Who Review – Journey To the Centre Of the TARDIS
Greeting fellow Evil Geek Whovians! Welcome to this weeks Who Review, the weekly wrap up of the adventures of your favorite Galifreyan (unless you’re a bigger fan of the Master, or maybe that dude who Timothy Dalton played). Last week brought us a heartfelt love story, masquerading as a ghost story and we also learned a little bit more about Clara’s personality, but still nothing on exactly who or WHAT she is! This week finds the Doctor frantically trying to save two of the most important ladies in his life, Clara and the TARDIS. What secrets will the heart of the TARDIS hold? Read on and find out!
So, you know how you’ve spent years fantasizing about being able to travel on the TARDIS and exploring all there is to be seen in all of time and space? Yeah, it turns out you should be careful what you wish for, because the depths of the TARDIS are a deadly hellhole. Before we get to that though, let’s talk about the Doctor and Clara. Last week we learned that the TARDIS really doesn’t like Clara a whole lot. So this week, the Doctor is spending some time trying to get them more familiarized with each other. The Doctor has set the TARDIS functions to basic mode so that he can give Clara the chance to fly the ship. Just as she takes control, some passing salvagers, named the Van Baalen Brothers spot the TARDIS drifting through space and mistake it for an escape pod (Steven Moffat couldn’t be bothered to name one of them Eddie Van Baalen? Come on man, you can’t let comedy gold like that slip through your fingers!). The scavengers latch on to the ship with their magnetic tractor beam and drag it into theirs in hopes of being able to find some valuable metals inside. The magnetic beam severely cripples the TARDIS, leaving it wrecked and leaking fuel. The Doctor makes it out safely, but Clara is trapped inside. The Doctor makes a deal with the salvagers; help him retrieve Clara and they can have the TARDIS for the salvage of a lifetime.
Once the Doctor lures the scavengers inside, he quickly flips the tables on them and we get to see a different side of the Doctor than we’re used to seeing. He quickly goes from his normal, joking, jovial self, to intimidating and intense in a split second. He locks the scavengers in the ship with him and activates the self destruct mechanism. The scavengers now have and hour to find Clara or the Doctor will kill everyone. When one of the men protest, the Doctor cuts the time to 30 minutes. Even though we find out later on that he didn’t actually activate the self destruct, it’s striking to see him be so threatening. He absolutely sold the brothers on the notion that he was going to kill them. The 4 men set out to search for Clara, but it’s clear that the Van Baalens are more interested in scavenging the ship than finding Clara, which will come back to haunt them later on. If there’s one thing the TARDIS really dislikes, aside from Clara, is people trying to take her apart. She will fight back! The Doctor warns one of the Van Baalen Brothers when he tries to steal one of the TARDIS’s circuits, but he doesn’t listen and of course pays the price for that.
While the guys are searching for Clara, she’s in a different part of the ship exploring some of the nicer parts of it. After teasing us for years, we finally get our first glimpse of the TARDIS pool, which turns out to be just as incredibly awesome as you think it would be. I do realize that we didn’t see the entire pool, but I was slightly disturbed by the apparent lack of a swim up bar. Come on TARDIS, I don’t want to have to leave the water every time I want to feel drunker! Clara also stumbles across a copy of the complete history of the Time Wars and discovers some startling information regarding him. She learns his name, but never gets the chance to reveal it to us or anyone for that matter because of a little time resetting later on in the episode. Clara also happens to come across some kind of TARDIS version of the Room of Requirement and everything starts going south from there. It turns out there’s some kind of creature living in the bowels of the TARDIS and now it’s after Clara. The Doctor actually needs to contact a really good Terminex guy or something, because it appears that there are several of the monsters infesting the ship. There’s a pretty big reveal concerning the monster’s origins later on, which I certainly didn’t see coming. It blew my mind, so it’s best left unspoiled.
The thing that I loved most about this episode was that the situation between the Doctor and Clara finally come to a head and he was finally forced to tell her about everything he’s been hiding from her. The Doctor tells her about their previous run-ins in different time eras and that he want’s to know who she really is. The frustrating thing about this though was that at after the events of the end of the episode, that confrontation never happened and is completely forgotten by Clara. DAMN IT!!!! I felt like we were finally moving forward and that the underlying tension between the Doctor and Clara would finally have been settled, but those events quickly get erased. I did love seeing the inner workings of the TARDIS in this episode. It’s a sentient being that can quickly rearrange its interior in order to deal with threats, and I loved seeing it basically toy with the brothers in various ways. The trust issues still remain between Clara and the Doctor, so that’s bound to come up again at some point in the near future. Although since he already told Clara the truth once and was still able to win her trust back after that, it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll decide to be honest with her again if the situation between them flares up.
I really dug this episode, but damn this Clara thing is moving slowly! Hitching a ride on the TARDIS is the absolute dream of any Whovian out there, so it’s great to see that expectation of the experience being a fun and whimsical adventure, shown instead as being a terrifying and perilous experience instead. I really, REALLY liked seeing the Doctor’s diabolical side. We was willing to lead the Van Baalen Brothers into a trap that they thought would possible cost them their lives. It’s the Doctor’s mean side, but I’d like to see a little more of that every now and then. Next week’s episode is taking us back to Victorian England, reuniting the Doctor with Strax the Sontaran, Jenny, and Madame Vastra. This of course, is where the Doctor first encountered Clara #2, so maybe he’s heading back to finally shed some light on the subject of her miraculous resurrection. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check in again next week for another all new Who Review!
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