Don’t get into a spaceship with a madman. Didn’t anyone ever teach you that?
This week on Doctor Who, Clara and the TARDIS finally got some alone time…though perhaps not quite in the way the Doctor had intended. In the fast-paced “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS,” fans got a look at the inner workings of the Doctor’s time traveling spaceship, learned some tidbits about Galifreyan mythology, and got a taste of what may be to come concerning the Doctor’s relationship with Clara, as well as his “biggest secret.”
As the episode opens, we find the Doctor and Clara experiencing technical difficulties while bickering about the TARDIS’s positive and negative attributes. They end up being hijacked by a salvage ship run by three brothers, whom the Doctor recruits to help him find his companion, lost in the TARDIS during its rough landing. We discover that the Doctor’s ship is damaged and “leaking the past,” and Clara is trapped in an alternate dimension caused by this, yet again being chased by an unknown and terrifying creature.
It turns out that the creature is actually Clara, albeit a charred, melted, and mindless version of Clara from an alternate dimension in which she died–again (how many times does that make, now?). Clara and the Doctor eventually make their escape and find their way back to the engine room, but not before the Doctor cracks and orders Clara to tell him who she is, spilling that he has met her twice in the past. As suspected, she has no idea what he’s talking about. But luckily (or not so luckily), when they restore themselves to the other side of the time rift, Clara’s memory of the entire episode is, for all intents and purposes, wiped clean.
We finally got a long-awaited look at the pool and the library, along with the “heart of the TARDIS” and its engine room (which is powered by a perpetually decaying star). Unfortunately, while there were some neat rooms, the inside of the TARDIS seemed to be mostly corridors, and I feel that they could have bolstered content a bit by adding more. The brothers’ story ended up proving intriguing, but while there was an attempt, I honestly found them rather forgettable. Not that this is in any way a new trend for the second half of series 7, but it would be nice to have more characters like the Professor and his assistant from last week’s thriller.
Still, “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” was exciting, and revealed enough about the Whoniverse to keep fans theorizing for a while (what did Clara read in that book?). In addition, the potential explanations for the mysterious soufflé girl are beginning to take shape. Clara’s interactions with the Doctor seem to be increasingly more personal, which could suggest a connection in their pasts/futures of which neither of them are yet aware.
Get excited for the return of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax next week in “The Crimson Horror,” airing next Saturday, May 4.