Every Doctor Who Season 14 Episode, Ranked

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Every Doctor Who Season 14 Episode, Ranked

Doctor Who’s first season with Ncuti Gatwa as the 15th Doctor and Russell T. Davies returning as showrunner (after 12 years away from the show) was, by most measures, a hit. Also acting as the first season to switch from BBC America to Disney+ in the United States and elsewhere, now has never been a better time for both lapsed Whovians and those who never got into the show to jump back in or start their adventures with the Doctor for the first time.

However, some episodes from Season 1 (or Season 14, or Season 40) are definitely better than others. Here is our ranking of each episode from the season, with the two-part finale counted as one entry.

We recommend that you watch all episodes of the season (in order, please) before checking out this list, as they will contain spoilers.

7. “The Legend of Ruby Sunday” and “Empire of Death” (Episodes 7 & 8)

doctor who season 14 episodes

“The Legend of Ruby Sunday” feels like the scariest climb up a massive roller coaster, with the tension rising every second as you reach the apex. “Empire of Death” feels like getting to the top, starting to fall down the first few slopes and then the ride changing into the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney World. It’s not a bad ride, but it’s not what you were led to expect, and you feel a bit like you were lied to about what the ride was going to be.

After the entire season and preceding Christmas special had been building up the mystery of Ruby Sunday’s (Millie Gibson) parentage, the first part ramps up that mystery even more. It ends with a big reveal unrelated to Ruby—that the God of Death, Sutekh (voiced by Gabriel Woolf) had been hitching a ride on the TARDIS since his first appearance in the 1975 serial “The Pyramids of Mars.”

“Empire of Death” starts out strong with the Doctor, Ruby, and old companion Melanie Bush (Bonnie Langford) fighting and beating Sutekh, bringing back everyone else in the universe whom he had turned to dust. Then, it drops whatever the opposite of a bombshell is: that Ruby’s parents weren’t anyone special. Seeing Ruby reunite with her mom is still emotional, but after so much build-up, the reveal feels like a slap in the face to fans who had faith the breadcrumbs Davies was planting would lead somewhere interesting.

6. “Space Babies” (Episode 1)

Perhaps the weirdest episode of the bunch, “Space Babies” is a cute, borderline juvenile adventure that sees the Doctor and Ruby save a space station full of intelligent babies. In our full review of the episode, we called it a mix of Aliens and The Boss Baby, and that still feels like the best way to describe it.

5. “Dot and Bubble” (Episode 5)

The season’s second “Doctor-lite” episode where we mostly see him and Ruby only through FaceTime calls, “Dot and Bubble” follows perhaps the most insufferable iPad baby, Lindy Pepper-Bean (Callie Cooke), as she tries to survive a very slow invasion of monster slugs.

Most of the episode is fine, although Lindy becomes more and more dislikable of a protagonist until the line shifts to her becoming a villain. First, she leaves fellow resident Ricky September (Tom Rhys Harries) to die, finally making it to the rest of the survivors, where the Doctor and Ruby are in person. Offered by the Doctor to take them off the slug-infested planet, Lindy and everyone else refuse, letting slip that everyone on the planet is racist.

This triggers a powerful performance by Gatwa, one of the first (and only) so far in the show to address the difficulties of being the first major Black Doctor. It’s a painfully moving scene that definitely redeems part of the previous minutes’ frustrations.

4. “Boom” (Episode 3)

Written by Stephen Moffat, Doctor Who’s showrunner from 2010 to 2017, “Boom” sees the Doctor spend most of his time on an explosive Roomba. The episode also introduces Varada Sethu as Mundy Flynn, who we know will return as a main companion in the next season.

“Boom” is similar to the 2008 episode “The Poison Sky,” in that it resembles a bottle episode, spending most of the runtime in one scene, but also that the tension continually rises throughout that long scene. As such, the episode relies heavily on the acting of its cast, whom fortunately were more than up to the task.

3. “73 Yards” (Episode 4)

Written as an homage to Welsh folk horror, the season’s first “Doctor-lite” episode has him mysteriously disappear after Ruby accidentally destroys a fairy circle. This first leads her to a nearby pub, then back home, then infiltrating the prime minister election campaign of a dangerously trigger-happy man, and then to a hospital bed, all over the course of the rest of Ruby’s life. All the while, a mysterious woman standing exactly 73 yards away follows her everywhere she goes, and anyone who talks to her freaks out and runs away.

We get some answers by the end of the episode, but certainly not all of them, and whether this partially unsolved mystery will be satisfying to you will vary. For those it clicks with, however, it’s a chilling, unsettling look into the darker side of fantasy in a modern setting, which still seems to be a big factor of Doctor Who moving forward.

2. “The Devil’s Chord” (Episode 2)

Although some of the mysteries in this episode are a bit soured by the finale, nothing could ruin the manic performance of Jinkx Monsoon as Maestro, who reveals key information about the Pantheon, a family of gods bent on destruction.

As lore-heavy and tense as the episode can get, it’s also really fun, with hilarious interactions between the Doctor, Ruby, and the Beatles, who are disenchanted by music along with the rest of the world and so sing an… interesting song about dogs. And of course, there’s a delightful dance sequence at the end to the song, “There’s Always a Twist at the End.”

1. “Rogue” (Episode 6)

doctor who season 14 episodes

Despite some great competition, the season’s ultimate winner is “Rogue,” thanks largely due to Jonathan Groff’s titular character. Initially suspecting the Doctor as the cause of the episode’s mayhem, Rogue takes him in and means to kill him before discovering the true culprits and teaming up to take them down.

Very early on, we see a romantic tension between the two characters, which grows throughout the episode until its climax, where the two share a kiss before Rogue sacrifices himself to save Ruby. In a season full of broken promises, Davies had better make good on the tease that we’ll see Rogue in the future, because he created some of the season’s best moments.

Joseph Stanichar is a freelance writer who specializes in videogames and pop culture. He’s written for publications such as Game Informer, Twinfinite and Looper. He’s on Twitter @JosephStanichar.

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

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