Sunday, April 28, 2013

Doctor Who is NEW: "Journey To the Centre of the TARDIS"

Don't you hate it when you lose your keys?

You park the car, take out the keys then use the keys to unlock the door of your home and then....

It's the next day. You're scurrying to get out the door and you can't find your damn keys! You couldn't have driven home and unlocked the front door so they have to be somewhere in your home. But you look everywhere, even in the kitchen freezer. (Why the freezer? Cause you never know, that's why.) Whether your home is small or large or in between, there is still only a defined space for those keys to be.

Imagine what would happen if the Doctor lost the keys inside the TARDIS?

Hi! Dave-El welcoming you to my blog, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You.  Today we take a look-see at the latest new episode of Doctor Who, "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS"

WARNING: This is NOT an episode recap yada yada yada. Just a brief overview, some random comments etc etc etc.
 


However something like a spoiler may be said blah blah blah.


 
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SPOILERS, Sweetie!
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OK, let's get this journey started, huh?

"Don't stop, believin'! Hold on to that feeling! Street-"

(Sorry, wrong Journey.)




OK, we start IN SPACE with a really long spaceship (which needs the bumper sticker from Spaceballs, "We brake for nobody!") This is a salvage vessel with a three person crew, 1 of whom is not quite human, referred to as an "android", an android who still needs to breathe because of all the fleshy bits.  The crew spots what may be their next salvage acquisition, a blue box floating in space. So one magna beam thingy later, the blue box is in a cargo hold and not looking to good.

Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor's trying to have Clara and the TARDIS get along better by teaching Clara how to drive.
To make things easier, the Doctor brings the TARDIS' various systems down to a more basic level...which is why a magna beam was able to grab the TARDIS and do a lot of collateral damage. Damage that leaves Clara trapped inside the TARDIS.

And the Doctor outside of it with the salvage crew. The crew's figuring this box is more trouble than it's worth and are prepared to jettison the whole thing. But the Doctor needs help to get back in the TARDIS to save Clara (because a badly damaged TARDIS is not a safe place to be) and hopefully repair the TARDIS. Through a combination of bribery, blackmail, threats and deceit, the Doctor gets the men to help him.

Meanwhile, Clara is lost in the twisty turns of the TARDIS corridors, lights flashing, Cloister Bell bonging away somewhere and something sinister in the shadows stalking Clara.  Yep, good times, good times.

Over the course of the episode, the Doctor, Clara and the salvage crew find themselves in a mess as the TARDIS changes corridors and other features that keeps everything in a state of chaos and confusion while the somethings sinister (yep, plural) aren't making anything easier.

There's a lot to like about this episode.
  • The Doctor ratches up his bad ass factor to overdrive to force the salvage crew to help him.
  • The android has a bit of twist coming that plays with a trope in a way I've never seen before.
  • Elements of the interior of the TARDIS that have been referenced before show up, such as the pool and the library.
  • A key component of the TARDIS makes an appearance in spectacular fashion.
  • There's a few sections where whispers are heard, echoes of things said in the TARDIS including (if I heard correctly) some bits from the 9th and 10th Doctors among other bits.

But there are a few disappointments too:
  • Our guest stars, the salvage crew, don't resonate as well as they should. They are plot devices more than characters. And what does pass for characterization makes the guys look stupid and mean.The reveal about the android was unique but would have had more power to it if the audience cared more about these guys.(Plus after the episode is over and you think about lots "What abouts?" regards to this twist and it starts to fall apart.)
  • Whovians looking for any nostagic shout outs to the classic show while watching our gang scurry around the TARDIS corridors should not hold their breath. 
  • Speaking of those corridors, for every spectacular set piece (the library is, as Clara puts it, "just showing off"), there are scenes of running through corridors. And more corridors. Oh, look! A corridor! Should we run down it? Yes, we must.

"Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" was written by Stephen Thompson who wrote the Series 6 episode, "The Curse of the Black Spot" which many regard as the weak spot of the series. (Nope, "Night Terrors.")  Here, Stephen seems more comfortable with this more science fictiony type of story.  Still, while a good episode for the most part, there was a certain "WOW" feeling I was hoping to get from the exploration of the inside of the Doctor's time and space ship that just didn't feel it.

And yes, the mystery of Clara is addressed. No spoilers here: not resolved. (I'm sure Moffat's saving that one for himself.)
But Clara herself does solve a mystery while in the library perusing the Great Big Book of Everything.

Next week: "The Crimson Horror"




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