Doctor Who: Space Babies Review

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After a long wait and a lot of hype, the first two episodes of the new season of Doctor Who have been unleashed on the world, setting the tone for what’s still to come. I gave my overall thoughts on the series’ start in my spoiler-free Doctor Who review, but now it’s time to give these episodes a proper breakdown to see where they rank in Who history.

Doctor Who episodes with silly titles often end up being dumb episodes (everyone wave hello to Dinosaurs on a Spaceship), and it would be easy to dismiss Space Babies as falling into that same category. Thankfully, this episode manages to avoid getting lost in its gimmick while still making the most of the weirdness around the place.



In branding this series as “Season 1” instead of “Series 14”, those behind the show want to establish the Fifteenth Doctor as a new starting point for a new audience, and the opening stretch of this episode feels like it’s for the newcomers in a big way, with companion Ruby Sunday asking all the basic questions to get everyone up to speed. Although, it’s not a boring scene for old fans either, as 15 and Ruby’s natural back-and-forth makes them a joy to watch in just about any situation.

Describing who the Doctor is in a few lines of dialogue isn’t easy. Russel T. Davies nailed it back in 2005 with 9’s speech about him being able to feel the turn of the Earth, but that’s not really who 15 is. Instead, we get a very different version of that speech, where he talks about how he “doesn’t have a purpose or a cause, but I have freedom”, which, yes, is a cheesy line, but it’s also the perfect summary of where this character is 19 years after they first reappeared on our screens.

So in his second-ever episode, Ncuti Gatwa already has one classic Doctor speech under his belt, which is a pretty great way to start things off.



Moving on we get ourselves a bit of fun meeting the titular space babies, and the traditional slightly dodgy CGI is here in full swing, as the babies’ mouth movement constantly looks just a little off. Still, if you can get past that then you’ve got quite an enjoyable scene of discovering how these babies have been able to keep a space station in working condition for several years after the adults abandoned them.

The episode moves at such a quick pace that once all of that establishing was out of the way, we were halfway through and it was time to go and confront the monster. The idea of the Bogeyman is another silly concept, but this time that’s exactly the point, with an AI-run ship without human instruction left to work out how things are supposed to be. Having only children’s stories to consume, I loved that the ship just thought a monster like the Bogeyman was supposed to exist.

That mystery is well-plotted throughout the episode as well. Just enough hints are dropped that you can piece most of it together, yet the final pieces fall into place in a very satisfying way – even if we can’t avoid a couple of childish jokes about bogeys.



Finally, like any good Doctor Who story, it caps things off with a reminder of the series-long mystery that was established in the Christmas special – that of Ruby’s true origins. I loved the scene of the Doctor firmly yet caringly telling Ruby that they could not go and see her birth mother leaving her at the church under any circumstances, and anyone who’s been watching since 2005 will know exactly why.

It also gave us a glimpse at how both Ncuti and Millie handle the more serious emotional scenes, and it’s a big tick for both of them in that category too – I have a feeling the finale might be quite the tear-jerker.

While there are certainly episodes better at filling the role of “series opener”, Space Babies is a great episode to show fans everything new this era of the show is bringing to the table, while proving that all of the things we love are still there. The concepts are more out there, but they’re still full of meaningful character drama that plays into thrilling climaxes. I doubt it’ll enter the fan pantheon of truly great episodes, it instead has the vibe of one that’ll often get brought up as an “underrated” adventure.

Score 7/10

Jump straight into episode 2 with my Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord review to read all about the magnificent performance of the Maestro.