Y'all. Y'ALL. Just. Y'ALL.
Spoilers below for Doctor Who, "Fugitive of the Judoon."
This episode can best be summed up by this image.
Actually, apologies. That's not entirely accurate.
More accurately, it can best be summed up by this image.
I am not going to give a full recap of this episode. Because this is one of those episodes of television that the episodic storyline is of so little importance. What matters is what it sets up. And what this episode sets up is fascinating, important, game-changing.
Our favorite leather daddy rhino cops are back and they're ready to deliver some RHINO JUSTICE. They seem to be after this questionable man, Lee — so questionable in fact that the local baristo has a whole file on him so that he might use his dossier prowess to woo Questionable Lee's perky and lovable ladyfriend, Ruth (Jo Martin, so likable I assumed she'd be killed almost instantly).
Spoiler: she's not killed. In fact, it's presumably really hard to kill her.
But before we get to that, Graham, followed by Yaz and Ryan are accidentally pulled aboard the stolen vessel of one CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS. He is trying to get ahold of the Doctor and assumes ONE OF THEM has to be her. They're not.
"Three of you? I had a dream about this once." JACK, NEVER CHANGE. Until you become a big face. Until then, that is, NEVER CHANGE.
Jack is trying to get a message to the Doctor: "Beware the lone Cyberman... Don't give it what it wants, at all costs." The Cybermen have apparently, like Gallifrey, descended to ruins. But something is coming, through time and space.
But the Doctor doesn't get this message. She's busy with Ruth who is flawless, and who arrived in town in 1999, you know, in between the 1996 TV movie and the 2005 revival series. In fact, Ruth is flawless in a way that, once I realized she wasn't about to die, the following simply must be true: she has a chameleon arch and is a Time Lord, presumably the Master or even Romana, whose appearance I've been awaiting since the series returned.
I was... half-right?
You see, when things go sideways and the Doctor is literally digging through the dirt to find out what's going on, she uncovers an incredibly familiar vessel. And it's not the Master's Wizard of Oz house. It's the TARDIS. Not a TARDIS. The TARDIS, the blue police box we know and love. Because Ruth isn't Ruth — she's the Doctor. Lee, who knew Ruth-Doctor needed to "break the glass" of the chameleon arch to become her true self, was her companion.
The two women (!) don't recognize each other. To Ruth, the first (!) Black (!) Doctor (!), that means our present Doctor must be in her future. But to this the Doctor (we're approaching Dr. Mrs. The Monarch territory here) she knows her past, and her past does not include this woman. So what is the truth?
Who is this iteration of the Doctor? Is she some forgotten piece of the past we've never seen? Is she an alternate universe(s) Doctor opening a whole new world(s) to Doctors we've never known? How do they all fit together, occupy the same space and time, and where do we go from here?
We don't know. But man I cannot wait to find out.
And JACK! I didn't realize how much I missed Jack Harkness until he arrived (absent of any aging at all) on my screening screen. He and the Doctor (neither of them) do not cross paths this episode, but, if his final words are any indication, they will. "I'm gonna see her again. Maybe not soon. But she needs me, I'll be there."
I said when this season launched that Chris Chibnall is delivering unto us a proper arc. I never anticipated something of this magnitude. And I am delighted to be along for this ride.