Doctor Who: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

“If it’s ka it’ll come like a wind, and your plans will stand before it no more than a barn before a cyclone.”

Stephen King

SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

This week, the TARDIS is up to her old tricks as a concatenation of not-very-clear events forces the Doctor, Clara and some randomers on a space ship into “the heart of the TARDIS”, a phrase that the characters (especially the Doctor) use so much that it descends into meaninglessness, which is a shame because it’s a nice phrase. “We must go to the heart of the TARDIS!” says the Doctor in a suitably allons-y type way, but by the time they’ve actually got there and the Doctor says “Here we are, at the heart of the TARDIS!” you just want to shout “YES, WE KNOW IT’S THE HEART OF THE TARDIS, PLEASE MOVE ON NOW!”

Sorry. Moving on.

As the various characters move around the apparently infinite ship (looking for Clara, looking for the engine room, trying to nick stuff) it becomes clear that the TARDIS is weaving a maze around them (mainly the randomers who are trying to nick stuff: she really doesn’t like them), a maze that involves tunnels that all lead the same way and echoes of rooms that move around…oh, and some scary monsters, who are all blurry, presumably in order to disguise the fact that they are just people in really bad costumes. There are some nice nods to the Doctor’s history: his cradle, the Encyclopedia Gallifrey (it’s a thing, apparently), and a mysterious book entitled The History of the Time War, in which Clara tantalisingly reads the Doctor’s name before forgetting it again.

I’m quite excited about the Doctor’s name, which we seem set to find out in a couple of episodes’ time, and I would like to register my opinion on the matter. I think that the Doctor’s name is going to turn out to be something utterly unspectacular like Fred or Bob. Because, let’s face it, anything‘s going to be anticlimactic after 50 years, so why not play up to that and make it amusing? You read it here first.

Back to our Vernian (geddit?) adventure to the much-feted Heart of the TARDIS. Generally, I thought it was quite a nice episode, much more Doctor Who-ish than many of the other adventures we’ve had recently, with some lovely wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff, and a visit to the Eye of Harmony (“Time Lord engineering!”) which immediately made me think of that Chameleon Circuit song (“powered by the Eye of Harmony, etc.”). I did think the ending, with the brothers all friends again, was a bit forced, given that the reconciliation never actually happened (see, I told you it was timey-wimey), and I did spot one fairly major plot hole: if the scary monsters were indeed future versions of Clara and the brothers, why were they trying to kill them? “Here’s a good plan: why don’t I kill my past self?”

But I am quite fond of the TARDIS, and it was nice to find out more about how the whole thing works. So I guess I can forgive the plot holes. For now. Steven Moffatt, you are still on probation.

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