The Doctor standing on a roomba looking bomb in Doctor Who
(BBC)

‘Doctor Who’s New Episode Shouts Out the Best Doctor

Each new episode with Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor on Doctor Who is so much fun. The most recent episode was titled “Boom,” written by former show runner Steven Moffat, and it felt like the most Moffaty episode possible. But there was one moment that really hit me and made me sob.

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During the episode, Gatwa’s Doctor makes a comment about fish fingers and custard, and I wasn’t prepared for the emotion that was going to overtake me at the reference to Matt Smith’s era as the Doctor. It was quick, but if you loved Moffat’s time as showrunner and Smith’s tenure in the role, it might make you nostalgic for the time when the Doctor was him.

Russell T. Davies returning as show runner for Gatwa’s time has been exciting because he has brought back that weird energy to the show that it lost in recent years. But watching “Boom” and having those very Moffat aspects, which include the Doctor in a high-stakes situation and trying to protect those around him, it made me really miss what Moffat can do with the Doctor Who universe.

His little nod to Matt Smith reminded me just how much that era of Doctor Who meant to me as it was airing. After all, it is the era of the show that I rewatch the most because it is that emotionally tied to who I am as a person, so is it surprising that I sobbed over this nod in “Boom”?

Raggedy man …

Matt Smith crying as the eleventh Doctor on BBC's Doctor Who.
(BBC)

The first Doctor that Moffat was showrunner for, Smith’s Doctor, was defined by a number of phrases and moments that still hit with fans. Yelling “Geronimo” as he embarks on an adventure or telling Amelia Pond (Karen Gillan) “Gotcha” right when she thinks she’s lost him for good? These were iconic moments of Smith’s run.

The one that hit the most was fish fingers and custard. When he first regenerates from David Tennant into Matt Smith, he crashes in the yard of a young Amy Pond. She’s just a child, and they’re trying to figure out what this Doctor enjoys. And one of the things that he learns with Amy is that he loves fish fingers and custard.

The two share the treat together, and it has become their thing, an instant staple for Smith’s era, and something that if you say it, fans will know exactly what you are referring to. That’s why it felt so important in “Boom.” Moffat was reminding us of the joy that past Doctors have brought while making sure that this new Doctor was just as loved by fans.

Gatwa’s Doctor bringing up fish fingers and custard made me hope that he’ll get his own thing. He already has mannerisms I can see sticking with his take on the Doctor, and I want him to have all those classics. But it also made me miss what Moffat brings to the show, and I hope we’ll continue to see Moffat and Davies working together to bring the Doctor Who we know and love back to us.


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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.