Doctor Who official logo Copyright BBC Studios, 2022
Doctor Who official logo, © BBC
The Legend of Ruby Sunday promo image, copyright BBC and Disney, 2024
The Legend of Ruby Sunday promo image, © BBC and Disney 2024


Director: Jamie Donoughue
Writer: Russell T Davies
Cast: Ncuti Gatwa, Millie Gibson, Jemma Redgrave, Bonnie Langford, Yasmin Finney, Lenny Rush, Michelle Greenidge, Susan Twist, Gabriel Woolf
Streaming Service: Disney+

“The timelines and canon are rupturing.”
– the Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) in Destination: Skaro.

The Legend

The driving mystery behind this season has been “who is Rub Sunday’s mom?” Where does she come from, and why is she so important? Lingering just below the surface of this a-plot, however, has been the even longer simmering mystery of he who waits. He who scares the Toymaker and Maestro. He who comes from beyond this realm. The lord of the Pantheon of Discord.

Though we don’t get any answers as of yet to Ruby’s family — I imagine we’ll get something of an answer next week in the finale that will propel us into season two — we do finally get the reveal as to who the big bad villain of the season is and it’s a classic. But first, let’s back up.

In the Beginning…

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby (Millie Gibson) find themselves arriving at UNIT in order to get their help in discovering the identity of the old woman they’ve been seeing throughout the season played in various roles by Susan Twist. Here we’re re-acquainted with Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) and Rose (Yasmin Finney). We also meet Morris Gibbons (Lenny Rush) who is the latest scientific advisor for the organization.

Twist is the revealed to be playing in this episode the role of Susan Triad, and she’s about to bring some sort of big technological leap to the world in a matter of hours. Because S. Triad can spell TARDIS and her first name is Susan, the Doctor at first believes this to be a regenerated version of his granddaughter Susan.

Later on, we get this tidbit that the Doctor hasn’t had kids yet, but he knows of and has traveled with his granddaughter. “The life of a Time Lord” he says. Interesting, that.

After Gibbons suggest that Triad and Ruby’s mother could be the same person, the Doctor has Ruby grab a VHS tape of CCTV footage of the area around Ruby Road where she was abandoned in 2004. From there they use a crude Time Window that UNIT has built to along with the footage to look into the past in order to find out who her mother is.

The Legend of Ruby Sunday is on this VHS tape; courtesy of the BBC
The Legend of Ruby Sunday is on this VHS tape; courtesy of the BBC

Unfortunately, they’re unable to, but they do learn of and interact with an entity that surrounds the TARDIS and ends up killing a UNIT officer. It’s a genuinely spectacular scene all the way through and probably the big centerpiece moment I’ll be thinking of the most. Millie Gibson and Ncuti Gatwa really knock it out of the park during the Time Window encounters, I was feeling the emotion reverberate the screen.

Before this scene though, we do get one of our first big what the hell moments of the episode when Mrs. Flood (Anita Dobson) is tasked with looking after Ruby’s grandmother Cherry (Anita Wynter). After Ruby, her mother (Michelle Greenidge), and Rose leave, Flood looks right at the camera and says “he waits no more” as a storm begins to descend over London.


The second half of the episode then begins with the Doctor going with Mel (Bonnie Langford), a returning classic companion to the press conference where Susan is to begin her speech. The Doctor and Susan meet but it becomes clear pretty quickly that this is not Susan Foreman, but someone completely different. Someone who dreams of her encounters that she’s had with Ruby and the Doctor, but can’t quite make sense of them.

The Susan fakeout is nice, if anything because I just want Carole Ann Ford who originally played Susan and is still alive to get one last moment to return to the show. I feel she deserves it, so I’m happy we so far don’t have a new face for her. I’ve felt this way since the 50th anniversary and will continue to do so.

The Doctor meets Susan; courtesy of the BBC
The Doctor meets Susan; courtesy of the BBC

I would be remiss not to mention that bringing her up at all though gave us some truly wonderful moments with Gatwa getting to talk about her, his relationship with her, and how he feels about his actions in the past with her. This was also something that was covered in the 2008 comic series Doctor Who: The Forgotten when in a way the Tenth Doctor gets to say he’s sorry to Susan. I loved how it was handled there, I hope one day it can be handled here.

Anyways, as UNIT attempts to analyze the creature surrounding the TARDIS and the Doctor and Mel try to figure out what to do about Susan, the one who waits decides to finally make their grand appearance in front of the entire world. Sutekh! The god of death!

The Pantheon of Discord

Sutekh is a classic era villain from the 1975 story The Pyramids of Mars which starred the fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen). I’m not going to dive into the details of that story mainly because I haven’t seen it yet (I’m still working my way through classic Who!), but from my understanding this character is an all-powerful alien technically, but one whom even back then gave the Doctor pause. So I am curious how Russell T Davies handles adding the character to the Pantheon of Discord.

Sutekh; from the BBC's official Doctor Who website
Sutekh; from the BBC’s official Doctor Who website

The Pantheon is a concept that RTD introduced in The Sarah Jane Adventures with the character known as the Trickster who plagued that cast of characters often. Since then he’s gone on to add the Toymaker, Maestro, and others to that grouping of gods and now so it seems Sutekh as well.

It’s really cool to see Sutekh make a return, however. Even if they aren’t characters or villains I’m exceedingly familiar with I genuinely love it when Doctor Who pulls from its 60 years of continuity to bring about returning struggles for our intrepid heroes. It just tends to make me happy. Also returning is the character’s original voice actor in the role, Gabriel Woolf, which is great.

The Harbingers

Finally, at the end it’s revealed that a harbinger of Sutekh, Harriet Arbinger (Genesis Lynea) was planted within UNIT in order to help announce his coming to our cast of characters. Why exactly she was place in UNIT when Susan Triad would’ve been a perfectly fine harbinger? I guess we’ll find out. But Genesis Lynea plays the character spectacularly and gives us a helluva creepy performance at the end.

Speaking of Triad, though. Susan Triad IS either Sutekh, or a part of him, or another harbinger. We don’t really know yet. And the creature surrounding the TARDIS is a giant Anubis-looking creature who is probably actually meant to be Sutekh. He looks really cool at the very least.

Between Mrs. Flood, Harriet Arbinger, the dog creature, and Susan Triad, all of them seem to be different aspects of Sutekh or at perhaps three of them are what Arbinger refers to as “the mother and father and other” that stand above the Pantheon. There’s a whole LOT going on in the last few minutes that are very exciting, but once I sat down to think about this had me going “well wait, but who actually ARE any of these people?”

Ruby and Rose reacting to something; courtesy of the BBC
Ruby and Rose reacting to something; courtesy of the BBC

I imagine they’re all three different aspects of Sutekh and together they are a triad, but that still opens up so many questions. It’s a very exciting penultimate episode that ramps up tremendously towards the end, but still has a lot of answers to give with one final episode to go.

I only pray that RTD can pull it off. This season has been incredibly strong so far from The Church on Ruby Road to now, it would be a shame to see it all fall flat at the finish line. All of it hinges on these grand mysteries.

Final Thoughts

The Legend of Ruby Sunday was an incredibly exciting episode with spectacular emotional moments, both happy and sad, wonderful visuals, and a host of great characters and acting. It falls apart a bit in that what it reveals still leads to more questions, and not just about one character, but a small army of them. Which means the wait for the season finale is going to be a killer one.

I did like this episode, though. I liked it a lot. I’ve really enjoyed this whole season.

On another note, don’t forget, June 20th the night before the finale, there will be a brand new episode of Tales of the TARDIS which will see the Doctor and Ruby inside the Memory TARDIS looking back on their adventures thus far. How it ties into the finale I have no idea, but it will most likely contain new scenes featuring Gatwa and Gibson. So look forward to that. You can watch it on BBC iPlayer.

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