I’m still not entirely sure that this episode makes an iota of sense and I’ve watched the episode twice now. How did Clara end up with a literal reset button? How did time reassert itself with the two brothers touching? Did Thompson really have to make everyone forget? But the other part of me thinks who cares? What a mind fuck of an episode.
In summary: Clara is allowed to fly the TARDIS with The Doctor’s guidance after the episode establishes yet again Clara’s feisty relationship with the time machine. Because it is being flown with minimal defences, the TARDIS is sucked into a scrapyard for salvage and resell. The Doctor gets out in time but Clara is trapped inside the crashed ship. The Doctor manages to persuade the salvagers to come inside and help him find Clara using a clever ruse but can he fix the TARDIS engine room in time, undo cracks in time, the engine exploding and figure out what the creepy animal matter inside the TARDIS is before it’s too late?
Even though the plot was half baked there was just so much in this episode to pull apart. Thompson’s previous episode for Doctor Who, The Curse of the Black Spot, was also minimal on strong plot but reflected an awful lot of what was actually going on in series 6 with its establishment of two realities. I quote a friend of mine on lj, elisi Here
Anyway, before I move on, I feel obliged to point out how – as many of us suspected – ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’ turned out to be a big metaphor from start to finish…
There was the mark of Certain Death (/fixed point), which turned out to be something else. There was the Siren/Mermaid who rose from the water, who turned out to be a doctor. (And she sang.) There was the fact that everyone had to go to a parallel world in order to sort things out. There was the necessity of confirming a marriage in order to save the man who was dying (I swear to you, by the higher power of your choice, that when the Doctor and River got married this image sprang into my head). And finally there were continued adventures, with everything different and yet the same, and the pirates thought dead in their old world…
I very much wonder if this episode is mirroring the series 7 arc in a similar way to Thompson’s pirate episode. We have the TARDIS engine exploding, cracks in time making a comeback, Clara still not making sense but being posited by The Doctor as a trick or a trap, glimpses of the swimming pool and of the library (everything always comes back to River’s library) complete with a history of the Time Lord’s. We have Clara reading out loud “So that’s who…” and The Doctor telling her that she will forget everything that happened once time is reset. Of course, what’s the one thing we learnt from s5 and The Big Bang? Moffat loves the motif of memory and Amy WAS able to remember her past with The Doctor and bring past events back into her own reality. The precedent is there. Could Clara do the same? And there is still “Run you clever boy, and remember” and what on earth is that about?
Way back in the days of The Snowmen, I said that I thought Clara was a TARDIS or a TARDIS avatar. This episode makes me feel that Clara must be linked to the TARDIS even more strongly. There’s three more episodes left until the finale so have the beginnings of a theory put down on the blogging table. I think that Clara will remember The Doctor’s name at the field of Trensalore. I think that somehow this causes silence to fall and the TARDIS to explode and that the TARDIS exploding links Clara with the TARDIS so that she is scattered throughout time and space. I think that this season is heading towards The Time War and the time rift faster than you can scream “Geronimo.” I think it is pretty clear now that Moffat is going to explore the War further and that Clara will be a trick or a trap but set by who? Omega? And lest we forget River who was practically everyone’s theory at once… Clara is probably still just a perfectly ordinary girl in spite of this.
With all of this glorious meta who cares that Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS was big on promise and short on delivery? Who cares that the plot could have been stronger? Who cares that this was no Gaimanesque game changer?
Certainly not me.
Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS: 8/10 inky stars
Next week: BAH more Mark Gatiss BUT WAIT… the return of Madame Vastra and Jenny? Oh Santa Moff!