After delivering Margaret the Slitheen to her home planet, the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack Harkness awaken to find themselves as part of TV reality or game shows. The Doctor is in the Big Brother house; Rose is a contestant on the Weakest Link; and Captain Jack is on What Not to Wear. The only difference is that if you lose on this show, your are evidently eliminated - they take your life. The Doctor manages to escape and quickly realizes where they are: once again on Satellite 5, only this time 100 years beyond their last visit. The Doctor realizes that something has gone very wrong with Earth's development and believes something far more sinister and complex is going on when he learns the satellite is now know as Bad Wolf TV. He and Captain Jack race to find Rose but too late, he realizes that he must once again face his greatest enemy. Written by
Just when we were starting to ask ourselves what purpose The Long Game served in the season's ongoing arc (since Russell T. Davies doesn't really do standalone stories), here comes the excellent Bad Wolf (the title refers to a cryptic expression heard throughout the first season), which puts the other episode in perspective while simultaneously setting up an undoubtedly spectacular finale.
Remember the Satellite Five bit in The Long Game? Well, turns out said concept has evolved to the point that in a distant future the only thing people do is either watch stupid programs on TV or - even worse - participate in them. This is something the Doctor gets to experience directly, as he ends up in the Big Brother house, while Rose becomes a contestant on The Weakest Link and Jack... well, he doesn't really complain. As the games get more and more dangerous (whoever loses is physically eliminated), the Doctor realizes something more complex is going on, and works hard to uncover a horrifying truth that could bring to the ultimate destruction of planet Earth.
Bad Wolf combines all the best elements of the series: ambition, fun, danger and a healthy dose of satire. Specifically, Davies' stabs at the British entertainment industry (Big Brother especially) are a delicious mix of mockery and irony, given that, on some level, he is also contributing to that same industry. The scenario also allows Eccleston, Piper and Barrowman to have fun with their respective characters (the Doctor's opening "You've got to be kidding!" is a hoot), before the writing suddenly shifts into darker mode with a brilliant cliffhanger, raising the stakes for the season's epilogue. Unmissable
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