“Bad Wolf,” Doctor Who, Season 1, Episode 12 (1 of 2)

This show’s entry follows the style of Dan Harmon’s story circle.

Dan Harmon's story circle

Bad Wolf

What RTD does in this episode is dastardly. He has his big bad evil villains attacking the human race with weaponized reality TV!

1) In a zone of comfort

The Doctor, Rose, and Jack begin this episode captured and beamed into separate holding areas. To begin with, everyone is very confused. They don’t know where they are and they don’t understand what’s going on. They do however start to recognize certain familiar aspects of where they are.

The Doctor finds himself locked in a house with several other housemates who appear to be on a reality television show of some format. After investigating, the Doctor figures out that he is on a twisted version of the television show Big Brother, a reality show where housemates vote each other off until only one is left, except this time if someone leaves the house, they call it being evicted, and they are killed.

Rose finds herself on another show, a game show called The Weakest Link that was also very popular at the same time this 2006 episode aired. It’s a similar show in that contestants are eliminated until there’s only one left, however this time they are destroyed instead of simply leaving the show. The robotic host with a laser in her mouth, is a parody of the original host of the actual show.

Jack finds himself in a completely different show based on another popular reality television show called What Not to Wear. Similar to the situation in which Rose finds herself, Jack is faced with robotic versions of the hosts of the original show. They are there to give him a makeover which is something Jack would be into, until it all goes wrong and the chainsaws come out.

Hardly a zone of comfort I know, but it is how we start the show.

2) They desire something

They all want to escape, except Jack at first, who seems to be enjoying it too much. Each of them searches for their way out, some in more dire shape than the others.

3) Enter an unfamiliar situation

Faced with this unfamiliar situation, each of them works to figure out where they are. The Doctor does his best to get in trouble so he’ll be kicked out, while Rose gets cornered and put on stage and forced to play the quiz show. In the beginning, she doesn’t take it seriously, until people start to die.

4) Adapt to the situation

Rose works her way through, trying to adapt as best she can to what’s going on, and takes on the other contestants on the show, including one who seems to have it in for her. Jack gets the jump on his captors, pulling a gun from “somewhere,” and escaping right when the two robots think they’ve got him completely cornered. The Doctor, who has made a new friend Lynda (with a Y) escapes the show after becoming evicted. He’s broken one of the cameras with his sonic screwdriver and he invites Lynda to go with him. The Doctor is falling into some old habits here and we get a very similar shot to the one at the beginning of the first episode of this season, where the Doctor holds his hand out to Linda just as he did to Rose as he invites her to come with him. He is endangering her, even though she is interested in following him. The Doctor has a few things to learn from Lynda. He’s gotta be a whole lot more careful in the future with who he takes with him. Up ahead are some hard lessons for him to learn.

5) Get what they desired

The Doctor gets out and finds out he’s too important to someone to kill. (which seems to happen to him a lot.) He offers a hand to Lynda. In the back of his mind, he’s picking up a new companion, but what she is, is a warning about Rose’s future. Traveling with the Doctor can be seriously deadly.

6) Pay a heavy price for winning

Linda shows the Doctor the observation deck where they can see the Earth, and the Doctor sees that it looks incredibly wrong to him. The last time he was here on Satellite Five, he thought he’d put everything right again. But this was much much worse, and Linda tells him that it happened right after the time he was there before. Did he cause this new problem? Did he make it worse? The Doctor begins to doubt himself and wonder if he is doing good in the galaxy. The Doctor begins to get a little panicky. Jack then busts out and finds the Doctor and Lynda. Together, they locate Rose but arrive too late.

Rose is killed. (Though not truly.)

Losing a companion is the Doctor’s worst nightmare. He just saw Rose destroyed in front of his eyes in a blast of laser light. He is responsible, he’ll have to go tell Jackie. He is beside himself and loses all hope. He and Jack are arrested and taken to a holding cell. When the Doctor has had enough and sees the opportunity, he embraces Jack’s darker side and they assault the guards and escape. The Doctor is now on a holy quest to find out who is behind all of this, to find someone else to blame for the death of Rose and he’s not playing around anymore.

7) Return to their familiar situation

In this case for this episode, returning to a familiar situation is uncertain. It is the first of a two-parter so there is no complete resolution. There is one thing that does return the Doctor to a familiar situation. What it does is reintroduce a major villain. RTD had been holding them back, and keeping them in the shadows, but the controller of the station sacrifices herself to expose them, after having done what she can to bring the Doctor and his companions here to face them.

What appears before him on the screen are the Daleks, and they have Rose.

8) They have overall changed

The Doctor lays it all out, practically dedicating his love to Rose in a statement where he has no plan but he is going to defeat the Daleks and blast every one of them out of the sky after he gets on that ship and saves Rose. The Doctor has put away all pretense of trying to hide his love for this incredibly young girl who has stolen his heart.

Maybe she has stolen both of them.

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