March 30, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “Gridlock”

The Doctor returns to New Earth and finds an eternal traffic jam.

OK, I am really starting to feel bad for Martha right about now.  The Doctor truly is a blind man when it comes to other people’s feelings.

That’s not necessarily a new thing.

OK, so, the Doctor did promise Martha one trip in the TARDIS, but after a trip to the past, he figures “one trip” doesn’t have to mean “one destination” and plots a course for New New York on New Earth…where he took Rose once.

Yes, Martha picked up on that.

The Doctor?  Not so much.

Then again, he was describing Gallfrey, a bit weird since Martha asked to see it.

However, something seems off, and not just because the cold open suggested a terrible fate for what looked like the couple from American Gothic.  Martha is kidnapped by a couple who drug her, put her into a flying car, and take off.  The Doctor, seeing how responsible he is, follows.  He does get to the freeway, but there’s so much exhaust, he just barely makes it into another car driven by a cat person, a man this time, and his human wife.  They’ve been on the road as long as they’ve been married.  They even had some kids in the form of a litter of kittens.

Try not to think too hard about that.

Now, the thing is, some cars just disappear.  And other cars barely make progress.  You can call the police for help, but they always seem to put people on hold.  And Martha’s captors really just want to use the fast lane because the woman is pregnant, and they want to go somewhere where there might be a job.  The trip is only a few miles and even in the fast line, will probably take about six years.

See, the gridlock is so bad, no one really goes anywhere.  And I didn’t even get into the giant alien crabs that grab cars from the fast lane.  See, this is where Martha comes in handy because Martha is smart and reasons the crabs see the lights the car gives off and only attack then.  Of course, shutting everything down stops the crabs but doesn’t stop the exhaust from leaking in.  How can the Doctor save the day?

And why is everyone down there anyway?

OK, there’s a reason, and it involves beaming the Doctor to see…the Face of Boe!  Yes, he and a cat nurse are the only folks who aren’t either stuck in traffic or selling drugs in the undercity. Why?  Well, there was a plague that killed everyone that wasn’t sealed inside there inside of seven minutes, even the virus.  If the Doctor can unseal the doors and let the sunlight in, everyone will be OK.  He can then save Martha, someone he admits he barely knows, and tell her the truth about something.

Can the Doctor do that?  Only if the Face of Boe expends the last of its energy to open the gates, and the giant telepathic head gives the Doctor (and Martha) its final message:  the Doctor is not alone.

The Doctor disagrees, and when Martha puts his foot down, he explains he’s the last of the Time Lords and there is no Gallifrey anymore.  That was the lie he told.  He couldn’t take her back to his home planet if he wanted to.

Anyway, the Face of Boe must have been wrong.  Because, you know, ominous last words from wise, nearly immortal beings often are…


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