Monday, August 25, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Journey of the Centre of the TARDIS"

“Centre.”  I do love using the British spelling when I can do so without lookin like a pompous jerk.

“Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” is definitely a nod to old school Whovians.  The episode is terribly thin on story with guest stars that could have been remove without consequence and an accursed reset button that brought back bad memories of the worst of Star Trek: Voyager.  The production design and special effects continue to impress, however. 

 The TARDIS is tracked by a salvage ship.  The salvagers use some sort of device that looks like a goofy Nerf football to disable It.  Clara becomes trapped insie the damaged TARDIS and spends half te episode wandering through rooms we have never seen before like the library and swimming pool.  The TARDIS is leaking the past and future, so everyone is being stalked by burned zombie versions of themselves.  The Doctor finally goes back to the moment the Nerf football is thrown in and disables it. 

I have only casually mentioned the salvagers because they do not even need to be there.  The subplot involving one of them being a robot but not knowing it does not mean a thing, nor does the sense of reemption their leader gains by sacrificing himself.  Of course, the reset button makes certain he does not sacrifice himself or gain any redemption.  Meh.  The episode would have been better if a natural disaster had damaged the TARDIS instead.  Then this whole pointless subplot could have been written out. 

Whovians should be excited about seeing more of the TARDIS interior.  The brief sound byte with Susan from the First Doctor’s era explaining the acronym was a nifty nod going way back.  I cannot help but think the exploration of the TARDIS would have been more exciting if Neil Gaiman had not already played with the idea back in "The Doctor's Wife" in which other companions wandered the halls.

  There were a couple interesting bits.  Clara read something in the library that got her attention.  What was it?  I would guess she learned his name in consideration of the seventh series finale’s title.  But maybe it was that he is married or that he ended the Time War with double genocide.   The other bit was the Doctor confessing Clara frustrates him.  She has died twice before, yet she is still here and the same person.  It was interesting to see the Doctor admit a mystery is beyond his ability to figure out.

As I said above, “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” is pretty to look at because of the production design and impressive special effects.  I even liked the zombie make up when I could catch a good look at it.  But the story is gruel thin and retreads ground from “The Doctor’s Wife.”   Why the salvage crew is even in the episode is beyond me.  It is watchable, but not great. 

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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