Doctor Who's next episode on Disney Plus is being hailed as the best and scariest entry in years

Millie Gibson's Ruby reads a note in Doctor Who season 14 episode 73 Yards
73 Yards has wowed critics ahead of its May 25 release on Disney Plus and BBC One. (Image credit: BBC)

Doctor Who season 14 has largely been hailed as a return to form for the legendary sci-fi series, and it sounds like its next episode could be its best yet.

Indeed, many fans and critics have labeled last Saturday's (May 18) episode – the Steven Moffat-penned 'Boom', as this season's most thrilling entry so far. Now, critics are calling the fourth episode of Doctor Who's debut season on Disney Plus an instant classic and, like 2007's 'Blink' episode (one of the best Doctor Who episodes since it was revived in 2005), it doesn't even include The Doctor for much of its runtime.

The installment in question? '73 Yards', a Ruby Sunday-centric episode that, according to critics who have already seen it, is a brilliantly suspense-riddled and spooky entry that deserves a spot in the pantheon of Nu-Who episodes. Showrunner Russell T. Davies already promised us (via SFX Magazine, as reported by Total Film) that '73 Yards' would be the "most unlike any episode of Doctor Who ever before, and unlike any other piece of television". And, based on those early reviews, it sounds like he wasn't kidding.

'An unsettling horror story that'll stay with you'

A close up of Ruby Sunday looking scared in Doctor Who season 14 episode 73 Yards

'73 Yards' will be a Ruby Sunday-centric episode. (Image credit: Disney Plus/BBC)

According to an official plot synopsis, courtesy of the BBC, '73 Yards' sees The Doctor and companion Ruby "embark on the strangest journey of their lives. In a rain-lashed pub, the locals sit in fear of ancient legends coming to life". As mentioned, though, Ncuti Gatwa's Time Lord is, for reasons we won't spoil, is largely absent from this Welsh folk horror-style tale; a creative decision that puts Ruby front and center of a Wicker Man-esque story that's full of twists and turns.

It seems like '73 Yards' will try and terrify audiences in the same vein as 'Blink', 'The Empty Child', and 'Midnight' previously did, too. Indeed, Gamesradar/Total Film's reviewer labeled this episode as "an unsettling, Doctor-less horror story that will stay with you long after the iconic credits music kicks in".

The Radio Times was similarly effusive in its praise, saying that '73 Yards' is "a surprisingly dark folk tale... a chilling mystery... a claustrophobic yet wide-ranging, ambitious, haunting and downright weird tale." Millie Gibson absolutely shines as Ruby Sunday, too, with its reviewer saying Gibson shows off "Ruby's intelligence, wit and resilience" wit aplomb.

Digital Spy suggested it's a "nearly flawless" entry; one that "gives Millie Gibson's Ruby her Donna Noble 'Turn Left' moment, with breathing room from Ncuti Gatwa's often scene-stealing charisma, so she can try to save the day herself." The outlet notes that '73 Yards' loses a bit of ground towards the end, but manages to "find its feet with a superb final reveal... it comes with a dose of cinematic horror and, while the reasoning behind the whole thing doesn't entirely cohere, it's enough fun to recover from the third act stumble."

Elsewhere, Dexerto called it "the best episode so far... This has every potential to stand alongside The Empty Child and Blink as one of the most eerie Doctor Who episodes of the modern era". Lastly, Bleeding Cool opined that it's one of the weirdest and most emotional, adding: "Just as you start to think it's going to settle into an outright horror story, things take a turn, and from there, it becomes delightfully unpredictable. And sad. This is the part of the season where things slow down to focus on a character and take stock of what the show is really about if The Doctor is gone."

We'll find out if '73 Yards' is as good as critics claim it is when it makes its debut on Disney Plus, aka one of the best streaming services, on Friday, May 24 (in the US) and Saturday, May 25 (Australia). It'll also be available to watch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK on May 25. In the meantime, read our exclusive chat with Davies about Doctor Who season 14 and the iconic sci-fi series' latest regeneration.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.

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