Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Doctor Who S27 E12 "Bad Wolf"

Go To

Index | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13
Series 1, Episode 12:

Bad Wolf
Written by Russell T Davies
Directed by Joe Ahearne
Air date: 11 June, 2005
Production code: 1.12

"I'm gonna rescue her! I'm gonna save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet, and then I'm gonna save the Earth, and then — just to finish you off — I'm gonna wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!"
The Doctor

The one where Jack gets naked.

Also the one in which Christopher Eccleston devours all the scenery in glorious rage!

The casual viewer might be forgiven for assuming that they've ingested the wrong substances and are hallucinating a Doctor Who/Big Brother crossover, but no — the Doctor really has landed in the Big Brother house. Of the 2002nd century. He's as confused as the casual viewer.

Rose, meanwhile, has ended up in a futuristic Doctor Who/The Weakest Link crossover; and Jack Harkness in a Doctor Who/What Not to Wear crossover staffed by female robots (with whom Jack flirts). The casual viewer may be forgiven for thinking that this is all rather strange...

No, it's a Massive Multiplayer Crossover. All three have landed in the Game Station, which the Doctor and Rose visited back when it was called Satellite Five. The Doctor expected history to get back on course once the Jagrafess was removed, but is horrified to learn that the power vacuum caused human civilisation to collapse instead. It's 100 years later, Earth is a smog-covered hellhole, and the giant space station is now a home for more lethal versions of 21st-century reality TV, such as Call My Bluff (with real guns), Countdown (where you've got thirty seconds to stop a bomb from going off), Stars in Their Eyes (literally — if you don't sing, you get blinded), Wipeout (speaks for itself), and Ground Force (the really nasty version where losers get turned into compost). Anyone on Earth can be selected as a contestant and transmatted into a game with no warning, but the Doctor realises that any transmat beam capable of pulling him out of the TARDIS had to be far, far more powerful. Someone wants him here, and he's going to find out who.

The Doctor and Jack escape from their crossovers; the Doctor by realizing he's too important for the system to kill, and Jack by... see page quote. The Doctor also takes a girl named Lynda along as a future companion. They all rejoin Doctor Who, but Rose is still stuck inside her game, and she's losing. In fact, she's lost, and the host robot vaporises her. Christopher Eccleston conveys more hurt and loss with his eyes than most actors can on a steady diet of scenery.

The Doctor, Jack and Lynda (with whom Jack flirts) are informed that they will be taken to the Lunar Penal Colony to be held without trial or appeal. They respond by breaking out in five seconds and making their way to floor 500 — still not made of gold — where the Doctor demands to know who's in charge and who just killed his friend. Unfortunately, the Controller — the human supercomputer in charge of the satellite, who was installed at the age of 5 — can only communicate with members of staff. One such staff member (with whom Jack flirts), however, has been keeping a log of mysterious encrypted signals and unauthorised transmissions, and he agrees with the Doctor's theory that this whole operation is just a cover for something else.

The TARDIS turns up in one of the storage bays, but the Doctor's mood doesn't improve until Jack shows him that Rose wasn't disintegrated, merely transported (hug time!).

A solar flare interrupts transmissions long enough for the Controller to explain that she brought them all there, and that she knows who's been behind everything in this period but cannot speak their name. All she can tell the Doctor is that they fear him. As the flare subsides, she is forced to stop talking so her mysterious bosses don't hear. The Doctor tries to figure out where the contestants are transmatted to, and the Controller, despite knowing her masters can hear her now, tells him most of the coordinates before she too is transmatted away. The Controller emerges surrounded by her unseen "Masters", to whom she gloats, saying that she has destroyed them. As soon as she mentions the Doctor, she screams in pain and her skeleton is briefly visible through her illuminated skin, before she collapses, dead.

Then Rose wakes up, face to cybernetic eye with someone who can't possibly exist. After all, she saw them die...

The Doctor and Jack pinpoint the transmat beam's location... a seemingly empty spot in space. The Doctor realizes the satellite's true purpose - underneath the usual transmissions is a cloaking signal, rendering whatever's out there completely invisible. What does he find when he cancels it? An alien warship... and another... and another. There are, in fact, two hundred flying saucers sitting right on the edge of the solar system.

Jack: That's impossible. I know those ships. They were destroyed.
The Doctor: [utterly shellshocked] Obviously they survived.
Lynda: Who did? Who are they?
The Doctor: Two hundred ships. More than two thousand on board each one. That's just about half a million of them.
Davitch: Half a million what?
The Doctor: Daleks.

Aboard the mothership, the Daleks realize they've been exposed and open a direct link to the Doctor. Their ultimatum: either he stands down or his "associate" dies. The Doctor, after a second, refuses to be intimidated. Yes, he's completely outnumbered, utterly outgunned and has no plan whatsoever to get out of this. But after all this time, one thing hasn't changed: he still scares the Daleks more than they scare him.

Proving him right, the Daleks panic en masse — their oldest and greatest enemy has found them, right on the verge of their return, and the time for subtle manipulation is over. Rose can only watch as the entire legion rises to invade Earth, screaming their one, true war cry: Exterminate!

You are live on channel forty four thousand. Please do not swear.

  • Adam Westing: Anne Droid, Trin-E, Zu-Zana, and the Davinadroid, the Killer Robot hosts of the 200100 versions of The Weakest Link, What Not to Wear, and Big Brother were respectively voiced by... Anne Robinson, host of The Weakest Link, Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, the co-hosts of What Not to Wear, and Davina McCall, host of Big Brother.
  • Arc Words:
    • Bad Wolf reappears once more, as the corporation that runs the Game Station.
    • The episode title.
    • This episode also marks the first appearance of what will become the main Arc Words for series 2 — Torchwood, appearing as one of the answers in The Weakest Link.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Jack's response to one of the technicians' protests.
    Technician: You're not allowed in there, Archive Six is out of bounds!
    Jack: [holds up guns] Do I look like an out of bounds kinda guy?
  • Ass Shove: Jack performs a literal Ass Pullinvoked.
    Trine-E: But that's a Compact Laser Deluxe.
    Zu-Zana: Where were you hiding that?
    Jack: You really don't wanna know.
  • Badass Boast: The Doctor's line.
    The Doctor: 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 UP, I'M GOING TO WIPE EVERY LAST STINKING DALEK OUT OF THE SKY!
    Dalek: But you have no weapons, no defences, no plan!
    Rose: Yes Doctor?
  • Batman Gambit: The Daleks pull a whopper which, for a hundred years, works.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: An enraged Doctor brandishes a giant gun, but when a frightened Davitch throws up his hands and says "don't shoot!" the Doctor tosses the gun to the man and says "oh, don't be so thick. Like I was ever gonna shoot!"
  • Big Bad: The Daleks are revealed to be behind events on the Game Station.
  • Big Budget Beef-Up: We get to see an entire fleet of Dalek warships for the first time, with legions of them screaming for the Doctor's blood.
  • Call-Back:
    • The trip to Raxicoracofallapatorius follows on from the end of "Boom Town".
    • The answer to one of the questions in The Weakest Link is "The Face of Boe". Rose gets it right because she met him before.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: The Doctor to Lynda after he breaks out of the Big Brother house.
    "Lynda, you're sweet. From what I've seen of your world, do you think anybody votes for sweet?"
  • Confession Cam: Immediately after arriving on Big Brother, the Doctor is sent to this.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Face of Boe is the eldest inhabitant of the Isop galaxy.
    • The security guards on the Game Station threaten to send the Doctor to the Lunar Penal Colony, a direct reference to the Third Doctor story "Frontier in Space", in which the Doctor really does get trapped on the Colony.
  • Crapsack World: Earth 200100 has seen much better days. The exact specifics aren't given, but the last hundred years were "hell", and by now the planet's atmosphere is a sickly brown. The Atlantic is covered by a massive smogstorm that won't go away, with people getting the occasional notice of when it's okay to go outside. The Gamestation owners have so much control over the population they can sentence people to life imprisonment without trial or parole. The only thing to do is watch TV and pray to God you're not on the invite list.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Yeah, the Big Brother contestants get evicted all right. Evicted from life. The same goes for contestants who are the "weakest link" on The Weakest Link. Goodbye, indeed.
  • Deadly Game: Just about all the game shows in the episode, except that the "disintegrator ray" is actually a teleporter. Not that it's much better than getting disintegrated when they're being processed into Daleks.
    The Doctor: What about the winners, what do they get?
    Lynda: They get to live.
    The Doctor: Is that it?
    Lynda: Isn't that enough?
  • Dirty Coward: Rodrick uses the floor manager as a human shield when Jack and the Doctor burst into The Weakest Link brandishing guns.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The evictions and declarations of "You are the Weakest Link" appear to be this at first, but it's actually a harvesting tool for the Daleks.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: People who don't have a TV licence get executed.
  • Dramatic Irony: The game show Big Brother is actually being used for the original terms of the phrase.
  • The Dreaded: The Controller mentions that the Daleks fear the Doctor.
  • Epiphanic Prison: The same one from "The Long Game", except it's grown even worse.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Jack calls the trope out by name:
    Jack: Okay, "Defabricator". Does exactly what it says on the tin.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: "Oh, my masters. You can kill me... for I've brought your destruction."
  • Fad Super: The Doctor, Rose, and Jack get thrust into Dalek-controlled reality television programmes (Big Brother, The Weakest Link, etc).
  • Failed a Spot Check: Somehow Jack doesn't notice that chainsaw until it's almost used on him.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Good news everyone, the people who don't win on the shows do not get disintegrated on the spot. They just get teleported instantly to... the Dalek flagship. Well.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Unfortunately, Rose takes this role on hard when she has to answer trivia questions from a time period that hasn't even happened yet from her point of view and comes off as a very Dumb Blonde. She's lucky enough to know one about the Face of Boe from her first visit to this era, but that's about it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Check out the artwork next to the Doctor when he staggers out of the transmat closet. It's a series of three paintings, horizontal bars covered in evenly spaced circles shaded to look 3D... like the spheres on the case of a Dalek.
    • Parts of the Daleks' leitmotif is heard, Trine-E and Zu-Zana glide round like the Daleks, the Anne-Droid's Disintegrator Ray is positioned similarly to a Dalek's ray gun, Dalek bumps are seen in the Big Brother house and Rose wakes up to the trademark electronic "heartbeat" of the Dalek control rooms.
    • The set of the fashion show Jack's stuck in is one of the sets from "The Long Game", foreshadowing that the Gamestation is actually Satellite Five.
    • Torchwood is an answer to one of the questions in The Weakest Link.
    • During Rose's flashback to all the times Bad Wolf Cropped up, the footage is overlain over footage of the Time Vortex...
  • Gambit Roulette: As the Doctor put it, he was being manipulated [his] entire life. Or his entire "ninth" life, anyway.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The Bad Wolf security team leaves Jack and the Doctor's equipment and weapons out in the open, on a table that is literally about two metres away from their cell. Three guesses to what happens.
    • Subverted in that the Controller wanted the Doctor and friends to escape so they could fight the Daleks and had brought them to the Gamestation for that purpose. "I have brought your destruction."
  • Heroic BSoD: The Doctor after Rose (apparently) gets disintegrated. He snaps out of it in time to lead a jailbreak.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Controller, who gives the Doctor the last few numbers in the coordinates of the Dalek fleet even though the solar flares are no longer blocking transmissions. The Daleks promptly transmat her aboard and shoot her dead, but she's satisfied.
  • Hollywood Spelling: Averted with Lynda-with-a-Y.
  • Hope Spot: Jack works out that the disintegrator is actually a transmat, and therefore Rose is alive. Great, brilliant... except she's on a Dalek spaceship. Surrounded by several hundred other Dalek spaceships. Each of which has 2,000 Daleks onboard, which means there's about half a million Daleks between her and the Doctor.
  • Hypocritical Humour: The Doctor, on reality TV. "The human race. Brainless sheep, being fed on a diet of– mind you, have they still got that programme where three people have to live with a bear?"
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Jack and Lynda, immediately after he claimed he was "just saying hello".
  • Immoral Reality Show: New contestants are being selected and beamed aboard the Gamestation around the clock. There are 60 different versions of Big Brother alone — and according to Strood, that's after cutting back.
  • Innocently Insensitive: While on Big Brother, when one of the contestants is voted out of the house and everyone is tearfully bidding her good-bye, the Doctor tells them not get so worked up as she'll be famous the following day. Upon seeing the contestant step outside into the hall where she's disintegrated, the Doctor realizes that this isn't a normal television show he's on. Likewise, Rose spends all her time on Weakest Link laughing at the absurdity of the game until she realize the Weakest Link is disintegrated.
  • Just Following Orders:
    The Doctor: That's the same staff who execute hundreds of contestants every day.
    Technician: That's not our fault, we're just doing our jobs.
    The Doctor: And with that sentence, you just lost the right to even talk to me. Now BACK OFF!
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The Doctor is rendered catatonic when he thinks Rose is dead. The first thing he does upon coming to his senses is turn to Jack, tells him, "Let's do it" and then proceeds to take down all of the guards.
  • Little "No": The Doctor's initial response when the Daleks demand that he obey or Rose will be killed. Both the Daleks and Rose are taken off guard by this.
  • Mad Artist: Trine-E and Zu-Zana start off simply giving Jack wardrobe advice. Then comes the "face off" segment, which Jack assumes means a competition until the sawblades come out. "Nothing is too extreme!"
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Daleks are behind all of Satellite Five's doings.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: With The Weakest Link, Big Brother and What Not to Wear.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The Big Brother eviction. One second pleasant reality show and the Doctor saying how the evictee will profit from it, and then disintegration.
    • Rose spends the first round of Weakest Link cracking up at the absurdity of being insulted by a robot Anne Robinson. Then comes the first elimination...
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • The Doctor's reaction when Lynda shows him what's become of Earth and its people since he last meddled, and how he's partially to blame.
      The Doctor: [with utter horror] I made this world...
    • Rose doesn't learn the games are lethal until a woman she helped vote off gets vaporized in front of her.
  • My Nayme Is: Lynda clarifies that her name is spelled with a Y, not an I. Subsequently, the Doctor calls her "Lynda with a Y". Lynda keeps saying "Lynda-with-a-Y" because she's a Big Brother contestant and there was another one, already evicted, who was Linda-with-an-I.
  • Mythology Gag: The Doctor's Badass Boast above sounds similar to Expanded Universe character Abslom Daak's Catchphrase, "I'm gonna kill every last stinking Dalek in the galaxy!"
  • Naked People Are Funny: Captain Jack is hit by a defabricator ray and therefore loses all his clothing. He doesn't mind at all. And neither do the viewers.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Turns out shutting down Satellite Five in "The Long Game" simply created an Evil Power Vacuum, which gave rise to an even worse television-based regime as opposed to reinstating the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire.
  • Noodle Incident: The Doctor and company were retreating from 1336 Kyoto when they got beamed to the Gamestation. Did Jack hit on the emperor's princess and make daddy mad enough to have the guards hunt down his neck? We wouldn't put it past him.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: The people running the Gamestation could just as easily be from a present-day office.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: Linda-with-an-I was eliminated for damage to property. The Doctor intentionally does the same, sonicking out a camera, because he's correctly deduced that whoever brought him into the game wants him alive and will intervene to prevent his disintegration.
  • Not So Above It All: The Doctor grouses about humans being brainless sheep, being fed on mindless blood sports... and then asks Lynda if they still have Bear With Me.
  • The Nudifier: The Defabricator. "Ladies, your viewing figures just went up!"
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Davitch after the Doctor's jailbreak.
      Davitch: Oh my God, now we're in trouble. Clear the floor! He's on his way up here — with a GUN!
    • Rose, when she sees where she's been teleported to and who else is there.
    • Even before the viewer sees the Daleks, we get to hear several beats of the loud electronic heartbeat that is associated with their ships.
    • The Daleks announce that the Doctor has "no weapons, no defences, no plan". He confirms they're correct and, as soon as the communication ends, the Daleks put everything into overdrive and start invading the planet because the moment the Doctor gets involved is the moment all hell breaks loose.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The first appearance of a massive Dalek army is accompanied by Ominous Hebrew Chanting. (The words are reported to be a translation of "What is happening?", which apart from being an appropriate response to the situation is also a Dalek Catchphrase.) The words are "Mah Koreh, Mah Mah Koreh" (what's happening, what, what's happening) repeated over and over again.
  • One-Steve Limit: There's a Lynda on Big Brother, and there used to be a Linda, but she was evicted for damaging the camera.
  • Ontological Mystery: The Doctor, Rose and Jack all wake up in Deadly Game Shows with no idea who brought them or why.
  • Out-Gambitted: The Daleks have been manipulating history for at least a century and a bit, corrupting Earth and turning it into an utter craphole with no-one the wiser... and then the Controller uses their own system to bring the Doctor right to their doorstep, knowing he'll destroy them.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: The Doctor is briefly rendered catatonic after believing Rose to have been killed. After a while of staring blankly at the wall, he turns to Jack, tells him "Let's do it" and proceeds to knock out the guards in a matter of seconds.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Controller, who was installed when she was five years old. She's also the only one who knows about the villain and their evil plan, but she can't say anything about it until a coincidental solar flare cuts her off from their control.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Rodrick does come across as a jerk for voting people good at The Weakest Link out so he'll go up against Rose, who he realises is bad at the game, in the finale, meaning she'll get disintegrated and he'll get rich. However if he loses he'll get disintegrated, so his actions make complete sense even if he is unpleasant about it.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Davitch, his crush, and presumably almost everyone else on the Gamestation. They come off as ordinary office drones whose job happens to be funnelling people through one Deadly Game after another.
  • Punny Name:
    Rose: Oh my god, the android... [stunned] the Anne... Droid.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The Doctor isn't going to let a few hundred thousand Daleks stop him from saving Rose.
  • Robotic Psychopath: The robots on the Game Station will cheerfully obliterate humans as part of their shows' format.
  • Rubber-Band History: Subverted — the Doctor assumed the course of human history would correct itself back in "The Long Game". Unfortunately, the Jagrafess was only the middleman, and the confusion after its defeat gave the Daleks even more power.
  • Running Gag: Captain Jack Harkness hitting on every single character.
  • Scenery Censor: The Defabricator preserves Jack's modesty when he's seen from the front while naked.
  • The Scottish Trope: The Controller would like to outright tell the Doctor who's behind everything, but she can't. Of course, anyone who watched the previous episode's trailer already knows who's responsible.
    Controller: They've wired my head, the name is forbidden.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: One of the contestants on The Weakest Link snaps and tries to escape after just one round. He almost makes it to the door before the Anne-Droid blasts him.
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: The Doctor to the Daleks.
  • Separated by a Common Language: ... Wait, why is the Space American calling a tank top a "vest"?
  • Sequel Episode: To "The Long Game".
  • Shaped Like Itself: The Defabricator. Invoked by name by Jack.
  • Spaceship Girl: The Controller is a very dark version of the trope.
  • Spoiler Title: Averted; since this episode's title would have alerted viewers to the significance of the words "Bad Wolf" long before the Doctor realises the two words are following him wherever he goes in the previous episode, its title was not announced with the rest of the series' episode titles, and was kept secret up until shortly before broadcast.
  • Taking You with Me: A variant occurs when the Controller is teleported aboard a hidden Dalek ship, after bringing the Doctor on board the Gamestation and giving him a clue to reveal their location. Her last words before being exterminated are:
    "Oh my masters... you can kill me, for I have brought your destruction."
  • Teleportation:
    • The mysterious transmat. The Doctor notes that no ordinary transmat would ever be able to get into the TARDIS.
    • Also, the so-called "disintegrator ray".
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The Doctor and Jack's reaction to seeing the 200-ship fleet of the Daleks.
  • Title Drop: For the episode, and also for "The Long Game", providing the context for that title.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The reveal of the Daleks — which doesn't happen until five minutes before the end, and isn't even hinted at before then — appears in this episode's trailer.
    • Not only that, but the booklet the Radio Times had for Series 1 said there would be Daleks in the finale.
  • The Unsmile: The Controller's expression before the Daleks exterminate her.
  • Voted Off the Island: In a dark parody, the Doctor, Rose, and Jack end up in the far future on a series of reality shows where anyone who is eliminated is seemingly disintegrated. At the end of episode, it is revealed that the contestants weren't being disintegrated, but teleported to a fleet of Dalek ships that have been orbiting Earth for around two hundred years, tying into a previous episode, where it is revealed that the Daleks have been the forces behind the events of these two episodes. The following episode also reveals that these Daleks are being commanded by none other than the Dalek Emperor, who managed to survive the Time War, after the Doctor seemingly destroyed all of the other Daleks and Time Lords.
  • Wetware CPU: The Controller is a human plugged into a computer.
  • Why Not Just Shoot Me?: The Doctor mentions that to kill him the kidnapper should have teleported him into a volcano instead of a reality show (however lethal). That's how he deduces that the kidnapper actually wants to keep him alive.
  • You Do NOT Want To Know: Naked Jack's response when the makeover droids ask where he got his gun from:
    "Ladies, you really don't want to know."
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: This is the Doctor's understandable reaction to waking up in a futuristic version of Big Brother.
    Davina-Droid: You are live on channel forty-four-thousand. Please do not swear.
    The Doctor: You have got to be kidding.
  • Your Head Asplode: How Jack deals with his robo-hosts.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who NSS 1 E 12 Bad Wolf


Big Brother Eviction

While on ''Big Brother'' aboard the Game Station, the Doctor thinks everyone is getting too emotional over an eviction...until he sees just what the Game Station's meaning of 'eviction' is.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / AndYouThoughtItWasAGame

Media sources: