Jinkx Monsoon as Maestro, Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor, Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday, Jonathan Groff as Rogue

The Best and Worst of Ncuti Gatwa’s Debut ‘Doctor Who’ Season

Ncuti Gatwa’s first season as the Fifteenth Doctor has come to an end. (He’ll be back, don’t worry!) There’ve been lots of highs this season, but a few disappointing lows as well.

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Let’s hop in the TARDIS and take a look back over all nine episodes and rank them from worst to best—but bear in mind, even bad Doctor Who is usually still entertaining.

9. Space Babies

the doctor holding something and ruby looking at it

Unfortunately, this season’s opener was also its weakest episode. “Space Babies” sees the Doctor and Ruby (Millie Gibson) meeting a group of talking babies on a space station and it’s every bit as silly as it sounds. The Doctor is adorable interacting with the babies, but many people will not appreciate this episode’s childish humor. A monster made out of boogers? Ewwww.

8. Empire of Death

ruby and the doctor standing at each other

“Empire of Death” was set up by its predecessor, “The Legend of Ruby Sunday” to be a showstopper of a season finale. And then it just didn’t happen. The Big Bad of the season, Sutekh (an old enemy from the classic Tom Baker era of Doctor Who) is taken down so easily it’s almost laughable. And the conclusion of Ruby’s quest for her birth mother has so many plot holes you could drive a TARDIS through them.

7. The Devil’s Chord

ruby and the doctor walking on abbey road in front of the tardis

“The Devil’s Chord” has all the ingredients needed for a great Doctor Who episode. It has some touching scenes between the Doctor and companion, it has an absolutely wonderful villain (Jynkx Monsoon as the Maestro, god of music), it has the friggin’ BEATLES, and it even has a big musical number at the end! And yet, it just doesn’t quite work. Maybe it’s because the episode is trying to juggle so many things?

6. The Legend of Ruby Sunday

Ruby (Millie Gibson), the Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford) in Doctor Who

This episode saw the return of some fan-favorite characters (Kate! Rose! Mel!) as the Doctor travels to UNIT to work out why a mysterious woman (Susan Twist) has been following him through time and space. Meanwhile, Ruby is trying to uncover the secrets of her parentage with help from a device called a Time Window. How do these two things connect? Well, it turns out that an ancient enemy of the Doctor’s has been meddling in things, and his true name is hidden in plain sight.

5. The Church on Ruby Road

Ruby and the 15th Doctor Millie Gibson Ncuti Gatwa Doctor Who

“The Church on Ruby Road” was the Christmas Special of 2023, but it also counts as part of season 14. So if you’re trying to get hold of all these episodes to watch in one go, make sure you don’t forget it! This episode introduces us to Ruby and shows how she and the Fifteenth Doctor ended up traveling together. It also features a significant cameo from famous British TV personality Davina McCall (who doesn’t die!) and a gang of singing goblins who perform “The Goblin Song.” Yep, season 14 was very musical.

4. Boom

Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday and Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor in Doctor Who "Boom"

Former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat returned to the show to write “Boom,” an episode with very high stakes. The Doctor lands on a war-torn planet surrounded by dangers, and he steps on a landmine that he can’t get off without destroying everything in sight. Will he be able to survive? Of course he will, but there’s still tragedy along the way. Keep an eye on Varada Sethu in this episode, she’ll be back next year as a new companion.

3. Rogue

the doctor looking at the rogue on a balcony in doctor who

A sweepingly romantic Doctor Who episode. While amusing themselves with a Bridgerton-type ball, the Doctor and Ruby encounter both a race of cosplaying bird aliens and the bounty hunter who’s trying to bring them to justice. That bounty hunter is Rogue (Jonathan Groff) and he and the Doctor embark on a relationship that comes to a tragic end. Fingers crossed that there’ll be a sequel to this episode one day.

2. 74 Yards

Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in Doctor Who "73 Yards"

We explore Ruby’s abandonment trauma in this stellar episode. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an awful lot of the Doctor himself in it, but Millie Gibson makes up for his absence with her excellent performance as a lost, alone, but far-from-helpless Ruby Sunday. After breaking a fairy circle, she finds herself stalked by a mysterious woman who remains 74 yards away from her at all times. But can she use this figure to destroy a ruthless politician before he starts gathering nukes?

1. Dot and Bubble

lindy with a bubble on her head in doctor who

This episode was advertised as “Doctor Who meets Black Mirror” and it lived up to the hype. Rather than follow the Doctor and Ruby from the beginning, this episode tells the story of Lindy Pepper Bean (Callie Cooke) a spoiled young woman who turns out to be so much worse than what we’d expect from a Doctor Who episode lead. Ncuti Gatwa puts in an excellent performance as a Doctor who views the worst humanity has to offer and tries to save it anyway.

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Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.