“Bad Wolf” – Review: Redux

The Doctor: “No! ‘Cause this is what I’m going to do: 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!”

Bad WolfIf I recall correctly, the title of this episode was a closely guarded secret and remained unknown for quite some time until mere days before broadcast. It’s an odd thing in hindsight that the phrase Bad Wolf had turned up in nearly every story up till this point, but the revelation that we were all expecting (given this episode’s title) did not happen till the following week. Makes you wonder why they guarded the secret episode title so preciously. Interestingly (or not), it is also in this episode that the reason for the title of “The Long Game” is actually revealed. The fact that I was expecting revelations that never came could’ve undermined the on-screen antics but there was an awful lot of fun stuff that was supremely rewarding in its own way. Although, having said that, on screen things started off a little shakily to the extent that I was beginning to think that a turkey of Slitheen proportions was about to be served up.

The relatively strong arc stories that ran throughout series one were in evidence again as it was deemed necessary to show another “Previously…” segment at the outset; this time reminding viewers of the events of “The Long Game”. Then “Bad Wolf”-proper starts with the Doctor, Jack and Rose being kidnapped from the TARDIS and each put into their own reality TV show: the Time Lord found himself in the Big Brother house where he met up with Lynda (“with a Y”), Jack was a fairly willing participant on a Trinny and Susannah make-over show and Rose confronted the Ann-Droid (geddit?) on the Weakest Link with a cameo from Patterson Joseph (widely tipped, incorrectly at the time of writing, as a future Doctor). It was a fairly bleak vision of the future to think that these were the shows that would form the back-bone of human entertainment in the year 100,000. Indeed, watching this again after only eight years and the choice of game shows is already looking dated.

The dark versions of these game shows where eliminated contestants get vapourised were pretty good parodies but, just as I was getting to the point of being a bit irritated by them, the Doctor and Jack managed to escape and the story started to pick up at hugely entertaining pace. The puzzle of Satellite 5, the mystery of the Controller, the revelation of Rose’s supposed death being faked, and the frankly wonderful reveal of who was playing the long game after all was lovely. It was in this episode that Captain Jack was finally etched on my consciousness as an integral member of this TARDIS crew. As he and The Doctor attempted to rescue Rose he began to come into his own and when she was vapourised by Anne-Droid, the look of horror on his face was such a memorable moment.

However, it was not so memorable as the final ten minutes. Rose had not in fact been killed but instead had been kidnapped by the Daleks and taken in to the heart of their fleet. It seemed that the much-vaunted Time War had one last battle left in it. I just love the passion imparted in the Doctor’s tirade at the Daleks at this point (in part, quoted above), just look at the roll of the shoulders that Nine gives before speaking with them, this is a man readying himself for a fight. The use of the Big Brother catchphrase, “I’m coming to get you” at this point was simply a brilliant piece of writing and delivered perfectly by the sparkling Christopher Eccleston. As if that wasn’t enough, the controversial “Next Time” trailer delivered a cliffhanger all of its own as well, “They survived through me” came the menacing voice from off-screen and a collective audience held its breath.

Highlight: “I’m coming to get you”

Lowlight: Trinny and Susannah

Talking Point: Daleks are back, and this time there’s half a million of them.

Demon’s Run Rating: 16 out of 20

Original BBC1 Broadcast: 11th June 2005

Marathon Status: 12 down, 90 to go

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