Review: Doctor Who S3.3

Who'd have though it? A whole Doctor Who episode about a traffic jam (or 'Gridlock' to our North American readers)

A Nasty Case of Crabs

Doctor Who: he can travel through time and space to anywhere he feels like, yet always ends up in London or South Wales.

Well, not any more; the next three episodes are set in New York. Three! Count them. That’s almost a quarter of the series pissed away in the most culturally oversubscribed city on the planet.

The trailer certainly didn’t hold out much hope for the first visit to (New) New York. It’s on Stupid New Earth, it has Father Dougal as one of those nonsensical cat people who just soak up valuable budget and, like all the rubbish episodes of Doctor Who, had a basic plotline schematic of ‘some people are going missing’.

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But this is a Russell T Davies episode, so everything inevitably fell nicely into place. Dashing between the cars of a lifelong traffic jam, this was also the first time this series the Doctor has had to put his back into a bit of graft, instead of just pointing out stuff he already knows.

I’m not saying we need an action hero flashback to the McGann massacre of ’96, but this was the first time he’s done anything this series, instead of relying on (a) Martha to work things out, and (b) yelling that he’s very important, don’t you know who he is, he doesn’t need a gun just a sonic screwdriver, blah blah blah.

Still, ultimately the traffic jam (we are British, we do not suffer Gridlock) was just passing the time to the Hypercrabs, which were passing the time to mankind being wiped out by an airborne drug virus, which was only there until we got around to the Face of Boe’s long-awaited words.

Or at least, it would have been, if we didn’t already known what the message was going to be for ages. Still, the message is bound to be caught up with the new Bad Wolf, the much discussed Vote Saxon. Fingers crossed, it will indeed bring the Master into the series.

The lazier scriptwriters at the moment let the Doctor solve various mysteries by just pointing out stuff he already knows. Watching Doctor Who becomes like watching a film with a friend who’s seen it before. So you’ve worked out why people are stuck in a tunnel in half an hour, solving a problem plaguing their existence for decades, did you? Well, bully for you, you smug git.

For someone who prides himself on his people skills, it isn’t half tedious. A character who could rival his all-knowing self is exactly what the series needs. Of course his AA Roadwatch efforts will ultimately be a waste of time, given that the only humans left alive were beyond dense.

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Father Dougal will probably end up their new Stupid President, before they die out anyway due to being too dim to know how to use doors. At least it will stop us going to Stupid New Earth. Come back, Cardiff. All is forgiven.