Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who Return Is One Giant Easter Egg For… Steven Moffat

4 weeks ago

WARNING: Contains SPOILERS for Doctor Who, season 14, episode 3, “Boom”.

Doctor Who season 14, episode 3, “Boom” is Steven Moffat’s first script in seven years, and continues multiple Easter eggs from his previous stories. As a former Doctor Who showrunner, Steven Moffat was both writer and executive producer on “Boom”, his first of two confirmed scripts for Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor. Although it’s advertized as Doctor Who season 1 by Disney, Ncuti Gatwa’s first season has already been packed full of deep-cut references to everything from the Rani (Kate O’Mara) to the fictional band Chris Waites and the Carollers from Doctor Who’s very first episode.

While the landmine plot of Doctor Who season 14, episode 3, “Boom” draws a parallel with part one of the classic Tom Baker serial, Genesis of the Daleks, it’s also steeped in the mythology of the Steven Moffat era. The themes of fatherhood and faith in “Boom” are themes explored extensively in Moffat’s previous Doctor Who scripts. However, as much as Steven Moffat’s new episode riffs on his own legacy, the cast of Doctor Who season 14 approach the material in a way that makes “Boom” feel fresh and exciting.

The References To Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who Era In “Boom” Explained

Doctor Who season 14, episode 3, “Boom”, sees the Doctor face off against the Villengard Algorithm while standing on a landmine that will vaporize both him and everyone on Kastarion 3. Villengard is the name of the intergalactic arms manufacturer first mentioned in Steven Moffat’s first Doctor Who episodes, “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances”, when the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) revealed he turned their factory into a banana grove. Years later, the Twelfth (Peter Capaldi) and First Doctor (David Bradley) visited the ruins of the Villengard Factories in Steven Moffat’s last Doctor Who episode, 2017’s “Twice Upon a Time”.

Another huge element of “Boom” that refers to Steven Moffat’s previous work are the Anglican marines. In Doctor Who season 5, episodes 4 and 5, “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone”, the Doctor, Amy Pond, and River Song fought Weeping Angels with Father Octavian and his soldiers. Moffat’s futuristic, militarized Church of the Papal Mainframe became a major element of Matt Smith’s Doctor Who arc, so it’s understandable that he brings them back for “Boom”. For casual viewers, militarized vicars and vergers is an immediately striking concept, while for dyed-in-the-wool fans, it helps to place Kastarion 3 in the wider Doctor Who universe.

Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who References In “Boom” Don’t Entirely Land

Love and parenthood are key to the overall meaning of Doctor Who season 4, episode 3, as the A.I. recreation of John Francis Vater (Joe Anderson) brought down the Villengard Algorithm to save his daughter. The theme of destructive technology gone rogue and the love of a parent for their child was done better in “The Doctor Dances”, which means the ending of “Boom” loses some of its impact. However, the worst example of Steven Moffat revisiting his past episodes in “Boom” is the callback to the Eleventh Doctor’s unconventional tastes in fusion cooking.

Fish fingers and custard defined Matt Smith’s chaotic approach to the Eleventh Doctor, but they were set aside along with his bow tie at the end of his era. Simply put, Ncuti Gatwa does not look like a man who enjoys fish fingers and custard, and nor does his Doctor. Therefore, Ncuti delivering a callback to the, admittedly brilliant, cooking sequence from “The Eleventh Hour” feels incredibly forced. Still, after an instant classic Doctor Who episode as stressful as “Boom”, it’s hard to begrudge Steven Moffat his custardy callback.…Read more by Mark Donaldson


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