Doctor Who is back, baby, and our weeks have become more timey-wimey as a result. The Russell T Davies-led new era brings a new doctor and companion into the fold.

Davies started planting the seeds for this season’s narrative in the 60th-anniversary episodes and the Christmas special. Below, I’ve compiled a list of Easter eggs and references from the aforementioned specials in the season’s first two episodes, “Space Babies” and “The Devil’s Chord.” Note: admittedly, I didn’t include “The Star Beast” in this article because I couldn’t find much of anything reference-wise. 

“Mavity” 

The Doctor has an arm around Ruby Sunday's shoulders as the pair smile at each other. They stand in a baby farm on a space station on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 1, "Space Babies."

DOCTOR WHO Season 1 Episode 1, “Space Babies.” Photo courtesy of Disney+.

“Mavity” always gets us in the end. If you recall, in “Wild Blue Yonder,” the Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) crash onto a tree in 1666 because of the TARDIS malfunctioning. They encounter none other than Isaac Newton (Nathaniel Curtis), who mishears Donna when she makes a joke about the “gravity of the situation.”

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Naturally, “mavity” is born, seeping into every crevice of the Whoniverse. The Fourteenth Doctor says “mavity” multiple times, as does the Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) to Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in the Christmas special, “The Church on Ruby Road,” when attempting to infiltrate a floating ship full of pirate goblins. 

The silly term doesn’t remain in the 60th-anniversary episodes and Christmas special, though. When examining Pacifico del Rio aboard Baby Station Beta in “Space Babies,” we see statistics for the planet’s “mavity” courtesy of the TARDIS. 

I hope this running gag continues all season. 

The Villains 

Maestro has bright red-orange hair and wears a black velvet dress with a piano key design on the collar. They crawl out of the top of a piano while grinning on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 2, "The Devil's Chord."

DOCTOR WHO Season 1 Episode 2, “The Devil’s Chord.” Photo courtesy of Disney+.

It’s all in the family. “The Giggle” features the Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris), a villain who is quite the match for our titular Time Lord. Then, in “The Devil’s Chord,” the Fifteenth Doctor squares off against Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon), who just happens to be the Toymaker’s child. Both immortal beings are gods who belong to the Pantheon. While their fates are the same — banishment — one can’t help but wonder if we’ll at least see Maestro again. 

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It’s Always the Wall 

Eh, this one is probably me reaching. However, it’s interesting that the Fourteenth Doctor/Donna crashes through a wall on a spaceship in “Wild Blue Yonder,” and the Fifteenth Doctor/Ruby does the same thing in “Space Babies.” Or it’s the product of Russell T Davies writing both episodes. Regardless, the TARDIS couldn’t give a fig about physics. 

Salt 

Salt — it isn’t just used for seasoning. The Fourteenth Doctor and Donna persuade their alien not-thing counterparts to count every grain of salt in “Wild Blue Yonder.” (You’re probably familiar with the myth that evil spirits must count every grain of salt before crossing a salt barrier.)

Then, in “The Giggle,” UNIT binds the Toymaker in salt after the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Doctors best him in his game. Maestro’s remark about thanking the Doctor for banishing their father in “The Devil’s Chord” is a callback to that. 

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1925

“The Giggle” and “The Devil’s Chord” boast similar openings. The former introduces us to Soho, London, in 1925, while the latter also ushers us into 1925 London. Does this mean that the Toymaker’s Stooky Bill doll causes everyone to lose their minds in 1925 while Maestro destroys music? You gotta love a family that wreaks havoc together. 

Arpeggio Laughs 

Maestro wears a blue conductor-style jacket with a matching long skirt. They stand in a studio while gesturing as if conducting a symphony on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 2, "The Devil's Chord."

DOCTOR WHO Season 1 Episode 2, “The Devil’s Chord.” Photo courtesy of Disney+.

What tips the Fifteenth Doctor off to Maestro in “The Devil’s Chord” is their arpeggio laugh. Why? Because their dad, the Toymaker, also has the same laugh, as demonstrated in “The Giggle.” The Fifteenth Doctor even mentions that giggle to Ruby, who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. 

Music 

Music is undoubtedly a significant part of both “The Giggle” and “The Devil’s Chord” — even more so in the latter. Maestro is music. However, the Toymaker also gets a musical moment, singing and dancing through UNIT headquarters (Avengers Tower?). 

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“The Devil’s Chord” builds to a big song-and-dance number in the episode’s final moments. While it feels somewhat jarring given Doctor Who‘s historical lack of musical bits, I interpreted this as the lingering effects of Maestro’s abilities. 

The One Who Waits

The Doctor and Ruby Sunday wear 1960s clothes while running down a side street in London on Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 2, "The Devil's Chord."

DOCTOR WHO Season 1 Episode 2, “The Devil’s Chord.” Photo courtesy of Disney+.

In “The Giggle,” the Toymaker tells the Fourteenth Doctor that he didn’t face “the one who waits” during one of his games (even though he did entrap The Master in his gold tooth). Then, in “The Devil’s Chord,” Maestro warns of the one who waits’ imminent arrival before their banishment. Additionally, they mention “the oldest one” potentially being present on the day Ruby was born. Could these be the same person/being? 

Speaking of the inevitable threat the Doctor faces … do you remember a well-manicured hand with red nail polish picking up the Toymaker’s gold tooth after the god was bound in salt? The same tooth that contains The Master?

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Sure, Russell T Davies has gone on the record and said The Master wouldn’t play a role in the rest of the season. That said, it’s worth paying attention to whoever grabbed the Doctor’s famous foe. My guess is it’s “the one who waits,” who could be part of the Pantheon of Gods. 

What are your thoughts on tie-ins from the 60th anniversary episodes/Christmas specials? Where do you think this season will take us? Sound off in the comments below!

Doctor Who drops new episodes every Friday at 7 PM on Disney+ and midnight every Saturday on BBC iPlayer. 

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Melody McCune
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