Doctor Who: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

Watched Doctor Who a little later than airing time yesterday evening – out for the day in London (which I’ll write up later) then our takeaway took ages to arrive. But got there in the end 🙂

SPOILERS AHEAD! Hover mouse over text to read, or read on entry page:

Overall I enjoyed the episode, but it certainly started with a few wtf moments. Like – why did the Doctor bring the Van Baalen Bros onto the TARDIS in the first place? Well, I know why – it gave us a B plot for the episode, but it might’ve been nice if there’d been some attempt to lampshade it at least a tiny bit. Oh and it gave us some more monsters, too.

I guess part of what’s particularly irritating about it is that in other ways the episode seems very cleverly constructed with things set up in advance. The photo of the van Baalen family for instance, you see it right at the start and then at the end when you see it again knowing what you know it seems you should’ve known Tricky wasn’t an android. Even before the other hints – the Doctor has clearly figured it out immediately or at least at the point of the respirator scene, but we’re given enough hints that it feels like “of course” when the reveal happens.

There were other clever bits too – the remote being the answer to re-writing time again felt like it should’ve been obvious. After all, Clara catches “something” that the Doctor shortly afterwards takes out of someone else’s pocket (and tells us what it is). I spotted the words coming up on her hand early on even tho I didn’t figure out what they were, and the “big friendly button” reveal was kinda neat 🙂 That’s the other thing the van Baalens do for the story of course – they let us know the whole thing is erased (by their lack of memory and the very fact they’re alive) but that there are echos of the day that never was (the remains of one last shred of decency that the van Baalen brother remembers just as the Doctor told him to). And Clara dodges the Doctor’s question about feeling safe right at the end, I wonder what she remembers from her day. Other than just being as tired as if she’d gone trotting around the TARDIS.

Nice to see some insides of the TARDIS too. The Library was awesome, and of course Clara forgets the danger to go poking around seeing what she can see. I’m intrigued by the Gallifreyan Encyclopaedia in the bottles – and wondering if there’ll be effects from Clara breathing in some of it (that last past the day that never was). And we’re reminded again that the Doctor has a name that is not “The Doctor”, in case anyone had forgotten. The Eye of Harmony as power source of the TARDIS manages to be both a Fourth Doctor reference and an Eighth Doctor reference. (I had to use wikipedia for that tho – I had a vague feeling it was a Fourth Doctor one but that was all.) Anyone spot any other Fourth Doctor things?

The monsters as time leaks of the future was also well set up – J spotted the focus on the hand of the Clara one, I thought mebbe she was hallucinating the monster at the time. But then in the console room with the head tilts it became clear J was on the right track. And then it built up inexorably to the revelation. Again my problem was with the van Baalen brothers – why didn’t the Doctor or Clara help up the one that fell?? (I didn’t pick up which name was which brother of the real ones.) If so, then maybe they would’ve survived … but then they did coz the time reset so it didn’t matter, but the Doctor didn’t know that at the time.

And now the Doctor knows Clara doesn’t know she’s anything but a real girl. Of course, that doesn’t answer if she’s a real girl but it means she’s not complicit in it. Probably. Nah, I’m pretty sure she’s what she seems to be now … but maybe that won’t stay the same. If she isn’t what she seems to be, that is.

So, yeah, overall a good episode …just why the Van Baalen Bros?