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New Nu-Who the review – Rogue

today12 June 2024 23

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Gatecrashing with the Doctor: A Romp Through 'Rogue'

Gate-crashing has always been one of the Doctor’s characteristics, and trust me, I’d be more than happy having the benevolent Time Lord gate-crashing a party I’m hosting—within reason, that is!

‘Rogue’ is a real good romp, complete with costumes, beautifully stately homes, and outta space bird aliens cosplaying as humans. The overall story was very gay and beautifully executed by writers Kate Herron and Briony Redman. However, there was one scene where the Doctor states they’ve never met a shape changer before. Hello! Zygons and Rutan’s! I suppose memory loss does come with old age.

We also can’t forget that one scene with Rogue (Jonathan Groff) on his ship, featuring holograms of the Doctor’s previous faces. We saw a vast collection of familiar faces, apart from one. At first, I wondered whether it could possibly be the Valeyard, last seen in the climatic episode of ‘Trial of a Time Lord: The Ultimate Foe.’ However, fans on social media disagree. That one floating face has got X (formerly known as Twitter) in a tizzy. Within seconds of the episode dropping on BBC iPlayer, fans flocked to the platform with screen grabs and images of the originally intended Ninth Doctor (Richard E. Grant).

Is Grant’s 2003 portrayal of the Doctor now canon? Could he possibly be one of the pre-Hartnell Doctors? Or is Grant’s floating head supposed to be Dr. Simeon/The Great Intelligence? Are we actually going to find out in the nearby future, or is this just a throwaway scene to throw the cat amongst the pigeons? Russell T Davies has been tight-lipped about this. We’re usually treated to a post on Instagram, but all we’ve gotten is a selfie with Jonathan Groff. It doesn’t even get a mention on ‘Doctor Who Unleashed.’

I guess time will tell…

Anyway, ‘Rogue’ was a very camp and enjoyable episode, regardless of what the homophobes are saying. And no, this episode was not the first time we’ve been treated to a same-sex kiss. Those of us will remember that very special scene between the Doctor and Captain Jack on The Game Station/Satellite V in the 2005 season finale ‘Parting of the Ways.’ It seems a lot of critics have forgotten about this or were possibly too young to remember. But alas, the fact that the Doctor and Rogue were going to share a kiss was inevitable. The idea of the Doctor being romantically involved with his companions and sharing a kiss unsettles me. It makes the character more human and less than an extra-terrestrial, which could work in distancing the Doctor from the mindset of the Time Lords.

Another notable performance was from guest star Indira Varma. Many fans of the NuWho generation will remember her as Gwen Cooper’s predecessor at Torchwood, Suzie Costello. The fact no one’s acknowledging this feels criminal! Varma played the role of the story’s antagonist beautifully. She was sinister, and her head movements to give the impression of being an extra-terrestrial bird in disguise were brilliant. She was almost predatory, which made sense when her prosthetics reminded me of an owl. Shame the character lacked the wit and wisdom of one.

Also, Susan Twist makes another appearance, this time as a painting, no dialogue required. It has now been confirmed that her role in the finale is that of Susan Triad—S. Triad for short—which, if you rearrange the letters, reveals it to be an anagram of T.A.R.D.I.S. Could this explain how she’s turning up in different time zones?

The season finale is upon us, and speculation is rife. Many fans argue that “The One Who Waits” is the Trickster, introduced in the “Sarah Jane Adventures”. However, I recently saw a theory that the mysterious figure could be the Master of Fiction, introduced in ‘The Mind Robber’ (1968). With the Doctor and Ruby being in the realm of Gods and the supernatural, anything is plausible. I’m still asking where they are going with this. The adventures have been enjoyable, and I’ve found myself revisiting the stories to double-check if I’ve missed anything that could be a tell-tale sign of this story arc’s outcome. The writing and the stories have made me hungry for more.

I can see Rogue making a comeback too. I can see them running into each other while being up to their necks in trouble. I can see them both being mischievous across the cosmos. Overall, this was an enjoyable episode and a great introduction for Groff into the world of Doctor Who, May we see more of him in the not-too-distant future.

The Doctor and Ruby return on 15th June in ‘The Legend of Ruby Sunday.’ It’s also worth noting that an additional “Tales of the TARDIS”wi ll be televised on BBC Four on Thursday, 20th June at 8pm, starring both Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson in their respected roles as the Doctor and Ruby. But why are they in a memory TARDIS, and what exactly will they be reflecting on?

Written by Daniel Price
Images from BBC Pictures

Written by: Ian.Lamsdale

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