Doctor Who - Gridlock
Phil Collinson, Russell T. Davies (executive), Julie Gardner (executive) for BBC Wales/BBC
directed by Richard Clark
starring David Tennant, Freema Agyeman, Ardal O'Hanlon, Anna Hope, Travis Oliver, Lenora Crichlow, Jennifer Hennessy, Bridget Turner, Georgine Anderson, Simon Pearsall, Daisy Lewis, Nicholas Boulton, Erika Macleod, Judy Norman, Graham Padden, Lucy Davenport, Tom Edden, Natasha Williams, Gayle Telfer Stevens, Struan Rodger (voice)
written by Russell T.Davies, music by Murray Gold
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (David Tennant), Doctor Who (new series), Martha Jones
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Doctor Who (David Tennant) takes Martha (Freema Agyeman) to New Earth
(known from the episode New
Earth), the planet where humankind has settled after the demise of
the original earth millions of years in the future ... but when they
arrive in New New York, Martha is immediately kidnapped by two motorists
(Travis Oliver, Lenora Crichlow) who need a third passenger to - according
to carpooling regulations - get access to the fast lane. It turns out that
the motorway has been in a constant traffic jam for the past 24 years, and
if you're not driving the fast lane it takes years to even make a few
miles ... problem is, the fast lane is populated by Macra, giant lobster-like aliens who live on cars (since this is the future, the cars of
course can fly, but the motorways are totally sealed off from the upper
city, so they are totally filled with exhaust gas.
The Doctor soon figures that to save Martha he has to go to the upper
world and to the city council, and with the help of Novice Hame (Anna
Hope) - a feline baddie from the episode New
Earth who now tries to redeem for her sins - he actually gets
there, to find the council has all beeen killed by a virus - like everyone
else on New Earth -, the people on the motorway are the only ones left
alive, and everything is kept going (if only just) by the Face of Boe
(Struan Rodger) - see episode New
Earth yet again.
Somehow, the Doctor figures to save the motorists and New Earth as such
he has to open the motorway to the upper world and ... everyone is saved,
only the Face of Boe dies from exhaustion.
As a story, Gridlock is full of weaknesses, it has no real
middle and a disappointing ending - one which leaves many questions open
(like why has the Eye of Boe not opened the motorway to the upper world
long ago) - and at times it's way too preoccuppied with the series'
overall continuity to tell its actual story ... but that aside, the idea
of a gigantic and totally jammed motorway running beneath New York - with
flying vehicles no less - is nothing short of brilliant (even if the
design of the whole thing is highly reminiscent of Luc Besson's Fifth
Element), with the car-eating locusts being a good addition to the
concept - which makes this one, despite definite weaknesses, one of the
better episodes of season three of Doctor Who.