Doctor Who: “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS”

I can’t even. Just when I thought Doctor Who was starting to get good again, it airs an episode so shitty I can’t even bring myself to summarize it for you. All I have are questions, all of which are ignored by the script. (I’m not even talking about all the ridiculous coincidences in the story, like the Doctor turning off the TARDIS shields for no good reason right at the moment the TARDIS is about to be grabbed by the one thing it really, really needs those shields to prevent.)

Spoilers follow, but trust me, you don’t even want to watch this episode anyway!

First and foremost, how the fuck does the Doctor fall out of the TARDIS when it’s taken on board the salvagers’ ship? What exactly is the toxic substance that is making the TARDIS’ interior so deadly? Isn’t it the exact same substance the Doctor is able to effortlessly vent out of the console room as soon as he regains access to the TARDIS? How are the time zombies (you read that right, and if you’re not rolling your eyes already something is dead inside you) — who are essentially dying, seriously injured, burned up bodies — strong enough to attack people and chase them around the TARDIS? Why do they attack them? (The director, Mat King, cribs a technique from Danny Boyle’s Sunshine by never showing the time zombies in focus, because he knows they look ridiculous!) If the Doctor’s name is such a well-kept and important secret, why do the authors of the book Clara finds in the TARDIS library, The History of the Time War, know it and print it with impunity? (The book could not have been written by the Time Lords themselves. They didn’t survive the Time War to write about it!) Why would the Doctor even allow that?

It is insufferably stupid to have the Doctor set the TARDIS self-destruct mechanism, then admit there is no self-destruct mechanism, then act like a dick about it, and then be all, “Oh shit, the TARDIS really is going to blow up!” But even stupider is Tricky not realizing he’s actually human when he thinks he’s an android. It reminded me of Crayford in the 1975 Fourth Doctor serial “The Android Invasion,” who thinks he’s been turned into an android by the Kraals who rescued him from a rocket crash, but actually there was no crash and they didn’t turn him into an android. How does he discover this? He lifts his eyepatch and discovers he still has two eyes! It never occurred to him to lift his eyepatch before then! It’s much the same with Tricky. Apparently, he never wonders why he, as an android, is in the family photo with his two brothers and his dad. The whole thing is just shockingly stupid in an episode that is already shockingly stupid to begin with.

And of course the biggest, most pervasive question of the episode is: How come when Doctor Who finally has a plurality of black characters in one episode, they essentially turn out to be thieves and chop-shoppers?

But it’s okay, because in the end none of it happens! That’s right, this is one of those “time travel is magic” episodes where everything gets super shitty and then the Doctor does some timey-wimey bullshit and the entire timeline is changed so that it doesn’t happen. Thank goodness there are no rules to time travel! Except the ones that are occasionally necessary for plot purposes, of course. But when the plot demands there not be any rules, there aren’t. NAILED IT!

“Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” is an episode best forgotten in a season that so far, with a couple of exceptions, is best forgotten as well. Much like most of last season. And most of the season before.

I’m growing to hate the fact that Steven Moffat will be the one in charge of the 50th Anniversary special.

4 responses to “Doctor Who: “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS””

  1. Alex says:

    I didn’t think it was that bad. There have been MUCH worse.

    My thought on the book was that the TARDIS wrote it an wanted Clara to know for reasons that aren’t clear yet.

    Although, with Moffett it’s 50-50 on whether it matters or will disappear without a trace.

    I also think that “it wasn’t that bad” is high praise for Moffett.

  2. Matt Kressel says:

    Nick, you are spot on with all your points. After last week, I had high hopes, but this episode was just amateur shit. Total shit.

    It also bothered me that, as you said, the only time we see a ship of black characters they are essentially thieves.

    It’s lazy storytelling at its worst (I’m hesitant to even call it a story).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



News & Updates

  • 09/28/2020 — Harrow County, Vol. 3: Snake DoctorHarrow County, Vol. 3: Snake Doctor by Cullen Bunn My rating: 5 of 5 stars The third volume of Cullen Bunn’s exceptional HARROW COUNTY series takes a break from the main plot of Emmy’s struggle to come to terms with her legacy in order to follow some side characters.…Read more »
  • 09/22/2020 — Anais Nin at the Grand GuignolAnaïs Nin at the Grand Guignol by Robert Levy My rating: 5 of 5 stars Dark, sexy, and written in a suitably decadent prose style, Robert Levy’s supernatural take on historical figures Anais Nin, Henry Miller, June Miller, and real-life star of the Grand Guignol Paula Maxa will leave you breathless.…Read more »
  • 09/17/2020 — Harrow County, Vol. 2: Twice ToldHarrow County, Vol. 2: Twice Told by Cullen Bunn My rating: 5 of 5 stars Emmy’s long-lost twin sister Kammi visits Harrow County to meet her sister and claim her power, setting off a dark chain of events that turns the haints against Emmy.…Read more »
  • 09/09/2020 — Underworld DreamsUnderworld Dreams by Daniel Braum My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is Daniel Braum’s best collection yet, filled with stories that exhibit a masterful sense of ambiguity and explore the tension between the personal and the profound.…Read more »
  • 08/28/2020 — Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless HaintsHarrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints by Cullen Bunn My rating: 5 of 5 stars A fun, fast-moving setup to what I expect will be a highly enjoyable series, COUNTLESS HAINTS combines writer Cullen Bunn’s masterful use of atmosphere and setting with artist Tyler Crook’s vibrant watercolor illustrations to create something truly compelling.…Read more »