Timey Wimey

Doctor Who Has A Wild Cameo Mystery Hiding In Plain Sight

There’s always a Twist at the end.

Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor in 'Doctor Who.'
BBC/Disney+
Doctor Who

There’s nothing Doctor Who loves more than a mysterious character. Clara Oswald was “The Impossible Girl,” River Song was “The Impossible Astronaut,” and even the Doctor himself has their past shrouded in history. Sometimes, these mysteries get solved, but others just exist as fuel for fan debates for years to come.

In the newest reboot of the 60-year-old series, there’s a mysterious character who has quietly eclipsed all other weird mysteries in both the consistency and variety of her appearances. What could it all be building to? The answer could be more obvious than you think. Here’s the deal with a new cameo mystery you probably didn’t notice in Doctor Who, and what we think it might mean.

Back in November, the second of the 60th-anniversary specials of Doctor Who, “Wild Blue Yonder,” began with a flashback to Sir Isaac Newton discovering gravity (or, as he calls it in the Doctor Who universe, “mavity.”) As he walks outside, he greets his servant Mrs. Merridew, played by Susan Twist.

Susan Twist in the 2023 Christmas Special “The Church at Ruby Road.”

Disney+

Then, in the Christmas special “The Church at Ruby Road,” Twist appeared again as a woman requesting Ruby Sunday play “Gaudete.” Now, the new season has only repeated this pattern. Twist appears as an officer seen in an archive recording in “Space Babies” and as a tea lady in “The Devil’s Chord” who charges The Doctor a whole half crown for two cups of coffee.

And it doesn’t even stop there. In the teaser for next week’s episode “Boom,” Twist can be seen onscreen on some sort of machine repeatedly saying “Combat detected.”

So what could it all mean? Knowing Russell T Davies, who seeded the “Bad Wolf” reveal far in advance of it becoming relevant at the end of Season 1 back in 2005. Now, in 2024, he’s back as showrunner for a new Season 1 and could be planning something similar.

Susan Twist in the upcoming episode “Boom.”

Disney+

That’s not the only mystery looming over this season. Both The Toymaker and Maestro have teased “The One Who Waits” as this season’s big villain, but there are no clues as to who that could possibly be. At least not yet.

These two loose ends may be connected. Whoever Susan Twist is really playing could be a villain hiding in unassuming locations, keeping an eye on the Doctor through his travels, waiting, as the name says, to attack. After all, who would suspect the tea lady?

This mystery is exactly what Doctor Who is all about — haunting images stretched across one-off adventures that build to something much bigger. Granted this could be just a fun non-Easter egg, a cameo using the same actress, without meaning, but somehow we don’t think so. Whether it’s a strange phrase, a crack in space and time, or a supporting actress from the defunct Liverpool-set soap opera Brookside, these kinds of Doctor Who mysteries are always enough to keep fans coming back for more.

Doctor Who is now streaming on Disney+.

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