‘Doctor Who’ 2024 Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: What Are Space Babies?


It’s finally time for the Time Lord’s return, and I’ve got my eyes peeled for whatever new space adventure Russell T. Davies has planned for us. I must admit my tryst with Doctor Who was short-lived back when the 12th Doctor made his way onto the scene, not because I’m an ageist but simply because life caught on and I couldn’t keep up with the Time Lord. However, when it came to my attention that David Tennant was returning for the 60th anniversary (don’t come at me for being basic; there’s no flaw in this man as the Doctor) and that “Sex Education’s” Ncuti Gatwa was going to be the 15th Doctor, I couldn’t be more ready for a new adventure, and finally it’s time! So, I wonder if the 15th Doctor can change me back from a casual watcher to a “whovian.”  Let’s go into Doctor Who episode 1. This is “Space Babies.”

Spoiler Alert

Who is the Boogeyman? 

It is no surprise that Davies manages to bring the charm of his storytelling back to Doctor Who with Doctor Number 15 after a few wobbly seasons that met with mixed reactions. I must admit, I was a bit skeptical myself; however, during the Christmas special, as soon as the Doctor bi-generated, I somehow knew in my bones that Ncuti was probably going to bring glory to this show and make it cool again. Anyway, we’ve all been introduced to Ruby Sunday in the Christmas special, and we know that she’s an orphan just like the Doctor, so perhaps it’s not such a shock that the first episode of the new season is, well, about abandoned babies. The first few minutes of the episode are your typical “it’s bigger on the inside” situation, where Ruby gets introduced to the TARDIS, and might I say she looks as stunning as ever. Fact check for Sunday: the Doctor comes from Gallifrey, the planet of the time lords that was destroyed by genocide. He’s the only living Time Lord and travels through space and time with no job, boss or taxes to pay and only freedom to live with. He’s also thousands of years old. 

So, of course, to introduce Ruby to the scale of his adventures, he takes her back to a time when there were dinosaurs, and it looks like a scene ripped from “Journey to the Mysterious Island.” But, soon after, he tells her to pick a year, and as she callously lists five numbers, they arrive on a space station in the year 21506. Don’t worry, the sentimentality is still there, and it almost feels like a call back to “The End of the World,” where we met Cassandra, the most memorable Who character ever. But the Doctor tells Ruby, as he points into space, that despite his loneliness, he’s able to carry on and go on more adventures because of “this,” in this case, an exciting new planet so many years into the future, proving that humans made it. 

The Doctor and Ruby then meet a scary, ugly monstrous creature that looks like your typical dinosaur or lizard creature known as the boogeyman, and for some odd reason, the Doctor makes a run for it too, something he’d never do under normal circumstances. It seems the duo have landed on a parthenogenesis machine—a baby farm—where babies run the station, using their prams as vehicular devices to manage their station and who can talk, mouths moving, and all. I suppose the main purpose of this doctor is to show people how being different is powerful. Quickly, the Doctor and Ruby find out that the space babies have never been hugged in their lives, so they pick them up and become their mummy and daddy. I kid. 

It turns out the crew were all forced to leave the ship because there was no need for more babies, but Jocelyn, the accountant (played by “Bridgerton” star Golda Rosheuvel; I was not expecting this crossover, but I like it), decided to stay back because she didn’t want to abandon the children. She’s “nan-e” and has been away from the babies, giving them digital instructions for the past 6 years, because she’s afraid the food and oxygen will soon run out, and she doesn’t want to see them die, nor does she want them to see her die. See, the system’s been all messed up since the crew left, and Jocelyn isn’t an engineer, but of course, with the sonic screwdriver, anything can be fixed (what is this fancy new design and why is it not screwdriver-like at all?). 

Now, I know you’ve kind of forgotten about the Boogeyman from earlier, but don’t worry, it’s important. It turns out that the computer system that got messed up is quite literal, and as Ruby realizes, babies need monsters and fairytales to grow up. So what the system’s done is create a literal “boogey” monster with the babies’ snot (yikes, I wouldn’t want to be in there). But, that means the boogeymonster’s also a 6-year-old baby, so is the doctor going to fight it? 

How Does the Doctor Save the Boogeyman? 

It turns out there’s a refugee planet that the kids could be sent to because they’re unwanted on their own planet; however, they’re not going to come get them; the kids have to be taken there, which is currently impossible. Jocelyn tugs at our heartstrings by commenting on how that’s the fate of any refugee; they have to show up, and it never works the other way around. Jocelyn’s only mission is to keep the babies safe, and when she gets the opportunity to put the boogeyman in an airlock, she tries to send it off into space. That’s when the Doctor sees that the boogeyman is just another version of him, different, all by himself, and alone. He then steps into the airlock himself to “push the button” one last time and save the boogeyman. The babies are happy too because they’re pure and innocent and can’t stand to see anyone get hurt, even if they’re afraid of them. Also, the reason the Doctor ran from the boogeyman was because it was literally designed to be scary. 

Doctor Who episode 1 ends with the 15th Doctor asking Ruby to join him on his space adventures, basically asking her to be his companion (presumably, they are still called that). Now, we know that Ruby’s human, but despite giving her a key to the TARDIS, the Doctor has one rather difficult rule for Ruby: he can never take her back to Christmas Eve 2004 because it could lead to a massive rupture in the space-time continuum. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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