Movie Reviews

When Doctor Who's Sutekh Started Hiding In The TARDIS

Summary

  • Sutekh attached to the TARDIS after “Pyramids of Mars,” setting up a universe-ending plan.
  • His long parasitic stay inside the TARDIS went unnoticed until his grand re-entrance.
  • Doctor Who’s season 14 finale showcased how Sutekh evolved over time, infiltrating the TARDIS.



Doctor Who season 14’s finale explained how long Sutekh had been hiding in the TARDIS before he put his destructive plans into motion. Sutekh is one of the gods from Doctor Who’s Pantheon of Discord; he is based on the Egyptian god of death and violence. He is considered to be the most powerful god of all because of his ability to bring instant death to all living creatures he crosses paths with, although the Doctor was able to eject him into the Time Vortex, supposedly killing him.

Sutekh is not the kind of monster every actor who has played Doctor Who has dealt with. Instead, he appeared only twice during the series’ 60-year run: once in 1975, when Tom Baker played the Fourth Doctor, and again in 2024 to face off against Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor. The season 14 finale revealed that Sutekh had attached himself to the TARDIS as the first step in a diabolical plan to destroy all life in the universe, which the Doctor had to force him to reverse. The episode also explained how long Sutekh had been hiding in the Doctor’s TARDIS.


Related

Doctor Who Season 14 Episode Guide

Doctor Who season 14’s eight episodes are brimming with important details, fun cameos, and major lore callbacks. Find everything you need here.


Sutekh Entered The Doctor’s TARDIS At The End Of “Pyramids Of Mars”

His 50-Year Journey Is Explained During “Empire of Death”

Sutekh implied that he was never trapped in the time tunnel, instead attaching himself to the Doctor’s TARDIS at the end of “Pyramid of Mars.” Although this retcon contradicts several canon events, it makes sense in the context of the original Sutekh story. The Fourth Doctor had used the TARDIS control panel to adjust the length and location of the time tunnel so that Sutekh could not escape into the outer world; thus, it is not a big stretch to imagine that Sutekh latched himself onto the controls instead of remaining in the tunnel.


The time tunnel was retconned to be the Time Vortex that the Doctor threw Sutekh into at the end of their epic battle, but it was originally a separate entity.

Sutekh was more than a stowaway; although he was depicted as sitting on top of the TARDIS, his explanation made it seem like he was a parasite that infiltrated the machine’s systems. He was able to access the database and learn about every Doctor Who companion so that he could decide who to model his evil clones after before ultimately choosing Susan. Thus, Sutekh must have been inside the TARDIS system itself, not just on its roof or otherwise physically hanging onto the TARDIS.

Why The Doctor Never Noticed Something Was Wrong With His TARDIS

Sutekh Evolved Over Time, So Changes Were Not Noticeable

The Doctor and Donna looking at the TARDIS in Doctor Who


Sutekh remained in the TARDIS for a long period of time, but he didn’t significantly affect the machine’s systems until shortly before he was ready to make his grand re-entrance. The Doctor noticed minor problems with his time machine, such as not landing exactly where he told it to go, but these were not significant enough to worry about. Furthermore, the Fifteenth Doctor assumed strange noises were the machine’s attempt to express displeasure with certain occupants, such as Rogue.

There was no real reason for the Doctor to suspect anything was amiss during the half-century before Sutekh revealed himself.


The TARDIS’ unreliability has also been a running joke on Doctor Who, culminating with the TARDIS itself informing the Doctor that it takes them where they need to go during “The Doctor’s Wife.” Therefore, there was no real reason for the Doctor to suspect anything was amiss during the half-century before Sutekh revealed himself. The TARDIS also likely fought back against Sutekh’s invasion, which could explain why it went to E-Space or other extremely dangerous locations, but Sutekh was ultimately successful in invading its systems and using them to do what he wanted.

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