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(Review) Doctor Who: The Legend of Ruby Sunday

Just like that, we're heading into the closing stretch of this season of Doctor Who.  Where does the time go?  Will the two-part finale answer all of our questions, including the stories behind Susan Twist, Ruby Sunday's mom, and Mrs. Flood?  Also, will we finally learn the identity of "The One Who Waits?"  Let's get started...

Warning:  Major spoilers ahead.

"The Legend of Ruby Sunday" (written by Russell T. Davies) starts with the TARDIS flying through the London sky and almost crashing into the UNIT Tower.  Why doesn't it just materialize inside the building?  The blue box doesn't appear to be in crisis, the Doctor is just excited to see Kate Stewart again.  Wearing a leather jacket that invokes thoughts of #9 Christopher Eccleston, the Doctor and Ruby ask for help identifying the mysterious woman they keep seeing in every adventure.

(In a small criticism of the limited episode run this year, it would have been helpful to see the Doctor and Ruby discuss Susan Twist at some point before visiting UNIT.   When did they realize she was everywhere?  This season doesn't have enough time to work in little moments like that which would help with the overall flow of the storyline.)

Kate's current team includes Rose Noble, Mel Bush, Morris Gibbons (the new teenage UNIT scientific advisor), the upgraded Vlinx, and Harriet Arbinger.  It turns out they already know someone who looks exactly like the woman the Doctor is asking about:  Her name is Susan Triad (played by the one and only Susan Twist), and she runs a company called S. Triad Technology, which everyone in the room understands is an anagram for TARDIS.

Given the anagram, and the fact that her name is Susan, the Doctor and Ruby immediately wonder if Susan Triad might be the Doctor's granddaughter.  Kate Stewart is floored to learn after all this time that the Time Lord has family.  We were equally stunned to hear #15 say that his children still haven't been born yet.  (Time Lords' family trees are confusing.)  We must be coming back to that at some point.  The question is, will it be next week or next season?

This conversation is also the first time Ruby learns that the Doctor can regenerate.  She asks him not to change his face anytime soon, and he agrees to keep it for a long time to come, a pledge which immediately makes us nervous.  Hopefully he'll keep that promise, because we need at least three seasons of Ncuti Gatwa.

(Mrs. Flood pops in around this time.  We still don't know her true identity, but she's aligned with "The One Who Waits.")

Since UNIT is already working on the Susan Triad issue, the Doctor and Ruby also ask for help trying to figure out the story of Ruby's mom.  We're introduced to a Time Window, a room which can produce 3D recreations of past events.  Using an old community television recording of the night Ruby was left at the church, and the Doctor's understanding of the power of memory, the group is able to generate a detailed mock version of that fateful evening. 

It's mostly a rehash of the scene from "The Church on Ruby Road," until a mysterious evil force appears on the scene.  Was it there the night Ruby was born, or did it just appear in the present?  Either way, it's bad news.

The Doctor and Mel go to talk to Susan Triad.  Sorry, folks.  She's not the Doctor's granddaughter.  However, she visibly knows something about all of the other roles she's had this season. 

(It's great to watch Mel basically tell the Doctor to get it together at one point.  He needs that pushback every now and again.  Will Ruby eventually get a similar moment?  Blind faith in the Time Lord can be bad for one's health.)

It appears that the mysterious villain has engulfed the TARDIS, and our favorite time machine lets out a groan.  That's the same groan we've heard it emit since "Wild Blue Yonder."  Has the TARDIS been trying to warn the Doctor this entire time?  He should have been listening more carefully. 

Everyone is stressing everywhere, when Harriet Arbinger (aka H.Arbinger, aka Harbinger, just like Henry Arbinger in "The Devil's Chord.") goes into a trance and starts rambling about the pending arrival of "The One Who Waits."  At the same time, Susan Triad starts to melt down, talking about her bad dreams (i.e. her other appearances), and then it all comes together:

S. Triad Technologies --> Sue Triad Technologies --> Sue Tech  --> Sutekh the God of Death. 

The only other time we've seen Sutekh was in the classic 4th Doctor story, "Pyramids of Mars," which terrified us more than almost any other adventure in the classic era.  Long story short for new fans, Sutekh was determined to bring death to everyone and everything in the universe, but he was buried alive in a tomb in a pyramid in Egypt.  He almost escaped, but of course the Doctor saved the day.  It seemed like Sutekh would be trapped for the rest of eternity, so yes, he's definitely been waiting a long time. 

(Did the Doctor accidentally let Sutekh out when he used salt at the edge of the universe in "Wild Blue Yonder?"  Yikes.)

This isn't good.  This isn't good at all.

It also doesn't fully explain Susan Triad's story yet, but maybe we'll come back to that next week.

"The Legend of Ruby Sunday" answers a couple of longstanding questions, but it also raises even more for next week's season finale.  It's a tense episode from start to finish, as the Doctor has to juggle multiple dangers simultaneously.  Ncuti Gatwa runs the gamut of emotions, although Millie Gibson mostly just responds to him.  The Time Window is an interesting device which will hopefully return again at some point in the future.  The current UNIT lineup feels a little underwhelming, but maybe they'll get their chance to shine in "Empire of Death." 

All in all, it was a fun set-up for the final battle.  Now let's find how it concludes.

See you again soon!


Doctor Who Legend of Ruby SundayWho else would like to see Mel stick around for another TARDIS stint?  (pic via


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