Review by Chlo Hickman

This is honestly the best Doctor Who episode we’ve had since ‘Wild Blue Yonder’! It also features one of the best Doctor performances in the show’s history. Steven Moffat has triumphantly returned to the show while expanding on his own lore and concepts. You can definitely tell its a Moffat adventure and I mean that as a compliment. I love how dark it is. Some of the ideas were quite haunting, especially the idea that if you get any type of injury they’ll murder you. I also love the idea that if the Doctor blows up, the whole planet pretty much does. It really gave this episode that extra push. Although the kid playing Splice seemed conveniently stupid for the plot, or her dialogue seemed to be more suited for a younger child, I’m trying not to sound too harsh regarding this but I feel like it needs addressing. How did Splice not notice her dad was a hologram? I’d say this was the only thing I’d properly criticise as if it wasn’t about casting the wrong aged child they didn’t make it clear if she was emotionally younger or not in the writing. Its a dark story about the dangers of AI and warfare in general.

It’s a nice slow burn character piece with some delightful unsubtle social commentary. The amount of 11th, 12th and 13th Doctor references in this episode is insane. I loved all the callbacks. Its another Moffat classic in my eyes, he hasn’t lost his touch.

Since ‘Boom’ premiered I’ve seen loads of Moffat criticising faith and religion posts but that isn’t true, we all have opinions but this didn’t sit right so I’m going to explain what he was saying. Moffat definitely doesn’t hold back when he has a message to share in his episodes.

The end of the episode makes it clear that the Doctor is a fan of faith, when its pure and uncorrupted by greed and hate. Moffat isn’t going after faith and religion as a concept, its the way it can be exploited for political gain which obviously in this context is war. With all the thoughts and prayers scenes I think the message wasn’t ‘faith is bad’ as much as it was ‘faith is fine, as long as you don’t let it override everything else’. Its basically aiming at the people who think prayers will stop anything – such as the mass shootings we see in America – without actually doing anything to help.

It honestly isn’t wrong to criticise how faith has been abused by people in power to exploit the religious.

I can easily see ‘Boom’ as a mirror to us.

Honestly all the talk about faith in this episode reminded me of how much faith Amy had in the Doctor to save everyone, there was also a similar one with Ace as well. So if it’s been a running theme since Classic Who, what’s the problem?

What happens when Ncuti Gatwa stands on a land mine for a 45 minute episode? A phenomenal performance.

Honestly what an outstanding actor!

I think I’d go as far to say that this is Gatwa’s defining episode as the Doctor. It was an incredible display. Desperation, fear, outrage, frustration, disgust, disbelief, acceptance and hope, all this acted out brilliantly in a less than 90 second scene. Literal chills.

I was waiting for Ncuti to reveal this side of the Doctor and I wasn’t disappointed. The Doctor is a character of long history that isn’t all happy and smiley – he was scared in ‘The Devil’s Chord’ but not showing emotion like this – this is the Doctor who’s been through everything we’ve ever seen him go through.

I think the criticism regarding the Doctor being openly emotional is because my generation has always known the Doctor to be angry and closed off due to their PTSD and survivors guilt. Although each incarnation got better with their anger, there was still a good amount of anger there. Anger at himself. In ‘The Giggle’ the Doctor forgave himself and told himself he needed to heal himself. What we’ve been seeing now is so many other emotions like him being afraid.

It’s actually very progressive. The Doctor is still strong he just doesn’t have anger fueling him anymore. And he wants to live. He’s no longer angry at himself for past actions and now the thought of dying scares him, whereas in the past he felt like he deserved it.

In ‘Boom’, he’s afraid but is still using his brain to work the situation out – and unique to this incarnation, we see the fear manifesting itself as anger and frustration – it shows us the lack of control over the situation.

Overall, I think this incarnation is emotional because of his ‘recovery’ of his trauma. He feels everything intensely, but rather than bottling up and internalising his problems (like the War Doctor till the 14th Doctor, the 13th incarnation is a bit sketchy in this area but I’m just going for it) until he explodes, the 15th Doctor is very open. He can enjoy life in a way that his past 7 incarnations couldn’t, knowing joy, and wanting to live and do things with their life, would make you scared of losing it.

And the Doctor should be openly scared of things. A true return to the Classic series.

Since this season began I’ve been trying to figure out if something is the matter with time or if its just a writing error. In ‘The Devil’s Chord’, the Doctor and Ruby have been traveling together for six months but in ‘Boom’ its the first time Ruby has seen an alien planet? If we compare it to series 1 in 2005, Rose was similar to this with her first alien world being New Earth in series 2 but to tell us the exact amount of time Ruby has been with the Doctor I think there’s something more to this.

I also want to point out a fun fact which I’ve recently found out, Steven Moffat has written the most Doctor incarnations in the show’s history. 1, the Curator, 7 (if you count a short story he wrote), 8, War, 9, 10, 11, 12 and now 15. That’s 10 incarnations of the Doctor.

Seriously, the casting of Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson couldn’t have gone better. These two are giving it their all!

This episode had me internally screaming Moffat several times and I’ve actually missed that, strangely enough.

What is it with him killing companions? As soon as the shock left me I thought to myself ‘yep, Moffat’s back’. The fact that Ruby was begging to know who her parents were as she lay dying makes you think how far would she go – or make the Doctor do – to find out.

Ruby being 3,082 years old is also intriguing, should this be something to go on fan’s theories list about her or is it because she’s in the future? We know she isn’t completely human and Maestro did say that creature is very wrong when talking about Ruby.

One of my working theories about Susan Twist is that she’s either the TARDIS like Idris, the boss as mentioned by the Meep or she’s Susan Foreman – though I really hope they don’t turn her into a villain if they do bring her back. Looking back at the episode, I’m starting to think her character has got a perception filter or something, this would explain how they keep meeting her but not noticing her exactly. I originally was convinced that the Doctor not actually seeing the mysterious woman was going to be relevant… But Boom blew that theory up. (See what I did there).

There’s also noticeable similarities between the Doctor getting scanned by the ambulance in ‘Boom’ and the shot that we can see in one of the trailers of the TARDIS being scanned, I think its a scene from the finale?

This is one of the things RTD is good at, planting enough seeds to make us intrigued but doesn’t give anything away. His best storylines are probably series 3’s Harold Saxon and series 4’s planets going missing.

I think its interesting that Moffat chose to revisit Villengard as his return story. For fans of my generation we’ll remember Villengard being the place that got namedropped in Steven Moffat’s first story ‘The Empty Child’/’The Doctor Dances’ in 2005.

I do like that we touch on the Doctor’s faith again, because for the Doctor it’s not a faith in an entity but rather faith in people and love.

Can I just say I think it’s honestly crazy how many open plot threads there are at the minute:

Mrs Flood

Ruby’s mum

The one who waits (Is he also The Oldest One as mentioned by Maestro?)

Harbinger (Maestro’s child)

Susan Twist


Triad technology

How Varada Sethu is playing a completely different character to Mundy when she becomes a companion.

And breaking the 4th wall also seems to be a theme in this season.

This episode is in my top three of this season, and like I mentioned before I believe it’s the best performance Ncuti Gatwa has done as the Doctor so far. He’s really cemented himself as the Doctor here. Millie Gibson was also fantastic. There were some gripping twists throughout, like Ruby getting shot and the Doctor’s reaction was honestly heartbreaking. We haven’t had tension like this in years! I felt every beat of it. I actually thought the bomb could go off, which is insane.

Honestly I didn’t really care much for the side characters, the performances were alright, as soon as Ruby dies I think the story loses something and a lot of my enjoyment was watching both of them navigate their emotions in this dreadful situation. The resolution doesn’t hold up to the rest of the episode but at least we finally know where that shot of Gatwa is from in the 60th anniversary. It was some great piece of trolling by Russell.

For this reason I can’t give it a 5/5 so I’m giving it a

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 3/4