My thoughts on ‘Rogue’ – episode 6 of Doctor Who

Warning: do not read this until you have watched/listened to the Doctor Who episode ’Rogue’. Spoilers ahead!

This episode is incredibly fun! I think that it might be my favourite episode of this new series so far. It has the humour and the quick repartee back and forth that we’ve been missing up until now. I didn’t realise how much I’d been missing the fast dialogue, the witty replies. Multiple times it leaves you with a big grin across your face so I don’t care that this episode might be considered a bit silly or cheesy. It just feels, in essence, so very Who.

When the Doctor says at the beginning “just try not to get engaged or accidentally invent tarmac. 1902 got away from me”, we know that we are in for a great script and that maybe one of those things mentioned or something similar is going to happen! If you’ve been reading my previous posts about this series of Doctor Who, there has been a theme of little things that the Doctor and Ruby say or do that cause ripples, small changes throughout history. In this episode, you think at first that it’s Ruby who is going to be the culprit by introducing the word ‘OK’ in 1813 (the year in which this episode is set) but it turns out that the person to whom she is speaking is one of the shapeshifting ‘Chuldur’ creatures, who gets sent to another dimension at the end of the episode, so no butterfly effect there. And it turns out that it’s the Doctor who sort of gets proposed to, not Ruby!

I find it interesting that at the end of the episode when the Doctor is in pain, this new “healed” bi-generated 15th Doctor (I speculated here whether he would revert to old habits), starts to veer towards what he’s always done: never stopping, never looking back, never dealing with the pain. But it then goes a different way as Ruby pulls him back and we see the effects of the bi-generation, of him being able to stop, with a little help. This is seen when the Doctor is trying to breeze past the pain of what has just happened, saying “anyway, it is what it is, so, onwards, fine, next. Off we go! Where shall we go? Anywhere!”
However, Ruby recognises this for what it is and doesn’t let it go, saying “Doctor, you don’t have to be like this”.
The Doctor replies “I have to be like this because this is what I’m like. Onwards, upwards, new horizons, moving on, it’s fine.”
It’s very clearly not fine though and Ruby lets him properly feel the pain. So we see that the Doctor doesn’t have to be like that anymore; he doesn’t have to always be running, never stopping, never processing. It was good to finally see an effect of the bi-generation and the changes it has made to the Doctor, in a good way. This is the first episode where I’ve started to like Ruby a little. I love it when the Doctor’s companions are able to pull him back from his worst instincts.

There is another incident that I noticed in passing that may or may not be significant. One of the Chuldur says that Ruby has the scent of a Chuldur, which is why the creatures don’t notice that she isn’t one of them. They pass this off with the explanation that it is a false scent because of the psychic earrings that Ruby is wearing. This may be all there is to it but I’m wondering if there is something more here. Could Ruby be a shapeshifter somehow, without knowing it? Or is it just alluding to the fact that she might be another sort of being? We still know so little about Ruby. We don’t even know what job she has. But I like what I see of her this episode, supporting other women (it’s not her fault that the person that she’s helping turns out to be a Chuldur!). I also like what we see of the Doctor this episode — his playfulness, yes, (the Kylie Minogue music scene anyone?!) — but also that he refuses to lose his friend to save the world.

I hope that we get to see more of Rogue again in the future (loved Jonathan Groff as King George III in the musical ‘Hamilton’ and he’s great here too). I wonder if the new boss that Rogue mentions (in his work as a bounty hunter), the one who makes him do all the correct paperwork, will turn out to be someone significant in orchestrating events.

I know that I’ve been going on about the random singing in each episode but I actually liked it this time (the Doctor sings a bit of ‘Pure Imagination’ from ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ when he’s introducing Rogue to the Tardis). The singing seems more natural and apt in the moment.

Enjoyed this episode. Great fun!

What did you think of this episode? Agree/disagree with me? Let me know in the comments! I love to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “My thoughts on ‘Rogue’ – episode 6 of Doctor Who”

  1. Fun indeed! And, as you say, a good and witty script.

    Having aliens who cosplay is a nice idea. You could even argue that it’s what the Doctor’s done throughout time as well – although with very different motives…

    The nod to Willy Wonka was a nice touch, the Doctor really is that kind of figure. (Even down to the purple velvet frock coat!)

    I was disapointed that Rouge wasn’t the energy zapping X-man! But it’s a very good character. Now Rouge and Capt Jack being bounty hunters would be a show I’d watch (what if his former companion WAS Capt Jack?!!?!)!

    Two shows to go and UNIT is back next week – so hopefully more on Ruby’s backstory too.

    Oh, and I still want Ruby’s mum as a companion!

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  2. Ha! Yes, it could be argued that this Doctor especially, with all his outfit changes, is cosplaying!

    I wonder if Rogue and Captain Jack would be too similar to work well together?

    I don’t think that the Doctor should have told Ruby’s mum that he would keep Ruby safe. More than anyone, he *knows* that there is no guarantee of safety when travelling with him. It was nice to have that flashback to a conversation between him and her though.

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