Doctor Who: Rogue review: Just kiss already!

Spoilers for “Rogue” follow.

Doctor Who has always been gay.

From the beginning, many of its key creative figures were queer, and so are a large portion of its fans. As Tat Wood explains in his essays in the show guide , a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and camp offered subtextual solace for queer youth in less tolerant times. Russell T. Davies promised to go back and say the silent part as loud as he could. As it turns out, “Rogue” is probably the most openly gay episode Doctor Who never fixed.

Rogue was written by Kate Herron and former Disney director and executive producer Briony Redman. Loki. Davies criticized loudly Lokia single nod to the character’s pansexuality, It’s a chance to make amends by covering all the queer-geek touchstones of the modern era. Rogue is an episode that weaves through slash-fiction, D&D, cosplay, identity, and of course, the simmering erotic tension created when two hot friends are pitted against each other.

Doctor Who 'Rogue'Doctor Who 'Rogue'

Bad Wolf / BBC Studios

As for the plot, this is another modern era Doctor Who This is done more by performances and vibrations than by mechanics. We open in 1813 in a stately home where two “gentlemen” are arguing nightly over the Lady’s Honor™. But the character of the hero breaks his character, frustrated that his role as a loathsome is not as fun as playing a scheming, libidinous villain. It turns out that he is an alien who can take on the personalities of others, leaving behind nothing but a withered corpse.

Inside the building, the Doctor and Ruby dance together BridgertonA special party celebrating their love of Netflix series. Ruby wears a pair of Sonic Earrings that control or inform her movements (it’s not clear), allowing her to participate in formal dances. The earrings intervene and send the Doctor to investigate while Ruby immerses herself in the capital-S Society. The source of the disturbance is a brooding figure lurking on the balcony above the dance floor: Rogue (Jonathan Groff).

Rogue is a bounty hunter sent to capture an alien – the Children – who have turned into other people at the cost of their lives. The Doctor and Rogue run off to discuss the matter in private and find the remains of the Duchess of Pemberton (Indira Varma). The pair accuse each other of being the Kid, but swallow the argument as Rogue has a gun and the Doctor doesn’t. He takes our hero at gunpoint to his spaceship and uses a device to trap him in place, planning to drop him into an incinerator. And the Doctor is more interested in stealing the ship’s sound system to flirt with Rogue and play Kylie Minogue.

After Rogue scans the Doctor and discovers he’s not the Kid (complete with fan-baity pictures of past Doctors), they agree to work together. They talk about their lives and how they’ve both obviously lost people along their journeys. After the Doctor takes a tour of Rogue’s ship (where it’s a mess, leaving his D&D dice on his main console), they visit the TARDIS. Both offer the other a chance at a better or at least a different life, even though we know deep down that neither of them can ever leave what they have now. That doesn’t stop them from getting even closer, but he’s never able to act on his obvious impulse to lock lips. Now with the help of the TARDIS, the Doctor modifies Rogue’s trap to banish them to an alternate dimension instead of incinerating them in a more humane way.

Meanwhile, Ruby watches some Bridgerton drama, friendship with a character who pretends to be out of a Jane Austen parody. Turns out he’s also a kid, one of the few people who have come to Earth for the LARP from the evening. The thing is, like the Doctor and Ruby, they’re all the same Bridgerton fans who come to have fun with fantasy. The night will end with a big wedding, though it just turns into murderous chaos.

After a chase, the Doctor and Rogue return home to see Ruby, now in the latest costume change for one of the Childers. Ruby’s apparent death leads to the Doctor’s death , and as a result prepares to sentence all aliens to a long and painful exile. However, when she traps Childers, it is revealed that Ruby was just playing along and actually beat her assailant. But once the trap is sprung, it cannot be undone, and so the Doctor has no choice but to condemn his friend along with his enemies.

As a payoff, Rogue frantically hunts down the Doctor and takes control of the trap. Knowing that the Doctor can’t decide what to do, he sacrifices himself to get Ruby out of the trap, taking his place in the process. He sets off a trap, imprisoning himself in an alternate dimension with the Chidlers. As dawn breaks, the Doctor makes a good game of moving on, as we all should in times of loss, but Ruby sees through. There is no way he can save Rogue, and so he must accept what has happened and move on to pastures new. Which in this case is the next episode, part one, of the two-part series finale.

Doctor WhoDoctor Who

Bad Wolf / BBC Studios

One downside Doctor Who shortened season that we’ve deprived a lot of Ncuti Gatwa. He was absent from the last two episodes and only got his first moment of exposure at the end of “Dot and Bubble”. Given Gatwa’s generosity in sharing the spotlight with his colleagues, it’s good to see him getting a chance to shine. Although Groff has to play Rogue for most of the episode, the interaction between the pair is joyous.

I don’t feel qualified to talk about queer representation in the episode, but their chemistry was believable and grounded. I’ll leave it to better, more skilled writers to expand on these themes, but I found myself urging the couple to kiss every time their faces came close. Funny how time changes your mind about things: I hated it when the Doctor kissed in the 1996 TV movie. The idea of ​​a sexy Doctor wrapped up in such human trifles infuriated my 12-year-old mind. Now I just want the Doctor to shoot whoever they want, whenever they want.

The nature of a guest appearance in an ongoing TV series meant that there was no chance that Groff would not die or be banished to an indefinite “if you ever want to come back” void. But it means Doctor Who loudly, proudly strange period “” love. Even if Rogue’s sacrifice is noble and well-telegraphed, it’s sad to see two men so attracted to each other not get the chance to embrace that future.

None of this should detract from the fact that Rogue is a delightful way to spend an hour, and another welcome addition across genres and tones alike. This is a great and fun game that should help show that Doctor Who it’s a vehicle through which you can tell almost any story. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with it all those years ago, and I hope you do too.

Susan Twist Corner

I was on vacation so I didn’t get to watch Dot and Bubble, which was a great episode. Doctor Who. Last week, the pair got to know Twist, who plays Penny Pepper-Bean, and the Doctor even took a picture of her face. They also both clocked in to where they had seen him before, though Ruby’s memory was more shaky given the time warp weirdness of 73 Yards.

Here, Twist is again depicted in a portrait that the Doctor notes and celebrates. It seems that the show has found a way to balance the needs of each episode, with fans deleting every frame for more meaning. But this isn’t the first time Davies has explored the show’s metatext and paratext to bait his fans: 2008’s “” After David Tennant announced his departure, he played with audience expectations, but information about his successor remained silent.

It may be nothing, but Rogue also notes that her bounty hunting “paperwork” has become more demanding since the “new boss” took over. Is this a sign of a big bad, or a character whining about the admin side of his job?

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