Review by Chlo Hickson

Honestly it was weird, and I am concerned that they went too strange for the season opener. But I did have fun.

I wasn’t sure when they announced they were going to do this, but I’m honestly really glad they decided to do a double bill because I would’ve been worried after seeing ‘Space Babies’ but ‘The Devils Chord’ assured my confidence about how good the season will be. I enjoyed elements of it but the plot didn’t do it for me.

Did anyone else think it was a bit exposition heavy simply just for the benefit of the new viewers? It was like ok, the old fans will wait for you to catch up. It was more of a re-cap if anything else. In 2005 we had more of a slow burn approach to the subject. I’m the last of the Time Lords, the Time War, Gallifrey, the Daleks destroyed my people etc and I personally think this is a better way of doing it instead of it being an exposition dump, but it could be the new way of doing it in 2024 with people’s minds not being easily focused these days.

I did like the part at the end where the Doctor scanned Ruby. It reminded me of the Doctor scanning Amy to see if she was pregnant or when he was trying to find out why he kept bumping into Clara. I do have a theory about this. It reminded me of the situation with Owen in Torchwood with Death in ‘Dead Man Walking’. I couldn’t really make out what it said because of the snow but I think it said Ruby was 70% … If that’s 70% human, what’s the other half? Like I mentioned with Owen, Death used him to come into our world, so is something using Ruby?

This is something else on my theory list for this season.

I also loved the bit where the Doctor tells Ruby’s mum not to slap him as it’s a running theme in Davies series. Though I think it’s earned with what he does to their kitchen.

Lets not forget the Doctor purposely scaring the bejesus out of the babies, also remembering that the Doctor is also a dad and he was clearly enjoying scaring them.

Ncuti Gatwa in these first two episodes of the newest season of Doctor Who embodies all the qualities we’ve come to adore in the Doctor, while injecting his own charm and perspective.

Gatwa is absolutely brilliant as the Doctor. His chemistry with Millie has really helped lift this episode for me.

‘Space Babies’ was a decent introduction which showed how amazingly Ncuti and Millie bounce off each other! The biggest strength of this episode is its incredibly strong characterisation of both the Doctor and Ruby.

With their chemistry I’d say this helped give me the most important thing: The feeling that I’m actually watching Doctor Who. It’s something I haven’t felt for a long time so thank you Davies for giving it me back!

It’s a bit redundant me saying this with the show being reduced to eight episodes, but I love how they’re not wasting anytime in building the arc of the season. Ruby’s story is super intriguing and confusing in all the best ways.

I watched Doctor Who Unleashed after the episode and they explained how they make the babies talk. They got the child actors that were talking and digitally transferred their faces onto the baby in postproduction so a lot of the movements were of the child actor rather than the baby. There was a lot of time, effort and work that went into it and I think they would’ve been better off having the baby speaking through some kind of future device? Just don’t move the babies mouths.

Its bad because I believe the apes are actually talking in the new Planet of the Apes whereas I struggle to believe that these babies are.

I sound absolutely terrible here but I’ve got to be truthful. There were moments were the babies were supposed to be crying and they actually weren’t. It pulled me out of the story a couple of times as it was quite distracting.

I’m not criticising the performance of babies here as they are babies.

Captain Poppy and the other babies that come to help aren’t talked about enough, they came with a flame thrower! I saw that and thought what if a kid tries to replicate it seen as babies had it? You know what children are like. A firework would even be the same.

Something else I had a problem with is ‘Space Babies’ was said way too much, this might be the new record for the most times the title was said in the episode?

Coming to the Bogeyman, does anyone else just see the this thing as the Sandmen?

‘Space Babies’ is ‘The Beast Below’ for 2024. Like with ‘The Beast Below’ we have a misunderstood monster and the Doctor ends up saving it in the end – well Amy does in the other episode.Ā  Honestly I don’t think this solution is deserved either. I never got the impression that this monster needed saving while watching this episode so I’ll be honest I really don’t understand the Doctor’s motivation in saving it.

I did like the comedy of Ruby getting covered in the babies’ snot though.

‘Space Babies’ was weird, silly, and a bit of a reconstruction of ‘The End of the World’. Getting past that though, I can’t wait for people saying its too silly like have they watched Doctor Who from 2005 onwards? We have plastic Mickey, Cassandra possessing Rose and the Doctor, the Adipose and the Plasmavore drinking people’s blood through a plastic straw. And that is just a few New Who examples. Please don’t make me give examples from Classic Doctor Who as I’ll be here for years.

I am a bit concerned that this was a bit too weird for new viewers though, long term fans are used to it like I’ve mentioned above, but it is fun. If you don’t like silly, campy Sci-Fi then you won’t like Doctor Who. I also have to say, IĀ  liked the meta commentary of kids needing a monster to be afraid of, it feels like a great way to kick off a new generation of kids hiding behind the sofas because of Doctor Who monsters.

The pacing was a bit off but overall it was a decent episode with some great Doctor/Companion moments.

I’m enjoying the fact that RTD is embracing what Chibnall did previously in the Doctor’s arc.

This isn’t one I’d rush to re-watch, but that doesn’t make it a bad episode.

šŸŒŸ šŸŒŸ 1/2