Ruby and the Doctor standing in a room across from each other

‘Doctor Who’ Reminds Us What the Doctor Does Best

Each season of Doctor Who has staples of the Doctor that exist. This season, we watched as the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) was more open and honest with his companion. Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) brought that out in him. But the finale, “Empire of Death,” showed us the Doctor doesn’t change.

Recommended Videos

Throughout their battle with Sutekh, the Doctor is forced to watch as all life ceases to exist not only here on Earth but throughout the galaxy. Planets are dead and dying and Ruby, Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford), and the Doctor are the only ones still floating on. But when the Doctor sees a glitch in the TV he used his sonic on to capture Ruby’s memory, they have a new lead.

Ruby and the Doctor are trying to figure out how to fix the world and it all comes back to Ruby and her mother. Her mother’s name will lead them to an answer but Sutekh also needs the answer to survive.

What’s great about this is that the Doctor is slow to realize that while Sutekh may be death, he is life. Each new regeneration brings a new life to the Doctor and so if Sutekh represents what death will become us all, the Doctor is the hope of life.

But even as he realizes this (and kills Sutekh and brings death himself), the Doctor does something that he often does when situations get to be too touch. Ruby finds her birth mother, has a family, and is even about to meet her birth father for the first time. Just when her life seems happy and together, the Doctor has to say goodbye.

A very Doctor goodbye

ruby and the doctor standing at each other

He’s done it time and time again and the difference is that, this time, the companion didn’t really try to fight him. Ruby was happy and she wanted to spend time with her family.

The Doctor has tried to leave all of his companions at some point or another. When Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) were married and happy, the Doctor (Matt Smith) thought he wasn’t needed. It happened with Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) too and a few times the companions decided to leave on their own. Like when Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) wanted out.

This goodbye between Ruby and the Doctor felt different. It didn’t feel like either really wanted to leave but they both knew that this was for the best. Ruby tells the Doctor she loves him and he nods, turning back to the TARDIS and crying when the door was shut behind her. I do think that they won’t really be gone forever, I think that the Doctor will need his Ruby Sunday again.

But this goodbye was painful because neither wanted it and they both understood that they needed to go their own ways. Maybe it was getting to spend an entire season with the two and seeing how important that friendship was to the other that made this feel like I was being pulled in two.

It was such a Doctor way to say goodbye to someone though and as they both talked about in the end, this wasn’t going to be the last time they saw each other. I just hope that we see Ruby and the Doctor reunite sooner rather than later.

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Rachel Leishman
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.