Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: "Journey to the Center of the TARDIS"

Episode 10 of series 7 of "Doctor Who".

By this point, you know the drill. Switch off your brain and read at your own risk, for spoilers lie ahead.

Still there? Invisotext (which is utterly useless if you're reading this on a handheld... sorry).

The Doctor and Clara are flying about, arguing about something inconsequential. Meanwhile, a spaceship heads through deep space looking for salvage. Since Ripley's shuttle wasn't about (see Aliens if you didn't get that ref) they find the TARDIS.

You see, the Doctor, anxious for Clara and the TARDIS to get along, has turned off all the defenses and set it in basic mode.

If you're going to ask questions about "why" at any point from here on out, you're best served by walking away from your electronic device and drinking several shots of your favorite liquor in succession.

Okay, back to the story. The salvagers are not exactly law-abiding. The magnetic tractor beam thingie they use on the TARDIS somehow damages it. They bring the TARDIS aboard and somehow the Doctor is outside when the three guys (one of whom is apparently some kind of android) try to get inside.

The Doctor persuades them to enter with him to help find Clara, who is still inside.

What did I say about questions? Stop. Just accept this. Move on.

Clara, meanwhile, is lost in the TARDIS and being stalked by some glowy-eyed growly thing.

She wanders about, finding an observatory, the swimming pool, and the library. There, she somehow finds a book on the Time War with the Doctor's name in it.

Okay, we'll stop and ask questions: so the TARDIS doesn't translate Gallifreyan writing for the Doctor's companions (according to "A Good Man Goes to War") so how does Clara read this book? Hell, who WROTE it? The Doctor? Why? And why just leave it out? And why put his name in there, if it's such a big goddamn mystery? Gah! I'm not listening to my own advice. Moving on.

After the growly things take out one of the salvage guys, they're reunited with Clara. Turns out one of the salvage guys - the "android" - really isn't an android, but the brother of the other two salvage guys. Don't ask 'cause it's largely irrelevant to the story and unnecessary information.

More flashy insides of the TARDIS, including its fuel source, the Eye of Harmony, a sun about to become a black hole and suspended in time. Kind of cool.

Turns out the glowy-eyed monsters are somehow Clara and the salvage guys, mysteriously killed but not killed by the Eye of Harmony and shifted in time to go back in the TARDIS and kill their past selves...

Seriously, don't ask questions. I agree. The plot is utterly nonsensical.

Turns out the engine blew up, but was frozen by the TARDIS. Um... okay... but Clara, who burned her hand on a mysterious device that appeared early in the ep, has the key: the Doctor can take some kind of device back in time and undo all this.

And he does, but not after telling Clara about her other incarnations. But she forgets this 'cause time is re-written. So... yeah.

"Journey to the Center of the TARDIS" is flashy and had lots of potential. Alas, it was squandered by the utter nonsensical writing and general ridiculousness. Smith and Coleman, who in the past seemed to have solid chemistry, feel forced together. I'm not really feeling the Clara-love. She still feels like a cypher and an object, and not a real, stand-alone person.

Overall, better than "The Bells of St. John" and "The Rings of Akahatten" (sp?) but only barely.
EDIT: The inestimable Charlie Jane Anders does a brilliant write up on this ep. I think Charlie Jane is dead-on and recommend reading this article.

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