Doctor Who season 1, episode 6 review: "Loki's Kate Herron works her magic on Bridgerton-esque episode 'Rogue'"

Doctor Who
(Image: © BBC)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Sparks fly as Jonathan Groff immediately makes his mark in a ridiculously fun episode which plays out like a sci-fi Bridgerton

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Dear reader… like many of you, I have been eagerly anticipating the sixth episode of the current season of Doctor Who, 'Rogue', thanks to the fact it's written by a certain Kate Herron (who co-penned the screenplay with her writing partner Briony Redman). Herron worked wonders with the God of Mischief on the first season of the hit Marvel show Loki, so surely she would bring something special to the Lord of Time too? As showrunner Russell T Davies himself has previously noted, Loki certainly had Doctor Who vibes, so the fit couldn't have been better – and as it turns out, he was right! 

"Oh my Bridgerton!"

doctor who rogue

(Image credit: BBC)

For her episode, Herron transports us back in time to Bath in 1813 where the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) are attending a glamorous ball at The Duchess of Pemberton's (Indira Varma) gorgeous mansion.

As Ruby herself notes early on, "this is so Bridgerton", with the episode showing its reverence for that beloved TV show throughout. From the swooningly romantic dialogue to the perfectly choreographed dancing, the handsome costume design to the luxurious sets, at times this is peak Bridgerton - so much so that Netflix will surely be left shaking in their boots. Hell, there's even an orchestral rendition of a modern pop hit (which needs to be added to Spotify asap thank you very much BBC).

However, whilst the Bridgerton-esque setting is perfectly pitched, crucially it's not just there for show as the Netflix series genuinely plays a key role in the plot of 'Rogue' too. Naturally, we can't reveal exactly what the connection between the two is in this spoiler-free review but it has surprising ties to the peculiar series of murders that are happening at the party. It's all very ridiculous and incredibly silly, but that doesn't mean it isn't brilliant fun too.

Meet Rogue

doctor who rogue

(Image credit: BBC)

Investigating the crime spree alongside the Doctor and Ruby is mysterious bounty hunter Rogue, played by Mindhunter’s Jonathan Groff. There is a good reason why the episode is named after the character, as he is quite simply the star of the show, easily stealing the spotlight with every charming grin or quick-witted comment (of which there are plenty).

Standing alone on a balcony intensely watching the crowd beneath him, Groff's intriguing stranger immediately catches our eye - and the same is true for the Doctor whose attention is also drawn. Sparks fly the moment the pair meet thanks to the electric chemistry between Gatwa and Groff, so it's no wonder they instantly run off together to uncover what's really happening at this grand ball. To be honest, if Rogue told me to drop everything and come with him on an adventure upon our first meeting, I would too.

The dream duo immediately develop a lively dynamic, continually teasing each other with cheeky remarks - one particularly amusing sequence campily plays out to a Kylie Minogue banger. It’s not all joy and laughter though as there's a strong emotional beat here too, as the pair connect discussing the loved ones they have both lost on their galactic travels. We see a tenderness to Gatwa's Doctor we haven't witnessed before, as Groff's Rogue beautifully helps peel back the many layers. Our only hope now is that the two meet once again as being in their company is irresistible.

Sidelined stories

doctor who rogue

(Image credit: BBC)

In fact, we miss the pair every time the episode shifts focus away from them, following Ruby as she pursues her own investigation into the scandalous romances playing out within the manor's walls. Whilst it is joyful seeing Ruby living out her Bridgerton dreams diving into these affairs of the heart, Gibson's companion feels oddly sidelined. Given that the previous two episodes, '73 Yards' and 'Boom', lacked much interaction between her and the Doctor, once again that sprightly dynamic between them is missed. And if you are hoping for further developments in the ongoing mystery of what exactly is going on with Ruby Sunday, you will be disappointed.

Finally Ruby and the Doctor are brought together at the end of 'Rogue' to face the episode's foe, but there lacks a real sense of threat given how overshadowed the villains have been throughout - they certainly aren’t making any 'best Doctor Who monsters' lists anytime soon. However, not every Doctor Who enemy needs to be a terrifying beast, sometimes the sillier the better - it’s just a shame this episode's adversary is absurd but ultimately unmemorable.

The same can't be said for Rogue himself, who you will be wanting more of as soon as the credits have started rolling. Writers Herron and Redman cleverly placed Groff's newbie at the heart of the episode, knowing that the love for him would be felt instantaneously. As the official synopsis teases, he changes the Doctor's life forever - and given how he's destined to become a fan-favorite, that will be true for viewers too.

'Rogue' will be released on June 7 at 7:00pm ET on Disney Plus and at midnight June 8 on BBC iPlayer, before airing later that day live on BBC One. Stay up to date with our Doctor Who release schedule.

For more great new TV, check out our guide to the best new shows coming your way in 2024.

Emily Murray
Entertainment Editor

As Entertainment Editor at GamesRadar, I oversee all the online content for Total Film and SFX magazine. Previously I've worked for the BBC, Zavvi, UNILAD, Yahoo, Digital Spy and more.