Movie Reviews

Ncuti Gatwa Cleverly Destroys Doctor Who's Longest-Running Trope

doctor who fifteenth doctor and mundy

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Doctor Who season 13, episode 3, “Boom.”

Doctor Who, season 14, episode 3, “Boom” destroys the show’s longest-running trope in a clever way with Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor. The newest season of Doctor Who debuted on May 10, showing off the personality and energy of the current regeneration of the Doctor, played by Ncuti Gatwa. The storylines in season 14 episodes have done a great job introducing the complexities of the character. No episodes have done this better than Doctor Who’s “Boom.”

Within “Boom,” the Doctor and Millie Gibson’s Ruby Sunday are put to the test when they land on a war-stricken planet influenced by the Villengard corporation’s technology, including the ambulances and a landmine. Both Doctor Who season 14 characters nearly die within a single episode, showing how they function in a survival state. In addition to showing a different side of the characters, this episode of Doctor Who flips one of the show’s longest-running tropes on its head.

Throughout both classic and new Who, the Doctor has been known to move quickly, running around equally in moments of excitement as well as danger. This could be due to the fact that the Doctor is constantly on the move throughout time and space after losing Gallifrey. However, Doctor Who season 14, episode 3, “Boom” subverts expectations by forcing the Doctor to stand still for once.

The Doctor standing on a landmine, requiring them to stay still, is the physical manifestation of what the Fifteenth Doctor told the Fourteenth Doctor about needing to remain in one place. If the Fifteenth Doctor moved while on the landmine, they would have exploded, whereas if the Fourteenth Doctor kept moving, then they would have experienced mental burnout and an eventual breakdown. As such, it’s beautifully poetic that Doctor Who forced Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteen to stay extremely still instead of just running, like usual.

Doctor Who, episode 3, “Boom” is one of the best episodes of Doctor Who, signaling great things for Ncuti Gatwa’s run as the Doctor. The reason that Doctor Who’s episode “Boom” does so well is because it completely subverts expectations. The Doctor is forced to stay in the same place for most of the episode. The companion, Ruby Sunday, is much more of a hero in this episode than the Doctor. The stakes of the landmine are relatively contained, but the suspense is heavy, especially after the Doctor becomes the bomb that could potentially blow up half the planet.

Moreover, the introduction of Mundy is compelling because she goes through a conflicted emotional journey in Doctor Who’s “Boom.” As of the time of writing, the name of Varada Sethu’s Doctor Who character for season 15 is unknown, only that she will be the Doctor’s companion. If Mundy ends up being the companion, it will be interesting to see how her character arc continues after this incredible episode.