Episode 3 – GRIDLOCK

Although this episode’s claustrophobic feel does make it quite a nightmarish one, its concept is flawed. The motorway was a good idea and it is definitely a frightening thought to be trapped in a never ending, inescapable line of traffic. However, if the Face of Boe trapped these people to protect them from the virus that wiped out mankind, how were there people on the streets still selling these moods? And there were even people still joining the motorway when the Doctor and Martha arrived, didn’t they know it was inescapable place? The lack of Police was another spooky idea, all of these people helpless. But surely after decades of travelling, people realised there was no authority and maybe set up something amongst themselves? I know it all added to a dark and horrible concept, but some aspects just didn’t add up. I did like the set of the motorway though. You definitely got the sense that Martha was trapped and helpless. Some of the characters we met were fun too, especially Branagan. I didn’t like Milo, Martha’s male kidnapper. He was an annoying character who just refused anyone’s help or advice and continued to follow rules even though they were ridiculous. The Face of Boe made his return too and his dramatic revelation of “You Are Not Alone” ended the episode in breathtaking style. It played a huge part in the series later on. We were also given some more bitesize chunks about the Time War and it was a nice scene seeing the Doctor reminisce about his home planet and people. If this episode’s concept was less flawed then it would be a lot better because everything was there to make it brilliant. 6/10

Episode 4 – DALEKS IN MANHATTAN

Similar to Gridlock, this is a good episode if you look past the slight flaw in how it was set up. The Cult of Skaro used their “emergency temporal shift” to escape the void back in Doomsday, so it was fair enough they found themselves in 1930 Manhattan, no real complaints about that. So the Doctor takes a “detour” in taking Martha home and in all of time and space just ends up in 1930 Manhattan too? Surely Helen Raynor could’ve come up with something to give the Doctor a reason to be there. It was essential to the plot, so surely something like the Daleks giving off some strange signals that the Doctor had to check out, or a rumour about the gamma strike that eventually hit the Empire State Building being something the Doctor always wanted to see, could’ve been thrown in and mentioned just to give the Doctor and Daleks meeting so soon again some validity? Once the episode did get started though, it was enjoyable. The Cult of Skaro were growing desperate in finding new ways for the Daleks to survive. The Pig Slaves were well designed and looked menacing, even though they were basic inventions of the Daleks. I enjoyed the mystery throughout the episode of people disappearing and the Doctor and co. being chased through the sewers by the Pig Slaves was a greatly intense scene. I also found watching the Doctor trying work out what forces were at play, while we already knew the Daleks were behind the trouble, very fun to watch. Dalek Sec’s new hybrid design maybe played a part in why this two parter isn’t highly rated amongst fans but I found this first part a really good episode. 8/10

Episode 5 – EVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS

A lot of fans dislike this episode and I really don’t know why. I’ve heard and read several complaints about Dalek Sec’s new hybrid form, and maybe his design wasn’t perfect, but you can’t let the prosthetics of a single character take you out of an entire story. The Dalek’s motive was good, we knew the Cult of Skaro existed to create new forms of Daleks so I was interested to see their new race of Daleks in human form. They reacted to Sec showing more signs of humanity and less of a Dalek’s traits exactly as Daleks should, with no mercy and devotion to their own race. I  found the progression from two of the Daleks discussing their doubts about their new hybrid leader in the sewers, to them actually exterminating him a very good watch. The Dalek that murdered Solomon after his speech about compassion was as menacing as Daleks should be, that was a great scene. The Doctor getting in the way of the gamma wave was a valid way of spoiling the Dalek’s plan. When they were lined up to kill the Doctor in the theatre but then questioned why, it was a great moment. Again though, the Daleks  reacted exactly how Daleks should and committed genocide in cold blood. It’s really hard to fault anything with the script as the Daleks were as merciless as they could of been. Dalek Caan who then escaped added a good end to the story, as we knew, and the Doctor knew that one day we’d see him again. And seeing the Doctor work his magic and save Laszlo, so determined that nobody else died, was a fitting end to this two parter. I’m not sure why this story isn’t highly regarded. It’s certainly amongst the better Dalek stories of the modern era. 9/10

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