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Arc Watch: Doctor Who: “The Church on Ruby Road”

This one took a sec because of the holidays, but here it is, less than a week after the episode. I’ll do a rewatch and Arc Watch summary later this year.

Revolving Around Us

  • It’s About Timeless: Dr Who is open about being adopted, like Ruby, like Lulubelle. It informs the decisions he makes, and breaks his heart when talking to Carla after Ruby is erased. It makes him the Third Foundling, or, perhaps, the Original Foundling.
  • Sweet Christmas Baby: Ruby is adopted, having been left at a church in December 2004. Dr Who saves her from the Goblins going back for her after they fail to eat Lulubelle. Would the Goblins have gone after the Third Baby in this story, Dr Who, if they hadn’t been defeated? Dr Who chooses not to follow the person who leaves Ruby behind. Even Davina McCall can find no information about Ruby’s parents. Ruby now lives with Carla and Cherry, having been the first of Carla’s 33 foster children, and the only one to get adopted.
  • Lady of the Water: Alright, I think “who is Mrs Flood” is its own post, but I’d like to note two observations: One, Mrs Flood’s entire personality seems to change after Dr Who goes back to save baby Ruby. Two, her name is Mrs Flood. Flood. Like a river does.
  • The Pretenders: The Goblins pretend to be bad luck and clumsiness to generate the coincidences they feed on. Mrs Flood is clearly pretending to be just another neighbour. Carla pretends to be okay with her life after Ruby disappears.


  • Black Cats and Ladders at the Edge: The Goblins are fantastical creatures who ride the wave of time and feed on coincidence.
  • The Mavity of the Situation: All the mass and density and mavity is moved to the intelligent gloves. Dr Who meddles again, by going back and saving not just Ruby but also preventing Davina McCall from being killed by a Christmas tree. Did that change her phone call with Ruby?
  • Knowledge Lord: In his encounter with the cop, Dr Who does the thing he does with Gareth in the 1996 TV movie, except this time he backs it up with facts and explains how he got there.

 On the back foot

  • Not This Week: UNIT has no presence in this story (UNified Intelligence and Skyscraper-Building Taskforce) and neither does The Boss (The Boss Is Not Rhetorical) though the Goblins might retroactively be part of the One Who Waits or the Toymaker’s legions or something. The Goblins are fantastical, but not on the level of Guardians of the Playground. No meaningful update re: In Flux.
  • The Long Game: No updates on the state of Gallifrey (The State of the Home Planet) or Rose’s toy-buyer (Gonkage). I’d consider that last one ended, but we’ll see Rose again.

Not happening

  • Calm Down, The Actress Is Just Called That: A lot is being made of actress Susan Twist now having appeared as both Mrs Merridew in the mavity scene in Wild Blue Yonder and as an unnamed concertgoer at Ruby’s band’s gig in The Church on Ruby Road. I don’t think there’s anything meaningful going on here — sometimes actors just appear as different characters in the same show — and certainly, the idea that this is foreshadowing a twist to do with Susan is transparently ridiculous, humans seeing patterns that aren’t there.
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