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New Nu-Who the review – The Legend of Ruby Sunday

today16 June 2024 19

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Penultimate Episode Shockers!

The episode opens with a rather exciting shot: the TARDIS flying over a London skyline. Straight away, we’re off to a very energetic start. There’s a lovely little scene with Kate Lethbridge-Stewart and the staff of UNIT, and we get straight to the business of identifying Susan Triad’s true identity.

Obviously, this review is going to be full of SPOILERS—consider this your warning. It’s the penultimate episode of the series, so if you’re behind, you’re in dangerous waters.

Over the last six weeks, I’ve been speculating about the character’s true identity. With her company being S Triad Technology, the obvious observation is that S. Triad is none other than an anagram of TARDIS. Russell T Davies knew people would instantly make this observation, and he was also fully aware that we’d all theorize Susan Twist’s character could possibly be the Time Lord’s granddaughter, Susan Foreman.

It certainly seems a lot of thought and research has gone into this season finale and the series as a whole. However, more on this later—there was a lot to take in.

We’re graced with the ever-so-beautiful Yasmin Finney playing Rose Temple-Noble, daughter of Donna and Shaun Temple, now on the payroll of UNIT with a 13-year-old scientific advisor, Morris, brought to life by the young, talented actor Lenny Rush (Am I Being Unreasonable?). Kate Stewart having children working for her at a military organization that deals with aliens worries me. It’s almost like there’s no concern for their safety, especially when one of them gets possessed! Oh God, I’ve gone and done it now, haven’t I?!

The episode consists of a lot of running about—first, from UNIT to Ruby Sunday’s home to collect a VHS of a CCTV feedback dated back to 24/12/2004. Incidentally, the Christmas Eve before the Doctor blew up Rose Tyler’s job at Henrik’s Department Store.

Upon collecting the VHS, Cherry Sunday is left in the care of the Sunday’s mysterious neighbour, Mrs. Flood. With the blink of an eye and a cheeky hint for a cuppa, her demeanour changes. Mrs. Flood turns a little weird, stating “He waits no more…” Very ominous. It’s fair to say Cherry is in mortal danger!

Cut to an oncoming storm over London. A storm from the East, possibly? I really am teasing now.

Anyway, then back to UNIT, where the use of a Time Window results in Colonel Chidozie’s demise. His body being nothing but sand should’ve been foreboding of the episode’s climactic cliffhanger, but alas, no. I’m still none the wiser.

A bit of tension between Kate and the Doctor, and straight to S Triad’s HQ with the ever-so-talented Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford). This time, she’s as badass as ever. It’s nice seeing her in a stronger role than what she had in the Classic Series. No screaming, using her gifted talents, and giving the Doctor a reality check when he collapses from guilt. The Doctor is nervous; it’s speculated throughout the episode that Susan Triad could possibly be the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan Foreman.

Then we’re face-to-face with her—Triad, not Foreman. A nice little “how’d you do?” followed by introductions and straight in with the questions of dreams involving the Doctor and Ruby’s previous adventures. This strikes a chord with Triad, but she continues on with the presentation. She is about to change the world, and she’s right…

Meanwhile, at UNIT HQ, the boffins are working away at the now altered VHS tape, attempting to unravel Colonel Chidozie’s death, and then the groan happens. The groan that’s been heard since Wild Blue Yonder. What is that? TARDIS still suffering from indigestion? It’s all coming to a head now—a cliffhanger ending is coming up. But what or WHO is the mastermind behind this well-orchestrated plan?

We’re still in the Pantheon of the Gods, and he’s coming back. Harriet Harbinger is possessed and starts uttering words of Gods and skins. But while this is happening, black dust circles the TARDIS, and Susan Triad has taken a turn for the worse. This is edge-of-your-seat stuff—the tension is building, and seven torturous days of WAITING are imminent!

“The God of all Gods has returned!” Screens flicker from Susan Triad Technology to Sue Triad Technology. I gasped at the screen as I exclaimed the Egyptian God “SUTEKH!” Then it’s confirmed as his other names are mentioned: “Set” and “Seth.”

And then the big reveal of a beastly hound. Sutekh’s true form towers over the people at UNIT. Susan Triad is no longer herself but a Slave of Sutekh, a dig at the “you thought I was family…” And then Gabriel Woolf’s infamous voice and most memorable quote from The Pyramids of Mars.

Now many fans will remember Woolf’s last role in Doctor Who was that of the Devil in The Impossible Planet/Satan Pit (2006). Another telltale sign for me should’ve been when Carla Sunday referred to the shadow in the Time Window room as “The Beast.” Very well played there, Russell!

I should’ve seen this coming from a mile off—I am kicking myself! The episode was exciting and did an amazing job at building the tension for an explosive season finale.

Just how is the Doctor going to defeat Sutekh this time, and could Susan Triad actually be the Doctor’s granddaughter BUT under the powerful control of the Egyptian God?

However, hearing “I bring Sutekh’s gift of death to all humanity…” had me excited and my poor partner confused.

It certainly makes sense now that Episode Eight is titled Empire of Death, especially since Sutekh is the God of Death once defeated and imprisoned in a pyramid on the Martian planet.

The Doctor and Ruby will return in a special episode of Tales of the TARDIS on Thursday 20th June on BBC Four at 20:00. No doubt to reflect on the 1975 serial The Pyramids of Mars, where the story’s antagonist made his debut, followed by The Empire of Death on BBC iPlayer at 00:00 the following Saturday.

Written by Daniel Price
Images from BBC Pictures

Written by: Ian.Lamsdale

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