‘Doctor Who’ Episode 4 Recap: Now You See Her

A strong episode focuses on Ruby, the Doctor’s companion, and the mysterious older woman who starts following her from a distance.

Let’s get the easy bit out of the way. “73 Yards” is not just the best episode of the season so far, but also the strongest story “Doctor Who” has produced in years — despite the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) hardly featuring.

That’s not to say the decade-spanning story’s success depends on Gatwa’s absence. Yes, Episode 4 gives Millie Gibson space to break out of her companion role for the first time, and she gives a nuanced performance well beyond her 19 years.

But it’s Russell T Davies’s ambitious, unpredictable script that will ensure a place for “73 Yards” in the Whoniverse history books. The episode constantly wrong-foots viewers, plays with folk stories and horror tropes, and finds a genuinely terrifying villain in a nuclear-warmongering politician.

“We are in Wales. Spectacular!” shouts the Doctor as the TARDIS materializes on a craggy cliff face. For international viewers, it’s a swift introduction to a nation that has long been associated with “Doctor Who”: Davies is Welsh, and the show is a former BBC Wales production.

In a seemingly throwaway comment, the Doctor mentions a future prime minister, a Welshman named Roger ap Gwilliam, who will lead Britain to “the brink of nuclear war” in the 2040s. “Sorry, spoilers,” he says, shooting Ruby a smile.

The Doctor, played by Ncuti Gatwa, and Ruby start the episode on a cliff in Wales.Bad Wolf/BBC Studios

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