Doctor Who “The Legend of Ruby Sunday” Review

    It’s officially the start of Doctor Who finale season with The Legend of Ruby Sunday, from showrunner Russell T Davies. After a season of half a dozen adventures, the little series of adventures is coming to an end. Story arcs have been set up around the lineage of Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson), how she was abandoned on Ruby Road. There’s also a mysterious, powerful threat who’s been waiting for a long, long time. With so much going on, can the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) manage to save the day?

    Thankfully, he’s not alone. As discussed in the preview, UNIT is back. Led by Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), she’s got an army ready to assist the Doctor with anything. With them recruiting former companions, we’ve also got the return of Rose (Yasmin Finney) and Mel (Bonnie Langford). Hopefully with their forces combined, they can defeat anything that comes their way. Let’s see how they save the day in this full review of “The Legend of Ruby Sunday”.

    WARNING – This our full spoiler review for “The Legend of Ruby Sunday”. There are things in this episode that you really don’t want spoiled for yourself. If you’ve not seen the episode please go watch it, and then come back.

    Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday and Yasmin Finney as Rose Noble in Doctor Who: The Legend of Ruby Sunday (via BBC Press Office)

    The Legend

    The episode opens with the familiar UNIT clip, as the TARDIS makes an entrance. After seeing Susan Twist‘s characters all through the universe, the Doctor’s gone to UNIT for help. All of our favourite characters are there, including newcomers Morris (Lenny Rush) and Harriet (Genesis Lynea). It’s a hell of an entrance, although materialising is seemingly going out of style. I can’t shake the thought that some kind of opening was cut for time, the Doctor’s quest for answers does seem pretty sudden after “Rogue”.

    The Doctor takes UNIT through all the Susan Twist cameos, but they recognise her immediately. In 2024, she’s a tech billionaire, ready to give out her technology for free, to the entire world. UNIT have been keeping an eye on her for a bit, especially given that “S Triad” Technology is an obvious anagram for TARDIS. Not only that, but she’s called Susan. Could this be his granddaughter? Could someone be harnessing TARDIS technology? It’s a great opening, including funny jabs at Elon Musk and Rishi Sunak.

    The return of Susan (Carole Ann Ford) is something that fans have wanted for a long time. But as Mrs Flood (Anita Dobson) says, sometimes we don’t get the things we want. Although, I do think a return for her is on the cards. Speaking of Mrs Flood, she’s not only aware of the TARDIS and breaking the fourth wall, but she knows of the One Who Waits. Threatening Cherry (Angela Wynter) of all people made for a really creepy return. Is Mrs Flood evil? Or is she just a watcher? A Guardian? I really hope that we find out soon.

    Anita Dobson as Mrs Flood and Angela Wynter as Cherry Sunday in Doctor Who: The Legend of Ruby Sunday (via BBC Press Office)

    Time Window

    Despite the Doctor telling them all the way back in the 1970s not to play around with time technology, why would UNIT listen? They’ve got a time window, allowing them to create a projection of the past. Powering this with a VHS tape from the night of Ruby’s birth, the titular “Legend”. Yes, while most people don’t have VHS players, somehow UNIT can hook one into a time machine. This is where the very blue and glitchy environment from the trailers was. It’s like a map of Ruby Road that night.

    We can see a cloaked figure of Ruby’s mother, and we still don’t know who she is. Not sure why they’re hiding her identity like this, unless it’s a massive reveal. Still, it was an emotional scene as she walks away. Another phenomenal show of Gibson’s acting talent, tugging at the heart. The death of Colonel Chidozie (Tachia Newall) was also haunting, deep growling voices, turning into sand. Some real haunting images. It’s also a great setup for the reveal later, but I wish stuff like this was stretched earlier through the season.

    As was revealed in “Space Babies”, time is changing. Instead of simply walking away like in “The Church on Ruby Road”, she’s now pointing at the Doctor. For an episode named after Ruby, it doesn’t give us any answers. Given this massive sequence, that’s a little disappointing. Hopefully next week gives us something. The idea of a second TARDIS is going to come in handy. I’m curious as to how Carla recognises that blob as “The Beast”, too. Also, nice nod to another Gabriel Woolf character.

    Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday, Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor, and Bonnie Langford as Mel Bush in Doctor Who: The Legend of Ruby Sunday (via BBC Press Office)

    Susan Triad

    Triad is what I’d call the secondary focus of the episode. Mel’s on her media team, and Triad’s far too nice. It’s a little obvious that she wasn’t going to be the Doctor’s Susan. If they’re going to do that, and I do think they could, they’d definitely make use of Carole Ann Ford. Although, I still don’t know exactly how Twist and her cameos tie into this. Is she a manifestation of the villain throughout time? Is he just making use of her? We see her possessed at the end, with some proper scary effects. Could be anything.

    For an episode that was mostly setting up the finale, and I hope we get some nice answers and payoffs to go along with them. The questions it posed at the start are carried through the whole episode, creating a really tense atmosphere. However, outside of a villain reveal, there’s not much in the way of concrete answers. Like most finale openers, it hinges entirely on next week’s actual pay off. If next week is able to live up to the hype, this will be an all-time great finale.

    For the big breadcrumb through the season, Susan had a very limited, albeit memorable presence in the episode. Instead, it’s occupied with The One Who Waits, a villain that hadn’t really been set up well at all. What’s most unclear at this point is what this has to do with Ruby Road in 2004. I doubt it’s a coincidence that they’re both being set up at the same time. There’s got to be something connecting them. Whatever it is, the fate of the universe seemingly hinges on Ruby Sunday.

    Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor, and Susan Twist as Susan Triad in Doctor Who: The Legend of Ruby Sunday (via BBC Press Office)

    Gift of Death

    Everyone’s in a lot of danger, as the One Who Waits finally reveals himself. The Doctor and Mel are at Susan’s presentation. However, the Doctor’s conversation with her earlier had a massive impact. All of her dreams come flooding back, and she no longer knows who she is. It’s a moment that many saw coming, as Triad finally reveals her gift to the world. The One Who Waits, mentioned all the way back in “The Giggle”, is revealed as Sutekh (Gabriel Woolf). A villain who’s not been seen since 1975’s “Pyramids of Mars”.

    As a classic fan, the reveal works. I was screaming and beyond excited. What can I say? RTD just knows how to do an epic finale. Although I don’t think it necessarily has the impact it thinks it did for less familiar viewers. Sutekh means nothing to most fans. While in 2007, The Master didn’t either, the gravity of another Time Lord was well established. I don’t think it was set up as well as it could’ve been. But hopefully, this gets more people delving through the classic series.

    It’s an increasingly obvious setup through the episode. This is something that’s increasingly apparent on a rewatch. From Susan telling Mel to call her Sue, to motifs of gifts to all humanity. Just wish it was breadcrumbed through the season more. Although the reveal still works. It’s also a threefold cliffhanger, with Ruby once again in the Time Window with her birth mother. Sutekh’s also revealed his true form (with a lovely horrifying redesign) and is now terrorising UNIT. Everyone’s in danger, and I don’t know how they get out of this one. Phenomenal cliffhanger. Very excited for next week.

    Susan Twist as Susan Triad in Doctor Who: The Legend of Ruby Sunday (via BBC Press Office)


    That was “The Legend of Ruby Sunday”! I screamed, cheered, and almost cried. As someone who’s been on the Sutekh theory train from the beginning, that was immensely satisfying to see unfold. He’s one of the most dangerous villains in Doctor Who, and I can’t wait to see him properly unleashed next week. More than that, it seems that we’re headed for some kind of answer as to Ruby’s lineage, and I’d love to know why her mother is now pointing at the Doctor. As cool as all of these reveals were, there’s still plenty more to come.

    There was no Next Time trailer, leaving us waiting in full anticipation for “Empire of Death” next week. We’re headed for an action packed finale. Properly explaining how Susan Triad fits into all of this, defeating Sutekh, and maybe even explaining who Mrs Flood is. Not only that, but after all of this talk, it’d be nice if the Doctor actually did get to reunite with his actual granddaughter. It’s a crowded setup already, but the return of Susan is something that now looks more possible than ever before. This is the most excited I’ve been about a Doctor Who finale for a while. Bring it on!

    Doctor Who started its new era on Christmas Day 2023 with “The Church on Ruby Road.” The episode saw Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson debut as the 15th Doctor and Ruby Sunday. Doctor Who premiered at midnight on Saturday, May 11th, on BBC iPlayer with a double-episode bill. The episodes will stream internationally on Disney+, Doctor Who‘s exclusive home outside the UK and Ireland, giving audiences a simultaneous global launch. Episodes will also air on BBC One each week in a primetime slot on Saturday evening.

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