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Doctor Who- Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

Written by Dr. Improbable on Monday, April 29 2013 and posted in Features

Doctor Who- Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

“Don’t get into a spaceship with a madman. Didn’t anyone teach you that?”


So while the rest of the site blows up due to comics-related drama, I’ll just be over here still trying to crank out television recaps for everyone. It’s not like I, as a lowly entertainment reviewer, get to go to c2e2, even though I live in freaking Chicago. (Full disclosure: I did not even ask for a press pass.) Anyway, it’s time for a slightly delayed recap of this week’s Doctor Who. *Spoilers, sweetie.*

A Firefly-esque spaceship (as in, a ship we'd see on Firefly, not Serenity herself) attempts to “salvage” the TARDIS via magnet-ray. This mightily disrupts our dear ship and interrupts the Doctor trying to make her get along with Clara. After the inevitable crash, The Doctor extorts the salvage crew- two “human” brothers and an android- into helping him, promising the salvage of a lifetime, though what he really meant is that they’re going to help him find Clara before her time runs out. Well, her time and theirs, as he activates the self-destruct sequence, giving them an hour to complete their mission.

Clara is god-knows-where (though she does pass the pool), being stalked by a sinister creature of some sort. While she ends up in a library (always a dubious place to wind up in the world of Doctor Who) containing the liquefied history of Gallifrey (tastes like unfathomable wisdom!), the salvage crew starts salvaging. They attempt to cut up the TARDIS’s main architectural hub, much to the dismay of the Doctor, and probably the TARDIS since she’s obviously more than a little anthropomorphic. When she loses one of her magic light bulb circuits, things start to get ugly, and she traps the passengers in a labyrinth.

Tricky, the android, tries to give back the circuit he stole from the TARDIS, but the brothers get split from him and The Doctor. Being an idiot, Bram (big brother) attempts to steal some more stuff from the main consul  (more like con-soul, amirite?) of the ship, but she knocks him off a ladder and he gets eaten by whatever sinister creature was stalking Clara. She, meanwhile, keeps ending up in the control room, as do the Doctor and Tricky. The Doctor realises this is because the TARDIS is trying to protect them.

Clara nearly lets a mud-zombie in after her, but the Doctor manages to save her (obviously.) However, the TARDIS really is about to explode due to engine overload. Also, there are tiny rips in space-time, causing memories to leak into the present. You know, standard break down stuff for any vehicle. I’m sure AAA has them covered.

The TARDIS starts shooting pylons at the trapped heroes, and manages to pierce Tricky. We then find out Tricky isn’t really an android, but the third Van Baalen brother, victim of a salvage accident and a practical joke. Clara, meanwhile, is interested in the identity of the burned zombies. Thanks to the Van Baalen’s scanners, we find out that they’re actually Clara and Tricky and Gregor- they burn up in the centre of the TARDIS, which is leaking not only the past but the future.

Clara and The Doctor make it to the engine room, which has disguised itself as a giant chasm. Thinking they’re trapped, the Doctor demands Clara tell him who she really is, citing their previous misadventures, which we might recall led to her untimely demise. She has no idea what he’s talking about, which somehow makes him realise that the chasm is a defence mechanism- they take a leap of faith into it, and land in the real engine room, an abstract white expanse filled with free-floating metal parts. Pretty neat installation piece, set designers. In that room, the Doctor sees the message that’s been burned into Clara’s hand, and reaches through the tear in time to when they were first crashing, throwing his past self a reset button.

Indeed, time resets itself, and the TARDIS avoids crashing due to the salvager’s magneto-ray. Clara has no memory of the day they spent trying not to get killed by the ship, nor has she any memory of the library or stumbling across the Doctor’s name, because that was what was in the encyclopaedia apparently. Of course, this also means Tricky has no memory of being told he’s actually human, but hey, Greater Good, right?

Even though The Doctor seemed to decide that Clara was “just Clara,” it’s pretty clear there’s something deeper going on with her character.  The concept of identity has been a pretty big theme this season, what with the robo-surrogates in this series’ first episode and The Doctor’s quest to figure out who Clara is. Stay tuned for more existential crises from the land of Who.


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About the Author - DrImprobable

Before you ask, no, Dr. Improbable is not that kind of doctor, and will not be diagnosing your genital warts today. Seriously, put it away. The doc does more of the "mad science" brand of doctoring, though one day hopes to be that "time and space traveling" kind of doctor. In the meantime, Doc passes time cloning things, memorizing acronyms, and using large magnets. When not plotting all the terrible ways to destroy the human race (particularly those found on public transportation), the doc kills time by watching television and making sarcastic commentary on it.


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