Doctor Who 1×02 and 1×03 Review – ‘Space Babies’ and ‘The Devil’s Chord’

a young white woman in pleather jacket and a youngish black man in a striped shirt stare just above the camera in a corridor
Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) and The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) in ‘Space Babies’. Photo courtesy Disney+.

These two episodes ‘Space Babies’ and ‘The Devil’s Chord’ are two sides of the same coin. 

Warning: There are Spoilers in this review.

Episode 2 of Doctor Who, “Space Babies”, is an adorable foray into the future. The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby (Millie Gibson), fresh off of their adventure with goblins, go into the far future and land on a space station that is a baby farm.

They find themselves in the middle of a fairy tale as they then need to combat the Bogeyman and figure out why the babies are on their own.

Davies pulls no punches as to where his politics lie (there’s a comment about who would want to force babies to be born but then not care about them after), and seems to be repeating some bits from “The End Of The World” (where Rose and the Doctor travel to the extreme future as well). Ruby gets an awe-inspiring view of the planet below and then gets her phone sonic’ed so she can call her mum.

This Doctor is definitely vastly different than the others: he’s not holding back on telling his companion anything. We seem to get a speed-run of the two connecting. Ruby gets to hear he’s a Time Lord, that he’s an orphan, and even hints that he tells her (and her mum) his name. She even gets a key to the TARDIS, which usually doesn’t happen quite so soon. It feels like Davies just wants to jump straight into having the two be a pair rather than do the work of having the two figure it out.

Maybe that’s something Davies wanted to do so new viewers wouldn’t feel quite so lost, but it feels like much of the mystery has been taken out as a result. Does he feel new viewers won’t stick around if they don’t know everything yet? On the other hand, the bad guy is a quintessential British joke (the Bogeyman is made of bogeys), which may turn off those new American viewers.

The babies (sorry, space babies) are adorable, even for me – a childfree by-choice person – and it’s adorable watching Gatwa and Gibson interact with them. While not outstanding, it’s a fun little episode that seems to want to pack way too much into it.

a person with red hair and a biano-themed top crawls out of a piano
Jinx Monsoon as Maestro in ‘The Devil’s Chord’. Photo courtesy Disney+.

As for “The Devil’s Chord”, music is the heart and soul of this episode.

When I heard that Doctor Who was going to have an episode with The Beatles, I was intrigued. When I heard that showrunner Russell T. Davies had a ‘clever’ way around the fact that getting the rights to their music is astronomically expensive, I was hooked.

When the episode opens, we’re in 1925, with a small boy and teacher at a piano, going over how music is created. The teacher mentions “The Devil’s Chord”, and is interrupted by Maestro, a scenery-chewing scene-stealing Jinx Monsoon as the embodiment of music. Before the scene ends, they start playing the Doctor Who theme.

It quickly transitions to the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby (Millie Gibson), listening to the newly installed jukebox. Ruby has come up with where she wants to go, and it’s to Abbey Road in the ’60s to see The Beatles record their first songs. But when they get there, the music is … not what anyone is expecting. It’s not great, to say the least. (Thus not using any of The Beatles’ actual music.) The two are then tasked to beat Maestro at their own game, otherwise the world will be a nuclear wasteland.

The episode is manic in the best way. We’ve got sentient music notes, a whole scene in complete silence, and it ends on a song and dance routine. Gatwa and Gibson work great together, and look awesome in their ’60s outfits.

The running theme is how important music (and the arts) are to humanity, and while the moral is a bit on the nose, it’s still an important one to have. I’m not sure how I feel about the sentient music – definitely see Disney’s influence there, and the fourth wall breaks continue, which I’m also unsure of. But I like that the Doctor isn’t the one who saves the day (it’s Lennon and McCartney, working together), and it hints at the overall season arc of dealing with the repercussions of “The Giggle”.  We also finally get an in-universe acknowledgment of Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter, and that we don’t quite know what happened to her.

I was lucky enough to attend the Los Angeles premiere, and they showed this episode rather than “Space Babies”, and I can understand why: Monsoon is captivating as a bad guy. It shows what Disney has added to the show and with Davies doing what he does best: entertaining people at multiple levels.

So far, I’m liking the series, and Gatwa is still slaying (that’s what the kids say, right?), showing a joy that is infectious. I’m happier with the show than I have been for a while and look forward to what’s coming.

Doctor Who is available on Disney+ for American viewers, and on the BBC iPlayer for those of you in the UK.

The next episode is “Boom”. 

Author: Angie Fiedler Sutton

Angie Fiedler Sutton is a writer, podcaster, and all-round fangirl geek. She has been published in Den of Geek, Stage Directions, LA Weekly, The Mary Sue, and others.

She also produces her own podcast, Contents May Vary, where she interviews geeky people about geeky things. You can see all her work (and social media channels) at angiefsutton.com.


Help support independent journalism. Subscribe to our Patreon.

Copyright © The Geekiary

Do not copy our content in whole to other websites. If you are reading this anywhere besides TheGeekiary.com, it has been stolen.
Read our policies before commenting. Be kind to each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.