Disney Doctor Who – Season 1 Episode 1 “Space Babies” Recap & Review

Space Babies

So here we go, a new season of Doctor Who, rebooted with Disney’s money and influence, alongside a brand new doctor. Is it any good? Let’s dive in and find out.

We begin where the god-awful special finished, with Ruby Sunday turning up inside the Tardis. We learn about the origins of the Doctor (not the Timeless Child where a mad woman tortured a little girl I may add) but how Gallifrey took him in.

He’s the last of the Time Lords and we’re about to go on adventures through time and space. If you’re a long-time fan, this stuff should be common knowledge by now. Newcomers, this is a nice intro to the mythos, conveniently missing out the bad parts. 

After travelling back to the dinosaur times, in America no less, Ruby steps on a butterfly and it changes her complexion. However, the doctor manages to revive the butterfly… somehow? And Ruby is back to normal.

When they show up at the next destination, far, far in the future, The Doctor ends up freaked out by a loud noise and cuddles Ruby for comfort. Our Doctor is scared of monsters, go figure. Anyway, the space station is on overload and after heading up a transporter to a higher level, the Doctor wonders just why he’s so scared.

When they emerge, Ruby and the Doctor learn that they’re on a baby farm. These help boost the population and, because our Russell loves to inject his little social messaging in here, points out that “worlds can go mad and ban kissing”. The babies are grown for a colony world; a world they happen to be overlooking right now. 

There are definite parallels to Russell’s first space story way back in 2005, and after fiddling with the phone, gets Ruby to ring her mum. This scene is almost a play by play repeat of what we saw with Rose. Only, not done anywhere near as effectively. 

Anyway, a baby in a pram shows up and it turns out they can all talk. We’re led to believe the babies are in charge of the space station and they believe Ruby and the Doctor are their parents. Of course, these babies aren’t supposed to be in charge but they’ve just run with it.

Hey, remember when Russell T. Davies said that Davros reminded him of people in wheelchairs? And believed that those in wheelchairs are all inherently evil? Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what he thinks of these babies, given they too are sitting in a contraption with four wheels. I digress.

The Doctor talks to one of the kids, Poppy, and points out about his origins and how special he is. After, we hear from
Nan-E (instead of Wall-E. That Disney money is sure coming in handy here), the robot actually in charge of looking after the children.

Downstairs, we learn that the Bogeyman is there and it really scares the children. So what does our Doctor do? Does he help the kids? Reassure them? No, he teases them by shouting “Bogeyman!” making them frightened and crying… and he starts laughing? Anyone else getting serious Jodie Whittaker Doctor morality issues?

Anyway, The Doctor finally decides to work. Nan-E helps the Doc and points out salvation is in Portal 3-5-7. On the way, the Doctor realizes that Ruby seems to be connected to this on-running theme of babies. He tries to work out how it’s all connected, flashing back to those scenes in the church. But bizarrely, it begins snowing right there on the spaceship. Like a memory is bleeding through reality.

They’re interrupted though by Nan-E, whom we find out is actually a real person, behind the console. She brings the pair into her control room. It turns out the crew went home. Nan-E explains that there’s a recession on and the government closed the Babystation to save money. However, the law says it’s illegal to stop the birth machine so here we are.

It turns out Nan-E’s real name is Jocelyn. She’s the on-site accountant and stayed behind to try and look after the kids. She doesn’t want to see them die, which is why she’s hiding behind the console. This is a closed station with only so much food and air.

Inside, Portal 3-5-7 has extra air to help. The station can’t actually move either, but the Doctor and Ruby contemplate whether they can get help from a DuBarryDuPlessy world. It’s an organisation that takes in refugees but they have to “physically show up on someone else’s shores”. Hm, I wonder what this could be referencing?

However, the crux of the issue here is the Bogeyman. The Doctor wonders why it made him run since he doesn’t usually do this (unless we count the Jodie Whittaker doctor, where she literally screamed and ran down a hallway away from a little creature).

One of the babies, Eric, decides to be brave and shows up in the pram to see the Bogeyman. Realizing their mistake, Ruby and the Doctor rush downstairs to help. Unfortunately, the Bogeyman is gone and so is Eric. He’s not in his pram, which is tipped over, and he happens to be inside one of the lockers.

Here we learn that six years back, the Bogeyman showed up and as they travel along one of the big corridors, full of stringy, horrible goo, the Doctor realizes what may be going on here.

There appears to be two machines – one up above to grow the babies and one down below to grow the Bogeyman. It’s like a story and the software created this to make those babies scared, using their fiction. So what is the Bogeyman made out of? Well… bogeys. The nose blowing and the goo all connects together, and it explains why it’s shedding its skin.

The pair eventually run for it, through the space station, as Joce manages to get rid of the Bogeyman, blasting it out into space. She opens the airlock but at this point, she’s unaware that it’s one of her own children.

The Doctor doesn’t have his sonic so does he use his words like Doctors of old? No, he sends Ruby off to see Jocelyn. In the meantime, the Doctor opens the airlock himself and with the oxygen field less than 4%, uses his strength to close the airlock and push the button.

With the Bogeyman stopped and no longer scary, it howls while presumably trapped in the airlock for the time being. We don’t actually see a full resolution to this and we’re led to assume that the creature is now docile and under control.

The Doctor uses the methane from the baby nappies to propel them ship forward toward their new world. With everything seemingly done, the pair decide to head off back to the Tardis. On the way, the Doc hands over the Tardis key to Ruby, telling her he wants her to travel with him. At least for one season anyway before she leaves the show’s production.

As they step into the Tardis together, the Doctor points out that he can’t travel back to the church on Ruby Road. It would be a nasty paradox and he won’t be doing that. I;m guessing not until later on in the season anyway.

The Episode Review

So the Doctor’s first adventure firmly sets up a new Disney-fied era for a new generation. But is it too little too late? Well, yes.

When we compare this to both the 1963 opening, and the 2005 rebooted opener, this one pales by comparison. The Doctor acts completely differently to every incarnation except Whittaker’s Doctor, cowering up to Ruby and showing no gravitas whatsoever.

There’s also the subject of morality too. Making babies cry and laughing about it? Is that really the Doctor we’ve come to admire? How is that okay?

There’s also the usual social messaging thrown in that we’ve seen Davies do a number of times but it’s not even subtle this time. Refugees “physically showing up on shores” is a direct reference to the UK and boats. Regardless of how you feel about any of these topics, it’s not subtle and I’d imagine audiences are not going to take well to this.

However, we do know that it’s either Russell’s way or the highway. And after seeing this episode, the next one needs to really hit it off, otherwise everyone is getting in their cars and driving far, far away.


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