Friday, December 20, 2013

Doctor Who - Farewell Matt: Journey to the Centre of The TARDIS

Doctor Who: 
Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS 
By Steven Thompson
“Doctor, Doctor. I'm from your future. We haven't got long to reset time.”

So far we are half way through the remaining eight stories of Series 7 and so far it has been a mixed batch.  There was one I loved in Cold War and one I detest in The RIngs of Akhaten while The Bells of Saint John and Hide entertained me and for the most part I enjoyed.  So now we have Sherlock scribe Steven Thompson’s turn with Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.   Will this story be on the positive side or will I deduce that it isn’t very good at.  I’m on the case and read on to see my findings.

Steven Thompson has written some of my favorite Sherlock stories especially “The Reichenbach Fall” but his first foray into Doctor Who “The Curse of the Black Spot” wasn’t really all that good as the ending was kind of lame and really unbelievable even for Doctor Who.  So after reading the synopsis and seeing the trailer for Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS I was filled with some excitement as this looked really good and very ambitious.   I was pretty interested to see something that hasn’t been done before since the show came back in fact something that hasn’t been done in Doctor Who before. 

Well When I say that I’m not talking about a story that takes place on the TARDIS as that was done before way back in 1964 with The Edge of Destruction but what they did this time was have a threat on board.   You see in The Edge of Destruction the TARDIS was warning The Doctor that they were traveling back to the big bang and that they were all going to be killed when the TARDIS was destroyed. 

This time the main cause isn’t a stuck fast return switch but it is because The Doctor takes the shields off for Clara to drive the TARDIS and then they get caught by a salvage ship which while grabbing the TARDIS because they think it is valuable salvage cause irreparable damage to the TARDIS.   Who would have thought that hearing The Cults “Fire Woman” would be a precursor to the destruction of the TARDIS. 

I have to say that I was really impressed with Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS in fact I really enjoyed it.  This story is your classic run away from the monster story but it takes place in the TARDIS and the TARDIS doesn’t have long before it blows up.  Plus they have the added problem of a time leakage that seems to have delivered zombies to attack them.  As Clara says the good guy does not keep monsters first rule of storytelling.   In fact the scary part of the monsters is that they are from the future and they are in fact them.  The scavenger crew, Clara and The Doctor are the zombies and their fate is facing them or in fact chasing them through the TARDIS and that is absolutely brilliant.  Nothing is scarier than seeing what happens to you in the future and seeing that you cannot avoid it.  Definitely behind the sofa stuff and I loved that aspect of the story.

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS gave us more of an insight into the Clara mystery as we find out, but they will forget that apparently, Clara is just Clara or so she says.  Plus we find out that Clara discovers The Doctor’s true name in the Time War book.  I’m sure this will play out more in the series finale but she is supposed to forget it when time gets reset but we shall see.  I liked seeing that exchange between them and seeing Clara stand up to The Doctor as it was a really powerful sequence of events and I didn’t find it as a cheap plot twist at all.

I loved all the TARDIS sets and how awesome they looked.  I especially enjoyed seeing the library and its huge assortment of books.  It was really cool to see rooms in the TARDIS again even if they are CGI.  Glad to see The Doctor still has the swimming pool still as the last time we saw that was in “The Invasion of Time” when Leela was taking a dip in it.  I loved hearing the echos of the past and hearing the voices of the past Doctors.  It was a nice nod to the fans of the classic series and very fitting during the 50th Anniversary. 

Journey to the Center of the TARDIS had an unusual twist to it and a human feel as it was very sad to see what Tricky’s brothers did to him.  It was mean and horrible of Gregor and Bram to trick their brother into thinking he was an android.  All that just to be the Captain of the salvage ship that the van Baalen’s father left to them and left Tricky in charge.  I’m sure they could have found another way to pass the boredom.  At least when time was restored they kept some of the decency they had left and built on it.

I really enjoyed Journey to the Center of the TARDIS as I thought it was a really good and simple story that bumped up the scare factor and gave fans a behind the sofa moment or two and this factor has now made it one of my favorite Matt Smith stories.  Yes it was just running around but sometimes a story is fun to watch when it is simple like that.  Even the solution did not bother me.  Yes it was a reset switch but that is one of the things about time travel stories anything can happen and can be fixed by a Big Friendly Button. 
Grade A

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