In Review: Doctor Who (S1 – EP4) 73 Yards

The Doctor and Ruby land off the coast of Wales and embark on the strangest journey of their lives.
73 Yards

Synopsis: In 73 Yards, the Doctor and Ruby land off the coast of Wales and embark on the strangest journey of their lives. In a rain-lashed pub, the locals sit in fear of ancient legends coming to life.

 

The Story

When the Tardis lands them off the coast of Wales The Doctor and Ruby are all set for another adventure, but soon things go sideways when The Doctor disturbs a Fairy circle that someone has left. To make matters worse Ruby reads some of the notes within this circle out loud and the Doctor vanishes into thin air. After spending some time looking for The Doctor. Ruby wanders down to the local pub where she gets teased about the Fairy Circle but later gets told to leave after the mysterious figure following her frightens one of the locals. When it becomes apparent the Doctor is not going to turn up. Even when Ruby returns home to London she still finds that the mysterious woman is following her.

After some time Ruby finds herself alone once again when her mum gets frightened off by the mysterious woman and refuses to talk to her. Even Kate Lethbridge-Stewart runs the other way when her highly trained team also get scared off. 

By the close of the episode, Ruby has lived a full life wondering what ever happened to The Doctor.

 

The Acting

Millie Gibson puts in a fantastic performance in an episode that for a large part is without its principal character of The Doctor. The storyline is a mystery box that required Gibson to bring her strongest acting in her role of Ruby Sunday. Jemma Redgrave puts in a good performance and has a fun scene with Gibson where she tries to sell The Doctor’s newest companion on perhaps joining her at UNIT when she finishes her time with The Doctor. However, it’s an offer that gets rescinded when her team abandons their jobs.

 

Overall

73 Yards is a fun mystery box story with some genuinely spooky elements thrown in and required a lot of heavy lifting from Millie Gibson in her role of Ruby who pretty much carries the episode. Where it falls down is the ending. It makes zero sense.  As we have just seen Ruby live through 60 years of her life and suddenly we get thrown back to the opening scene where the Doctor and the present-day Ruby are back together again and Ruby knows enough to warn him not to tread on the Fairy circle. It’s kind of jarring and leaves you wondering if Ruby has just had some massive fever dream or has she had some sort of intuitive psychic episode in which she saw a future without The Doctor. 

In short, you get left with more questions than answers and nothing is wrapped in a tidy bow, which is brave writing from RTD, but it’s also the kind of writing that could piss off the more casual side of the fanbase that wants immediate answers. But it’s crystal clear that this season of Doctor Who is trying to figure out who this Ruby Sunday is and what is her connection to The Doctor if indeed she has one.

9.6
Doctor Who (S1 - EP4) 73 Yards
  • Story
    8.9
  • Acting
    10
  • CGI & Stunts
    9.6
  • Incidental Music
    9.7

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: ian@scifipulse.net
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  • Raissa Devereux
    25 May 2024 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Ruby as an old woman is the woman who has been watching her the whole time. RTD basically gave us Years and Years as a time snafu facilitated by a broken fairy ring. The Fairy ring was someone time-wimpy way to lay Roger Ap Williams to rest as an alternate time line. When the Doctor broke the ring, Mad Jack Williams was resurrected from that alt time line and Ruby had to set it right as penance. This is confirmed in the behind-the-scenes featurette and makes sense relative to airy folklore logic. The finer details will likely be smoothed out in the course of Ruby’s larger arc.

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