ruby and the doctor walking on abbey road in front of the tardis
(Disney+)

‘Doctor Who’ Did What ‘Yesterday’ Thinks It Did

In all of time and space, the Doctor has never met the Beatles until now. The second episode of series 14 of Doctor Who takes the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) to EMI Recording Studios in 1963 to see the Beatles record their first album. But the musical villain Maestro (Drag Race alum Jinkx Monsoon) has other plans for the band.

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Maestro, who longs for a world without music, is unleashed in the 1920s when a piano teacher summons them by playing the devil’s chord. As a result, when the Doctor and Ruby get to EMI Recording Studios, the Beatles’ songs are decidedly not the ones we know from Please Please Me. The Doctor and Ruby then search for the being who took music away from the world to stop them before the song of nuclear winter is all that exists.

Throughout the episode, the Doctor and Ruby are trying to push back against Maestro’s determination to take music from humanity. But Ruby is the only one left with a “song in her heart”, forcing Maestro to turn their focus on Ruby and the Doctor. Luckily, Ruby and the Doctor remind the Fab Four of the meaning of music and the Beatles step up when we need them most.

There are moments in “The Devil’s Chord” that remind us just how important the Beatles are to generations of music lovers. This is what Danny Boyle’s 2019 comedy Yesterday attempted to accomplish, but that film became a convoluted mess. Watching Doctor Who celebrate the power of the Beatles reminded me of just how annoyed I was by Yesterday.

Doctor Who did in one episode what Yesterday failed to do in an entire movie

the beatles all playing at EMI Recording Studios in doctor who
(Disney+)

Yesterday is a fantasy comedy about struggling musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) who wakes up one morning to find that he is the only person on Earth who remembers the Beatles and their music. He begins passing off the Beatles’ catalog as his own songs, reaching global acclaim.

While the concept is original and inventive, Yesterday loses its way when it gets into the weeds of its story. I believe we are a better society when we follow the Beatles’ message of love, but Yesterday loses the plot in celebrating the iconic band’s music.

Doctor Who not only focuses on the importance of the Beatles’ legacy, but allows them to take a heroic stand in defeating Maestro. When the Doctor fails to play the right chord to banish Maestro, they trap Ruby and the Doctor in instruments.

Luckily for the Doctor and Ruby, John Lennon finds the chord and joins Paul McCartney to finish it, ending Maestro and saving the world from nuclear winter. Watching the Beatles come together and save the world made me overly emotional about my love for the band.

That’s what I wanted Yesterday to do, but the film gets lost in making Jack the most important man on the planet instead of focusing on the brilliance of the Beatles (Himesh Patel is innocent, you were perfect babe.)

So thank you, Doctor Who. I wish my dad was still alive to see a Scottish Doctor joining forces with the Beatles to save us all.


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.