Doctor Who: Gridlock Review

Gridlock. Season Three, Episode Three. The episode that made me think that Russell T. Davies actually knows what he's at. Spoilers follow...

Gridlock was, in almost every way, a superb episode. I have some quibbles with the script, most notably in the reactions of people to the Doctor and Novice Hame dropping through their cars, and some with the plot, in which I'd question how the people who were not in cars on the "motorway" lived, and how they could be unaware of the death of the city above. But in terms of emotional impact, and essential Who-ness, it rated very highly indeed.

Martha has now pretty much established herself, in my mind, as a proper character in her own right, not least because she keeps questioning what happened to Rose, and with Rose. "You're taking me to the same planets as you took her?" was a deftly placed question, and really hit the mark at a number of levels, both emotional and narrative.

I was fascinated and pleased by Ardal O'Hanlon's role as Thomas Kincade Brannigan, a feline alien with an Irish accent, and most of Father Dougal's mannerisms, if a good deal more brain. The kittens were both charming and silly, and I'm not sure what to make of that at all - certainly, it's RTD getting in a few subversive shots, even when he's writing Who rather than Torchwood, but I've a strong suspicion we may see the Brannigans again. And while I have some quibbles with the plot concerning the locked away nature of the streets below, I'd be very pleased if New New York appeared again, and if we got to see how a re-established civilisation there shapes up.

The bits that hit hardest, though, were the hymns the people in the cars sang along with, and the death of the Face of Boe. They were very, very effective pieces of both writing and acting, and they had a lot of emotional impact. There's not really a lot more I can say about either; I don't much want to try to take them apart.

The Face of Boe could have made his final secret a little clearer, though. A commenter here had known the exact quote in advance, and I was wondering how it could be worked in. In context, certainly, despite all the Doctor's denials, it means there is another Time Lord around. But couldn't he have said "There is another Time Lord", "Your son is alive", "The Master is coming back to get you", or anything even a bit more solid than "You are not alone"? That could mean almost anything. However, I'm willing to go with that, alien minds and so forth.

And then the preview of next week, the Daleks are back again. At least, this time, having seen some of them escape, we've been expecting it.

Posted by Drew Shiel at April 15, 2007 10:42 PM

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

This was in my honest to god opinion,
one of modern televisions finest hours.
it was engaging from start to the dramatic finish, the Music was superb, the effects went all-out..
and the ensemble cast? FANTASTIC! this episode worked in every conceivable way, and only raised the bar for my expectations out of this series.

Freena's performance as Martha has elevated yet again, the way she squeaked her excitement at the Doctor's coming through was reminiscent of the moment in "the satan pit" when Rose reacted similarly in the rocket ship after hearing the Doctor's voice.

I also love how they actually spent a good deal of time allowing us,the viewers, to hear the Doctor tell Martha what happened to his people.
we already heard this before, but kudo's to Russel t Davies for letting us have that moment and Martha's face as he told that story, spoke volumes of empathy.

What a Great episode. i don't expect a winner every time with this series, but so far...
so great. now if only they can bring in a 3rd Romana..that would rock.

Posted by: George at April 16, 2007 2:17 AM

who played the hymn the old rugged coss in the episode gridlock??

Posted by: Lou at August 22, 2007 8:13 PM