Pretty good. The Doctor returns to New Earth in the year 5 billion and 53 and promptly allows Martha to get kidnapped.
The concept of the motorway is really good, taking modern conceits of traffic-jams, pollution and car-sharing to ludicrous extremes that manage to work. The idea that people are on the motorway to get from New Manhattan to New Brooklyn for years is pulled off well.
The return of the Macra is quite cool. Admittedly they’re nothing more than mindless beasts and the story could have worked with anything else in their place, but it’s nice that they get reused for their 40th anniversary, especially as their only previous serial is completely missing.
We got to hear the Face of Boe’s message finally and, as expected, it’s “You are not alone”, which was actually used in the character notes in the 2006 annual.
Good to see Novice Hame again and I love that the Doctor’s initial reaction to seeing her again is to be happy and hug her, before remembering that she was involved in growing humans to carry plagues. Speaks volumes about his character.
The final scene where the Doctor tells Martha about Gallifrey felt a bit too much like a patient talking to a shrink though.
I have three other problems with the story as well:
1. The Undercity is said to be sealed off from the rest of New New York, yet when Martha is taken to the car by her carjackers, it’s clearly broad daylight.
2. Brannigan and Valerie have been in their car for years and moved five miles from Battery Park, but it’s implied that Marth’s car got on the motorway from near where Brannigan picks up the Doctor. Surely you could just drive through the empty streets of the Undercity to get to the last access to the motorway and shave years off your journey.
3. Once he gets all the information and starts working, the Doctor saves everything far too easily with a method that surely must have occurred to Hame and Boe.
Still, good episode and nice to see the Macra again. (well, I say again, I’ve only seen very brief clips of them before).