Doctor Who – Space Babies

The Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in Space Babies (Image courtesy BBC / Disney+)
The Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in Space Babies (Image courtesy BBC / Disney+)

“Space Babies” is an episode of the 14th season of the new “Doctor Who” series, also indicated as season 1, and follows “The Church on Ruby Road“. It’s available in the UK and Ireland on BBC channels and in many other countries on the Disney+ platform.

Beware that in various adverts and marketing materials, this season is promoted as season 1, marking the start of production by Bad Wolf and distribution by Disney+, hence the double notation. On BBC’s website, “Space Babies” is indicated as episode 1 of 8 while Disney+ indicates it as episode 2.

Note. This article contains some spoilers about “Space Babies”.

The Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) takes Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) on a trip to the age of dinosaurs, with some unexpected side effects. After fine-tuning some Tardis settings, he takes her to the future, to a space station where they find a monster and children who were supposed to be part of a colony project but were abandoned.

Russell T Davies took the new indication as season 1 seriously, meaning he wrote “Space Babies” to work as a soft reboot that gives new viewers the chance to learn who the Doctor is. The initial part of the episode uses the new relationship that got established between him and Ruby to tell a bit of the protagonist’s backstory and then throw the travelers into a new adventure.

The protagonists are new but some elements of the plot of this episode recall the past of the saga. Many episodes were set at least partly on space stations and some scenes are precise references: for example, the Doctor and Ruby looking at the planet from a station window recalls the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler in “The End of the World”.

The episode has for the most part the lightheartedness that often marks “Doctor Who” but there are moments that deal with very serious themes. The children were born even after the budget cuts, and this refers to an anti-abortion policy but at that point, the same government didn’t give a rat’s ass about them. What a strange planet, right?

One chance for children to have a future is to be welcomed as refugees on another planet but they have to physically get there on their own. That’s another problem that reminds us of what happens on other strange planets.

Overall, it’s an episode that offers some surprises but for the people who know “Doctor Who” the plot is rather predictable. What matters is the development of the Fifteenth Doctor, his new companion, and their relationship. At the end, there’s an explicit reference to the mystery of Ruby’s birth and from this point of view, we can expect news in the next episodes.

Whether it’s the first or second episode of season 14 or season 1, “Space Babies” seems like a good way to resume the journey for old “Doctor Who” fans and to begin an extraordinary adventure for those who were lucky enough to discover the saga only now.

The space station crew in Space Babies (Image courtesy BBC / Disney+)
The space station crew in Space Babies (Image courtesy BBC / Disney+)

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