Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 7 Review: The Legend of Ruby Sunday

Spoilers

The Doctor and Ruby wanted answers but were left only with more questions — and one of the scariest monsters yet to deal with.

On Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 7, The Doctor turned to UNIT for help, putting people he cared about in danger, before learning the heartbreaking truth about the woman following him everywhere.

There were plenty of lighthearted moments in what was a scary first half of the season finale, making this story one of the strongest and most on-brand episodes in a while.

Some Great Reunions for the Doctor

Despite the Doctor’s protests that he doesn’t want to ruin any more lives, he was happy and excited to spend time with his friends in UNIT and the surrounding areas.

I especially enjoyed Rose Noble (Yasmin Finney)’s appearance. She didn’t have much to do, but she and Ruby quickly bonded over being two young women around the same age who shared a sense of adventure.

Rose must have felt so validated as a trans woman when Carly called her gorgeous. Those are the kinds of small moments that might not mean a lot if you aren’t someone who had to fight to be seen as the gender you are but mean the world to transgender viewers.

Related: Why Doctor Who’s Introduction of Rose Noble Is So Important for Transgender Viewers

It was also great for Ruby to have a friend her age, and I loved that the women bonded so quickly. They spent most of their time at UNIT together, and when the Doctor sent Ruby into the Time Window, Rose hugged her — another small moment that spoke volumes.

I also enjoyed Carla. Her determination to accompany Ruby to UNIT and her compassion for Ruby’s birth mother were both strong scenes, and Ruby had to push her away so that she could do what she had to do to help save the universe.

The Scenes With Ruby’s Birth Mother Were The Most Emotional Part of Doctor Who

Ruby didn’t get many answers about who her birth mother was. The woman (if she was even human) never showed her face and must have seen the Suketh since she pointed at a spot beyond the Doctor that he mistook for her pointing at him.

Still, these were some of the most heartbreaking moments on TV.

Carla: I think she’s crying. She just gave up her child. It’s okay, darling. We got her. Ruby’s safe.
Ruby: I wish she could see me now. I made it, Mum. I’ve traveled all over the universe.

Ruby’s longing to see and talk to her birth mother was emotional enough. She had such high hopes that the technology would finally give her answers, only to come away with none.

The Big Reveal Has Implications for The Whoniverse

It was equally sad that the Doctor thought Susan Triad might be his long-lost granddaughter, only to find out that she was housing the supremely evil Suketh.

I figured Suketh was some demon based on how it looked when it first revealed itself and what the UNIT guard said after he disappeared.

The creature also confirmed a popular Doctor Who theory about what’s been happening: the Toymaker, Maestro, and other villains are part of the Pantheon, a set of nearly omnipotent, god-like creatures, and Suketh, aka The One Who Waits, is the most powerful of all of them.

Related: Doctor Who Review: Devil’s Chord

Heartbreakingly, it also means that Susan Triad is NOT Susan Foreman. Russell T Davies knew viewers would assume she was and played with our expectations, demonstrating his mastery of telling a supernatural mystery full of red herrings.

That’s how you create a jaw-dropping cliffhanger: lead viewers carefully down one path, only for everything to turn out to be completely different than it seems.

The episode ended in the perfect place, too, with Suketh declaring that it is here to destroy the Doctor and everyone he loves, which is the Doctor’s worst fear. With no preview scenes at the end of the hour, I was left even more eager to find out how the Doctor will defeat Suketh.

Suketh Has Tangled With the Doctor Before

Suketh, who is named after the Egyptian god of death, appeared in the classic series episode “Pyramid of Mars,” in which he was trapped in a pyramid and hoped to be freed so he could bring death to all.

At that time, Suketh used mind control to force the Doctor to use the TARDIS to help free him, but the Doctor was able to move the opening to a space-time tunnel so that Suketh could never reach it and was trapped.

Given that the last battle involved the TARDIS, I have to wonder if Suketh was attached to it all this time and what Susan Triad has to do with things.

Did he possess her, or was that his human form?

Related: Has Doctor Who Set Up a Possible Torchwood Return?

Who is Mrs. Flood?

It’s possible that Russell T Davies did a bait-and-switch, making us think Susan Triad was Susan Foreman when the real Susan was under our noses all this time.

The Doctor mentioned that Susan might have regenerated to “hide away” and Mrs. Flood used that exact term to refer to herself, but this could be another red herring.

That cryptic comment Mrs. Flood made to Cherry about not getting what you want made her seem evil. Yet Cherry could also have been possessed by one of Suketh’s minions, in which case Mrs. Flood could still be on the right side.

Cherry constantly says the Doctor is trouble and that Carla should stay away, so what does she know and how does she know it?

Mrs. Flood, on the other hand, is familiar with the TARDIS, and we need to know how that has come to be.

This Season Has Been All About Fear

From the beginning of the season, Ncuti’s Doctor was a happier, more lighthearted Doctor than those who came before, but he still carries the same fear that everyone he loves will die because of him.

When he stepped on the fairy circle, Ruby experienced her deepest fear: an alternate reality in which everyone who loved her was repelled by her and refused to speak to her again.

It seems like the Doctor and Ruby came together because their fears complement one another. Their whole relationship is a metaphor for healing.

Related: Doctor Who Review: Ruby’s Strange Adventure

I wondered several times if anyone remembered Ruby’s adventure. She’d met Kate during it, and the mysterious figure who stayed 73 yards away, from what glimpses we got of either of them, looked like her birth mother.

How Do Time Paradoxes Play Into These Strange Events?

The Doctor explained to Rose and Ruby that he couldn’t take the TARDIS back to the scene of Ruby’s birth without causing a massive time paradox, but Suketh appeared to have possessed a second TARDIS in the vicinity.

It seems like the Doctor’s presence in the area might have already triggered a paradox. Additionally, the similarity between the 73 Yards woman and Ruby’s birth mother suggests that Ruby herself was present at her birth, which is impossible.

I can’t wait to find out how this all plays out! How about you, Doctor Who fanatics?

Hit the comments with your thoughts!

Doctor Who Season 1 streams on Disney+. Classic Doctor Who streams on Britbox.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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