first_imgYou know Daleks and Davros and Missy the Master, Angels, and Silence hell-bent on disaster. But do you recall the most underrated Doctor Who villains of all?Each week, I will dig into the depths of the Whoniverse to examine one rejected, misjudged, or altogether forgotten big bad. Entomophobics, beware.DailymotionTIME BEETLEFirst appearance: “Turn Left” (2008)—season 4, episode 11Home planet: N/ADoctor: TenthCompanion: Donna Noble, Rose TylerWhat if you could change the past? Turn right instead of left, and alter history?During a festive trip to the planet Shan Shen, Donna reluctantly agrees to have her fortune told. After all, the reading is “free for red hair.”Suspiciously interested not in Donna’s future but her past—specifically, the moments that led to her meeting the Doctor—the medium continues pressing for information as something crawls onto Donna’s back.That something is a Time Beetle.DailymotionAn unsettlingly huge insectoid capable of manipulating time, the creature is described as working for The Trickster, a recurring enemy in The Sarah Jane Adventures, whose M.O. is to alter history by changing pivotal moments.It turns out, without a drenched would-be-bride to talk some sense into a vengeful Doctor in a secret basement under the River Thames, the world would be a very different, much darker place.Donna is thrust into a parallel universe, where the Time Lord drowned in the flood he caused during an encounter with the Empress of the Racnoss in “The Runaway Bride.” Without the time traveler there to stop repeated alien raids (the Titanic’s descent into Buckingham Palace, the American populace being transformed into Adipose, the loss of the Torchwood team defeating the Sontaran invasion), England rapidly descends into a third-world country.One bright spot in this fading earth: the reappearance of Rose Tyler.DailymotionDropping in often to steer Donna and her family away from impending death, the former companion never reveals her identity: “Across too many different realities, trust me—the wrong word in the wrong place can change an entire causal nexus.”All the while, people—friends, co-workers, strangers on the street, even Rose—keep eyeing Donna’s back, constantly looking over her shoulder as if there’s something there that they can’t quite see.Eventually convinced of the coming “darkness” Rose warned her about, Donna agrees to join forces with the blonde time traveler and UNIT to remove the Time Beetle.DailymotionBish bash bosh, Donna finds herself back on Shan Shen, bereft of the beetle, and standing over a cowering fortune teller, stammering “What are you? What will you be?”The Time Beetle, as many Doctor Who villains turn out to be, is not the express bad guy. Rather, this was Davies’ way of introducing The Trickster, played by Paul Marc Davis on Sarah Jane’s spinoff, to Who audiences in what he called “the cheap episode.”Stream all of Doctor Who now for free with your Amazon Prime membership.last_img

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