Change is in the DNA of Doctor Who, and so it was in the newest episode of the long-running sci-fi action series. In “The Ghost Monument,” the second episode featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor, the Doctor gets a brand-spanking new TARDIS, and there’s a lovely little treat for eagle-eyed fans.
In “The Ghost Monument,” the Doctor and her new companions are caught up in the middle of a “race” between two individuals on the hostile alien planet, Desolation. At the finish line, however, is the titular “Ghost Monument” — it’s the Doctor’s TARDIS, which has been missing since the Doctor’s regeneration in last year’s Christmas special, “Twice Upon a Time.”
Just like how the TARDIS regenerated after the Tenth Doctor’s departure, the TARDIS once again gets a massive interior redesign (as well as a minor exterior change) with the arrival of the Thirteenth Doctor. And in ditching Peter Capaldi’s cold blue futuristic steel, production designer Arwel Wyn Jones went in the opposite direction, creating a warmer hued “organic molten rock” aesthetic with analogue controls instead of digital flat screens.
And there’s a tasty little Easter egg for those who know their Who history: a pedal-powered custard cookie dispenser.
But the cookie dispenser is an Easter egg, if maybe an unintentional one, to the Eleventh Doctor. Back when Matt Smith debuted in 2010, his Eleventh Doctor had a “new mouth, new rules,” and sought a new favorite food to eat. Poor Amelia Pond cooked the Doctor everything from bacon to beans to butter sandwiches before finally serving him fish sticks and custard cream. Now, two regenerations later, the Doctor has a knack for custard again, this time in the form of custard cookies.
The custard cookie may also be a reference to a behind the scenes controversy involving previous Doctor Who stars Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman (“Clara”). In 2015, Coleman and Capaldi were apparently fiends for custard cookies that Coleman would sneak onto set. This horrified the producers who were concerned about their actors’ appearance, which is all kinds of messed up. The incident was reported in most of the major British tabloids.
But as far as in-story mythology goes, it seems that even if the Doctor can change their face and taste buds all they want, they will always like custard and hate pears.
Doctor Who airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on BBC America.