This week’s outing of Doctor Who reunited us with more than one familiar face, and revealed shocks and surprises that may change the mythology of the Who-verse forever. Here’s our recap!
On modern day Earth, Ruth Clayton (Jo Martin) lives a contented life as a city tour guide. Until a platoon of Judoon arrive on the streets and put her city under lockdown as they search for an intergalactic fugitive.
Ruth’s husband Lee (Neil Stuke) is shady, holds disdain for ‘humans’, and has a backstory which doesn’t add up, so obviously it’s not him. When the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and Ruth manage to escape a Judoon home invasion they are tracked down by the space rhinoceros. Ruth however manages to attack and disarm them, quite surprising for middle-aged tour guide.
It would appear Ruth may be a sleeper agent, her true identity hidden deep from even her. The Doctor persuades her to take them to Ruth’s childhood home, and from there things get even more shocking.
A message calls to Ruth. Breaking the glass of a fire alarm she absorbs its energy. At the moment, the Doctor discovers a police box buried under the supposed grave of Ruth’s parents. Ruth reveals that she too is the Doctor.
Cue tin-hat theories….
There are already numerous theories as to who the ‘Ruth’ Doctor could be as neither her nor Jodie’s Doctor recall either incarnation from their pasts. Some include this being a Doctor from a different life-cycle even before William Hartnell’s, the First Doctor, era. Others suggest this may be a doctor from a parallel universe, a concept already established within canon.
Add to this the whisperings of the ‘timeless child’, the continued fears about the whereabouts of the Master (Sacha Dhawan) and the oncoming threat of the ‘Lone Cyberman’ delivered by Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and this season’s arc is getting more intricate each week.
Oh, did we not mention Captain Jack’s return?!
Yes, after almost a decade away from our screens Barrowman returns as the beloved fan-favourite in a surprising reveal that deserves praise on the BBC’s behalf. Mistakenly picking up the Doc’s companions whilst trying to contact the woman herself he does little more than info dump.
With his witty one-liners and countless innuendos, he still delivers the same charm audiences know and love him for since his first introduction way back in Season 1’s ‘The Empty Child’ in 2005. And he’s not the only call-back in this episode to that time.
Add the Judoon, a mention of nanogenes, and the concept of the Chameleon Arch, (a device to rewrite Time Lord DNA first introduced in Season 3’s ‘Human Nature’), and this episode feels like a walk down RTD-era memory lane.
With the Doctor shaken and reunited with Team Tardis at the end of episode she is caught up to speed on Jack’s impromptu appearance. Surely, that’s not the last we see of him, especially given that he wasn’t given the opportunity to play against Jodie’s Doctor.
‘Fugitive of the Judoon’ was tinged with nostalgia in a conventional Earth-based story, yet delivered twists and turns which may have repercussions not just for the rest of this season, but the 57 years of Who canon.