Take a deep breath. While fans may have been hoping for a cozy and festive tale, the Bob's Burgers Christmas special trailer has dropped, and with it, comes a seasonal villain that's far more frightening than the likes of the Grinch. The trailer introduces the mythical creature that makes up one of the twin terrors that dominate the episode. According to Entertainment Weekly, the second horror is the fact that Linda Belcher throws a cool festive party to cheer everyone up, and then suffers the misery of someone swiping her Christmas tree topper.
The preview for “The Bleakening,” which drops on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 8:30 p.m. ET, focuses on the Bleaken. According to Teddy, this character is basically the anti-Santa. The creature has a monstrous appearance, with horns, "lizard skin, and black feathers," and it's scary in multiple ways. Firstly, from a materialistic perspective, since the Bleaken steals presents. Can you even imagine? But secondly, from a creepy supernatural perspective, since apparently he "feeds off sadness and anger." Basically, he's a slightly chiller version of Krampus, the mythical monster National Geographic called "the anti-St. Nicholas" who forms such a terrifying part of German language culture who is also horned, carries a whip and "hauls the bad kids down to the underworld."
But Teddy's Bleaken carries an extra layer of unease in the preview as the kids observe that the monster was partly used by Teddy's nana to emotionally blackmail her grandchildren into not quarreling.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the Belcher kids come to connect the missing tree top with the creature, believing Bleaken is the thief. “By the end of this thing, we’re in a tunnel, the lights go out, and all the characters think they might die,” creator Loren Bouchard told the publication. “This is a serious Christmas — yet full of surprises.” It sounds like one of the most high stakes Christmas episodes in a while, especially in comparison to the 2016 Christmas special "Last Gingerbread House On The Left," where the focal drama was Bob getting involved in a gingerbread house-building competition, while Linda and the kids went and sung a few carols.
Of course, there have been high-stakes seasonal specials before — 2013's Yuletide episode "Christmas In A Car" involved the family being high-tailed by an irate truck in the shape of a candy cane, while "God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins" involved a squatter who believed he was a mannequin and created disturbing window displays out of heartbreak. If you watched either of those, you might remember stress-drinking egg nog to make it to the end of the episode. But neither of them were as full-on horrifying as the preview makes the Bleaken-dominated Christmas episode appears.
Besides, as The AV.. Club has previously observed, despite the diversity in themes covered by the previous holiday specials, there's usually one clear uniting topic when it comes to a Belcher Yuletide episode: the importance of family at Christmas. Despite what feels the episode's preoccupation with the mythical creature, it would be surprising if Bouchard hadn't found a way to loop the anti-Santa storyline back to the joy of being part of a misfit family. Perhaps this is the reason for the multiple mentions of Teddy's potentially abusive-sounding grandmother (who gives children wine, anyway?). Or perhaps fans will discover that someone close to home has stolen the tree-top out of sheer envy for the Belchers' Christmas joy? Here's looking at you, Teddy. He's always spent a little too much time in the Belchers' family restaurant — and you know those burgers aren't halfway as good as the puns they're named after.
Still, while Teddy being lonely at Christmas is an unsettling thought, the Bleaken is even scarier. While you may not usually tune in to Bouchard's creation for horror, it sounds like this Christmas, the Belcher are serving up burgers with a side of light horror. So cuddle up to a loved one — this is one Christmas special you shouldn’t watch alone.