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20 January 2015 @ 09:42 pm
NuWho Rewatch: Gridlock  
I actually rather like Gridlock. Obviously the world-building and back story are leakier than a sieve but it isn't often you see an atheist tackle faith as a theme, and treat it in a sympathetic fashion as is done here. I also rather like the little snapshots of people's lives we get in each of the different vehicles. While the world-building in the large is a failure, at this level of detail someone has put in a lot of thought and care.

I was a little distracted by the certainty that I had seen Milo and Cheen elsewhere. Cheen, it transpires, is played by the same actress who later played Annie in Being Human. I only watched a couple of episodes of Being Human but still that explains the recognition. Travis Oliver doesn't appear to have been in anything I've watched (although he's apparently going to return to Doctor Who as Chris Cwej in a Big Finish adaptation of Damaged Goods). Still he looks awfully familiar.

This is (some idiocy aside) a heart-warming little tale, filled with rather charming characters and anxious to give them a happy ending. A lot of Davies' work as a vague undercurrent of wariness about human nature (for all the Doctor proclaims it to be fantastic at regular intervals) but this story is oddly free from that. There are no villains here, just people surviving, and mostly surviving with hope and compassion (albeit perhaps without much intelligence) in difficult circumstances.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/138405.html.
parrot_knight: DavidIconparrot_knight on January 20th, 2015 10:07 pm (UTC)
There's a sense of false hope being replaced by real hope following acknowledgement of a cataclysm, I think; but I've always liked this episode.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on January 21st, 2015 12:32 pm (UTC)
I think you could argue that the Face of Boe and Novice Hame's faith that the Doctor will come and sort the situation out, is transmitted to them to the people on the motorway via the hologram. Though that possibly does elevate the Doctor into a pseudo-god situation again. I think the hope isn't false so much as rather non-specific.
parrot_knightparrot_knight on January 21st, 2015 02:00 pm (UTC)
That's true; it's a hope limited through transmission, which needs a catalyst - the Doctor - to empower it, perhaps.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on January 21st, 2015 11:43 am (UTC)
I should like this, for all the reasons you said, but somehow I just can't warm to it. Maybe I can't look past the flaws in the world-building. Or maybe I just can't stand David Tennant. I do think it feels as if by this stage no one was editing Davies' scripts, even in the most cursory of ways, something that would get worse as his time on the programme went on.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on January 21st, 2015 12:35 pm (UTC)
It occurred to me, in responding to parrot_knight above, that it can also be read as another story that elevates the Doctor to a kind of godhood. After all it the Doctor that Novice Hame and the Face of Boe have faith in, and they are then communicating that faith in a diffuse way to the people trapped on the motorway. That does rather change the message away from one about the power of faith and back into the odd mixture of veneration and fear the program is trying to invest in the Doctor at this point.
Young Geoffreyed_rex on January 22nd, 2015 05:32 am (UTC)
World-building for the loss!
I'm with you. Whatever its merits, I couldn't look past the world-building, even though someone pointed me to an article about (I think it was) a 9-day bit of gridlock in China, which made me wonder if the fault wasn't mine after all.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on January 22nd, 2015 09:39 am (UTC)
Re: World-building for the loss!
It's a shame because a lot of the world-building problems could probably have been fixed with a little thought and a throwaway line - though possibly not the part where the Face of Boe has sat around for 25 years doing virtually nothing, it would seem, except wait for the Doctor to turn up do a bit of rewiring.