Doctor Who Season 14: ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’ recap and ending explained

Jessica Cullen
The cast of Doctor Who The Legend of Ruby Sunday

As we begin our descent into Doctor Who Season 14’s finale, here’s everything you need to know about ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’, including a recap and the ending explained.

‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’ has a lot at stake. We have the biggest Doctor Who Season 14 theories to be proven right or wrong, as well as introducing who will be the most important Season 14 villain yet.

As the Doctor and Ruby return to UNIT to get help on their most prominent mystery of the season (Susan Twist, obviously!), they find themselves getting closer to a dangerous and shocking realization. 

You can check out our ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’ review for full thoughts on the first part of the finale, but for now, here’s the new episode’s recap and ending explained. (Warning: major spoilers ahead!)

‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’ recap

The episode opens with the TARDIS flying into the UNIT headquarters. As the Doctor reunites with Rose Noble and Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, his motivations for returning are revealed. This isn’t just a quick pit-stop, no. He’s come to them for help — namely, to work out the identity of the mysterious woman who’s been following them through time.

Well, wouldn’t you know it – UNIT has already worked it out. Turns out, Susan Twist is actually Susan Triad, a technology genius who is set to give the world a new software, free of charge, that very afternoon. What a coincidence!

Very quickly, the Doctor notes that her name is an anagram for TARDIS. Oh, and of course, Susan is the name of his granddaughter, Ruby points out. It’s then that the Doctor explains to Ruby the most important Time Lord feature yet: regeneration. If it is his granddaughter, that’s why he didn’t recognize her.

UNIT keep an eye on Susan Triad

In a television studio, Susan Triad is practicing her speech that’ll air to the United Nations later that afternoon. UNIT is watching the whole thing since they’ve hacked the link to the studio. 

Susan’s a little apprehensive about the event but ultimately goes with it. By all accounts, she seems like a nice lady. The Doctor spots his old friend Mel Bush on-screen, who’s infiltrated Susan’s media team by going undercover.

Alas, there’s one more major mystery to be acknowledged, and it’s Ruby Sunday herself. A mysterious woman who exists through time, TARDIS technology, Ruby’s missing birth mother…it all seems like it could tie together.

Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor in The Legend of Ruby Sunday

Their mission becomes clear: they must find out the identity of Ruby’s birth mother. Ruby’s only evidence of the night she was abandoned comes from some old CCTV footage which she rewatches every year. It’s old, and of bad quality, but thankfully, UNIT has all the tech they need to get a clean image.

Ruby and Rose head to Ruby’s house and fetch the tape from Carla. When Carla insists on coming back to UNIT with them, she brings up their neighbor Mrs. Flood to watch her elderly mother, Cherry.

But when they leave and Cherry asks for a cup of tea, things take a dark turn. Literally. The clouds pass over and Mrs. Flood turns into an ominous presence, saying the words: “He waits no more.” Evidently, all those theories about Mrs. Flood being a little off were correct.

The Time Window

Mel turns up at UNIT and reunites with the Doctor. As of right now, they have 65 minutes until Susan’s speech. When Ruby brings back the tape, the Doctor asks if UNIT has a Time Window for them to relive the moment, which of course they do.

The Time Window is a crude piece of technology, but it works. Using the tape combined with Ruby’s own memory, they manage to recreate the night on Christmas Eve on Ruby Road within UNIT. The image is a little unstable, but it’s snowing and they can hear ‘Carol of the Bells’ play in the distance. 

Suddenly, the woman — Ruby’s mother — appears. She’s cloaked and her face is hidden, but she’s walking towards them. When they’re unable to get a proper look at her face, Ruby becomes distressed. Then, the TARDIS and the past Doctor appear, back from when he saved Baby Ruby during the Christmas special.

When the mother stops and points at the Doctor in the past, they try to magnify the image (“Enhance!”), but there’s nothing to make out. One of the UNIT agents, Colonel Chidozie, steps into the memory to see what she’s pointing at beyond the Doctor. But he can’t see anything, so he steps behind the TARDIS. Then, the woman leaves. 

Susan Twist as Susan Triad in The Legend of Ruby Sunday

Ruby’s devastated, but has no time to grieve as the energy in the room shifts. Suddenly, a large smoke-like creature appears behind them. They can’t work out if it’s present-day or part of the memory, but regardless, it’s causing havoc with the Time Window.

Suddenly, they notice Colonel Chidozie has disappeared and become unresponsive. When Ruby calls for him, he answers, though he sounds a great distance away. “I am in Hell,” he tells them. Without warning, the control panel explodes and the Time Window shuts down. 

When the moment passes and the smoke clears, they find Colonel Chidozie’s body on the ground. Kate notes that he looks like he’s been dead for a hundred years, his body covered in dust and ash. 

The Doctor meets Susan

The Doctor then kicks into action, telling Mel to take him to Susan Triad. When they arrive at the TV studio, he’s anxious and almost backs out. But with some talking-to from Mel, they find Susan and he prepares to meet what could be his long-lost granddaughter. 

But when he meets Susan and shakes her hand, there’s no recognition at all. She’s quickly whisked away by her staff, but not before she mentions she’s not been sleeping properly. When the Doctor probes her, she becomes distressed.

She’s been having dreams. Lots of dreams. The Doctor outright asks her if she’s been dreaming of the things he’s been seeing her as: Lindy’s mother in ‘Dot and Bubble’, the Ambulance Units in ‘Boom’ – they’re all the things she’s been dreaming about. Soon, she’s taken away. He’s running out of time.

Meanwhile, back at UNIT, they’re rewatching Ruby’s tapes. However, there’s been a big change: the Beast they saw in person is now on the tapes when it wasn’t before. When UNIT’s Head of Archive Harriet rewinds the tapes and watches them backwards, they see that the Beast is wrapped around the TARDIS, which is in a different spot. It’s a different TARDIS.

Just then, the TARDIS groans — the same noise we’ve heard it make across Season 14. Over the comms, the Doctor tells them it’s made that noise before. He instructs Kate to evacuate the building and leave the TARDIS alone. Susan Triad is a part of it — she has to be.

Soon, the only people left in the room with the TARDIS are Kate, Ruby, Rose, Vlinx, Morris, Harriet, and Colonel Ibrahim. They scan the TARDIS and register a life form around it. 

Things go wrong

Back at the studio, Susan’s speech is starting. She comes out to a fake crowd and starts reading from the teleprompter, all while the Doctor and Mel watch. But when she starts to speak, she suddenly hears a deep, dark voice. The voice starts telling her what to say, and she begins to unravel, talking about her dreams.

Angela Wynter as Cherry Sunday in The Legend of Ruby Sunday

Back at UNIT, Kate talks to the life around the TARDIS and demands that it show itself. But as she’s trying to make some sense out of it, Harriet starts talking as if in a trance, saying strange things. “The Lord of Time was blind and vain and knew nothing,” she tells them. When asked what Harriet’s full name is, Kate tells them it’s Harriet Arbinger. Harbinger. 

Anyone who watched ‘The Devil’s Chord’ will remember that a Harbinger (Henry Arbinger) signaled the arrival of Maestro, the God, and a member of the Pantheon of Discord. The Doctor hears this and immediately understands, all while Susan starts growing awfully scared, losing all sense of self. 

The teleprompter even gets possessed, typing out the strange sentences and foreboding warnings. The Doctor tells Ruby to run to the Time Window, and when she gets there, it starts up immediately (despite being broken), and takes her back to the night on Christmas Eve 2004. 

How does ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’ end?

‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday’ ends with the Doctor finding out that the God Sutekh is behind everything, and finishes on a cliffhanger that sees Ruby standing right in front of her birth mother.

The peak of the episode comes when a possessed Harriet names the Gods of the Pantheon, including Toymaker, Trickster, Maestro, and more. But she finally names the one they’re dealing with: Sutekh. 

The Doctor gasps in horror as he realizes they got the anagram wrong. Susan Triad Technology wasn’t TARDIS, it was SUTEKH all along. In UNIT, the smoke monster around the TARDIS turns into a large creature, echoing the same words as Susan Triad, who has now transformed into a horrifying, pale-faced monster. 

When Susan’s assistant comes to reach out for her, she touches him and turns him into ash, much like what happened to Colonel Chidozie. Back at the Time Window, Ruby sees the cloaked figure once again and calls out to her. Susan, now transformed, turns to the Doctor and reaches out for him, telling him that she “brings the gift of death” for him. 


To make sure you don’t miss the finale, take a look at our Doctor Who Season 14 release schedule. For more, check out our ‘Rogue’ review, and remind yourself of the best Doctor Who villains of all time.