Day 26: Review of Gridlock (10th Doctor)

Posted by: Whochick

Day 26: Review of Gridlock (10th Doctor)
Gridlock - Episode 3.3

Ah, Gridlock. The one with the sneaky Bad Wolf reference that threw folks into a tizzy. The one that not many folks liked, but contains so many bits that get referenced often…

Hey Look! Zeppelins! *sneaks away*

Episode: Gridlock by Russell T Davies
Rating (1 to 5): 2.8
Time: 5 Billion and 53
Place: New Earth
Baddie: The Macra and…a plague that happened before our heroes arrived (a Bliss plague)
The Doctor’s Death Wish: Well, he’s traveling from car to car vertically in a toxic exhaust environment…
The Doctor Enjoys: Being in The Slums of New Earth? Pretending that Gallifrey still exists.
The Doctor Dislikes: Telling Martha that his planet is gone.
Rose? Martha figures out that the last time The Doctor was on New Earth was with Rose. (It appears that in the car that The Doctor borrows the bandanna from there is a poster on the wall that says “Bad Wolf.”)
Who fancies Martha? No one this time around.
Doctor-y Strangeness: The Doctor threatening the mood sellers. He gives Novice Hame a “second chance” as she has proved herself.
Scary Stuff: Those emotion patches, The Macra killing cars in the fast lane, a bliss plague
Does someone local help out? The Face of Boe, Novice Hame, Brannigan, and Valerie.
What we learn: Gallifrey’s sky is burnt orange, there is a citadel under a glass dome, deep red grass covers the mountains that seem to go on forever, the leaves on the trees were silver, and there are two suns. You need three adults to use the fast lane on New Earth. It can take 6 years to go ten miles on the motorway of New Earth (at the beginning of the story, anyway.) Janis Joplin gave The Doctor his coat. De-evolved Macra are living at the bottom of the motorway. New New York has been a dead city for 24 years. The Face of Boe wired himself into the mainframe to save the undercity. The Doctor is not alone.
My Favorite Bits: The Doctor avoiding telling Martha that his planet is gone. “You brought me to the slums.” The Doctor threatening the mood sellers. The Doctor’s vertical travels. “-He’s completely insane! -That, and a bit magnificent.” Death by Bliss. The Face of Boe’s Final secret…The Doctor is not alone. Martha making The Doctor talk to her properly.

Observations and musings:

Martha is offered another trip in the TARDIS. She’s had one to the past, now she gets one to the future. The Doctor takes her to New Earth, and Martha discovers that he was last there with Rose. This time there is no apple grass. They land in the undercity. Pretty soon after they arrive, Martha is snatched by a couple who need a third for the fast lane. There is no way out, and things go from bad to worse. Their only hope is a man that Martha barely knows. Actually, she has pretty much the same conversation with her kidnappers as Rose had in “The End of The World” with the poor plumber. But, of course she survives to meet The Face of Boe just before he dies. Armed with Boe’s great secret, she even manages to get The Doctor to admit that his planet is gone and generally talk to her. Well played there, Martha Jones.

The Doctor takes Martha to New Earth, and things have changed a bit since the last time he was there. It was nice to see folks that believed him when he told them something. He told the pharmacy shopkeepers to leave. When he returned, they were gone. It’s about time that someone believed him. He was showing off a bit, then Martha gets snatched from right next to him. What can he do but go after her? He brought her there, after all. He finds that everything is so very much stranger than he expects. Interesting that Brannigan figured that The Doctor must care a great deal about Martha, but The Doctor just brushes that assumption aside. Once he reaches The Face of Boe, things get a wee bit stranger. it seems that the Doctor is not alone, whatever that might mean (ominous music). Then The Doctor loses another friend, as the immeasurably ancient Face of Boe finally expires. In the end, perhaps telling Martha about his homeworld makes him feel a bit better. Oh, and it’s good to see that Novice Hame is back in his good graces. It would seem that you get a second chance if you do something very impressive (but only then.)

Interesting how each car seems to hold a different bit of culture in it. The first one is all American Gothic, for example. I’m also interested in how all of these folks who are trapped for years in their cars have not gone completely mental, but have instead created a society for themselves.

What did you think of the episode? (Yes, you can go back at re-watch it before commenting…)

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About the Author

Whochick is a huge Doctor Who fan. She loves the show so much that she not only co-authors a blog on the topic, but also a podcast that you should listen to. Whochick resides in California with her husband (the Shadow Architect), and occasionally refers to herself in the third person.

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