Episode Discussion: The Devil's Chord

Some interesting links and ideas in this Den of Geek article:


If we get the Trickster for real I am going to be so happy. Trying not to get my hopes up though…


spent the last few days switching back and forth between, ‘its not going to happen’ and ‘but what if it does’


To be honest, not only did i not like the episode, it was so bad that it damaged Doctor Who for me in a way I think is beyond repair, at least for some time. It’s like someone destroyed my favourite painting with a knife. I can not look at it, I can not replace it with something else or throw it away because of strong emotional attachments I have for it. All I loved about it is gone, trampled over and destroyed. I can not look at Doctor Who now, all I see is that travesty of episode. I can not even think about it without bad feeling now, and there is a strong indication it will be like this for a time. Doctor Who became an important part of my life. I have seen most of the episodes since 1963, listened to a hundreds of BF stories, read a handful of Doctor Who books, but there was nothing as bad as this.
Even knowing that someone likes this monstrosity makes me more bitter and miserable. It’s like my grasp of the Doctor Who reality is now changed, forever.

I will try to take a break from new Doctor Who for a while and see if it helps. Meanwhile, I wish you all good entertainment.

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The great thing about Doctor Who is it is always changing. If you don’t like the current show, just wait until it changes again. You don’t have to love it all.

There is a whole universe of Big Finish, books, comics, etc that can entertain you until you find the show is enjoyable to you again.

I do recommend you give it a rewatch though, because at first I wasn’t thrilled by it but after watching it again I now think it’s ace!


You should stick around till next episode and see what Moffat has for us. A second watch can sometimes help but not guarantee.


A few loose thoughts after a rewatch:

I don’t think Ruby’s timeline in the TARDIS quite lines up. Her “personal time” seems to have moved half a year but everything she does points towards her being in the early stages of TARDIS travel, the consequences to “the web of time” is the same conversation Martha had on her first trip in time. The Doctor waiting half a year to ask Ruby where she would like to go doesn’t feel right and the wardrobe change scene also seems like it would be in the early stages of TARDIS travel. But then she says “You never run” to the Doctor leading us to think they have been together a while. It doesn’t quite add up.

The “Twist at the end” song including the line “I think this song will never end” tickles me. It is such a painfully bad song. And I know there monetary issues with worldwide rights to a Beatles song, but then why use the Beatles? Wouldn’t the narrative plot have worked as well with other influential musicians, like Mozart for instance? Or have the Beatles sing “Twist and Shout” a song they covered but didn’t write? Having a story about The Beatles and not including their music? Null point!
Alternatively have The Doctor and Ruby go to the Beatles memorial museum that Vicki spoke of in The Chase only to discover that music history has been rewritten or something along those lines.

I don’t think it’s a decidedly bad story more perhaps of RTD overextending himself too much with writing so many stories himself while doing a crazy flurry of stuff in his capacity as showrunner.


The six months later bit is odd because I hadn’t really picked up on it until people started mentioning afterwards that the June 2024 bit doesn’t tally with the Christmas Eve 2023 stuff in Ruby Road and Space Babies. It’s not really explicit in the episode itself so I do wonder, as you suggest, that there’s been a bit of a fudge here and that’s why the scripting is a bit inconsistent.

But then, when hasn’t Doctor Who completely ruined its internal chronology. It’s almost a tradition!


And that way you could even keep the twist at the end joke :person_shrugging:


I was thinking it had to do with the original date Fifteen’s season was meant to start? In the Free Comic Book Day comic, it stated that his season was to start in June 2024, but obviously, somewhere along the line, the schedule moved up.


That could be it!


I’ve been looking at the Second Doctor Comic Strips and came across this coincidence.

An evil ex-manager is maybe up to Maestro’s level of villainy but still…

(Screenshot from the excellent Altered Vistas website)

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I’ve got to admit, just from the description, that sounds like something that might not have originally been a Doctor Who story, and then got rewritten as one…


Upon rewatch, it’s fine. I got to like Maestro a bit more. The plot does kind of fall apart in the last quarter. I’m still looking forward to next week!


Interesting episode, this one. The plot revolves around the significance of music for humanity and the potential consequences of its disappearance, although it doesn’t delve deeply into the subject matter.

It’s a historical that doesn’t feel like a historical, because there’s no real reason why it should be set in 1963 or feature The Beatles (who are barely in it). I love the costumes, though!

Ncuti and Millie are great again. Jinkx Monsoon immediately steals the show with her wild, bonkers, and fun performance. The episode does very little with its premise until the Doctor finally faces Maestro, and then it’s all about their duel before a very rushed and simple solution. For balance, a longer episode might have been better.

I actually loved the use of music here; it’s very effective as a narrative. And the scene with no sound at all is fantastic. I also enjoyed the reference to Susan and the connections to The Giggle and the Toymaker.

I didn’t mind the dance at the end, even if it felt a bit weird. But I’m 100% certain there’s a reason it’s there. The lyrics, for instance, might carry more meaning to them than what meets the eye; perhaps it’s foreshadowing something (there’s mention of “kissing the mist,” which sounds like it could reference next week’s episode?).

As someone said above, these two episodes don’t feel like Doctor Who, but I think that is deliberate. I’m a bit surprised that very few have brought up the meta-hints and the possible explanations as to why Doctor Who suddenly feels whimsical and fantastical and contains so much singing, dancing, and fourth-wall breaks. I’ve seen theories online that the universe is broken and turning into a land of fiction (or that we are in a completely different universe altogether), which would explain Susan Twist randomly appearing as different characters in every episode (“a twist at the end”: she’s credited in the end credits of every episode!), as well as the musical number and the Big-inspired crossroads piano thing (and how the Doctor and Ruby react to all these weird things as if they were completely natural). It would also explain how Ruby is seemingly a perfect companion for the Doctor, with a similar past, no known parents, and a mysterious presence (she might be part of the Pantheon or simply an actor in a play or a show orchestrated by The One Who Waits, or possibly by Susan Twist). I believe there is something bigger going on, with ties to the Toymaker, The One Who Waits, and Ruby, and these things will be revealed eventually.

This is whimsical fun with a memorable villain, so an 8/10 for me.


This was better than the first, but I feel like RTD is still playing too much with fantasy and magical themes. So far we’ve had goblins, snot monsters, talking babies and someone who can “steal music”. The visual representation of actual music notes flying through the air was a bit… subtle as a brick

Plus points - the Maestro’s performance was great, and the ongoing mystery building up is quite fascinating

Also the “twist at the end” when everyone dived into a big Broadway musical number reminded me a LOT of a Family Guy cutaway. I swear I could actually see Brian and Stewie doing the twist with the Beatles :pensive:

Next week: some science fiction please :pray:


To be fair to RTD, he has been extremely open about the fact he is leaning into the fantasy this series. I also wholeheartedy believe it won’t last longer than this series because of how clearly it is tied into Ruby’s arc. Maybe it will spill into the next series but not much beyond that (depending on how long RTD sticks with the show this time).

The great thing is, though, that it is still recognisably Doctor Who and has two brilliant performers at the centre of it,


I’d argue that bogey monsters which are grown in a lab using DNA and snot are 100% science fiction :laughing:


Yeah, for all the ‘fantasy’ aspect, it’s only really Devil’s Chord and Ruby Road which have leaned into it so far. Space Babies was more along the lines of Moffat’s ‘fairy tales in a science fiction setting’ vibe.


yeah, i’m not opposed to the fantasy but i do think the bogeyman thing is well in line with what doctor who has done in the past. definitely still worth noting though that it’s a sci-fi mechanic that mimics childrens’ stories…