The Ninjabot

Doctor Who – “Journey to the Center of the Tardis” Review

Posted on April 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm by Amanda Andonian


This week on Doctor Who, the Tardis gets pulled into a salvage ship and is severely damaged, forcing the Doctor and Clara to take a journey to the center of the Tardis in an attempt to fix its dying engines. We get to see more of the mysterious ship, endure some annoying salvagers, and maybe learn a little bit more about the Doctor and Clara? In the end, of course, all it takes is hitting a “big friendly button” to reset time, fix the Tardis, and save everyone. Figures!

Once again, I’m ignoring the particulars of this episode to focus more on what the events actually uncover. Forget about the fact that if an android was really human, how could he still “feel” what the Tardis was feeling? Oh, and let’s also ignore the fact that whenever someone gets hurt in this episode, they just jump right back up and continue running around like they weren’t badly burned or skewered by a giant steel pipe. Oh oh, and I guess being burnt to a crisp turns you into some kind of monster that wants to attack over living beings? Whatever! Those sorts of technicalities just bog down a story!

journey-to-the-center-of-the-tardis“Journey to the Center of the Tardis,” though, is really all about the Doctor’s inability to trust while still demanding that everyone trust him. For whatever reason, the Doctor believes that secrets are what keep you safe, and boy is he keeping a lot of secrets from Clara. Even as she unwittingly uncovers some of the things he’s keeping from her, the Doctor manages to wipe it from her memory so that she remains in the dark and can’t ask him uncomfortable questions or challenge his “authority.” How long can he keep this up before she really starts to catch on to his modis operandi? I think that’s probably the direction that Steven Moffat will take their relationship, actually. Where the Doctor and Amy were partners in crime, it seems that now the Doctor is more concerned with protecting than adventuring. All he wants is to keep Clara safe and make sure she doesn’t die on him again, but she’s definitely not going to let him treat her like a porcelain doll forever.

I forget how new Clara is to the whole “traveling with a Timelord” thing since she took to it so quickly. This week’s episode reminds us that she doesn’t know much about the Doctor at all. When she discovers the “History of the Time Wars,” it’s a huge find since it’s filled with personal information about the Doctor that he would never tell her himself. The resolution of the episode, though, ensures that she forgets everything she learned (of course). As much as he seems to care about Clara, the Doctor is not trusting in the least, even turning on her briefly because he can’t figure out “what” she is.

journey-to-the-center-of-the-tardisIn that way, Matt Smith’s Doctor is very different from David Tennant’s: while Tennant’s Doctor had his secrets, he still trusted his companions with much more information than Smith’s Doctor allows. Perhaps decades of winning and losing companions is finally starting to catch up to the Doctor, and he doesn’t want them to get too close. There’s also his shame and grief over his role in what happened in the Time Wars, and no doubt he would rather no one ever know the entirety of that story.

Anyhow, it seems that we’re getting incrementally closer to finding out more about Clara, though next week’s episode looks like it will be more of the same in terms of the Doctor saving humanity from some alien threat. Been there, done that! What did you guys think of last night?

Doctor Who: Season 7 Episode 10, “Journey to the Center of the Tardis” aired April 27th, 2013 on BBC America.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516.

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