MATT RAUB: Your weekly Who review!
Hey gang, Matt Raub back again, and that can only mean one thing – it’s Who time! So here we are, already a quarter of the way through another explosive year of Doctor Who. And what better time to start the season three story arc than in the 727th produced episode, beating out all of the Star Trek series combined!
In the episode, entitled “Gridlock,” the Doctor and Martha travel on their third voyage together, this time to the future city of New New York. Some of you may remember that we’ve been to New New York, and fairly recently (Don’t worry, Martha brings that up too). Last time, the Doctor and Rose visited a sick friend in very chic hospital above ground, but this time we find our traveling duo deep in the city’s bowels and on the New New York Motorway, which reaches all the way to New New Jersey. Fun thing about this motorway is that, due to the traffic, it takes about 10 years to go four miles. Well, in all the chaos, Martha is kidnapped by two motorists hoping to get into the express lane. The doctor then does his doctor thing and declares he will find her if it’s the last thing he’ll do.
The greatest part of this episode isn’t a quirky part of dialogue, or interesting plot point, but the way the episode was shot. The majority of this episode is going from car to car, whilst the doctor searches for Martha. Now, each car is shot in the exact same set, just with a change of furniture and a few new actors. This makes for an incredibly cheap budget for the episode, and while this is completely unnecessary for the BBC’s top rated show, it reflects some of the ingenuity that American TV lacks. My hat is tipped to executive producer and episode writer Russell T. Davies and the boys and girls overseas for this particular stunt.
Back to the episode, while looking for Martha, the doctor comes across an old buddy – in fact, the same old buddy he came across the last time we were all in New New York: The good ol’ Face of Boe. Those of you who remember the last encounter with that giant head-in-a-jar, remember that Boe said he would meet the Doctor a final time, and then he would tell him the great secret. So now here we are, and that big secret is? **SPOILER WARNING**
The doctor is not the last of the Timelords! And all of you Whovians out there know that this can mean only one thing: the Master’s back! Well, you already read that here on ComicMix, but heck, we do that.
So, thus begins the broader season three story arc, the doctor versus the master. And sorry Hollywood Squares fans, because it looks like we won’t be seeing Eric Roberts reprise his role as the evil time traveler. Instead, we get another BBC great straight from his final season as the lead in Life on Mars as John Simm will be taking on the cloak. I, for one can’t wait to see how it turns out!
All in all, another great episode from our friends in Britain. Next week we get into some more trouble with the Daleks as they take on Manhattan. Overall, I give “Gridlock” an 8/10, only because I have a huge pet peeve about an entire episode that takes place in a futuristic New York City, and the only person that has a New York accent (let alone an American one) is a hologram. But hey, the leaders of the Galactic Empire all had British accents too, even though their leader sounded just like Mufasa from The Lion King. Strange.
(Nouveau Who fan Matt Raub regularly reviews movies and television for both ComicMix.com and for the ComicMix Podcast)