Doctor Who - Season 3 Episode 3 - Gridlock

I appear to have appointed myself the Official Straight Dope New Doctor Who Thread Starter, which is fine by me until someone more qualified comes by and takes the job. :slight_smile:

Anyway - I loved this episode. Loved. Although, is RTD trying to break my heart? Between Martha weeping over the sounds of “The Old Rugged Cross”, the Face of Boe finally dying (got something in my eye at that), and the Doctor tearfully remembering Gallifrey over the tune “Abide With Me” (got a BIG something in my eye), I felt wrecked after this one. Husband kept asking what was wrong, and I was like “It’s just so SAD!”

Liked pretty much everything about this one, even the fluffy kitten babies of the cat/human female couple and the religious undertones worked for me. Particularly enjoyed:

All the cars on the motorway that looked like floating Volkswagon buses. And all the different people in them - the old lesbian couple, the cute young carjackers, the Irish cat (Brannigan, I think his name was?), the dapper gentleman in the bowler… And I liked the Doctor crawling down through the tops of all the cars - nice to know he can be an Action Hero as well as a Brilliant Genius when he needs to be. Oh, and by the by, when he dropped into the car with the two cute little Asian girls, on the wall inside the car was a poster with the characters meaning ‘Bad Wolf’. Very interesting…

The crab monsters (forgetting what they were called) were very cool and looked good. Yeah, it was never really dealt with that the under-city was still teeming with crab monsters at the end of the ep, but I like to think without the smog they feed on they’ll just die.

Good to see Novice Hame again, although my reaction was somewhat like the Doctor’s. She redeemed herself though.

The vendors selling emotions were fun, and the emotion patches were silly and simple. “You can trust me, I’m wearing an Honesty patch!” Heh.

The only thing that didn’t work for me was, unfortunately, Martha’s attitude toward the Doctor. I’ve read some other comments about this episode that pretty much summed it up for me - where does she get off demanding his backstory and snotting about his previous relationship when she’s a guest along for the ride and he’s obviously uncomfortable talking about both? I wanted so very badly to like her (and I did at first), but she’s really starting to grate. Dude, he doesn’t like you that way. Let it go.

Next week!

Don’t know about the pig monsters, but yay Daleks!

I got the impression that the “crab monsters” might have been the Macra from the old 2nd Doctor episode, “The Macra Terror”. I never saw that episode, I’m not sure if it even exists anymore…

I also liked the secret that Boe shared with the Doctor before he passed on…could he have been foreshadowing…

…the return of THE MASTER??? later this season???

I surely hope so…

THAT was them! He said the name at one point, I just blanked. Thanks!

And I also liked the Face of Boe’s secret (although, I thought it was kind of a cop out that his Great Secret which so many had been waiting to hear for so long, was focused entirely on the Doctor. Felt sorry for poor Hame…she was probably like “Yeah, and I should care about this why?”), and though I think you’re probably right with your spoiler, I’m hoping it meant something else…

Hm. I thought the Doctor went a bit over the top at one point, when he told the emotion vendors to get out of town or he’d destroy them. It seemed a bit … harsh. Who were they hurting? (Apart from personally annoying the Doctor, of course.)

The “secret” was “You are not alone” but he also said “You are the last of the Time Lords”.

My theory: There is another Gallifreyan, but not a Time Lord, who may be appearing.

Can anyone say… “Saxon”?

My favourite character was Brannigan, played by the hilarious Ardal O’Hanlon, who managed to make himself clearly known even under that makeup.

True; it occurs to me that for some reason he always cops this kind of attitude when they visit New Earth. Last time in Season 2, he was screaming at the cat-nuns that there was “No higher authority” than himself.

Ah well. After 900 years one imagines you’d get a bit of a God Complex, to say the least. Probably doesn’t help either when everyone keeps referring to you as The Lonely God.

I just got around to watching this episode, and wow! Another Time Lord… Or someone from galefry (spelling?). Also, the next episode has Darleks… God I love them.

Hey, when do the new episodes originally air anyhow?

I’m surprised folks here are impressed with the “secret.” My reaction: “Tell me something I don’t know!” Didn’t anyone read the last Doctor Who thread? What a letdown. Why not just tell him the last time?

I’m not really a fan of New Earth. They’ve had some clever bits, but I still think they’ve been generally the weakest episodes of each season. New Earth just doesn’t seem real to me: I have trouble believing it exists beyond the edge of the sets. That was a problem with a few of the later stories of the old Who (Paradise Towers, anyone?), but it really stands out in the revived series. The rest of the “Whoniverse” just seems much more solid and three dimensional (well, four dimensional, I guess!).

Actually, per my previous quote I liked it, but was decidedly not impressed with it:

I have some theories about this, none of which I feel comfortable revealing right now except to say - they are playing awfully fast and loose with the “there-might-be-another-Time-Lord-alive-out-there” secrets and spoilers and subtext…almost as if we might purposefully be being led in the wrong direction?

When they showed the Macra, I kept thinking, “Is that the…no…is it? No…” And then he said Macra and I scared the hell out of my wife when I screamed.

I enjoyed the episode but was a little annoyed with parts. Mainly the kittens.

I keep wondering though… If the highway was sealed, how did the two kidnappers leave/enter it? Second, if the whole undercity was sealed, why was it raining when they left the tardis? If the wheel on those cars was locked to prevent someone moving down with only two people… Well, you get the idea.

I’m definetly looking forward to next week.

In ‘The Making Of’ program on BBC4 afterwards, Tennant said something along the lines of ‘Bo has told him he’s not alone but the Doc knows he’s the last of the timelords. They’re both right, the truth lies somewhere in the middle’. I never watched Dr. Who before the last few series so I’ll just have to watch to find out.

Shameless fanwanking ahead…

I decided that after 20 something years and all that pollution, the under-city has even formed its own weather system. That rain would probably be pretty toxic though. Bleh.

Yeah, and how did the Macra get in? And they couldn’t seem to decide if it was the expressway that was sealed in or the whole undercity. If the whole undercity was sealed (why?) why were the toxic fumes just in the expressway, and if the expressway was sealed, how (as MJinks asked) how did people get on?

And why was it so hard for the Face of Boe to open the doors, but he could keep the power running for 50 years? And why open the doors when the Doctor gets there? What did he do? Did the Doctor do anything this episode?

And while I’m at it, if the virus that wiped out civilization began in the Mood patches, why was the overcity wiped out, but the undercity–where all the pharmacies and mood-users were–spared? The expressway, with it’s hundreds of thousands of individual, sealed biospheres, makes sense, but not the undercity. Actually, no–the cars would make sense if they had Star Trek-style replicators on board (except then the exhaust wouldn’t make sense), but why did the old lesbian couple stock up on fifty years worth of food when they left? Wouldn’t everyone on the expressway when it was sealed have died years ago?

Did they put any thought into this episode?

And while I’m kvetching, what was up with the religious stuff? It seemed odd and out of place in the year five billion and carrot. Not to mention the heavy-handed pollution jazz. The fifty million and first century seems a lot more primitive and unsophisticated than most alien cultures in the 21st.

Picking holes in Doctor Who plots? That way madness lies…


The whole undercity was sealed from the overcity by Boe to protect as much of the population as possible. The expressway did have connections to the undercity - but the Macra thrive on toxic fumes and presumably this kept the leakage down.

Boe could have done this assuming the computer stuff was fixed - he had enough energy to do so, but it would’ve killed him before the Doctor had heard his final words. Doctor arrives, sorts out the electronics, Boe talks and uses the last of his energy to open the roof.

waves hands in explanation

Boe used the expressway communication network to instill a sense of community in the population trapped there - he knew that was the one way to keep them alive until rescue. The religious stuff is metaphor.
How’d I do?

Mrs Cat said to Martha as she chowed down on a rice cake someting like: “we resequence wastes into food!”

Martha dropped the cake :stuck_out_tongue:

Correct on both points. The episode was one of those that was burnt I think. There is a free photonovel available using the fragments that remain. There is also audio of the original broadcast available out there somewhere.

Ahhhh, of course!

See! Told you.

I keep thinking it could be … Susan.

After all, she could hardly have been on Gallifrey when everything went kaboom. I think she’s still out there – somewhere – lost in a parallel future Earth that’s never going to happen now …