authority figures to prepare for colonisation. Deflecting Lucy’s questions about the Ghost’s real identity, the Doctor turns up a television news report on the Ghost’s help with an apartment fire. The Ghost’s alarm goes off – and Grant suddenly appears in the apartment to look after baby Jennifer; when the news brings a report of two children trapped on a Big Wheel, Grant makes an excuse and leaves again. Lucy is desperate to meet the Ghost, so Grant phones her as the super hero and arranges for an interview dinner-date on the reporter’s roof the next night. When Lucy asks Grant to babysit he tries telling her that he also has a date, but still ends up agreeing to look after the baby. The Doctor can see how Lucy is jealous of his so-called date, and when he asks Grant how long they have known each other, he is bothered by the answer of twenty-four years… At the Harmony Shoal skyscraper, Sim and the new occupant of Brock’s body watch footage of the Ghost’s previous visit, and decide that he will be a perfect host for their kind. The Doctor arrives on the scene and offers the aliens a chance to leave the planet – but they just laugh as Brock pulls a gun from inside his head. Aware of their invasion plan, the Doctor warns that he has stopped every other alien attempt to conquer the world; he then gives a whistle, and grins as the TARDIS materialises around him, having been piloted by Nardole (after a few accidental detours, including Twelfth-Century Constantinople). The Doctor criticises Nardole, but the alien points out how the Time Lord cut him free from the Hydroflax robot body and reassembled his head so that he could have some company. The Doctor takes the TARDIS to the Tokyo office of Harmony Shoal, where he distracts the workforce with Pokemon creatures and accesses the computer system, using it to identify a signal being sent to something shielded in low orbit. Back in New York, Jenny and Grant / the Ghost prepare themselves for their interview-date; they meet up on the roof, unaware that they are being monitored by Doctor Sim and Brock. Lucy asks the Ghost how he copes with his double-life; when he asks about her life as a working single mother she tells him about Grant, and suddenly realises how she really feels about her nanny. In the street below, Brock arrives in an ambulance; inside are the three masked surgeons… Out in space, the Doctor and Nardole observe the aliens’ apparently deserted spaceship from the doorway of the TARDIS. Materialising inside the vessel, they trip an alarm that is detected by Sim, who watches their progress over CCTV; the two time-travellers head for the bridge, followed by two half-faced men… With Lucy upset and confused by her true feelings for Grant, the Ghost tries to show her his real identity, but is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Brock, his surgeons and a brain in a jar… Finding the ship’s bridge empty, the Doctor and Nardole seal themselves inside from their pursuers. Learning that the vessel’s reactor core has been rewired to turn it into a giant bomb, the Doctor deduces that it will be used to blow up New York, vaporising everyone apart from those inside the heavily fortified building of Harmony Shoal. As Doctor Sim appears on a monitor screen, the Doctor recounts the invaders’ plan: they are staging an alien attack to induce mass panic, to make the world’s leaders hide in the safest places possible - the Harmony Shoal buildings - where they will be immediately taken over… Having tied up Lucy and the Ghost, Brock and his surgeons prepare for the brain swap; they attempt to remove the Ghost’s mask, but he gets free and flies away – returning as Grant seconds later... Doctor Sim watches helplessly over the monitor as the Doctor presses every button on the alien ship’s control console, activating the vessel’s thrusters and sending it straight at New York. The Doctor plans to use the TARDIS to divert the plummeting ship safely into space, but when he opens the bridge door the drones attack Nardole. Instead the Doctor aims the ship at a specific point in Manhattan, and connects his sonic screwdriver to the vessel’s comm system to send a message to Grant. Hearing the Doctor’s call for help with his super-hearing, Grant warns everyone to brace for impact – then there is a huge crash. As New Yorkers in the street look up, Lucy and Brock come to their senses and find Grant now holding the nose of the alien ship with one hand. Inside the vessel, the Doctor happily tells Nardole that the ship’s shock absorbers prevented the reactor from exploding. Arriving in the TARDIS on the rooftop, the Doctor finds Grant and Lucy deep in conversation, the unmasked super hero still single-handedly holding up the ship. The Doctor tells his friend to thrown the invaders’ vessel into the sun, so Grant flies off with the ship with Lucy holding on tight; as the two lovers finally kiss, the Time Lord reminds them about the baby, and is thrown the remote monitor in response. Brock pulls his gun on the Doctor, but the Time Lord deactivates it with his sonic and then points to a U.N.I.T. helicopter flying towards the Harmony Shoal building – the aliens’ invasion plan is off. U.N.I.T. troops secure the skyscraper and its personnel, but Doctor Sim’s alien manages to escape its host, transferring itself to one of the soldiers... Later, the Doctor and Nardole finish an enjoyable dinner with Lucy and Grant. The Doctor comments that now he is back on Earth again, Grant and Lucy can relax and be happy because he will take over keeping the planet safe; when pressed why he was away the Time Lord leaves. Nardole explains that it has taken the Doctor has spent the last twenty-four years with a woman named River Song, but then she died; it will take the Doctor a while to recover, but he will be alright with Nardole’s help. After their guests have departed in the TARDIS, Grant is pleased that Doctor Mysterio has returned at last…

Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Justin Chatwin (Grant), Charity Wakefield (Lucy), Tomiwa Edun (Mr Brock), Aleksandar Jovanovic (Doctor Sim), Logan Huffman (Young Grant), Daniel Lorente (Teen Grant), Sandra Tees (Reporter), Tanroh Ishida (Operator), Vaughn Johseph (U.N.I.T. Soldier)

Directed by Ed Bazalgette
Produced by Nikki Wilson
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
25th December 2016 @ 5.45 pm

*Featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Nardole

*This episode is sixty minutes long

*Time-placing: the flashbacks in this story take place prior to 'The Husbands of River Song'

*Mr Brock mentions Harmony and Shoal employees Miss Siegel and Miss Shuster, a reference to Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster