Doctor Who's '73 Yards' Is The Best Of The Season, But One Tragic Moment Felt Especially Cruel

Doctor Who's '73 Yards' Is The Best Of The Season, But One Tragic Moment Felt Especially Cruel

Warning! The following contains MAJOR spoilers for the Doctor Who episode "73 Yards." Watch the episode with a Disney+ subscription and read at your own risk!

Every time I think Disney+'s Doctor Who has reached the peak of this season, it finds a way to raise the bar. While Steven Moffat's "Boom" brought back tension and fear in The Doctor, "73 Yards" brought back putting the companion up against impossible situations. Ruby Sunday was tested to her absolute limit in the latest adventure to air on the 2024 TV schedule, and while it all worked out for her, one moment, in particular, was so tragic I simply couldn't bear it. 

Without The Doctor in the mix, Ruby was forced to deal with a mysterious woman who always stayed 73 yards away and seemed to turn everyone who landed within earshot against the companion. This had devastating consequences in the episode, drawing heavily on the connection Ruby shares with The Doctor

The Woman In '73 Yards' Makes Everyone Who Hears Her Speak Hate Ruby, Including Her Mother Carla

With The Doctor nowhere to be found, Ruby was forced to return to England, and the woman followed her the entire way. Once home, her adopted mother, Carla, had the idea that if she sat on her cell phone while walking toward the woman, Ruby would be able to hear what was said that made people so angry and frightened afterward. Once Carla drew near, the phone cut out. Ruby didn't hear what was said, but Carla quickly ran from Ruby. 

What's worse, when Ruby tried to return to their apartment, she found the door locked and her key no longer working. Ruby attempted to contact Carla dozens of times, and when she finally answered, she told her that she was never "truly" her child, pointing out that Ruby was adopted. Ultimately, it seems everything is made right by the episode's end, but I can't shake the sickening feeling from that scene. 

Ruby Living A Lifetime Being Abandoned By Her Adopted Mother Ripped My Heart Out

While everything ultimately works out, the real soul-ripping part for me is there's an alternate Ruby Sunday who lived an entire lifetime estranged from her adoptive mother for reasons beyond her control. It's a powerful reveal, up there with ones found in some of Doctor Who's best episodes, but the pain hit me in a way so many other tragic fates for companions haven't.

As someone with a couple of adoptees in my life, I can say that a fear of loss and rejection is strong and very real. No doubt, anyone watching this episode who has dealt with adoption in any form will understand just how painful that moment is and the amount of trauma it can drill down on. 

Thankfully, we know that Ruby Sunday will return after this season, so Russell T. Davies and others will get a chance to give her many positive moments beyond this low point. 

I will confess, however, that as great as the episode is, it does give me pause to see such a traumatic reveal used for shock and sadness in this Doctor Who episode. I'd strongly advise against showing it to other adopted children who are still reconciling with their place in the world, and I do hope RTD exercises caution and understanding when continuing on with this storyline. 

He's done such a great job highlighting the big feelings of being an adoptee so far, and I'd hate to see it become trivialized or used for a cheap, sad hit at the expense of actually educating people or inspiring those it can help. 

Doctor Who continues its latest season on Disney+ with new episodes arriving at 7:00 p.m. ET. Tune in to see the latest adventure with The Doctor and Ruby, and continue to check in as we break down all the finer points of this wondrous season.