Doctor Who (2005) s01e12 – Bad Wolf

At least it’s got Joe Ahearne directing. I mean, it’s not terrible. Guest star Jo Joyner is a nice “romantic” interest for Christopher Eccleston, which is this standard thing where Eccleston and Rose Piper go to some time period and don’t spend any time together and Eccleston has this chaste but sincere connection with some lady. In this episode, they’re split by reality television and Joyner’s in Eccleston’s “Big Brother” house.

The episode opens with a flashback to the Simon Pegg episode and that White kid Piper replaced her brown boyfriend-in-name-only with for two episodes—and I spent the thirty seconds terrified White guy would be back.

He’s not. It’s a setup to this game show future—Eccleston, Piper, and John Barrowman all wake up in game shows not understanding what’s going on. Though Eccleston’s got a watch telling him what time he’s in and he doesn’t check it until after he’s been there for a while, because it turns out they’re in the Simon Pegg future, just later on.

Eccleston’s on “Big Brother,” where you get vaporized if you get thrown out, Piper’s on “Weakest Link,” where losing contestants get vaporized, and Barrowman is on an extreme makeover show with horny robots. Turns out whatever Eccleston and Piper did in the Pegg episode somehow made the future worse.

The episode’s Eccleston, Piper, and Barrowman all contending with their shows’ dangers—Piper’s got to contend with playing to win competitor Paterson Joseph, Eccleston’s got to escape (with housemate Joyner), and Barrowman’s got to… keep his head. Literally. Extreme makeover.

It’s all fairly compelling, though future humans Jo Stone-Fewings and Nisha Nayar go from unlikable “just following orders” characters—Eccleston’s got a great response to that line—to sympathetic a little fast.

There’s a big finale reveal—though not too big of a reveal because it was in the previous episode’s “Next Episode” teaser—also the “Bad Wolf” thing gets a lot more play again. The future TV company brainwashing the planet Earth is called “Badwolf.”

The cliffhanger’s rather effective, giving Eccleston a nicer “star” moment than he usually gets.

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