Steven Moffat returned to pen last week’s stellar Doctor Who episode, “Boom,” and the series seems to be firing on all cylinders again. There’s nothing like a standalone Moffat outing. This one is anti-capitalist and anti-war while shining a nuanced light on faith. Moffat’s not a fan of organized religion, but even he acknowledges the necessity of faith without relying on it as a moral compass. 

Ncuti Gatwa steps into his own as the Fifteenth Doctor, delivering a tour de force, powerhouse performance. I love how 15 is tuned into his emotions and unafraid to express vulnerability. That said, there are elements of our Time Lord’s innate stoicism, sarcasm and stormy darkness woven into Gatwa’s performance. I love it. 

In honor of Moffat’s return to the series, I’ve compiled a list of 11 Easter eggs from “Boom.” Read on, Whovians. 

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The Skye Boat Song 

The Doctor stands still in the middle of a blazing war zone on a distant planet. He wears a plum-colored velvet waistcoat and tan pants on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 3, "Boom."

DOCTOR WHO Season 1 Episode 3, “Boom.” Photo courtesy of BBC/Disney+.

If you’re an Outlander fan, you undoubtedly recognized what the Doctor (Gatwa) was singing when standing on the landmine. It’s none other than “The Skye Boat Song,” a late 19th-century Scottish tune composed by William Ross. While the Doctor probably doesn’t binge-watch the Frasers’ love story in his spare time, this song goes back quite a bit in the Time Lord’s history. 

Firstly, in “The Web of Fear,” the Second Doctor plays “The Skye Boat Song” on his recorder. Then, in “The Power of the Doctor,” the Master also plays it on the Second Doctor’s recorder after procuring artifacts from different incarnations of our titular Gallifreyan. 

Villengard 

The Villengard Corporation is the antagonist in “Boom.” (I’d argue the Anglicans are victims, ignorantly funding the war machine.) This isn’t the first time the show has name-dropped it. We first learn about Villengard in Season 1 Episode 10, “The Doctor Dances.” In it, Jack Harkness carries a weapon from the infamous galactic arms manufacturer.

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Additionally, in “Twice Upon a Time,” the Twelfth and First Doctors travel to the partially destroyed planet at the center of the universe. Fun fact: Steven Moffat wrote both of these episodes. 

Susan Twist 

There’s always a Susan Twist at the end. 

Actor Susan Twist is one of this season’s connective tissues, seamlessly weaving each episode together. Well, that and the snow that appears in connection to Ruby Sunday’s (Millie Gibson) mysterious identity. So far, Susan has played a different character in every episode since “Wild Blue Yonder,” with only two roles listed as “uncredited.” This time, she’s the Ambulance, a ruthless machine courtesy of the Villengard Corporation that diagnoses and “treats” patients, usually killing them to keep the casualty rate at an acceptable level. 

She’s crucial to the overarching narrative. Perhaps she’s linked to Ruby. Only time will tell… 

“Dad to Dad” 

John Francis Vater wears bandages over his eyes, along with a helmet and soldier's armor. He holds a gun while standing on a battlefield on a distant planet on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 3, "Boom."

DOCTOR WHO Season 1 Episode 3, “Boom.” Photo courtesy of BBC/Disney+.

The Doctor urges the AI version of John Francis Vater (Joe Anderson) to infiltrate the Villengard algorithm to determine if Kastarion 3 is uninhabited and to relay his findings to Mundy Flynn (Varada Sethu). He tries to appeal to John’s position as a father. “Dad to dad; dust to dust.” Of course, this also references the Doctor’s history as a dad (and granddad). The most notable child of our Time Lord is Jenny, who appeared in Season 4 Episode 6, “The Doctor’s Daughter.” 

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Then, his granddaughter, Susan Foreman, was mentioned in “The Devil’s Chord” when the Doctor and Ruby traveled to the 1960s. 

Companion Age 

When the Ambulance latches onto Ruby to conduct an examination, it announces her age as “3,082 years old.” This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a computer reveal a companion’s age. If you recall, in Season 5 Episode 2, “The Beast Below,” a machine verifies Amy Pond’s identity and reveals her age as “1,308.” Of course, Moffat also penned this episode. 

“We All Melt Away in the End” 

Ruby Sunday wears a red jacket and black jeans. She stands in the middle of a blazing war zone on a distant planet, looking panicked.

DOCTOR WHO Season 1 Episode 3, “Boom.” Photo courtesy of BBC/Disney+.

In the episode’s final moments, the Doctor and Ruby discuss snow. Our titular Time Lord says, “We all melt away in the end,” about said snow. This might be a stretch, but I couldn’t help thinking about the Eleventh Doctor’s quote: “We’re all stories in the end.” Well, mostly because they share the same three words and convey the same sentiment.

The Doctor follows up, “We all melt away in the end,” with “But something stays,” implying that, like Eleven’s quote about stories, we all leave an indelible impression on time even after we’re gone. 

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Genesis of the Daleks 

When writing “Boom,” Moffat derived inspiration from the classic Doctor Who outing, “Genesis of the Daleks, Part 1.” In this episode, the Fourth Doctor stepped on a landmine while on Skaro at the end of the Thousand Year War. So, this ain’t the Doctor’s first tango with landmines. 

The Doctor and Ruby’s Dynamic 

I don’t know about you, but the Doctor and Ruby’s dynamic in “Boom” gave me serious Twelfth Doctor/Clara Oswald vibes. Ruby’s dialogue and actions feel very Clara, especially with lines like, “Tell me what you’re not telling me” and “Good luck with that.” The Doctor calls her “brave” when they think the landmine might detonate, a nod to Clara’s “Let me be brave” before she faces death in “Face the Raven.”

One of the Doctor’s lines even references a scene from the Twelfth Doctor and Clara’s adventures. In one perilous moment, the Doctor recites what sounds like a poem to steady his nerves. “Young man, don’t you know there’s more to life than the moon and the president’s wife?” In Season 9 Episode 1, “The Magician’s Apprentice,” Missy mentions she recalls when the Doctor stole the moon and the president’s wife when describing how long she’s known him. 

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The Doctor’s Personality 

The Doctor wears a plum-colored velvet waistcoat and tan pants. He stands on a landmine that glows green in the middle of a blazing war zone on a distant planet on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 3, "Boom."

DOCTOR WHO Season 1 Episode 3, “Boom.” Photo courtesy of BBC/Disney+.

A great aspect of Gatwa’s portrayal of the Doctor is his inclusion of the incarnations preceding him. “Boom” showcases the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor personas still within him. Specific dialogue, such as “Everywhere’s a beach eventually” and “Can you write a diary with drums? I bet I could,” feels very much like 11.

However, lines like the sarcasm-laden “Where do you think this is?” and “I forgive you for being incredibly stupid” exude 12’s energy in all his curmudgeonly glory. His depiction of these elements of past Doctors put me in such a nostalgic mood. The Twelfth and Eleventh Doctors are my favorite, with the Fifteenth Doctor joining their ranks in the wake of last week’s showing. 

The Morax 

I appreciated the sly nod to Jodie Whittaker‘s Thirteenth Doctor, even though her era is polarizing among Whovians. (Hey, I enjoyed her as the Doctor and would love to see someone like Moffat write for her.) Moffat pencils in a reference to “sentient mud.” The Doctor tells Mundy he’s met sentient mud and that they were lovely but “grumpy” girls. He feels for them, though. One would feel perpetually grumpy if mammals constantly trampled on one’s face. 

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I believe this is an Easter egg to Season 11 Episode 8, “The Witchfinders,” which sees the Thirteenth Doctor facing off against the Morax, creatures who took the form of mud. Side note: 13 name-drops Harry Houdini after revealing she knows her way around knots, which 15 also references in “The Church on Ruby Road.” 

Fish Fingers and Custard 

Listen, this nod to the Eleventh Doctor was an emotional gut punch in the best way. Before departing Kastarion 3, the Doctor reassures Splice Alison Vater (Caoilinn Springall) that he’ll visit the planet from time to time. That means she should have ready fish fingers and custard, his favorite dish. Oof. My heart. The Eleven is strong in this one. 

What Easter eggs did you pick up from “Boom”? Sound off in the comments below!

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Melody McCune
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