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Boom is the third episode of Series 14 of Doctor Who. This episode marks the first story since Twice Upon a Time [+]Steven Moffat, Doctor Who Christmas Special 2017 (BBC One, 2017). to be written by Steven Moffat. It was released on May 17 2024 on Disney+ and was broadcasted on May 18 2024 on BBC One.

Moffat previously ran the show from 2010 to 2017 and had previously wrote episodes for Russell T Davies during his first time as showrunner. However, Moffat's return marked this episode as the first time that a previous showrunner for Doctor Who has returned to write an episode for a successive showrunner. This episode is also the first episode in which Davies is not credited as a writer for the show since his return with the episode The Star Beast [+]Russell T Davies, adapted from Doctor Who and the Star Beast (Pat Mills and John Wagner), Doctor Who 2023 specials (BBC One, 2023)..

Narratively, the episode continued the story-arc established in The Church on Ruby Road [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023 (BBC One and Disney+, 2023). concerning Ruby Sunday's connection with snow, notably her ability to summon it, as depicted in Space Babies [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who series 14 (BBC One and Disney+, 2024). and The Devil's Chord [+]Doctor Who (BBC One and Disney+, 2024)..

Synopsis[]

Caught in the middle of a devastating war on Kastarion 3, the Doctor is trapped when he steps on a landmine. Can he save himself, Ruby, and the entire planet - without moving?

Plot[]

In 5087, John Francis Vater of the Anglican Marines wanders through the desolate battlefield on Kastarion 3. Blinded, he relies on the assistance of his orderly, Carson, to lead him to safety. As they walk, he contacts his daughter, Splice, back at the Church's base on the planet. He assures her he is on his way and implores her to brush her teeth, ending the call. However, the pair halt as they near a ambulance functioning through its artificial intelligence. The orderly warns John they should avoid it, fearing it will deem him unfit for service, but John insists they have no choice. Carrying on, the orderly slips down a pit. John cries out for him but the orderly steps on a smartmine, a 51st century landmine, which vaporises him. The noise alerts the ambulance unit, causing it to approach John. It latches onto him, the AI interface scanning him and remarking his blindness means his life must be terminated. John tries to resist, citing his daughter needs him. The AI insists, smelting him away.

Not far from the area, the Doctor hears John's cries from within his TARDIS. Opening the doors, the Doctor races out to the field, ordering Ruby to follow. However, the Doctor lands on a landmine himself, the green scanner counting down. The Doctor begins to sing 'The Skye Boat Song'. Hearing the song, Ruby approaches him, finding the Doctor stood with one leg on the landmine and one leg in the air. The Doctor remarks he used the song to calm himself to prevent the detonation, believing the mine is scanning for signs of life to determine what has stoof on it; by calming himself, he is tricking the mine into thinking he is not there, but one wrong move and - boom!

The Doctor instructs Ruby to go find a rock, or something else heavy, so that he can counterbalance his weight when he moves, and try and put his foot down. Ruby finds a strange heavy object that she assumes to be an urn, however soon finds out it's the compressed tissue of a soldier. The Doctor sees that Ruby has found the urn-like object and asks her to throw it into her other hand. Ruby does so, the Doctor calculating it is heavy enough for him to use to counterbalance himself. Confident, he orders Ruby toss it to him. Ruby acknowledges the danger of this move, and insists that she hand it to him. The Doctor refuses but eventually gives in, agreeing to Ruby's request to sing the song again to maintain a rhythm so she passes it to him in at the same time he sets his other foot down. They do so.

The Doctor looks at the remains in his hand and reads the name John Francis Vater. Upon speaking the name, a holographic AI reconstruction of John appears and asks that his remains be returned to his next of kin. The Doctor and Ruby asked what happened to the man, and find out that he was terminated upon discovery of the fatal condition, blindness, considered a mercy killing. The Doctor deduces that Vater's continued survival would have only harmed the budget and wellbeing of the mission, and so the algorithm dictated that he be terminated.

As the hologram fades out, Splice arrives at the crater, having received a message from her father earlier and tracked it back to the source. The Doctor and Ruby look around nervously and introduce themselves to her, and she does the same, Splice Alison Vater. Upon her name being spoken the hologram whirs back to life, Vater's AI talking to her and apologising for the loss. She doesn't understand, she just sees her father and runs towards him, towards the Doctor and the landmine. Ruby tackles her to the ground, showing her the landmine. The situation causes the timer on the mine to countdown further as the Doctor struggles to calm himself.

An Anglican Marine shines a light into the crater from above, stating that if necessary she can kill the Doctor here and now. With her gun still trained on him, the Marine, Mundy Flynn, insists that the Doctor release the casket that he's holding, the remains of an ordained Anglican. She says there's no reason for him not to, he's dead already - even if the landmine doesn't detect a viable target it will explode after a certain time as a failsafe. The Doctor banters back at her, joking that she and Ruby should marry so her name can be "Mundy Sunday". Not amused, Mundy shoots his arm, determined to make him drop the casket but the Doctor holds on regardless, enduring the pain. In between shots, he asks Mundy how the mine actually works, since it doesn't have an explosive component; it triggers a quantum level chain reaction in the subject's DNA. The Doctor explains that he's a Time Lord, meaning his biology will create an explosion far bigger than she expects. She scans him and determines that he is right; he could wipe out half the planet.

However, Mundy's attack has injured the Doctor, prompting an Ambulance to enter the crater and scan the Doctor. Panicked, Ruby takes Mundy's rifle and fires it into to draw the ambulances away from the Doctor. Mundy reveals that will only work if one of them is injured as well. Revealing the gun is on its weakest setting, she asks Ruby to shoot her arm. on the lowest setting. As Ruby aims the gun the rifle, Canto arrives and, believing Ruby is about to kill Mundy, shoots her.

Ruby falls down into the crater, badly wounded, and the Ambulance switches focus from the Doctor to her. It identifies her, her age, but cannot locate her next of kin, stumbling again and again as it tries, snow beginning to fall. The snow stops, freezing in mid-air. The Ambulance determines that Ruby has approximately 432 seconds to live, but as she's not ordained, withholds treatment. Mundy and the new Marine try to save Ruby, to keep her alive, but the Ambulance is programmed to not heal unbelievers. The Doctor suggests that they just surrender and this will turn off the landmine as it is theirs. When they came here six months ago, advertising their presence and setting up their defensive perimeters, they launched the Ambulances' acceptable casualty algorithm. They set in motion a cycle of attrition and war against their own hardware, grinding themselves down just enough to keep themselves engaged, keep the combat ongoing, and keep the money flowing to Villengard.

Mundy is sceptical and demands proof, and so the Doctor calls for Vater's AI, ordering him to into the Ambulance's computer to find proof that the planet is uninhabited and the deaths are entirely self-inflicted. Vater insists that this goes against his protocols, but the Doctor insists he is still Splice's father and has a duty to help her. Vater relents, reminds Splice to brush her teeth, and disappears into the Ambulance.

In response, the Ambulance's defences activate, killing Canterbury. Other Ambulances arrive and surround the crater, the Algorithm having sent them to prevent a data breach, claiming it had destroyed Vater's AI. The mine beneath the Doctor's feet begins the failsafe detonation process, meaning the planet will explode. However, the ambulance's begin to glitch as it is revealed that Vater's AI has managed to override their protocols, leading the lead ambulance to heal Ruby. The mine also turns green, meaning the Doctor can safely step off. He celebrates, explaining that Vater's love for Splice defeated the ambulances. A time later, the group admire the sky as the marines prepare to leave the planet, the false conflict now over. However, the Doctor soon gets bored and insists he and Ruby depart, stating her lifespan "sucks" so they have no time to waste. As they leave, the Doctor and Ruby look on at Splice, Mundy and Vater's AI, the latter of which waves them goodbye.

Cast[]

Crew[]

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound



Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


Worldbuilding[]

Individuals[]

Technology[]

  • Vater and Splice call each other via the Comm.
  • The Doctor mentions that he once attempted to disarm an inactive Villengard smartmine while underwater for a bet at a lesbian gymkhana. He failed to disarm the mine, losing the bet.
  • Vacuum Drones are used to clean the smoke.
  • Message that was sent to Splice contained a geo-stamp.
  • After an Anglican's life is terminated by the Ambulance, their body is compressed into the sacred remains, that takes the form of an urn.
  • After Vater broke the Villengard Algorithm, the Ambulance initiated the Revivification protocol.

Villengard[]

Notes[]

This section's awfully stubby.

The specific subheadings in this section need expanding

  • The Skye Boat Song sang by the Doctor dates back to an adaptation of the Gaelic song from 1782.
  • The poem about the President's wife does not exist in real life.
  • The "sad little man" who told the Doctor "What survives of us, is love" is English poet Phillip Larkin.
  • Writer Steven Moffat confirmed in an interview that the October 5th date mentioned in this episode was randomly chosen.
  • The Doctor uses the beat of Carioca funk.
  • The Doctor breaks "the fourth wall" again when he says "we all melt away in the end". The First Doctor has broken the fourth wall before. (TV: The Feast of Steven) as did the Doctor's successors several times after.
  • Steven Moffat was inspired to write this story from a scene in the Fourth Doctor serial Genesis of the Daleks in which the Doctor steps on a landmine while traversing the battlefield on Skaro. Moffat felt that the Doctor escaped from that predicament a little too easily and wanted to expand on it further.[1]

Comparison between BBC and Disney+ versions[]

To be added...

Myths[]

To be added.

Filming Locations[]

To be added...

Ratings[]

  • BBC UK overnight ratings: 2.04 million[2]
  • BBC UK consolidated ratings: 3.38 million[2]
If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

Production errors[]

To be added...

Continuity[]

External links[]

Footnotes[]

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