Review: Doctor Who – 3×3 – Gridlock


Hey hey hey! That’s a bit more like it.

Sorry, that came out a bit more Krusty the Clown than I’d have liked.

But, Gridlock is definitely the first of this series’ episodes that I’ve really liked. Sure, if I were Ozymandias, king of lorries, I would be able to summon a vehicle that would be able to take me through all the plot loopholes, but it was still fun, emotional when it needed to be, and chockablock with continuity fun.

Spoilers ahoy. Go no further if you haven’t seen it yet

So first off, the Macra. Who saw that one coming?

Hands down you at the back who’s been reading the spoilers.

But seriously, the Macra? The not-at-all-well-remembered enemy from a single Patrick Troughton story that only has about three milliseconds of footage surviving in the archives? (Polly screams at monitor screen in TARDIS as she sees particularly rubbish crab claw appear. Edifying, huh?)

Imagine you’re the world’s greatest Doctor Who fanboy (ie Russell T Davies) and you’re given a chance to bring back anything you like from Doctor Who history: Yeti, Sontarans, Ice Warriors, Magnus Greel and the Peking Homunculus. Would you bring back the sodding Macra? No, me neither.

Having said that, weren’t they good? Very scary, nicely CGIed. Better when you couldn’t see them, mind.

Incidentally, why is it that every alien race the Doctor meets these days dominated the galaxy billions and billions of years ago and has since been forgotten about?

What to say about New New York? Bit more new new York than new New York, wasn’t it? At least, unless those forthcoming cheap Ryanair flights have a strange effect on the population of Manhattan and New York is swamped with Brits, don’t you think New New York should have had some I don’t know actual Americans in it and shouldn’t they all have been going along the freeway instead of a motorway – or maybe an interstate? Having said that, too, watching Who try to ‘do’ America again might be a “cradles head in hands” moment.

What’s that, Sooty? The next episode is set in 1930s New York? Oh bugger.

The continuity, both with new Who and old Who was very nice. Descriptions of Gallifrey were beautiful and chimed nicely with what had been before, David Tennant delivering them wonderfully. The Face of Boe was nicely done again and his parting words were bound to send shivers down the spine of fanboys everywhere. Letting the side down as always, though, was Murray Gold’s music of evil: fine by itself, but overpowering as incidental music.

I have to say that I’m really enjoying Martha Jones as a character and her relationship with the Doctor. I’m really not enjoying Freema Agyeman though. Sweet FA is just a little bit too full of frothy angel delight for my liking and even though she’s improving, she’s still not bringing anything like what Pipes did to her role as Rose. But seeing as DT is picking up the slack and turning this back into Doctor Who instead of the Rose and the Doctor show (he even saved the day by doing something with a computer. That’s old school, that), maybe we should be thankful.

BTW, was I mistaken in thinking that the orange guy was from the Tango ads? And was Bliss supposed to be a metaphor for Crystal Meth?

You may peruse other fine reviews of Gridlock here, here, and here. Let me know if I missed yours.

  • The accents in the mini trail for Daleks In Manhattan at the end of Gridlock put the fear into me much more than the Macra did (and I thought they were great). I think it could be very, very, very bad.

  • Hmm. The first two-parter in the series usually isn’t good, is it? We’ve had ‘comedy’ farting aliens and cyberclunkers so far. And now, Brooklyn daleks! The Doctor? I cyaan’t staaand him!

  • “The accents in the mini trail for Daleks In Manhattan at the end of Gridlock put the fear into me”
    Haha they were bloody awful, weren’t they?!
    I dunno, this season has left me cold so far… I’m new Who through and through (do do do-doo) and I want to care about people. Show me Martha’s family and maybe I’ll care about her – we knew so much more about Rose by ths point in series one because we knew all about her mum and Mickey. I know it’s not old-school to say that, but I think it’s what I need…

  • I really didn’t warm to Mickey until the end of series I (and I never warmed to Jackie at all) so I’m quite enjoying the lack of Martha’s family. They’ll be back later in the series, in the epsiode after the Dalek two-parter and probably in the series finale.
    As Rob said, losing Rose has thrown the focus back on the Doctor and I’m rather enjoying that. Now she’s not there, his survivor guilt is roaring back full-force. Gives David Tennant (happy birthday, 973 today… probably) a chance to vary his portrayal of the Doc a bit.
    We know we’re going to get family soapiness in Doctor Who, cos RTD thinks it’s the most important new factor to the show (and Anna’s comment proves him right, I’d say) but I reckon it’s good that he’s not doing a complete Tyler retread.

  • Rob Buckley

    I agree with Anna that it would good to see more of Martha’s life. However, from what I’ve seen, I’m not sure I want any more of Martha’s family.
    I thought we were going to go all nuclear. Instead, we get something from a 1980s Carla Lane sitcom.

  • Craig Grannell

    It would have been nice had the Macra been controlling the show in their usual devious manner (and the plot would have made a lot more sense that way, too), but other than that, this was a great episode. Still, back to Earth next week (yawn), and I suspect to Martha’s annoying soap-opera family shortly afterwards. Here’s hoping the next companion is an orphan with no friends.

  • Mark H Wilkinson

    BTW, was I mistaken in thinking that the orange guy was from the Tango ads?
    Yes. Peter Geeves was the original orange happy slapper. He has yet to appear in Who.

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