Doctor Who – Journey to the Centre of the Tardis

Moffat-era Doctor Who is occasionally accused of setting up what should be massively game-changing situations then hitting the reset button to put things back where they were. Now sometimes, that criticism might be justified, but only if you’re the sort of person who takes the whole thing desperately seriously, and misses the bit about it being fun. Part of the fun is being teased with hints of something that might, or might not happen, and a load more of the fun is trying to guess how the photon they’re going to get out of the latest impossible situation.

The latest episode involved the Doctor putting the TARDIS into basic mode (shields off[1], that kind of thing) so that Clara could have a go at driving. Naturally, at this point, as it’s in normal space and nicely visible, it gets picked up by a bunch of ever-so-slightly dodgy salvage merchants.

This causes all manner of technical issues of the “oh bugger, it’s going to explode” variety, and involves seeing a lot more of the interior of the TARDIS than we usually get. It seems to have had some major interior work done since the last tour, when the Fourth Doctor and Leela wandered around it in The Invasion of Time. We get to see the pool, albeit from a distance, and the rather interesting library, where Clara finds a book entitled “The History of the Time War”. Naturally, she has a quick look, and learns something that we’re not due to find out about for a few weeks.

Meanwhile, there’s a slight problem with fire zombies running around in the TARDIS, which seem to be the result of some more wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey effects caused by the engine exploding in a time-frozen manner.

Once again, we’re forced to ask what the Eye of Harmony is doing on the TARDIS[2], and we’re faced with complete disaster.

And the resolution does indeed involve pressing the reset button, which might be a bit of a cheat, but since it’s done by pressing an actual big friendly button, I had to let it go and accept the wink with which it was presented.

Clara, in a timeline that probably didn’t happen, briefly knew the Doctor’s real name, and it seemed to mean something to her. Hmmmm.

More fun and games to come – next Saturday sees the return of Madame Vastra and her entourage, which should be nicely silly. Then we have some Cybermen to enjoy, and then comes what Steven Moffat is suggesting is going to be a very big finale indeed, with promises of actual game-changing, no reset button revelations. Hmmmm, again.

[1] Always a good idea…
[2] Maybe it’s just an Eye of Harmony, and they come in six-packs