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The Ninth Doctor lands the TARDIS in Cardiff, using the energy of the Cardiff Rift to recharge the engines of the time machine. The Doctor spots a newspaper article showing Margaret Blaine, a Slitheen, has become Cardiff's new mayor.
The four track down and capture Blaine to find out what she is doing there.
Arnold T Blumburg of Now Playing gave the episode a grade of B , writing that it "sacrifices a bit of plot and logic" for a good exploration of the characters and plot threads. In 2013, Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times particularly praised Badland and the dinner scene, though he described the whole episode as a "peculiar short-story, a low-cal filler sandwiched between the dramatic juggernauts of Steven Moffat's Doctor Who debut and Russell T Davies's dazzling finale." The A. Club reviewer Alasdair Wilkins gave the episode a grade of B, noting that it required more suspension of belief than usual.
He felt that the plot was included out of necessity while the episode was more focused on character moments, and that this did not work as well as "Father's Day" because Margaret's fate was "less clearly motivated." On the other hand, Wilkins called Rose and Mickey's subplot the most effectively handled part of "Boom Town".
The Doctor observes Blaine's scale model plans for a new nuclear power plant, but identifies that it is purposely flawed to cause a meltdown that would open the Cardiff Rift and destroy the Earth.
He also discovers the model contains an "extrapolator" that Blaine would have used to flee the Earth.
Before Rose can answer whether she will come back to Mickey, Cardiff is struck by a large earthquake that is coming from the Rift.
The heart of the TARDIS opens on the console, bathing Blaine in light.Rose realises Mickey has left without saying goodbye.She runs out to look for him, but finds he has gone.The episode was also intended to showcase Cardiff, where the revived Doctor Who series is made, and where the episode was filmed in February 2005.
"Boom Town" was watched by 7.68 million viewers in the United Kingdom and received mixed reviews from critics.
The reviewer acknowledged that it "certainly misfires on some levels, and leaves various elements underdeveloped", but praised the moral dilemma, including the dinner scene.