Timey Wimey

Could the Upcoming Doctor Who Season Finale Finally Deal With Real Stakes?

Someone’s marked for death.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who is changing a lot. The 60-year-old British sci-fi series now has a new Doctor, a new companion, a new streaming service, a new season length, and even a new season order — after the reboot in 2005, what would have otherwise been called Season 14 is now called Season 1.

But a new look at the eight-episode season reveals something shocking in the last moments of this new take on the series — but just what it could mean is still anyone’s guess. Regardless, it looks like the wait for the 2024 Christmas special is going to be difficult after a shocking cliffhanger.

The latest issue of Radio Times reveals episode synopses for all eight of the upcoming episodes, from the Bridgerton-esque “The Rogue” to the Welsh folk horror adventure “73 Yards.” But the most interesting synopsis was for the two-part finale, consisting of the episodes “The Legend of Ruby Sunday” and “Empire of Death.”

With Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson returning as The Doctor and Ruby Sunday, what could possibly happen in a cliffhanger?


Russell T. Davies describes the adventure as follows:

“The Tardis is on a top-secret mission, heading straight for the UNIT Tower in the middle of modern-day London. But ten floors below, a long-buried secret has been waiting since the era of the third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), and Ruby's mother holds a vital clue that might change her daughter's story forever.”

According to Davies, this is one of the scariest episodes of the season — and possibly one of the scariest episodes in years. “Sometimes, late at night, I play this episode just for myself,” he said. “So I can imagine being eight years old. And terrified. Because this one is the stuff of nightmares...”

That’s only the penultimate episode, leading up to the finale, “Empire of Death.” Davies teases a devastating tragedy for the ending, including a shocking death. “Apparently, Doctor Who is coming back at Christmas,” he said, “but it might just be a blank screen on BBC1 for an hour, because, trust me — not everyone is getting out of this alive.”

Returning showrunner Russell T. Davies is teasing a season finale unlike any other.

Ian West - PA Images/PA Images/Getty Images

But just who could die in this episode? Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson have already begun filming Season 2, so they’re safe. As this is a UNIT-focused episode, the most likely candidate is fan favorite Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, the daughter of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, a longtime friend of the Doctor from the Third Doctor era, which will apparently play into this story. However, anyone else could be a possibility, from Ruby’s own mother to UNIT scientist Shirley Bingham.

The episode should bring some clarity to the question of Ruby Sunday’s mysterious Christmas birth, but the secrets that lie within may be more disturbing than your usual origin story. From the way Davies describes it, it could be the most shocking finale in years, even though it doesn’t contain a regeneration or a companion leaving. How that will happen is still a mystery, but with so much changing about Doctor Who, anything could happen.

Doctor Who Season 14 premieres May 10, 2024 on Disney+.

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