Doctor Who: "Space Babies" and "The Devil's Chord" kick off Ncuti Gatwa's tenure with a bang

Thanks to showrunner Russell T Davies, new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa, and new companion Millie Gibson, the latest reboot of Doctor Who is epic!
Doctor Who. Credit: BBC Studios
Doctor Who. Credit: BBC Studios /

I've said it before and I'll say it again: casting Ncuti Gatwa as the next Doctor has been one of the best decisions Doctor Who has made since David Tennant was hired in the lead role. And the first two episodes of his very first season are proof of that.

In Episodes 1 and 2, "Space Babies" and "The Devil's Chord," we not only see how perfect Gatwa is for this role, but how effortlessly he and Millie Gibson, as his companion Ruby Sunday, bring fun new life to the Doctor/companion dynamic. They truly remind me of the joy I used to feel watching David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

What makes this duo work so well? And why are they are so appealing? Well, first, we have to give credit to the casting department, and second to Russell T Davies, who is back as showrunner for the first time since Tennant vacated his seat as the Doctor in 2010.

The formula of Davies, Gatwa, and Gibson is bringing forth a fabulous era of Doctor Who, and if you don't believe me, simply watch the first two episodes of this season. You will not be disappointed. Check out our reviews of "Space Babies" and "The Devil's Chord" below, and beware MAJOR spoilers below!

Snot, space babies, and Ruby Sunday's first go-around on the TARDIS

The first episode of the two-episode season premiere gives us a quick intro back into the world of Doctor Who as the Doctor explains who or what he is to Ruby and quickly whisks her away on timey-wimey adventures. I appreciate that no time was wasted trying to give background. We all know the basics, and while the new companion doesn't, playing to the audience here is smart.

Very quickly, Ruby realizes that the Doctor's capacity to travel across time and space is not a lie, and that she can truly head off to any corner of the universe she wants to. I love the curiosity of new companions, and I thought Gibson did such a great job here.

After making a quick pitstop in the prehistoric era, Ruby rambles off a five-digit year, and soon the Doctor and Ruby find themselves thousands of years in the future...with a bunch of talking space babies and a Bogeyman.

It is clear from the get-go in the dialogue that Davies is not holding back. As the Doctor and Ruby try to work through the chaos of space babies and their Nan-E (hi, Bridgerton's Golda Rosheuvel), we get a solid helping of social commentary. From mention of refugees seeking asylum to the United States' stance on abortion, Doctor Who addresses it all. Furthermore, the Doctor identifies the fall of Gallifrey as a genocide. For an episode revolving around a bunch of infants, "Space Babies" packs a punch, and does it unapologetically.

At the heart of this episode is the idea that these space babies were left behind on a space station because of monetary reasons, and because whoever left them behind was operating from a pro-life stance. Not to mention, the Bogeyman of the episode was created because of the babies' snot. It's all very bizarre, and so perfect for a Doctor Who episode.

In the end, the Doctor figures it all out and brings peace to the baby space station. He takes them to a planet where they live and thrive safely. I love everything about the episode. It was a great step into the world that Gatwa is going to create in his Doctor Who era.

The Beatles, Maestro, and a world without music

Okay, this second episode was even better than "Space Babies." It took us to the 1960s, gave us the Beatles, and gave us a new villain by the name of Maestro. A world without music sounds awful, but that's what at risk in "The Devil's Chord."

The Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon) is introduced as a music-sucking villain who removes the love and joy that music brings to the world. And because of the powers the Maestro possesses, the Beatles essentially aren't the Beatles anymore. Instead, they sing basic songs with no meaning or vigor. It's a grim reality that the Doctor has to do something about. After much fear and hesitation, he does just that, with Ruby's help.

There are many aspects of this episode that stood out to me, but I have to say one of the top moments was when the audio completely cuts out because the Doctor is trying to fool the Maestro by silencing the world around them. There is something so eerie and creepy about that scene, and it was done so perfectly. And then there's the Maestro's sneaky appearances through the pianos; subtle taps are a jarring reminder that the villain is lurking nearby. Chills I tell you, chills!

It is truly an action-packed episode that alludes to something bigger yet to come. I don't know if anyone else will agree with this, but the mention of the Doctor's granddaughter makes me wonder...will we see Amy or Rory Pond sometime this season? Is it possible? Could it really be?

I cannot wait to find out as this amazing season continues next week!

Next. Ncuti Gatwa is "sticking around for a while" on Doctor Who. The Fifteenth Doctor does not have any immediate plans to leave the series.. dark

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