Monday, June 29, 2009

My Review of Doctor Who's 1x12: "Bad Wolf"

Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Joe Ahearne

Lynda (to The Doctor, re Crosby): “She’s just been evicted – from life.”

So reality TV and games shows really are the source of all evil then? I just thought it was Davina McCall’s by now grating fake enthusiasm and Big Brother’s knack for picking more increasingly desperate contestants year in, year out that was fuel to some of the laziest and over hyped pieces of television nowadays. Oh wait, it still is.

After the disjointed escapades of “The Long Game”, I wasn’t particularly thrilled to be revisiting Satellite Five, which is now known as the Gamestation and I was even less enthusiastic about having to sit through half an episode parodying a genre that I’m not exactly fond of either. Thankfully the results aren’t as bad as I fear but they are rather touch and go to be honest.

Dealing with the least screen attention parody first, the consistently likeable Captain Jack wakes up to find himself at the mercy of robots Trin-E and Zu-Zana. It doesn’t take a genius to guess who they are meant to be. I ask – could there be a bigger fate worse than death than having to contend with these two?

The androids, who are every bit annoying as their real life counterparts who we have to deal with in “What Not To Wear”, then happily decide that the usually dapper Jack needs a new look. Now I personally liked the naked one as John Barrowman delightfully lets it all hang out. Well as much as you can let hang out for a teatime slot on a Saturday BBC show that is. Damn the BBC and their fears of offending ofcom and the like.

Of course proving that Trinny and Suzanna as androids are just as evil as the real thing, their next assignment seems to be ripping Jack a new face, forcing our bisexual conman to do what I assume, most viewers would like to do to plenty of so called fashionistas out there and use a compact laser deluxe to blast the meddling duo.

How I cheered while watching that particular moment, although Trinny and Suzanna’s demise wasn’t completely in vain. After all, they made good enough for Jack to build a gun and to locate The Doctor.

Which then leads to the Time Lord waking up in the Big Brother house with three contestants left, Lynda, Crosby and Stooed, although only Lynda made anything resembling an impact. The Doctor doesn’t exactly like being watched by millions of viewers and does his best to sabotage and shorten his stay in the house.

If you think that Celebrity Big Brother is a pain to watch, then being a contestant on this reality show bites even more. You’re basically chosen at random and if you’re evicted , you’re killed by a beam and if you win, you just get to live, which is a damn site better than losing but even still it’s a pretty harsh blow to the system. Luckily for The Doctor, his plan works and him and Lynda make a break for it, which luckily for this episode, it means more interesting stuff happens too.

For instance, we learn that this new world is The Doctor’s own doing as upon freeing everyone in Satellite Five, he forgot to set up a replacement government station, so everything has been thrown into turmoil. On a lighter note we got some rather cute flirting between The Doctor and Lynda.

She was definitely wowed by him and The Doctor kept referring her as sweet, but sweetness aside, we seem to be getting closer to the “Bad Wolf” mystery as it finally comes into play big time when Lynda reveals that the Gamestation is owned by Bad Wolf Corporation.

As for Gamestation itself, just like a heightened version of “The Long Game”, the controller who is human but literally so wired up that she’s little more than a human computer makes, controls and packages the programs along with seemingly loyal staff but even the Gamestation is only smoke and mirrors for something much worse, which is a good thing, plot wise.

Elsewhere Rose finds herself on a game even I like called The Weakest Link with a nefarious Anne Droid, a few nervous fellow contestants and a rather slimy bastard named Rodrick who deliberately keeps Rose on the game so he can beat in the end.

Just like with Big Brother, you lose and you die but if you win this game, then you actually get money. Rose may not be an intellect but luckily she isn’t made too dense here either.

Sadly though, things don’t turn out so well for Miss Tyler as after getting one answer too many wrong in the final round, she is killed by Anne Droid’s laser beam. This is the first time in this episode where real emotional content comes into play and this is where the premise gains a bit of credibility. Jack angrily lashes out at executives over his friend’s death while The Doctor just stares numb and despondent until both men and Lynda are arrested.

However they don’t spend an awfully long time behind bars thanks to a little quick thinking and old fashioned fisticuffs leading our trio to fight their way to Floor 500, which thankfully gives us some revelations, one in particular that will make everyone cheer for joy.

For instance remember when I said that the controller only appeared to be smoke and mirrors for something really bad? Well I was right but before it’s revealed, she is conveniently teleported away and killed, which then reveal out mystery assailants and we’ve already seen them earlier on this year.

Before that though, Captain Jack continues his resourcefulness and manages to prove, with some help from Lynda that Rose is still alive, along with everyone else who we saw die in this episode. The not so great news is that there’s millions of Daleks alive in outer space that have her hostage and are planning to use her as leverage to get to The Doctor. I’m glad to see the return of the Daleks and I can’t wait to see what further chaos they have in store for us.

Also in “Bad Wolf”

Although this episode featured the consequences of “The Long Game”, we actually didn’t learn whatever happened with The Editor or Cathica. Not even Adam was mentioned.

Captain Jack: “Am I naked in front of millions of viewers?”
Trin-E/Zu-Zana: “Absolutely.”
Captain Jack: “Ladies, your viewing figures just went up.”

Costumes we had for Captain Jack was a buccaneer look, a hell’s angels, tennis pro. I still liked the nude one, heehee!

Rose: “I just travel; I’m a bit of a tourist I suppose.”
Anne Droid: “Another way of saying unemployed?”

Other contestants on The Weakest Link were Brotch, Flitch, Colleen, Colin and Max. Rodrick was the first to mention “Bad Wolf” for Rose to really piece things together.

Lynda (re being over 100): “You’re looking good on it.”
The Doctor: “I moisturize.”

There are 60 Big Brother houses on Gamestation, in BB504 all the contestants walked and The Doctor took the advice of another Linda and smashed property to be evicted. Surely The Doctor, Captain Jack and Rose weren’t meant to escape the games if the Daleks want to win their battle?

Captain Jack (re talking to Lynda): “I was just saying hello.”
The Doctor: “For you, that’s flirting.”

Captain Jack (re Rose): “You killed her! Your stupid freaking game just killed her.”

Torchwood was mentioned here. What are they, a special ops unit or something?

Davish: “But I have your gun.”
The Doctor: “Okay, so shoot me.”

Other games on the Gamestation include Wipe Out, Countdown (30 seconds to diffuse a bomb, like Alias the reality TV series), Stars In Your Eyes (where you can get literally blinded) and Bear With Me.

Female Operator: “It’s not our problem; we’re just doing our jobs.”
The Doctor: “With that sentence, you’ve lost the right to talk, now back off.”

The Doctor (to Dalek): “And doesn’t that just scare you to death? Rose?”
Rose: “Yes Doctor?”
The Doctor: “I’m coming to get you.”

The chronology is exactly 100 years since “The Long Game”.

With an incredibly dodgy opening half, it’s nice to know that “Bad Wolf” was able to recover itself and even better, that we are finally starting to get some answers as well. The last fifteen minutes is where the real meat of the episode is and I for one can’t wait until next week.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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