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Doctor Who: Bad Wolf

Doctor: 'Rose.'
Rose: 'Yes, Doctor?'
Doctor: 'I'm coming to get you.'

I didn't see the trailer for this week's episode, so I was totally caught off guard by the re-emergence of the Daleks. So what started out as a fairly innocuous poke at popular British television, suddenly, and rather deliciously, transformed into something quite wonderful. I was chuffed at the prospect of seeing one Dalek this season—but to see half a million of them? I must be dreaming!

The first thing this episode did was give some much needed oomph to 'The Long Game', which felt decidedly weedy as a stand alone, but coupled with this episode—and undoubtedly the next—suddenly began to make sense. 'The Long Game' wasn't a crap episode after all, we just didn't know what it meant—until now.

Society has effectively collapsed as a direct result of the Doctor's interference a hundred years previous, and in the absence of information, mankind has stopped progressing and instead spends its time watching whatever game/reality show the Game Station pumps out. Which to be fair, isn't too far removed from modern life. So the Doctor was essentially to blame for their problems this week, which was a rather tasty consequence to what initially seemed to be an inferior earlier episode. I just wish they'd slotted 'The Long Game' in before 'Bad Wolf,' making it a three episode arc. It would have made a far better lead-in than 'Boom Town'.

And it was surely an inspired choice to have narcissist Captain Jack appear alongside futuristic robo-fashion advisers Trine-e and Zu-Zana. If ever a Who character was destined to get nekkid on national television, it's Jack. His clothes were off in a flash—disintegrated by a defabricator gun (well what else would it be used for?) And my, how shy John Barrowman looked. You saw that, right? No? Okay... I guess I was pushing reality a little there.

But the real meat of this week's episode was the return of the Daleks and the rise of the Dalek Emperor. Clearly he's not Davros, nor is he the Golden Emperor or that conical dude from Dalek City. Instead we have a refugee from the Time War, a self proclaimed God of the Daleks, who appears to have rebuilt the Dalek race from mutated human genetic material. The Emperor Dalek looked excellent—as did the Dalek army as they moved through space—so full marks to the visual effects team. My confidence in them has been somewhat restored.

Rose's 'death' was a bit of a shock to the system. When this episode originally aired, it was common knowledge that Chris would be leaving after just one season, and there were rumours that Billie would follow suit. So for one horrible moment I thought that the rumours had been confirmed. And then she came back. Dare I venture a quick hurrah!?

And after weeks of being virtually ineffectual, the Doctor finally came into his own. Finally he looked like the man he's supposed to be. Even in the face of an army of Daleks, he remained defiant. When he looked into the Big Brother camera and said, 'then I'm going to find you', before tapping the screen, I felt a twinge of excitement in my bones. And I have to admit to getting all misty eyed at his promise to Rose. Spoken like a true hero. All he needs to do now is come good on his promise.

Other Thoughts:

—Channel 44,000 was an allusion to UK television channel Channel 4; Anne Droid was voiced by Anne Robinson, host of UK quiz show The Weakest Link; Trine-e and Zu-Zana were played by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, fashion gurus from TV show What Not To Wear; and Davina Droid was played by Davina McCall, current host of Channel 4's Big Brother.

—Anne Robinson was just perfect as Anne Droid. It was so clever that I didn't even wince at the sheer silliness of it all. Well, maybe just a little.

—Why would there be a Groundforce show if no one has a garden any more?

—Earlier episode 'The Long Game' seems to have derived its name from a line of dialogue from this episode. The Doctor says 'someone's been playing the long game, controlling the human race from behind the scenes for generations.' See? I did remember to mention it!

—Anne Droid makes the first ever reference to Torchwood tonight. Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who.

Billie says...

See, this is where my lack of cultural connection and unfamiliarity with reality shows comes in, because I was unfamiliar with all of them and most of the episode was lost on me. Instead of enjoying it as a parody, all I kept thinking was how improbable and unworkable it was that 21st century television would be going on that far in the future when everything we watch now is completely different than it was in, say, the fifties. Plus, game shows taken to life and death extremes is a fun sci-fi theme, but it's been done to death.

But I liked the rest of the episode. The Controller, who was on screen for maybe five minutes, was a hero; she was enslaved at the age of five, spent her entire life in a marginal sort of semi-existence, and yet she died trying to save her world. (Loved the look. Especially her hair.)

And I liked that the cool, calm Doctor completely lost interest in everything when he thought Rose was dead. He was impatient with Jack, cared nothing about Lynda with a Y, didn't care about saving the Earth any more. He really does love Rose.

Wow. That's a lot of Daleks.


Jack: "Okay. Defabricator. Does exactly what it says on the tin. Am I naked in front of millions of viewers?"
Trinny and Susannah: "Absolutely!"
Jack: "Ladies, your viewing figures just went up."

Anne Droid: "Broff, the great cobalt pyramid is built on the remains of which famous old earth institute?"
Broff: "Touchdown?"
Anne Droid: "Torchwood."

Lynda: "You were here 100 years ago?"
Doctor: "Yes."
Lynda: "You're looking good on it."
Doctor: "I moisturise."

Captain Jack: "Well ladies, the pleasure was all mine. Which is the only thing that matters in the end."

Doctor: "I'm going to rescue her. I'm going to save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet and then I'm going to save the Earth. And then, just to finish off, I'm going to wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky."
Dalek: "But you have no weapons. No defences. No plan."
Doctor: "Yeah, and doesn't that scare you to death?"
Four moor peaces eye rote, sea hear.


  1. This one has always left me feeling mostly lukewarm. The TV parodies were obvious and unoriginal. Reality television is already a plague on our minds I didn’t need Russell T. Davis to tell me that. This sort of satire has been done many times before and often much better. Luckily the episode does redeem itself in the final act with Eccleston going full force at the end. If I were a Dalek I’d be soiling my pepper pot after THAT speech. An oncoming storm, indeed.

    But by far the best bit was Jack on What Not to Wear. From the subtle way he felt up the robots (anything really does go with him) to the revelation that he keeps a gun up his backside for emergences (least that’s his story), our favourite omnisexual ex-time agent is at the top of his game and clearly loving every minute of it. I especially loved the big happy hug after he and the Doctor figure out Rose isn’t dead.

  2. This is certainly one of the stronger episodes from the first season and a good first part to the finale.

    I loved the Daleks in this finale (probably their best, prior to Season 4) but the parodies were a bit stretched though.

  3. I was sad for Lynda who I was hoping would be a companion, but ends up dead. Over the show's long history, there have been several 'almost companions'; Duggan, Sara Kingdom, Lynda, Astrid, and others, and Lynda ended up badly, although not as badly as poor Sara!

    I admit that I preferred the more one off stories of the classics, so the whole bad wolf thing leading up to this and the finale, never really got me excited, but seeing a lot of Daleks like this was pretty cool, while the rest of this didn't really work that well for me. Like others have posted; the whole reality show to extremes thing has been done, and I don't even like those shows now, much less worse versions in the future!


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