Doctor Who: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS Review
Some episodes are easy to sum up in the opening tease of a review but Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS is definitely not one of those episodes. There was a mix of action, suspense, intrigue and wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey to make for a fun episode. And there was even an unofficial tour of the TARDIS to boot.
This week started with the TARDIS being damaged by an illegal salvage ship and Clara getting lost in the depths of the TARDIS. As has been noted before, the TARDIS is an absolute maze on the inside. So the Doctor recruits the illegal salvage team to help him find Clara by promising the biggest salvage haul they’ve ever gotten.
This episode gave us a reason to explore the TARDIS and see some of its inner workings like the architectural reconfiguration system, the engine room and the Eye of Harmony (a dying star that seems to be the heart of the TARDIS’ power). There were also some fan service moments like the appearance of the library, observatory and the famous TARDIS swimming pool.
Just touring the TARDIS wouldn’t make for a good episode. It turns out that the attempted salvage badly damaged the TARDIS. The ship was left in a pretty bad way. The ship is falling apart and there are creepy monsters with glowing eyes that are running around the ship and seem hell-bent on mauling everyone on-board.
The real fun of the episode is The Doctor and company being chased by these creepy creatures around the TARDIS. Clara was forced to sneak around and away while chased by one while The Doctor and the salvage team often found themselves surrounded by them or funneled to them by the maze of ever-changing TARDIS corridors.
The creatures were actually a result of a crack in time (Look what’s back!) from a future where everyone aboard the TARDIS was killed in the Eye of Harmony and turned into those things. As such, they could only be defeated by re-writing time.
I can’t say I was a huge fan of the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey way that the episode ended with The Doctor kinda crossing timelines through a crack in time to save the day by giving past Doctor a way out of trouble. Wibbly-wobbly deus ex machina… or something like that.
Overall, this was a good episode that was left a little flat by the ending. Still, I’d say that this was the best episode since the Christmas special. It’s nice that we’re seeing things pick up in the run to the season finale. That might be the first time I could say that since Season 4.
Other random points of note:
- Why does the TARDIS require fuel? That doesn’t seem to make sense since The Doctor has never mentioned having to fill up on space/time petrol before.
- How does someone who feels pain think that they aren’t able to feel pain?
Next week’s episode is the third-to-last episode of the season and the 100th since the series was revived in 2005. It also features the return of the popular team of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax to the series after their previous TV appearance in 2012’s Christmas Special “The Snowmen.”
“The Crimson Horror” is set in Victorian times and will apparently focus the Super Best Friends while The Doctor and Clara will play a smaller role in this episode than they typically do in others. Doctor-lite episodes has proven pretty good in the past with Turn Left and Blink being among the strongest episodes since Doctor Who’s return. I’m not sure if this will qualify as a proper Doctor-lite episode but hopefully it turns out as well as they usually do.