Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doctor Who--"Bad Wolf"

The penultimate episode of the first season, also the first of the two part season finale, finally revealed the arc words “Bad Wolf” were all about. The Doctor has been manipulated throughout the entire season and now discovers the Bad wold Corporation is behind it all--and that an old enemy is behind Bad Wolf.

The episode begins with out heroes waking up in the future versions of various popular UK shows. The Doctor is on Big Brother, Rose is a contestant on The Weakest Link, and Capt. Jack is the victim for What Not to Wear. The Doctor looks for a way out of the house, but finds absolutely nothing. Rose is amused by competing on the quiz show. She is unfamiliar with the 2001st century and can’t answer any of the questions. Jack seems to enjoy the fashion show he has been put into. Eventually one of the housemates is evicted on Big Brother. She steps into a small room off the living room, is locked in, and vaporized. The doctor realizes it is no simple game show. The losers are killed.

Rose does poorly on the first round, but votes the woman beside her as the weakest link. That woman is voted off and is vaporized just like the Big Brother contestant. Rose realizes the gravity of her predicament now. Jack is still enjoying himself up until the robots attending to him decide he needs a facelift courtesy of several implements including a chainsaw. He pulls a gun he has had hidden in…let’s just say he was bringing up the rear and escapes. Elsewhere, the Doctor decides to deliberately break the camera, knowing it will get him evicted. It does, but the small room will not vaporize him. He uses his sonic screwdriver to open a backdoor and asks to two remaining contestants to come with him. He can guarantee their survival. Only Lynda agrees to go.

Inside the main control room, the technicians have noticed the Doctor and Jack have escaped. They are in a panic, but the Controller, a woman hooked by wires to the entire system, says to pay them no mind. The Doctor quizzes Lynda about where Jack and Rose might be. He remembers now there was a flash of light in the TARDIS and he woke up here. Lynda tells him they could be in any of 60 games and in mortal peril. She also enquires as to whether she can travel with the Doctor when this is all over. He smiles and agrees. The doctor is a dirty old man who likes fat bottomed, British girls, especially young ones. Maybe Freddie Mercury was onto something after all. Anyway, Jack reworks one of the makeover devices into a laser gun and locates the Doctor by his bipulmonary system. Meanwhile, the Doctor is using a computer to fin Rose. With what Lynda tells him, he discovers this is all his fault. When he shut down the computer system in “The Long Game,” it didn’t free the people of Earth. Instead, they have mindlessly been watching television since then. He also realizes Bad wolf is not just transmitting television signals, but is hiding something big.

Jack meets up with the Doctor and they discover which game Rose is playing. Just in time, too, as she is faring badly in the final round. They burst through the door and Rose leaves her podium to run towards them. As she does, she is declaring the weakest link and vaporized. Security arrests the dejected doctor, Jack, and Lynda. The Doctor doesn’t say a word the entire time until he signal Jack it’s time to escape. They do fighting off guards brutally. The doctor has an angry determination to find the control room and avenge Rose. They fins it and the Controller. She is hooked to the entire system and has been since she was five years old,\. During periodic solar flares, she says her “masters” cannot read her thoughts and during one, she explains something else is going on unseen. She has been genetically bred not to reveal their name, but they have been manipulating the Earth for years. Meanwhile Jack has discovered the TARDIS and used it to discover the lasers aren’t vaporizing the losers but transporting them elsewhere. Rose is still alive, somewhere.

The Doctor traces the transport signal to the edge of the solar system and realizes there is another transmission shielding something big. He switches it off and is faced with a ghastly sight. Two hundred Dalek ships have been cloaked around orbit of the Earth preparing to invade. The head Dalek contacts the Doctor. He has captured rose and threatens to kill her if the doctor intervenes. The doctor vows to rescue Rose, save Eath, and destroy the Daleks just for good measure. To be continued…

Generally the first half of a two part episode is nothing but set up waiting for a payoff, but I thought this was much more than that. There was a decent mix o silliness with the game shows versus the dire threat of the Daleks manipulating Earth for the las two centuries.The obly drawback I see is exactly what I joked about before. The doctor was flirting with Lynda about joining the TARDIS crew just as much as he does with Rose. It makes him look terribly fickle when he is so torn up later when he thinks Rose has been killed, not to mention his determination to take on 10,000 Dalek ships to save her. Speaking of which, I think it’s kind of quaint the Daleks use flying saucers. It’s a nice throwback. Now if only the season finale offers a big finish, we’ll be set.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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