I didn’t remember much about this episode and, after watching it again, I realise why: not much actually happens. It must have been a cost-cutting episode, keeping the budget low to save money for the finale. It conveniently coincides with the Tardis needing to recharge its energy cells by parking over the now closed dimensional rift in Cardiff, where a Slitheen survivor is, also conveniently, planning a devastating explosion to get herself away from Earth. So, yes, it’s another story set on Earth. This might not be so bad if Rose didn’t start bragging about all the exotic planets they’ve been to on their untelevised travels.
Down-time isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These episodes are often so fast-paced that you can miss out on the little things like characters having fairly long conversations about their lives. This episode is all about that, with the Doctor and Blon’s dinner scene taking up the bulk of it. Rose and Mickey also have a frank discussion about her disappearing all the time and him not waiting around for her anymore, which further develops his character and is a good performance by Noel Clarke. This show needs more Mickey.
Beyond that, the episode is fairly lighthearted. Although the farting is toned down, “Margaret” murdering her construction workers and critics is almost played for laughs, as is the chase from her office and the teleport gag. Don’t get me wrong, I like the humour in Doctor Who, but here it’s bordering on the silly. I liked how the Doctor finally realises that the words “Bad Wolf” have been following them around on their travels, but dismisses it as a coincidence, at which point the foreboding musics stops in its tracks and everything carries on as normal. Imagine if that was the actual reveal and it was never mentioned again – it would have been some epic trolling!
Boom Town is a little bit boring, unfortunately. Russell T. Davies gets the characters right and the dialogue is natural and raises some interesting moral dilemmas, but there’s not a lot more to it and these issues aren’t resolved nor do they amount to anything. Still, given his big plots are usually full of holes, perhaps sticking to a story that’s purely focused on the characters having some down time was a good choice. Things are going to get very strange from here on.