History Recap / DoctorWhoNSS3E3Gridlock

14th May '14 5:02:03 PM StFan
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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Gridlock_4220.jpg]]

The Doctor tells Martha that her one trip is over, and she can go home now... unless she wants to travel more. No reason, really, he'd just like to travel more. In fact, he'd like to take her to the future: New New New, etc., York. Where drugs are cheap, legal and socially acceptable. Where people inexplicably look like cats. Where traffic never moves. [[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS2E1NewEarth Where the Doctor also took Rose once]].

The Doctor even tries to make the same little jokes he made to Rose when he first took her there, but they just don't work as well when Rose isn't around to hear them. By now, Martha's figured out that she's the Doctor's "rebound", and she doesn't like it one bit. Also, the TARDIS has taken them to the undercity slums, where things aren't quite as happy as they are above the smog.

Martha gets kidnapped by the ghost chick from ''Series/BeingHuman'' so that her kidnappers can have enough people in the car to get access to the elusive carpool lane. The Doctor chases after her... into the Traffic Jam From Hell.

Before he dies of extreme toxic smoke inhalation, though, he gets picked up by CatFolk Thomas Kinkaide Brannigan (who looks like [[FatherTed Father Dougal]] as a cat-person) and his wife Valerie. Estimated time of arrival? Oh, another six years or so.

Screw ''that''. The Doctor jumps from car to car, and tries climbing down to Martha's spot, but he can only get so far.

Meanwhile, [[Recap/DoctorWhoS4E7TheMacraTerror giant evil crabs that feed off pollution]] have snatched Martha's car out of the air and are hell-bent on eating her. The Doctor quickly recognises them from an old MissingEpisode and notes that they've devolved into mindless beasts over time, living in the depths of the motorway. Even if he could get there, there's hardly any way to get back.

The Doctor will not be deterred. He gets into the upper city, where the only remaining "people" are an [[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS2E1NewEarth elderly cat nun]] and the Face of Boe, the oldest being in the galaxy, who is the only thing powering the motorway and keeping the rest of demi-humanity alive. It turns out that the planet's inhabitants all got wiped out by an unstoppable plague that killed everyone (including itself). And all the motorways are closed, and have been closed for years. All those cars with all their eternal fuel and food supplies are driving in eternal circles around the deadly city smog.

The quarantine placed on the planet was set to last 100 years, so it has to be released manually. The Face gives his life to open up the motorway exits and save Martha. The Doctor opens the gates of... well, Heaven, and all the cars ascend into the bright upper city, with the people inside praising Jehova for saving them from the crabs of... well, Hell. They sing hymns and everything. This planet really sets off the Doctor's messianic side, after that whole "getting baptised by nuns with a panacea and curing all the lepers with a single touch" thing he did last time.

As Face dies, he imparts his final message, as foreshadowed in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS2E1NewEarth New Earth]]". The message? "[[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS3E11Utopia You are not alone.]]"

Martha refuses to leave until the Doctor tells her just what he is and what's going on. The Doctor sits down with her and tells his story from the beginning, starting with "there was a war"...

----
!!Tropes

* ActionPrologue: The episode begins with a couple's flying car on a motorway being attacked by an unseen menace.
* AdventurerOutfit: Brannigan, for no apparent reason.
* AdultFear: Plot holes aside, the episode becomes very disturbing, in a peculiar fashion, if you start thinking about being stuck in an inescapable traffic jam that will ''never, ever end'' (maybe you have to drive to work to appreciate it).
-->'''Doctor:''' What if the traffic jam never stops? What if there's no help coming, not ever? What if there's nothing? Just the motorway, with the cars going round and round and round and round, never stopping. FOREVER.
* AliensOfLondon: Despite being New New York, every person you see (except Brannigan and the news anchor) sounds very much British due to the TARDIS' TranslationConvention.
** NationalStereotypes: Irish Catman. Including that one guy who ''really'' [[IAmVeryBritish went out of his way to look British. Bowler hat, something about manners...]]
* AlwaysSaveTheGirl:
-->'''Brannigan:''' This Martha... she must mean a lot to you.\\
'''The Doctor:''' Hardly know her. I was too busy showing off.
* AmericanGothicCouple: The couple in the opening who are attacked by the Macra.
* TheAtoner: The cat nun who's the assistant to the Face of Boe was the survivor out of the three-named cat nuns on Planet Earth.
* BigWordShout / SayMyName: MAAAAAAAARTHAAAAAAAAAAAA!
* CallBack: [[Recap/DoctorWhoS4E7TheMacraTerror The Macra]]. From a MissingEpisode no less.
** The Doctor asks for the Duke of Manhattan.
** One of the car drivers is a completely red dude - we saw another one on "New Earth".
* TheCityNarrows: The other side of New New York.
* CuteKitten: Most likely the reason for an anthropomorphic cat and a demi-human woman having a litter of seemingly ordinary kittens.
* DrugsAreBad: Both Martha and the Doctor are unamused by a street populated by drug-dealing booths that sell everything from "Happy" to "Forget" to "Honesty", and "Bliss" killed all of New Earth's population apart from New New York's undercity.
* EvolutionaryLevels: The Doctor wonders if the Macra have devolved, considering they used to be intelligent but now they're just huge mindless monsters.
* EvolutionaryStasis: Despite being said in previous episodes to have changed, the humans still look human.
* FirstTimeInTheSun: In the end, the denizens of the motorway finally ascend into the sky.
* FlatWhat: Martha's reaction to the length of time the car-jacking journey will take.
* FlyingCar: In sufficient abundance to result in three-dimensional multi-lane motorways and horrifying flying traffic jams.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: "You are not alone."
** Thomas Kinkaide Brannigan: "Until Journey's End."
* GiantEnemyCrab: The Macra. They can be found at the bottom of the motorway in [[NewNeoCity New New York]] (on New Earth). In the 'fast lane' you can reach speeds of up to thirty miles per hour! (Usually taking six years to get to Brooklyn from Queens!) However, this comes with a risk: the potential of being sliced and mauled by the Macra. What's even scarier is that you only really get to see these claws above the fumes.
* HoodHopping: The Doctor does a three-dimensional version.
* HypocriticalHumor: Brannigan refers to the Cassinis as "sisters", claiming that he's a traditional type. When he's a catman married to a humanoid.
* IAteWhat: Martha is disgusted to learn that food in the cars is made from recycled waste, after taking a few bites of a cookie offered to her.
* InfantImmortality: Averted. The second car on-screen to fall victim to the Macra is a car carrying two young twins.
* InterspeciesRomance: The Brannigans. She's demi-human, he's a cat-man; their kids are a litter of kittens ([[RuleOfCute who can say "Mama"]]).
* MuckMonster: The Macra.
* NewNeoCity: New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York.
* NoAntagonist: A rare ''Doctor Who'' story with no sentient villain. [[spoiler: Even the virus that wiped out the entire population of New Earth has long since perished, having had no-one left alive to infect and propagate itself with]].
* NobodyOver50IsGay: Averted with the Cassinis, an elderly lesbian couple.
* OneDrinkWillKillTheBaby: When Martha finds out one of her kidnappers is pregnant, she rips off the woman's Honesty patch in disgust.
* OneWordTitle
* PoliceAreUseless: A call to the police gets the Doctor put on hold. A call to the Cassinis reveals that there ''aren't'' police.
* PlanetOfHats: All of the cars the Doctor passes through have obvious themes, be they white décor, Harajuku fashion, hippy nudism, red décor, or stylish fifties Britain.
* SelectiveObliviousness: Everyone is on some level aware that they've not seen any sign from the government and/or the people on the surface for over 20 years, but it takes some serious prodding from the Doctor before they even start to acknowledge the ElephantInTheLivingRoom.
* ShoutOut
** According to WordOfGod, the concept of an endless traffic jam in a dystopian city is a shoutout to Mega-City One in ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'', and the man with the bowler hat is based on Max Normal, a supporting character in the comic.
** The setting, [[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS2E1NewEarth New New York]], may be a reference to ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''.
** [[Film/{{Serenity}} An airborne drug causes most of the inhabitants of a planet to lay down and die.]]
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: The people on the underground motorway are disturbingly blasé about the fact that nobody ever gets anywhere, that there's no police, and that the news doesn't do anything special. Martha needs to take a it of time to adjust to this. This helps to make people never question ''what happened'': [[spoiler:the surface got wiped out by a virus.]]
* VillainDecay: Deliberately invoked. After a few billion years, the Macra devolved into a much less intelligent form, so instead of being invisible puppet masters (like the Silence would be later in New Who) they're just... giant crabs living on car fumes.
* YouAreNotAlone / ThereIsAnother: So says the Face of Boe.

----

to:

[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Gridlock_4220.jpg]]

The Doctor tells Martha that her one trip is over, and she can go home now... unless she wants to travel more. No reason, really, he'd just like to travel more. In fact, he'd like to take her to the future: New New New, etc., York. Where drugs are cheap, legal and socially acceptable. Where people inexplicably look like cats. Where traffic never moves. [[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS2E1NewEarth Where the Doctor also took Rose once]].

The Doctor even tries to make the same little jokes he made to Rose when he first took her there, but they just don't work as well when Rose isn't around to hear them. By now, Martha's figured out that she's the Doctor's "rebound", and she doesn't like it one bit. Also, the TARDIS has taken them to the undercity slums, where things aren't quite as happy as they are above the smog.

Martha gets kidnapped by the ghost chick from ''Series/BeingHuman'' so that her kidnappers can have enough people in the car to get access to the elusive carpool lane. The Doctor chases after her... into the Traffic Jam From Hell.

Before he dies of extreme toxic smoke inhalation, though, he gets picked up by CatFolk Thomas Kinkaide Brannigan (who looks like [[FatherTed Father Dougal]] as a cat-person) and his wife Valerie. Estimated time of arrival? Oh, another six years or so.

Screw ''that''. The Doctor jumps from car to car, and tries climbing down to Martha's spot, but he can only get so far.

Meanwhile, [[Recap/DoctorWhoS4E7TheMacraTerror giant evil crabs that feed off pollution]] have snatched Martha's car out of the air and are hell-bent on eating her. The Doctor quickly recognises them from an old MissingEpisode and notes that they've devolved into mindless beasts over time, living in the depths of the motorway. Even if he could get there, there's hardly any way to get back.

The Doctor will not be deterred. He gets into the upper city, where the only remaining "people" are an [[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS2E1NewEarth elderly cat nun]] and the Face of Boe, the oldest being in the galaxy, who is the only thing powering the motorway and keeping the rest of demi-humanity alive. It turns out that the planet's inhabitants all got wiped out by an unstoppable plague that killed everyone (including itself). And all the motorways are closed, and have been closed for years. All those cars with all their eternal fuel and food supplies are driving in eternal circles around the deadly city smog.

The quarantine placed on the planet was set to last 100 years, so it has to be released manually. The Face gives his life to open up the motorway exits and save Martha. The Doctor opens the gates of... well, Heaven, and all the cars ascend into the bright upper city, with the people inside praising Jehova for saving them from the crabs of... well, Hell. They sing hymns and everything. This planet really sets off the Doctor's messianic side, after that whole "getting baptised by nuns with a panacea and curing all the lepers with a single touch" thing he did last time.

As Face dies, he imparts his final message, as foreshadowed in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS2E1NewEarth New Earth]]". The message? "[[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS3E11Utopia You are not alone.]]"

Martha refuses to leave until the Doctor tells her just what he is and what's going on. The Doctor sits down with her and tells his story from the beginning, starting with "there was a war"...

----
!!Tropes

* ActionPrologue: The episode begins with a couple's flying car on a motorway being attacked by an unseen menace.
* AdventurerOutfit: Brannigan, for no apparent reason.
* AdultFear: Plot holes aside, the episode becomes very disturbing, in a peculiar fashion, if you start thinking about being stuck in an inescapable traffic jam that will ''never, ever end'' (maybe you have to drive to work to appreciate it).
-->'''Doctor:''' What if the traffic jam never stops? What if there's no help coming, not ever? What if there's nothing? Just the motorway, with the cars going round and round and round and round, never stopping. FOREVER.
* AliensOfLondon: Despite being New New York, every person you see (except Brannigan and the news anchor) sounds very much British due to the TARDIS' TranslationConvention.
** NationalStereotypes: Irish Catman. Including that one guy who ''really'' [[IAmVeryBritish went out of his way to look British. Bowler hat, something about manners...]]
* AlwaysSaveTheGirl:
-->'''Brannigan:''' This Martha... she must mean a lot to you.\\
'''The Doctor:''' Hardly know her. I was too busy showing off.
* AmericanGothicCouple: The couple in the opening who are attacked by the Macra.
* TheAtoner: The cat nun who's the assistant to the Face of Boe was the survivor out of the three-named cat nuns on Planet Earth.
* BigWordShout / SayMyName: MAAAAAAAARTHAAAAAAAAAAAA!
* CallBack: [[Recap/DoctorWhoS4E7TheMacraTerror The Macra]]. From a MissingEpisode no less.
** The Doctor asks for the Duke of Manhattan.
** One of the car drivers is a completely red dude - we saw another one on "New Earth".
* TheCityNarrows: The other side of New New York.
* CuteKitten: Most likely the reason for an anthropomorphic cat and a demi-human woman having a litter of seemingly ordinary kittens.
* DrugsAreBad: Both Martha and the Doctor are unamused by a street populated by drug-dealing booths that sell everything from "Happy" to "Forget" to "Honesty", and "Bliss" killed all of New Earth's population apart from New New York's undercity.
* EvolutionaryLevels: The Doctor wonders if the Macra have devolved, considering they used to be intelligent but now they're just huge mindless monsters.
* EvolutionaryStasis: Despite being said in previous episodes to have changed, the humans still look human.
* FirstTimeInTheSun: In the end, the denizens of the motorway finally ascend into the sky.
* FlatWhat: Martha's reaction to the length of time the car-jacking journey will take.
* FlyingCar: In sufficient abundance to result in three-dimensional multi-lane motorways and horrifying flying traffic jams.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: "You are not alone."
** Thomas Kinkaide Brannigan: "Until Journey's End."
* GiantEnemyCrab: The Macra. They can be found at the bottom of the motorway in [[NewNeoCity New New York]] (on New Earth). In the 'fast lane' you can reach speeds of up to thirty miles per hour! (Usually taking six years to get to Brooklyn from Queens!) However, this comes with a risk: the potential of being sliced and mauled by the Macra. What's even scarier is that you only really get to see these claws above the fumes.
* HoodHopping: The Doctor does a three-dimensional version.
* HypocriticalHumor: Brannigan refers to the Cassinis as "sisters", claiming that he's a traditional type. When he's a catman married to a humanoid.
* IAteWhat: Martha is disgusted to learn that food in the cars is made from recycled waste, after taking a few bites of a cookie offered to her.
* InfantImmortality: Averted. The second car on-screen to fall victim to the Macra is a car carrying two young twins.
* InterspeciesRomance: The Brannigans. She's demi-human, he's a cat-man; their kids are a litter of kittens ([[RuleOfCute who can say "Mama"]]).
* MuckMonster: The Macra.
* NewNeoCity: New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York.
* NoAntagonist: A rare ''Doctor Who'' story with no sentient villain. [[spoiler: Even the virus that wiped out the entire population of New Earth has long since perished, having had no-one left alive to infect and propagate itself with]].
* NobodyOver50IsGay: Averted with the Cassinis, an elderly lesbian couple.
* OneDrinkWillKillTheBaby: When Martha finds out one of her kidnappers is pregnant, she rips off the woman's Honesty patch in disgust.
* OneWordTitle
* PoliceAreUseless: A call to the police gets the Doctor put on hold. A call to the Cassinis reveals that there ''aren't'' police.
* PlanetOfHats: All of the cars the Doctor passes through have obvious themes, be they white décor, Harajuku fashion, hippy nudism, red décor, or stylish fifties Britain.
* SelectiveObliviousness: Everyone is on some level aware that they've not seen any sign from the government and/or the people on the surface for over 20 years, but it takes some serious prodding from the Doctor before they even start to acknowledge the ElephantInTheLivingRoom.
* ShoutOut
** According to WordOfGod, the concept of an endless traffic jam in a dystopian city is a shoutout to Mega-City One in ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'', and the man with the bowler hat is based on Max Normal, a supporting character in the comic.
** The setting, [[Recap/DoctorWhoNSS2E1NewEarth New New York]], may be a reference to ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''.
** [[Film/{{Serenity}} An airborne drug causes most of the inhabitants of a planet to lay down and die.]]
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: The people on the underground motorway are disturbingly blasé about the fact that nobody ever gets anywhere, that there's no police, and that the news doesn't do anything special. Martha needs to take a it of time to adjust to this. This helps to make people never question ''what happened'': [[spoiler:the surface got wiped out by a virus.]]
* VillainDecay: Deliberately invoked. After a few billion years, the Macra devolved into a much less intelligent form, so instead of being invisible puppet masters (like the Silence would be later in New Who) they're just... giant crabs living on car fumes.
* YouAreNotAlone / ThereIsAnother: So says the Face of Boe.

----
[[redirect:Recap/DoctorWhoS29E3Gridlock]]
28th Mar '14 9:22:30 AM nighttrainfm
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Added DiffLines:

-->'''Doctor:''' What if the traffic jam never stops? What if there's no help coming, not ever? What if there's nothing? Just the motorway, with the cars going round and round and round and round, never stopping. FOREVER.
26th Mar '14 10:01:55 PM EKonoMai
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Added DiffLines:

* {{Foreshadowing}}: "You are not alone."
** Thomas Kinkaide Brannigan: "Until Journey's End."
23rd Mar '14 6:43:34 AM Silverblade2
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* {{Foreshadowing}}: "You are not alone."
** Which takes on a new meaning in a [[Recap/DoctorWho50thASTheDayOfTheDoctor future episode]].
** Thomas Kinkaide Brannigan: "Until Journey's End."
16th Mar '14 1:59:31 PM nighttrainfm
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* AdultFear: Plot holes aside, the episode becomes very disturbing, in a peculiar fashion, if you start thinking about being stuck in an inescapable traffic jam that will ''never, ever end'' (maybe you have to drive into to work to appreciate it).

to:

* AdultFear: Plot holes aside, the episode becomes very disturbing, in a peculiar fashion, if you start thinking about being stuck in an inescapable traffic jam that will ''never, ever end'' (maybe you have to drive into to work to appreciate it).
16th Mar '14 1:59:09 PM nighttrainfm
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'''The Doctor:''' Hardly know her.

to:

'''The Doctor:''' Hardly know her. I was too busy showing off.
8th Mar '14 6:06:29 AM nighttrainfm
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** NationalStereotypes: Irish Catman. Including that one guy who ''really'' [[NWordPrivileges went out of his way to look British. Bowler hat, something about manners...]]

to:

** NationalStereotypes: Irish Catman. Including that one guy who ''really'' [[NWordPrivileges [[IAmVeryBritish went out of his way to look British. Bowler hat, something about manners...]]
8th Feb '14 8:12:50 PM Sifr1889
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* SelectiveObliviousness: Everyone is on some level aware that they've not seen any sign from the government and/or the people on the surface for over 20 years, but simply refuse to openly acknowledge the large ElephantInTheLivingRoom.

to:

* SelectiveObliviousness: Everyone is on some level aware that they've not seen any sign from the government and/or the people on the surface for over 20 years, but simply refuse it takes some serious prodding from the Doctor before they even start to openly acknowledge the large ElephantInTheLivingRoom.
8th Feb '14 8:10:30 PM Sifr1889
Is there an issue? Send a Message


* NoAntagonist: A rare ''Doctor Who'' story with no sentient villain.

to:

* NoAntagonist: A rare ''Doctor Who'' story with no sentient villain. [[spoiler: Even the virus that wiped out the entire population of New Earth has long since perished, having had no-one left alive to infect and propagate itself with]].


Added DiffLines:

* SelectiveObliviousness: Everyone is on some level aware that they've not seen any sign from the government and/or the people on the surface for over 20 years, but simply refuse to openly acknowledge the large ElephantInTheLivingRoom.
17th Jan '14 2:19:05 AM EKonoMai
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* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: The people on the underground motorway are disturbingly blasé about the fact that nobody ever gets anywhere, that there's no police, and that the news doesn't do anything special. Martha needs to take a it of time to adjust to this.

to:

* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: The people on the underground motorway are disturbingly blasé about the fact that nobody ever gets anywhere, that there's no police, and that the news doesn't do anything special. Martha needs to take a it of time to adjust to this. This helps to make people never question ''what happened'': [[spoiler:the surface got wiped out by a virus.]]
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Recap.DoctorWhoNSS3E3Gridlock