Doctor Who Brings Back a Surprising Villain as Season 1 Big Bad

Season 1's penultimate episode brings back Fourth Doctor villain Sutekh.

Doctor Who's first season is nearly coming to a close, after delivering an inventive and unexpected take on the iconic sci-fi franchise. The season's penultimate episode was no exception, reintroducing a creepy villain who is a bit of a deep cut in the franchise. Spoilers for Season 1, Episode 7 of Doctor Who below! Only look if you want to know! The episode concerns the dual mysteries of who abandoned Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) upon her birth in 2004, and who exactly is the woman (Susan Twist) that The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby keep seeing as they travel time and space. In order to better figure out Ruby's origin story, The Doctor and U.N.I.T. utilize time window technology to relive that night, which goes south when a U.N.I.T. agent is consumed by a red primordial cloud and dies.

Eventually, U.N.I.T. discovers that the cloud is actually being emitted from the TARDIS, and attempt to identify its origin. Simultaneously, The Doctor meets up with the woman's Earth identity, Susan Triad, who is about to address the United Nations about her company's world-changing technology, and who remembers all of her appearance across time and space as "dreams." Suddenly, both scenarios go haywire, as a U.N.I.T. agent named Harriet Arbinger (Genesis Lynea) reveals herself to be a harbinger of the being surrounding the TARDIS, and Susan Triad also transforms into a grotesque being. A voice can be heard in both scenes, belonging to the ancient, evil god Sutekh, who appears in a giant dog-like form.

Who Is Sutekh on Doctor Who?

Prior to "The Legend of Ruby Sunday", Sutekh has only made a single appearance on Doctor Who proper, in the 1975 episode "Pyramids of Mars." A serial involving the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), "Pyramids of Mars" introduced Sutekh as a member of the Osirans, god-like beings that are worshipped across the galaxy. Imprisoned in a pyramid and depowered by a signal originating from Mars, Sutekh escaped his imprisonment thanks to an archaeological excavation, and used humans to create a missile to fire at Mars. He succeeded in his efforts, leading The Doctor to fight him on Mars and ultimately trap him in a time tunnel, where the villain aged for centuries and was presumed dead. Since then, he has also appeared in the franchise's comics and audio dramas.

Of course, we now know that Sutekh didn't die in the time tunnel, and instead survived by weaving himself into the literal fabric of the TARDIS. Multiple lines in the episode confirm that Sutekh is also "The One Who Waits", who was teased to be the most formidable god by The Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris) in last year's sixtieth anniversary specials.

New episodes of Doctor Who air Fridays at 7pm ET on Disney+, followed by a debut on BBC iPlayer at 12am GMT on Saturdays, and a broadcast premiere on BBC One later that day. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.

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