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Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"You are not alone"
Face of Boe
Gridlock
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Series Number: Series 3
Story Number: 181
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Companions: Martha Jones
Enemy: Macra
Setting: New New York, New Earth; circa 5,000,000,053
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Richard Clark
Producer: Phil Collinson
Broadcast: 14th April 2007
Format: 1 45-minute episode
Prod. Code: 185
Previous Story: The Shakespeare Code
Following Story: Daleks in Manhattan

Contents

Synopsis

The Doctor returns to a much grittier New Earth with Martha Jones, eventually to meet the Face of Boe one final time. But the city of New New York has now been turned into a deadly trap, and when they find the streets deserted except for the Pharmacists, they must brave the ordeal of the mysterious Motorway in order to discover the terrible secrets at the heart of the city. What monsters lurk below the surface, hidden in the smog?

Plot

Sally Calypso gives the daily travel news to all the cars. Ma and Pa are seated in one of the camper-Vans. They call the police for help as they are apparently attacked by something from outside. They are placed on hold by the police computer system, and scream as their car is torn apart.

The Doctor offers Martha one trip into the future, to visit another planet. She asks if he can take her to his home planet, and speculates as to its beauty. He describes Gallifrey's Citadel, mountains, orange sky and other features as if they still existed, but claims he does not want to go home. Instead, he takes her to the year five billion and fifty three, into a dark alleyway where it is raining, and introduces her to New New York in New Earth. The Doctor repeats some things he told Rose the last time he had visited the planet. Martha becomes slightly upset when she realises she is being taken to the same place the Doctor took Rose, and mutters the word "rebound".

Meanwhile, the Face of Boe sits in a room with Novice Hame. He tells her to find the Doctor before it is too late. She takes out a gun and leaves. The Doctor and Martha are in a run-down street. Three pharmacists open their market stands and try to sell the Doctor and Martha patches that dispense "moods". The Doctor is angry, but intrigued when a young girl buys a Forget patch after losing her parents to "the Motorway".

Suddenly, a young couple armed with guns grab Martha and haul her away, subduing her with a patch inducing Sleep. The Doctor chases them but they escape in their car. The Doctor asks the pharmacists for directions to the Motorway; they comply, but warn him that he may never see Martha again. He tells them to find alternative employment as he promises to shut down their enterprises by that very evening.

Martha wakes up and grabs a gun, only to learn it is a fake. Her kidnappers introduce themselves as Milo and Cheen. Cheen says she is pregnant. Milo explains they only wanted her so they could get on the Fast Lane, which requires three adult passengers. They say they can drop her off when they reach their destination - in six years.

The Doctor arrives at the Motorway, where he discovers thousands of Volkswagen-like hover vans in a traffic jam. He starts to cough and choke from the fumes. A cat person invites him into his car, introducing himself as Thomas Kincade Brannigan and his human wife as Valerie. Their kittens, two months old, have never seen sunlight or trod on ground. The Brannigans themselves have been driving for twelve years, and have travelled only five miles.

As Milo, Cheen and Martha head for the Fast Lane, the Doctor calls the Police but is put on hold. Brannigan speaks to some old friends, the Cassini "sisters" (a same-sex married couple), who identify the one car from Pharmacytown that has gone to the Fast Lane. The Doctor learns that some people haven't left their cars in upwards of twenty years. Milo, Cheen and Martha are dropping down to the Fast Lane, but there are strange noises. Cheen tells Martha of stories about cars disappearing but Milo insists they only hear the ventilation shafts.

Brannigan and Valerie refuse to go to the Fast Lane, fearing for the safety of their kittens. The Doctor asks whether they or the Cassinis have ever seen any authorities. The Cassinis reluctantly admit they have not seen any police or ambulances in 23 years of driving. The Doctor believes that the people have been trapped in the under-city and abandoned. Making his own way toward Martha, he opens the shaft on the floor of the car and drops down to the car below. He then moves through several cars, opening the roofs with his sonic screwdriver and continuing through the floor to the car below. In this fashion he meets several characters including hippies, a Bertie Wooster-like business man and a nudist couple.

Martha's car enters the Fast Lane, but the exits are all closed. A nearby cat driver tells him to escape to the slow lanes above, but Milo does not believe in the danger until he hears the other driver's screams. Meanwhile Novice Hame reaches Brannigan's car and demands to know where the Doctor is.

The Doctor reaches the lower levels, just above the Fast Lane. He clears the fog to discover what's down there: the Macra. The Doctor explains to the car's driver that the Macra once built an empire, but have since devolved into hungry non-sentient beasts. As Martha's van races along the Fast Lane, the Macras' huge claws attempt to crush it. Reasoning that the light and motion of the vehicle attract the Macra, Martha has Milo turns off the power. It works, but they only have eight minutes of air.

Novice Hame makes it to the car that the Doctor is in. She tells him how she has repented her sins under 'his' guidance, and teleports the Doctor against his will to the upper city. She explains that everyone in the upper city, and indeed the whole surface level of New Earth died because of a virus in the Pharmacists' Bliss drug, but the under city was sealed off and Hame was protected by 'him'. The citizens in the undercity have not been betrayed and abandoned; they have been saved. Hearing a familiar telepathic voice, the Doctor runs to meet the Face of Boe. Hame says the Face has wired himself to the system to keep the lower levels functioning, but they are unable to free the people there. The Face of Boe asks the Doctor to save the people of the Motorway.

Milo's car is running out of air and, despite Milo and Cheen's doubts, Martha says the Doctor will think of something. Milo starts the power up again, giving them air but exposing them to the Macras' grasp. As the car races along, they are briefly caught by one of the claws, but break free.

The Doctor asks Hame to help him restore power, but there is not enough. The Face of Boe, in one last act of self-sacrifice, gives even more of his 'life force' to power the equipment. The Doctor pulls a lever, opening the seal at the top of the motorway. The sunlight beams in, and the Doctor broadcasts to the motorists, telling them to drive upwards and out. This clears the way for Milo's car to escape from the Macra. Meanwhile Hame cries out as the Face of Boe's glass begins to shatter.

Martha arrives at the Senate building where she sees human skeletons, and meets the dying Face of Boe, sprawled out on the ground. The Doctor urges him to live, since (as Boe says) the two of them are each the last of their kind; but the Face responds "Everything has its time". He whispers his secret - "You are not alone" - before passing away. An expression of shock and disbelief crosses the Doctor's face as Hame weeps.

Martha and the Doctor arrive back at the alleyway. The Pharmacists are gone. Martha asks what the Face meant, and whether she is why the Doctor is not alone. The Doctor shakes his head; he does not want to talk about Boe's words, but Martha refuses to move until the Doctor tells her the truth. The Doctor admits he is the last of his kind, explains about the Last Great Time War and the Daleks, and then goes on to describe Gallifrey. Far above the slums, the over-city thrives with the newly freed motorists. The sun sets orange over New New York.

Cast

Crew

coming soon!

References

  • At the beginning, the Doctor removes the arrow fired at the TARDIS in The Shakespeare Code.
  • The Doctor takes Martha to New Earth.
  • The Face of Boe meets the Doctor once more as he promised on his previous meeting with the Doctor.
  • There are Macra under the city of New New York.
  • Novice Hame has been taking care of the Face of Boe.
  • The Japanese words for 'Bad Wolf' appear on a poster on the wall of the Japanese hippies' car.
  • Thomas Kincade Brannigan said of how they just keep driving saying "Till the Journey's End". Which became the title of the last episode in the Fourth Series, it may have also been a reference as to what the Doctor will do, he'll keep driving the Tardis until his jounrey's end when he finally dies at the end of his 13th incarnation
  • The hymn sung by the travellers is The Old Rugged Cross.
  • The hymn playing over the rebirth of the city is Abide With Me.
  • Ma and Pa resembles the couple on Grant Wood's painting American Gothic.
  • Cheen says the air smells like apple grass. In New Earth, the Tardis landed in apple grass.
  • The Face of Boe saved Hame by shrouding her in his 'smoke'. In DW: New Earth, Hame said that the only thing she could do for the Face was maintain his smoke. Small cracks can also be seen on the Face's tank during the events of New Earth and get larger in this episode, until the tank shatters.

Story Notes

  • The Face of Boe's secret is revealed in this episode to the Doctor: You are not alone.
  • Gridlock is the 727th broadcast episode of Doctor Who. Which breaks the record previously held by Star Trek (which has 726 episodes combined).
  • Gridlock aired 40 minutes late due to the BBC's coverage of the FA cup.
  • This episode had a working title of Chasing Fumes.
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Ratings

  • 8.41 million viewers - BARB final ratings
  • 8.0 million viewers - Overnight ratings
  • 0.83 million viewers - BBC3 repeat ratings

Myths

Due to Milo's similar hairstyle,his appearance in the Series 3 coming soon trailer led many people to believe that the Ninth Doctor would return in this episode.

Filming Locations

to be added

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • If the Face of Boe truly is Jack Harkness, it does not make sense for him to die, since he is immortal. Harkness still ages, just at a much slower rate; assuming no further time travel, he's now over 5 billion years old. He also gave the last of his energy to open the motorway; this last energy could have been the energy that was keeping him alive. Also, on several occasions in both Doctor Who and Torchwood, Jack "died" and did not immediately revive until some time later. We don't know for certain if Boe really died. It is also possible that being over 5 billion years old has taken its toll on Jack, perhaps even destroying his Immortality eventually, the effects of the vortex and his luck could have 'run out' as said by Ianto in Children of Earth.
  • Brannigan says that one can only contact cars on one's friends list, but when Martha, Cheen and Milo get attacked by the Macra, another car in the same situation contacts them, showing no knowledge of each other. The other car may have overriden the code, or disobeyed it as they were in danger, or perhaps the code isn't active when you're in danger. It's also possible that the the communications channel for the fast lane doesn't work in the same fashion, as it's stated that it's separate.
  • At the end of the episode, the Doctor tells Martha about the Time War and the Daleks. Martha acts like she doesn't know who the Daleks are. Shouldn't she know who the Daleks are after the Battle of Canary Wharf? (The Daleks only flew over one small area of London, namely the area surrounding Canary Wharf, whereas the Cybermen were spread worldwide. The general public would be unlikely to have known the name "Daleks".)
  • The introduction of the light after all the darkness surely would have resulted in all of the people (and aliens) in New New York would have gone blind. No, there is still light in the cars, therefore the sunlight would not blind them. Even if it did, this would only last a few minutes at most, less for some people than others, which doesn't contradict anything clearly shown in this episode.
  • It seems rather silly that the automatic quarantine would let people into the motorway (surely letting the virus in), but not let them back out. What's more, wouldn't any of the later entries to the motorway have noticed that nobody ever came out, or even tried to get out through the entrance shafts. The quarantine was to separate the lower city from the upper city, not the lower city from the motorway. The motorway was probably sealed to prevent the citizens of the lower city from realizing that they were trapped, as they knew they could leave at any time.

Continuity

  • The Face of Boe previously appeared in DW: The End of the World and New Earth, with a cameo appearance in The Long Game.
  • Novice Hame previously appeared in DW: New Earth.
  • The Macra first appeared in DW: The Macra Terror.
  • The mood drugs have the emblem of the Sisters of Plentitude from DW: New Earth on them.
  • The Doctor's description of his home planet (Gallifrey) matches Susan's in DW: The Sensorites as well as the overall appearance in NA: Lungbarrow.
  • Martha convincing Cheen and Milo to have faith in the Doctor foreshadows her job between DW: The Sound of Drums and Last of the Time Lords spreading faith in the Doctor to save them from the rule of the Master.
    • Martha's words previous to that, describing she comes from "A long way away" and that she barely even knows the Doctor, having joined him without thinking, echo Rose's words in DW: The End of the World. That adventure was also Rose's first trip into the future with the Doctor, just as this one is Martha's.
  • The Doctor previously visited New New York with Rose in DW: New Earth - a fact Martha comments on when she learns it, irritating her that the Doctor is taking her to all the "same places" as he took Rose.

DVD Releases

Series 3 Volume 1 DVD Cover

See Also

to be added

External Links

  • Official BBC Website - Episode Guide: Gridlock
  • The Whoniverse Discontinuity Guide to Gridlock
Series 3
Christmas Special: The Runaway Bride

Smith and Jones  • The Shakespeare Code  • Gridlock  • Daleks in Manhattan  • Evolution of the Daleks  • The Lazarus Experiment  • 42  • Human Nature  • The Family of Blood  • Blink  • Utopia  • The Sound of Drums  • Last of the Time Lords

Animated serial: The Infinite Quest


This article uses material from the "Gridlock" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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