Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
Original Air Date: Apr 27, 2013
Maria – Associate Staff Writer
Space is pretty big, but it can also be pretty boring. At least for the Van Baalens, three brothers who make up an entire salvage crew. But there’s little to salvage this far out, and Tricky is aware of that yet his brothers mock him, telling him androids don’t get bored. Strange little family.
Speaking of families, the Doctor is rather put out that that the TARDIS and Clara don’t seem to get along, so he lowers the TARDIS’ shields in order for them to attempt to bond. Oh Doctor. Instead, it allows the salvage ship to detect them and grab them. Oops.
The TARDIS is breaking, and Clara picks up the remote sent from the salvagers, so hot it burns her hand. The Doctor manages to escape, but Clara is lost within the depths of the TARDIS. She could be anywhere, so the Doctor enlists the help of the brothers to find her. For added incentive, he tells them that the ship will self-destruct in half an hour.
Clara awakes in the corridor, lost and surrounded by danger. There are fireballs and tubes and scratches and it’s all rather hazardous, but perhaps the most immediate concern is a deformed humanoid with red eyes that seems intent on chasing her. She runs through the corridors, and stumbles upon the most extensive library ever.
The oldest, yet possibly least intelligent brother Bram Van Baalen does as Gregor (Ashley Walters) asks and tries to strip the console for salvage. The Doctor did warn the brothers not to touch anything or the TARDIS would get huffy. Gregor isn’t scared. He takes some of the TARDIS’s circuitry, and when she defends herself by making the door vanish, he threatens to blast her and the door reappears. Dangerous game.
Something else dangerous is knowledge. The TARDIS is oozing with it. Bottles containing some of the knowledge of Gallifrey are knocked over. Clara find a book on the Time War and reads up on the Doctor. Bram is freaked out by the sounds of the TARDIS console as it echoes with the past, including things the companions said to the 1st Doctor. Still, he tries to follow his brother’s orders, and he gets himself killed after trying to get too close to the console, falling to his death.
The creatures are still chasing Gregor and Tricky and the Doctor and Clara. There’s more than one. In fact, there’s one which is two beings, fused together, and it’s very disturbing, but also a clue to the identity of the creatures.
Identity. The TARDIS views the brothers as a threat since Gregor is still trying to steal her parts. She spikes Tricky through with a metal beam and forces Gregor to confess the truth. Tricky is not an android. He lost his sight, his voice and his memory so his brothers fitted him with bionic eyes and an electronic voicebox. They told him he was an android mostly because they didn’t want him to become Captain like their father wanted, but also because they were bored.
Clara gives the Doctor a piece of her mind when she’s reunited with him. From her point of view she’s traveling with a man who keeps monsters in his home, but the Doctor is on the verge of tears as he confesses the truth. He just wanted to keep her safe, but he’s gotten her killed her again. The creatures are time zombies, echoes bleeding through from the future. The zombies are Clara, Doctor, Gregor and Tricky, having been burned in a blast and gone mad from the pain.
Okay then. One solution. Make sure the explosion never happens, but it’s too late. The TARDIS doesn’t have a self-destruct sequence, despite what he told the Daleks and the Van Baalens, but the engines have already started to explode and in trying to get to safety, Team TARDIS and the two surviving brothers may create their own fate. The brothers throw the conjoined zombies into the Eye of Harmony, and this triggers their transformation.
The answer is burned onto Clara’s hand. She picked up the remote from the salvage vessel which allowed the Van Braalens to set off the magno grab, so the Doctor writes a message on that remote and sends it back in time again to the beginning of the episode so he can avoid the whole mess.
Usually, I loathe reset buttons with a passion but it works in Doctor Who. With this solution, the TARDIS isn’t hurt, Clara never had a chance to read the Doctor’s name, she knows nothing of the lives where she died, and she still feels safe with the Doctor. Tricky doesn’t know he’s not an android, but there is an inkling that Gregor will subconsciously treat him nicer from now on.
Did you guess that Tricky wasn’t an android? What do you think the TARDIS has against Clara? Did you figure out what the time zombies were? Were you scared? Did you think the ending was clever or cliché? Please, leave a comment with your TwoCents or send me a tweet over on @MariaTV101