Doctor Who "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" Review: Secrets Make Us Safe

Doctor Who S07E10: "Journey to the Centre of the Tardis"

This week's Doctor Who was all about secrets. Why do we keep things from people we care about—to protect them, or us? If those people discovered the truth, would they stick around, or would they leave? We even delved into two of the biggest secrets in all of the Whoniverse: Who is The Doctor, really, and where is the damned swimming pool in the TARDIS?

"Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS," written by Steven Thompson (who also wrote "The Curse of the Black Spot"), was a lively, well-paced, intimate exploration into the vastness that is the TARDIS, and also the mystery that is Clara. There were lots of insidery peeks at parts of the TARDIS that've only been mentioned over the years, but also some artificial-feeling stakes and cluttered, unnecessary side plots that ultimately cost the episode the honor of being one of the best of the series. Most importantly, it seemed to show us that perhaps certain things are becoming more essential to The Doctor than his time machine. Like Clara. But for me the big question remains the same: Is she so captivating because of who she is, or because of the mystery she represents?

The episode began with The Doctor trying to make nice between Clara and the TARDIS, as the old girl had been giving the new girl a bit of guff—refusing to let her in, making weird noises at her, etc. This issue has popped up so many times lately that it's definitely going to be a huge sticking point for the rest of the series. The TARDIS is alerting us, the viewers, that this companion is different; maybe something about who Clara is messes with the timey-wimeyness of it all? Maybe The Doctor is falling for Clara, and the TARDIS is jealous? Maybe Clara is hiding something about herself and the TARDIS can tell? We don't know yet.

But I digress. As The Doctor gave Clara driving lessons, a salvage team spotted the TARDIS and mistook it for scrap metal. In the process of loading it onto their salvage barge, they damaged the TARDIS's fuel line, apparently creating an incredibly dangerous situation inside. The Doctor escaped, but Clara didn't, so we had ourselves a situation with a girl lost somewhere in an infinite, banged-up, unsafe time machine. The Doctor enlisted the salvage team, the Van Baalens, to help in a very convincing way: by locking them in and rigging the TARDIS to explode in an hour. (The secret was that the threat was fake, as there's no self-destruct mode, but we didn't find that out until later, when there was actual danger.) "Don't get onto a spaceship with a madman!" The stakes were telling: Find the girl, and the Van Baalens get the TARDIS. Don't find the girl, and everyone blows up with the TARDIS.

Whoooa! How easily The Doctor gave up his old girl! I was quite surprised that not only was giving his beloved time machine to this salvage team not a big deal to him, but that it almost seemed like an afterthought. Sure, he most likely had a plan that would keep the TARDIS, but I would've liked to have seen the moment carry a bit more weight. After a warning to the Van Baalens that they'd best not mess with the TARDIS, lest she get huffy, they were off. 

Clara, meanwhile, found herself waking up in a part of the TARDIS she'd never seen before, and we were treated to a few moments of her exploration, which were some of my favorite of the episode. Even if the exploration of this legendarily infinite time machine lacked the slack-jawed awe I had hoped for, it was still nice to look around. We saw an observatory, a room that looked like the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts, the famous swimming pool, and a library where Clara found the motherlode: a book entitled The History of the Time War. After presumably learning the most well-kept secret in the universe—who The Doctor is—she was interrupted. (This was another moment that could've had a bit more gravitas to it.) You see, there was more for us to fear than just the wreckage of the TARDIS: There were mysterious gray, blurry zombies with glowing red eyes chasing Clara, in a move that I first thought was just to add a sense of urgency to the proceedings. I was pleasantly surprised to find out later that they had a real purpose in the episode.

The Doctor was still teamed up with the Van Baalens, although I couldn't really tell why, since they seemed to not care at all about finding Clara. In fact, one of them even stole one of the gorgeous circuits of the living metal, the "bespoke engineering" that makes up the TARDIS. The TARDIS didn't like having her genetic material messed with, and reacted by changing her architecture, continually trapping the group in her own secret passageways.

Once the group was reunited, Clara, understandably, demanded to know why there were zombies on the TARDIS, a question The Doctor would not answer. But the zombies weren't the only thing they had to worry about: There was also the threat of time leakages coming from the TARDIS, so that Clara and The Doctor kept seeing versions of themselves from earlier that day as they wandered the ship. And the cherry on top was that the TARDIS engine started to overheat, forcing the entire group into the engine core while they were still being pursued by monsters.

If I may review, the dangers in this episode were:

1. fuel leakage

2. a (fake) self-destruct timer

3. greedy salvage guys

4. zombie monsters

5. warping fuel rods

6. time leakage

7. the engine overheating

That's a lot of enemies for one episode!

They eventually made their way to the engine core, which turned out to be an exploding star in the act of becoming a black hole, kept in that state perpetually. It's Time Lord engineering, and it's fascinating to me. The zombies found them there and they are trapped, surrounded on both sides, and The Doctor's knowledge about the zombies was secret no longer: The zombies were Clara and the Van Baalens, burned alive by the exploding star—the ship was leaking the future as well as the past. The Doctor let her die again, and in his misery, he wanted to keep it secret: "Secrets protect us. Secrets make us safe."

He's not the only one who felt that way. The TARDIS had been keeping a secret of her own: She'd actually exploded upon impact with the salvage barge, and they were all suspended in the time leakages. There was no hope for any of them to survive, including the TARDIS. In that moment, when The Doctor believed he'd let the TARDIS down and was on the brink of death without solving his greatest mystery, he turned on Clara and demanded that she tell him who she actually is. 

This scene was the best of the episode—the intensity between the two of them was fantastic, and Clara finally understood that in The Doctor's eyes, they've met before, several times, even if she doesn't remember it. She insisted she had no tricks up her sleeve, she's just a girl who wants an adventure, and The Doctor eventually seemed to believe her. That's when he noticed her hand, and figured out that the only way to get them out of this mess was to reset the situation so that the salvage team would never take the TARDIS and none of the events of this episode would ever happen. There'd be no memory of Clara knowing The Doctor's name, Clara learning that she's lived several times already, the TARDIS exploding, the salvage team dying—only The Doctor would be aware of any of it. So Clara has now died one more time under The Doctor's watch, but again, without remembering. When The Doctor asked Clara if she feels safe with him, if she's afraid of the future, of running away with a madman in a box where anything could happen, she responded, "That's what I'm counting on."

The episode ended with everyones' secrets intact... but that can't last long. Whatever Clara is is affecting The Doctor more than he's comfortable with, and if we don't get to the bottom of it soon, I don't know that The Doctor or his old girl TARDIS will be able to take much more.



NOTES

– The big reveal here was hyped to be the inner workings of the TARDIS, hinted at and discussed for 50 years, and on that front, I don't know that the episode delivered. There was no one moment during the exploration of the TARDIS where I uttered the word "whooooa" (although the library was lovely). None of it felt as epic as I was hoping for, or as epic as other episodes in this series—"The Rings of Akhaten" comes to mind as an episode that possessed a hint of the grandeur that I'd be looking for in my TARDIS. But then again, I don't know if anything the show constructed could ever live up to what I've had in my head all these years.

– How much did I wish, even though it would have made no sense, that the salvage team would have been Captain Mal and friends?

– It was nice to see a glimpse of the old glint-in-the-eye, slightly dangerous Doctor when he set the (non-functional) self-destruct on the TARDIS. I could use a bit more of him.

– God bless the Van Baalens. Their subplot seemed to exist solely to reflect the episode's main theme that sometimes we do things we're not proud of and then keep them a secret to protect someone we love, which is why I didn't comment on it much. I don't see how it really fit in otherwise, unless Clara turns out to be a human with cyborg parts, and that's why she's died so many times and doesn't remember meeting The Doctor. OH MY GOODNESS WHAT IF THAT'S THE CASE?!

– If there were other rooms that we saw in the TARDIS that are references to past episodes that I missed (and I'm sure there are), please tell me! I want to know too! 

– Did anyone manage to make out any of the whispers that we heard when the Encyclopedia Gallifrey bottle tipped over? 

– Best line of the episode goes to Clara: "Why do you have zombie creatures? Good guys do not have zombie creatures! Rule one of storytelling!"

– I'm not 100 percent sure why the dead, burned-up version of Clara would want to kill the living Clara. 


What'd you think of "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS"?

Comments (152)
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I thought this episode was pretty awesome
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I like the idea where the zombie-selves of the characters were trying to warn their former selves about what was going to happen, but because their brains were so fried they ended up just killing them by touching them with their molten bodies
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How the hell did the older Van Baalen brother (the one who died first) get this role? That was some of the worst acting I have seen anywhere, in anything. I could not get fully into this episode until he died and only then because of the final scenes between The Doctor and Clara. Apart from that and one or two references, this was actually a pretty dire episode, I'm sorry to say. I am usually a staunch defender, but I just can't in this case---such a disappointment and wasted opportunity.
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I entirely agree. To me the whole side story with the Van Baalens was completely unnessecary to be quite honest. They didn't contribute to the episode at all. The TARDIS might as well have gotten damaged by something else and none of the brothers helped looking for clara anyway. They all just sort of minded their own buisness.admittedly i appreciated the idea of having the tree thingy that could produce whatever the TARDIS needs, as it explains a lot. But we might as well have stumbled across this while clara was exploring the halls.
And the android story?really? Couldn't you just have said 'one shouldn't lie - unless you're the doctor and the universe will go kaboom if u don't' ??!!

I'm not even gonna get into how little sense the whole episode itself made (in my opinion) and how many flaws i counted. I was bitterly disappointed by the sloppiness but i fear it's gonna be even worse when 'the name of the doctor' is gonna be aired. I fear it's gonna be an epic disaster to the 'whooniverse'
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wasn't a bad episode, just left more to be desired. I felt the exploding star kept in a constant decay made some since as a power source for timelords. The power is basically infinite but I have to assume there is more to it, maybe other sources of power are used too. But in scale it really is amazing that timelords could do that I just think some tardis stuff is best left a mystery instead of a writer coming up with a half thought non epic idea. I always thought the tardis was powered by time itself or something. Clara I think is caught in a loop somehow split up into multiple versions. Maybe she is a fixed point in time somehow similar to Jack but in a different way.
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The Eye of Harmony is not new. It was first addressed (to my knowledge) in the Eighth Doctor's TV movie. This *is* the first time we've seen it since then, though.
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Need a New writer
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Need a new Doctor. Matt Smith is awesome, but I think his time is up.
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My wife and I thought this one was hit-and-miss. I agree that overall our "Tardis Tour" was a let down ... though the Eye of Harmony was awesome, and the LIbrary with the bottle Encyclopedia and the "History of the TIme War" was sweet (though we learned nothing). Beyond that, we too were hoping for more "awe." But the point of the episode was really "what's up with Clara?" and that was interesting, though they need to reveal more soon because if they keep teasing us along it's going to get old fast.
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The Tardis Tour was extremely lame. Most of the came hyped up rooms we only saw in CGI passing, and came across retarded. Here Clara was, in the throes of a tense chase scene, but she stops to giggle bizarrely over things in passing. It took two individual concepts and threw them together to ill-effect on both. Then there was the library. I thought, finally, they have got something right..... But then they rush right through it. They have her find the book (which was weirdly openly pride of place despite housing supposedly the greatest secret in the universe) and, turning to a random page, happen to stumble across the one section that mentions now only The Doctor's name but obviously in a way that would make it obvious to her, as though it said: This book belongs to The Doctor.... A.K.A..... [Enter real name here]. It all just made no sense.
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Exactly my thought. Frankly, they should have included some juicy details or secrets about Gallifrey that didn't necessiraly include the The Doctor directly just to add some lore to his background before we find out the answer to the question because whatever his name is or whatever he did to stop the time war will be meaningless in the end if it didn't have something build on.

This episode could have been golden without the salvege boys and more tour of the tardis. :/
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Steven Moffat...sigh.
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Umm. Steven Moffat didn't write this episode.
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Granted, but he's the series executive producer and head writer - the show-runner. Ever since R. Davies left, the show seems to have taken the hive dive into an empty pool over and over again. Don't get me wrong, I still love episodes like "Blink" and "The Empty Child", but lately everything seems a bit too messy. Instead of cleaning things up, everything always seems to be swept under a "clever" rug, not even by him, but die-hard Whovians. Admittedly, I have fallen into that category many times, but unless the show stops feeling like Indiana Jones (the crystal skull) on Nickelodeon/Disney, I'll stop trying to jump back on the Who-wagon.

Also, nothing against Matt Smith, he's a lovable "cool" guy.

Oh, and if it'll make you feel better...Steve Thompson...sigh.
: )
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I have to disagree, personally. I think the meta-plot from the entire Amy Pond saga was expertly done. Prior to that, there were some excellent episodes (and David Tenant = amazing), but the overall arc was much improved during the Amy Pond years, and of course Amy was awesome. Clara, on the other hand, is a NON-CHARACTER. I don't dislike her, but she's just a plot device. They need to make you actually CARE about Clara--and soon. Right now, she barely seems human (and if that is in fact the point, they need to get to it already!). I do agree that there must be something Galifrayan about her.
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Oh god, I hope that Clara's mistery has NOTHING to do with the Gallifrayans! that would be sooo boring and a total let down! (plus, we've already done that with Donna) Clara has to be something new. I hope anyway.
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Gotta be honest, I didn't care for this episode. Too confusing. And hitting a LITERAL reset button so that the whole ordeal never happened is just pointless. Only good thing about it is, once again, Clara... she's by FAR my favorite companion of the entire New Who series, and she's always gorgeous.
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also, who was under the tardis/scrap pile right near the beginning. it was like the wicked witch under the house in oz.
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I assume it was The Doctor, because he popped up behind them right after that and there was no one else there alive or dead
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ok thanks. i really had no idea. maybe i wasn't paying close enough attention
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This was a pretty good episode. Doctor Who has been a bit on it's weaker side for the first three episodes of the second half of the season but those last two (Hide and this one) made that up pretty good.

The Zombies were kind of strange and I hated that they could just undo everything when it was the point of so many stories before that they could not change established events or their own parts. But the explanation that the moment never was over because the TARDIS essentially froze makes it acceptable.

But aside from that it was a pretty strong episode. We learned a lot about Clara and the Doctor and I just know that all that will come back in the episodes leading towards the season finale "The Name of The Doctor". The "tour" of the TARDIS was also something I wanted to see for quite some time. I had a big grin on my face when Clara looked at the swimming pool (too bad it wasn't in the library anymore) and that book The History of the TIME WAR. This episode was so full of hints to the past and the future of the show just like it was full of past and future leaking into the present. I absolutely loved it. Matt Smith delivered a brilliant performance once again and Jenna-Louise Coleman looked hot and cute at the same time while also giving a great performance. More please.
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great ep.
clara was looking extra FINE in that dress.
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I'd say what we've been shown did not live up to my personal expectations on TARDIS, but as matching one's imagination with shows' reality is a mission impossible, I'd say it was really really good. I could also add that this was the first episode since we've met Clara that I started to warm up to her and now I even like her mor than my all time least favorite companion since the reboot Martha Jones.
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- I still like Amelia Pond better
- I hate it that the doctor can somtimes change timelines and other times not
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I think I'd have to rate this episode as one of the worst I've viewed. Effects are all very well but a plot is quite handy too!
I say "one of the worst" because there were some pretty poor ones back in the eighties but I can't really remember them well enough to be definite as to which was worst and I'm certainly not going to do the research!
I understand what they were trying to do with this story but they failed dismally.
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I wasn't really convinced by this episode - at the end of the day, every character in the episode died (including the Doctor) and we are left with the version of the characters where the TARDIS never crashed. It's a pretty bad resolution, the monsters didn't make sense and the storyline wasn't really conducive to it's titular focus.

All of that aside, I feel the weakest part of the entire episode was really pretty simple - Clara has been living on the TARDIS for a couple of days now. She's presumably seen the main console room, the accommodation, the food and the recreational space, and the corridors in between. She's thrown from the console room by the crash, not a teleport.

Yet she can't find her way back immediately?

I also don't understand why the crash was so severe - the salvage is brought in by a magnetic beam, and presumably jolted around a little by the robotic arms before being dropped. So why does it critically damage the engine in the very bowels of the ship, but leave the rest of the ships systems undamaged (including the swimming pool, and the library) Seems to me like the Time Lords need to learn some common sense Engineering.

In short - I feel like this episode ultimately put on too many airs to be interesting, and wasn't well written or presented.
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It seemed like there were no redeeming characters in this episode, the closest being the "android" - the salvage crew were willing to cheat and kill to get ahead, the Doctor was willing to lie and mislead to get what he wanted, and Clara once again lept without looking and had no real personality until the end... which was all wiped out with a cheat they've intentionally avoided using before. And the TARDIS wasn't enough of a character, and the inner levels looked like a rejected Farscape set.

The big cheat at the end, the "it was all a dream" moment, made this an entirely unrewarding episode (worse than The Big Bang, where at least our characters seemed to carry that experience with them), what little movement we got on the Clara mystery was sapped by a timeline-reboot and a rather lame one at that. But really, why didn't the Doctor scan for any nearby entities before shutting down the shields? That was a contrivance of itself. With so many other contrivances like the zombie creatures that attacked for no reason, time slipping hither and yon with warnings not to disrupt timestreams (only to then do exactly that to defeat the danger), it was all too much even before Clara opened a door with a big flashing light and found a CGI fireball that she easily outran (instead of, you know, just NOT opening the door and going the opposite way). Oh, and if Tricky wasn't an android after all, why was he able to sense the TARDIS' emotional states? Sloppy writing abounds in this one.

Clara I don't find captivating at all, she had a singular moment here where she confronted the Doctor (boy, she gleaned a LOT of info from glancing at a single page in that book), but mainly her mystery is the driving force behind the character, and the rest is just cut-n-paste parts of recent companions.

I couldn't have felt more ripped off by viewing the "center of the TARDIS" had it just been cardboard sets and a single light, it's like there was no imagination, I'll even take the Fox 1996 TV movie sets with its Eye of Harmony (which is not the core of the ship, it's the fuel source off to the side of the engine core). The actual engine exploded looked entirely thoughtless, a white room with hovering random bits of nothing impressive whatsoever.

It was nice to hear Susan and Ian and Pertwee and Tom Baker and Eccleston, there were a few clever bits and I liked Smith's energy when forcing the salvage crew to help him (not that it ended up working, they all just did what they wanted despite the threat of total destruction).

Overall, I didn't hate this episode as much as I could have, it had a lot going against it obviously, but a few elements worked enough to make it a barely-passing grade as TV, but as Doctor Who goes it was as close to a miss as this show can get without really making me mad.
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Okay so there are a lot of different voices for today's episode; many of you asked for allusions to other who episodes; so here is what I have: The doctor imprisons the Van Baalens much like he did with Barbara and Ian in An Unerthly Child. This took place in the junkyard 76 Totter's Lane. The salvage bark did not really look like that but it looked a bit like the bubble universe from The Doctor's Wife, which Neil Gaiman called "The Totters Lane at the end of the universe."
When Clara finds the cradle and Amy's little TARDIS she almost leaves the room with the umbrella from The Snowmen.
And the annoying solution to interfere with his own timeline... was I the only one who thought Big Bang Again I mean the Tardis was about to blow up and there was a white Crack in the wall? Actually in the beginning the scanner display cracked which also happened somewhere around The Pandorica Opens (although back then it did in the shape of "the crack in the wall").
Since The Impossible Planet we know that a TARDIS is rather grown than constructed and since today we know that living metal and the TARDIS' DNA play a big role in that. Living metal on the other hand reminded me of the Planet Of The Dead and the unnamed creatures with the metal exo-skeleton.
So much for now. Maybe more after I watched the episode for a second time.
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The Eye of Harmony and the Library appeared in the movie (ugh!) featuring the Eight Doctor. Now, for the TARDIS and Clara relationship, the TARDIS has never reacted like this to a companion. And, the Doctor has never tried to teach anyone to fly the TARDIS before because only Time Lords can do it. Was it a test????
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The TARDIS hated Jack after he was resurrected, too. It fled to the end of the universe to avoid him, because he was some kind of time-space anomaly. If Clara wasn't some kind of anomaly at the beginning of this episode, she is now, and so are the Van Baalens, having been reset by a time loop. The TARDIS doesn't like people who are time-space anomalies as they are hazards to navigation. This might be why she won't go near the Ponds anymore...
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River Song an fly it, so he must have taught her.
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The TARDIS taught her.
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River Song is part Time Lord, she already knew how to fly it. Better than the Doctor even!
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hmmm... I have a little theory, one of many. What if Clara is River Song? She is kind of a Timelord, but she sacrificed her herself to save the Doctor, and can't regenerate again. What if she reincarnates instead in different periods of time. Don't explain why she looks different or why her current looks would stay the same, but might explain their attraction and why the Tardis reacts to her.
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Probably not River, since she's supposed to have spent all her regeneration energy to save the Doctor in "Let's kill Hitler" and so can't regenerate any more. But I agree that Clara is probably a unique Time Lord ( one who "reboots" from birth instead of regenerating ), maybe one who's already appeared in the old series, and modified her biology to escape the Time War's lock ?
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River "supposedly" died in the 4th season ep Silence in the Library. At this point she had no regenerations left and was her last encounter with the Doctor! As for Clara, I feel that she will be used in the "Deus Ex Machina" fashion. No real explanation to her mystery, but at an appropriate moment will save the day. With more mystery added as to how she does save the day. Moffat likes to have mystery surrounding his characters, but they lack real substance!
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Since the Doctor "rebooted the universe" after the "Silence in the Library" episode, it's possible that River's fate in that episode has been altered since then. In any event, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of River Song!
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im 100% sure that we havent seen the last of River, but the library is her last encounter with the Doctor. Rebooting the universe is a great way of saying "hey, now we can do what ever we want!" There is just too much history to sweep under the rug. I'm assuming that the events of the library were a fixed point in time and cannot be altered.
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ok didn't Rose look at the heart of the TARDIS and then she was able to turn back time but would have died if 9 had not kissed her and absorbed all the energy which in turn made him die and turn into 10.. SOO now we can look at it?? WE have heard about the swimming pool and I really believe River knows the Doctors name so the fact it is in a book not supriseing but the fact that Clara could read it in english was. The TARDIS dislike of Clara is a clue that all is not right.
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You can look at the heart of the TARDIS and not die. One of the Slitheen did that in a past episode. Rose's problem was that she absorbed the Time Vortex.
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Rose absorbed the energy from the Time Vortex, which is what the TARDIS travels through, not the Eye of Harmony that powers it, which was the exploding-star engine we finally got to see. The two are related, and in conjunction they both make the TARDIS' travels possible, but not the same thing.
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In true Moffat fashion, he disregards 50 years of Who history. As with The Pandorica Opens, the Tardis shouldn't translate the Gallifreyan language. Clara should not have been able to read the book, unless she herself is Gallifreyan.
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The Doctor might not have written the book in Gallifreyian. It's not like anyone from his planet was left to read it.

I do wonder about his name though. That should be Gallifreyian... is there maybe some way to transliterate Gallifreyian names into English? Inquiring minds wanna know.
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Moffat adhers to MUCH more history of the original show than Davies. It was Davies who just randomly eradicated the Time Lords in order to.....? Add some emo-drama to the show, as far as I can tell, and make the Doctor a tragic lonely character. That didn't even happen in the New Adventure books that filled a lot of the gap between the old and new show. There are a lot more references and old characters/races in Moffat's tenure. I'm not knocking Davies, but I have to point out that Moffat can't be blamed for disregarding history when in fact it's the opposite. I do think you're on to something about Clara though. It's obvious that she is some kind of mystery....theories abound as to what that is, my favorites being that she is either the extracted heart of another TARDIS (like Idris from The Doctor's Wife) or that she is a relative of the Doctor (via Jenny, his daughter).

At any rate, you can't blame anyone for lack of continuity. The old show itself had so much of it that establishing a true, linear canon that never contradicts itself is virtually impossible. That's going to happen when literally dozens of people write your scripts over the years and the showrunners have changed so often through the years.

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I liked the fact that Davies put the Time Lords in the time lock. As for emo drama, it made the Doctor truly believe he was the last of the Time Lords. Giving the Doctor the whole tortured soul motif, added a much needed sense of humanity. not seen since the 4th. Davies had a woven plotline developed with the Master and the sound of drums. Having Rassilon purposefully create prophecy was excellent. The nod to the outcast Time Lords being Weeping Angels was a nice little touch. I, personally, have found that Davies run was more story based with drama, comedy and adventure. Was very saddened to see the 10th go, btw.

Whereas, Moffat fumbled everything he put his hands on. He underwrites his female characters. In fact he underplays most of his leading characters. Rory for example, most of the time get used as comedy relief, conveniently forgetting 2000 years of knowledge and experience. Made River Song, a great character in theory, an annoyance and only there for plot progression. The Sonic is heavily overused. Its always been the goto device, but it seems to me that he wields it more like a weapon than a tool. To give Moffat his due credit though, he writes great monsters. Except, this is the one that irritates me the most aside from teletubbie Daleks, when he made the Weeping Angels move like regular people. Not the original strobe effect. To me, it seems that Moffat wanted his Whoniverse to be grandeous and mysterious But as for a coherent continuous plot.... ah, nope!

As for Jenny.... I'm not sure about the link between her and Clara. You are right about the seats, but i think thats purely a prop and set design coincidence. I'm pretty confident that River would be aware of Jenny's existence. But so far has made any reference about her step daughter :P

You are 100% right though in saying that all showrunners have struggled with keeping the canon going. In developing new plotlines, Obviously things from the past will be forgotten or overlooked. Speaking of things that may get overlooked, I'm wondering if when 10th regenerated during season 4 going into the Medusa Cascade producing Doctor Donna and the hyman hybrid whether that counts towards his 12 regenerations. Meaning that the next regeneration will be the last. Or, if when River gave up her remaining regenerations hers added on to his??
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I think the fact that Clara could read the book proof that she's Gallifreyan ... my theory? She's the Doctor's daughter Jenny post-regeneration!
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I read a blog by someone with that theory and they had photo-stills of Clara in Asylum of the Daleks and a still of Jenny in The Doctor's daughter. Worth noting is they were sitting in exactly the same chair. Don't know if it means anything, but it's amazing what all that blog-girl came up with to support that theory. I only hope that Moffat and the writers can come up with as good of stuff as a lot of us fans do. But I can't deny that they leave us an awful lot of clues to latch on to for it to just be random.
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just watched doctors daughter again... jenny has 2 hearts. i was mistaken
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But Jenny didnt regenerate, she was restored with the tera-forming mist! As far as i was aware, she had only one heart like the hybrid Doctor in the parallel universe. If Clara, as a human was Gallifreyan and had her time lord essence removed, like the Doctor and the Master, she wouldnt have the ability to read Gallifreyan.
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Wasn't a horrible episdoe, but definetly not one of the best. Was just missing so much. I actually found myself getting bored in some areas. I was never on the salvager's "side". Any time they were in danger I really didn't care if they made it or not.

Best part was seeing the inside of the Tardis. But I agree, the name being written in a random book in the Tardis? Huge let-down for something so important. The whole episode felt very off. Like they emphasized things that barely mattered while casually showing things that should have been huge!
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Loved this episode, but now I have even more questions! One of which is: if The Doctor's real name is such a huge secret, how is it that it's been written in a book in the TARDIS this whole time? ...like really, no other companion has ever run across this book? Hmm. So many more questions. But awesome episode.
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maybe burnt up clara was trying to warn clara about what the doctor said to her knowing she wasn't going to remember if the doctor saved her from the tardis exploding.. There was the moment the burnt clara did recognize her. but of course the burnt doppelgangers were having trouble speaking in this episode.
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I liked this episode, it was fun. Clara is adorable.
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exactly...why would the burned up clara try to kill her alive self? and what the hell happened to the doctor's rule #1 'I can not interfere with my own timeline?'?? doesn't this kinda make the whole series pointless?
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This definitely could have benefited from at least another part. But, overall I was really happy with the episode...I can even look past the most literal Deus Ex Machina ever because I was just so happy to see some other parts of the TARDIS.

More on my thoughts here:
http://iamthemissinglinc.blogspot.com/2013/04/doctor-who-review-journey-to-centre-of.html
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Weird thought: What if Clara is somehow tied to the Doctor's daughter, Jenny? She dies and lives again without regenerating, she travels through time, and the TARDIS reacts strangely to her. I'm not saying she IS Jenny because that would make the romantic tone of the Clara/Doctor interactions just wrong. Still, there is something about Clara that brings Jenny to my mind......
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Death is not so permanent in a time travel sci-fi show. Someday I expect the Master will rescue River from the computer and steal a body for her to use her against the Doctor or something. Just like the Jenny situation, they intentionally leave some of these character resolutions open-ended so future writers can feel free to do stuff with them without being too boxed in by what has gone before.
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Been down that road myself, but as you said the romantic tone would be a bit wierd. But what do we really know of Time Lord love relations? So it might still be possible.
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Here's my simple theory" The TARDIS and Clara are the same. They are each other. How that works I'm not sure, but evidence can be found in many of the past few episodes.
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or Clara is the intelligence from another TARDIS that got out of the time war
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The first theory will not be true since The Doctor has met the physical form of the Tardis, and talked to her. And she, as part of all time, said they will never talk again. The second theory seems like it could be possible, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
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But Clara also meets a physical representation of the TARDIS who appeared as herself. There is a Timelord connection for Clara, but I think its more related to the ship (or a similar ship) and its personification.
But who knows. If Rory can be reincarnated randomly 2000 years in the past then anything is possible.
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Never said that the TARDIS would speak again, just not to the Doctor :)
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The TARDIS Voice Interface used Clara's form in "hide" as a dig to Clara. The TARDIS Voice interface tells Clara that "I'm programmed to select the image of the person that you esteem." In other words, the TARDIS was telling Clara that she is full of herself. That was just another scene showing the dislike between Clara and the TARDIS.

The TARDIS Voice Interface isn't a physical representation, it's more of a hologram.
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Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS was just okay, Clara is clueless in matters of the TARDIS especially in beginning now maybe towards the end she may have gotten a small clue has for the burnt zombies I knew they were Clara and the brothers that was too easy has was the fractured time solution!! they need to come to an conclusion about Clara then just dump her!!! I'm a broken record here Clara is the worst companion by far sorry fans of

Jenna-Louise Coleman and to her
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Well, she's signed on for the next series, so too bad for you!
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Not noticed any references to previous who episodes. Did notice references to 2001. The music at the beginning of the episode and the Hal like "do not enter" light that Clara identified as that, but still ignored and was almost blown up. Aliens reference space salvage team obviously and the pinging noise of the salvage teams scrap detector.
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The music at the beginning was reminiscent of 2001 AND Red Dwarf
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It reminded me of Blake's 7. when I saw the salvage guys in Derriboots, I thought we had somehow morphed into their universe. I was half expecting Servalan to appear. (Tho' I'd have preferred Soolin)
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"Salvage of a lifetime. You meant the ship. I meant Clara."
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Good episode, imo. Whether an intentional nod to the 5th Doctor's first episode "Castrovalva" or not, it still reminded me of Tegan and Nyssa getting lost in the TARDIS and having to leaving clothing items and lipstick marks on the walls to find their way back as they tried hopelessly to find the TARDIS' Zero Room. Castrovalva also featured space collapsing in on itself as the Doctor, Adric, Tegan and Nyssa tried to escape the Master's math-construct bubble-world. They kept running and running but kept winding up in the same little town square. And while it was much quicker and not a focal point of the episode, the Doctor and the Van Baalans were shown in the same situation as they tried to exit a corridor crossing and kept winding up in the same spot. "Recurrsion" is what the 5th Doctor called it, and that seemed to be what was happening when the TARDIS got cranky.

I do like that Moffat has decided to focus on something the original show only picked up in it's final season with Sylvester McCoy, and that is the Doctor's real identity. In retrospect, I don't think his identity as a dark-secret-plot-point was ever intended. The Doctor's identity always appeared to be well known to the Gallifreyans, even the renegade ones like The Master and The Rani. I think having a character who was simply called "the Doctor" was just brilliant piece of quirky British humor, and added to his allure as an alien. But there was never much Dark & Mysterious about the Doctor until the final few episodes the show hinted that it finally might have noticed that they'd had this show going on for 25 years, and never really explained who the main character is or what his name is, and then realized that maybe there was some good dramatic material to be pulled from that. But of course the BBC cancelled it. Now in the reboot, there are no Time Lords anymore, so there's nobody on the new show who knows anything at all about his origins, and that makes him that much more mysterious. Well, other than The Master, who once asked Tennant's doctor if he remembered them, boys playing together, running through the fields of bright red grass on Gallifrey. I suppose The Master still knows who he is, but unless they decide to bring him back again, I guess he's supposed to be dead.

You asked about rooms in the TARDIS previously alluded to that we've never seen before. The collapsing star engine core, best as I could tell on a first watch (I do need to watch it again) was the Eye of Harmony. I think he said that, unless I misunderstood him. We've heard about the Eye of Harmony that powers TARDIS engines many times before, mostly in the original show, but we've never seen it. I thought that was pretty cool.
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I really enjoyed that! In fact i'm still riding such a high from it that I don't feel up to compiling a coherent argument as to why!
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Best episode for a long, long time.
Thanks Steve Thompson and Moffi, I needed that so much!
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He was never going to give up the TARDIS. He promised them the "salvage of a lifetime," but while they assumed he meant the TARDIS, he was referring to Clara the whole time. It was just a trick to keep them from jettisoning it (and the Doctor & Clara) into space.
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I was only really disappointed by the fact they made it seem like we'd get a more in depth look at the inside of the tardis yet most of it was brief flashes like the pool. I'm ok with Clara although I guess I'm more interested by the mystery around her rather than her herself. I thought part of the brothers bit was to give us someone to hate/be annoyed by. The history of the time war book looked amazing, shame we didn't get a better look at the book or the room.
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It was an okay episode. Happy to see the pool! The brothers were pointless. It made no sense to me why the future burned versions of everyone were after the present ones. The reset was a bit upsetting only because Clara found out some VERY valuablel information that's now been wiped for all intents and purposes. Just reminds me of Smallville when anyone found out about Clark's secret they would either die or get some type of memory wipe. *sigh*
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I agree that the exploration of the TARDIS was pretty underwhelming. I saw an interview with Moffat about how Old Who did a similar episode and all he got was running along tunnels and it bummed him out so he wanted to do this to get it right, but I don't see how this was any better. We barely got to see any of the rooms Clara found (That storage room with River's old cradle and Amy's old TARDIS sculpture could have used some other things from companions past)

I don't actually remember what was said when the bottle tipped over but I had the captions on and the captions came up with it all, there were sound clips from Susan, Ian, Martha, Amy and others. I have to go back 'cause I do want to know what they were.

Zombie Clara chasing Living Clara didn't make sense to me either, but I rationalized it as the dying made her go crazy so she wasn't really herself. However, as people have said before, if you have to do such a crucial part of the story telling yourself as a viewer then the writers have failed.

Over all B+, Good episode and I'll watch it again but if you don't ever see it you're not missing out.

(Liked the big friendly button thing at the end)
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If it had actually been Mal and the rest of the Firefly crew, I would have needed a change of pants. Just saying.
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another anti climax.. wooohooo

yes lets solve it by retconning everything...

WORST PLOT DEVICE EVER...so lazy so lame so predictable...

in short this episode was pointless..

i can't think of any redeeming feature..

moffat is ruining doctor who..
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Yes, because the RTD era never had any pointless, lazy, or lame episodes that featured anti-climaxes and nonsensical conclusions/solutions!
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but then again we are older and wiser now we see through the bs...
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This episode was actually written by Steven Thompson. Just saying...
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i don't bother with the credits lol but still....
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The brother remembered about the little shred of decency left in him in the end, so maybe Clara also remembers.
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Aye, I also thought that was the point of that scene
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or it was a coincidence... if you watch the begining again the 'captain' did kind of defend tricky but cos of the tardis showing up he got cut off..
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Darn you and your attention to details :) We will know soon enough
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"It was nice to see a glimpse of the old glint-in-the-eye, slightly dangerous Doctor when he set the (non-functional) self-destruct on the TARDIS. I could use a bit more of him."

That's why I miss David. He was best at that.
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Can we petition to bring David back?? *sigh*
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He took his Sonic Screwdriver with him when he left in the form of a ball-point pen and often uses it on Stephen Fry's Q and I, or when he guests on Craig Ferguson...
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You do know he left the role of his own volition, right? Lest we forget that the end of his tenure had a lot of us looking forward to the breaks between new Who.
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Yes, yes, I know. Still wish he hadn't but ah well. I wasn't one of those looking for a break. I admit I had him in a bit of a vice grip. Didn't want to let him go even though I knew it was inevitable for this show.
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He did four wonderful seasons which is the most yet, so let him be...
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I knew the countdown was a fake. I can't believe anyone would think it was real who really knew the Doctor.
I suspect that Clara is really another Time Lord who was killed in a Tardis explosion. The explosion fragmented her life and sent it to different times and places. That's why she keeps dying.
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Wel there is a "daughter" out there somewhere. Actually more a clone, from a couple of seasons ago. Maybe a faulty regeneration and she doesn't remember who she is.
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But Jenny doesn't have the ability to regenerate. That green energy that brought her back to life? That was the terraforming gasses doing their thing, bringing life to the planet. It just happened to find a recently deceased girl that could be revived as well. I'm more wondering where the Doctor's granddaughter is. Can anyone who has seen all the classics after mid thru the 4th Doctor tell me what happened to her after she left? Does she ever show up again?
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It seems legit! I had a similar theory, that she is the heart of a TARDIS that exploded, but yours sounds better!
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I seem to recall a similar plot in one of the classic episodes but I can't recall which one it could be.
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Sorry! Can't help you! I haven't seen the classic series, unfortunately!
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I didn't like this one very much. Just pretty boring throughout to be honest.

I'm worried because this season has had a dramatic change in the second half with the companion changeover but the recent episodes have been nowhere near as engaging as the earlier ones in season 7. A lot of this has to do with the companion. Look I like Clara but at the moment she's not much more than cheeky and cheerful. She's also the companion in the modern era with the least amount of attachment to the real world, which limits her depth and interest as a character (she's more like the prior companions whose joining and leaving the Doctor were casual events). It's interesting how Emily asks whether the Doctor is only interested in Clara because of her mystery because I don't think I'd find her interesting without the mystery. Unfortunately it appears that the mystery is not the basis of the plot for the second half of the season but instead will be ignored and then revealed in the season finale. In the meantime we've had to undergo a huge reset and adjust back to the new companion breaking in period and the end result is stories that have felt pretty generic. Somehow the Doctor has managed to be less interesting in these few episodes as well.
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I agree. I've found her to be nothing more than vanilla, and all of us keep trying to read more into her mystery than is actually there. Brief glimpses of potential are out there - like when she admits to being frightened of him - but, those moments are then lost.

Right now, I care so little about the Clara non-mystery/relationship that I don't think I'd feel a bit of "ooh exciting" if we suddenly discovered who she was or if she was some Who monster.
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This was a horrible episode.Poor writing throughout. This season has been terrible to be honest. Oh yeah, I thought that the Doctor couldn't cross his own time stream, lest something paradoxical happens and 1/3rd of the universe gets destroyed!
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think he mean't the tardis it's self can't be in two places at once.

but yeah he did use a time rift to sneak through
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its twice now that he's crossed his own time stream with no consequences... moffet doesnt stick to the rules!
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someone told me moffat didn't write this episode lol
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yeah approve let it slide = parts to blame for the plot hole
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he didnt, but as the show runner he'd have to approve it
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Who else wants their own copy of "The history of the Time War"?
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not really as it's longer than war and peace / war in peace
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For me it was a great episode.I literally screamed when Clara was interrupted while reading "So that's who.." I disagree I think the scene was done justice, they can't draw it out anymore. I think since one of the brothers remembered that he had a "shred of dignity" meaning pieces of the "lost day" goes with them, I think Clara will remember, & that will happen in the finale "The name of the Doctor"

I think the purpose of the Van Baalens story & the secret of the android brother was a parallel to the Doctor's secret about knowing Clara in the past.

Objects from past episodes was the "toy Tardis" made by Amelia as a child & of course River "Melanie" Song's crib. Also the time rift reminded me of "the crack in the wall" so a loft of Pond things here. Also the "message" on Clara's hand classic Doctor sending clues from future to his past self

The Encyclopedia Gallifreya (how cool is that a liquid encyclopedia) to me sounded like Timothy Dalton (must be cuz of seeing him as a Time Lord) & the only word I got from the whispering was cascade.

OMG the pool was great (even though I thought he got rid of it) and the Library, has it to do with the Library from the "Silence in the Library" episode?

The scene where the Doctor yells at Clara about what she is (he says trick hmmm?) & the previous Clara was Matt Smith being brilliant (& Coleman

I also loved the scifi mumbo jumbo in this ep the star in perpetual state, time reasserting itself. A million theories about Clara but that's what is great about it, no?
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Re: DR.WHO last night (don't read if you haven't seen it yet as here be spoilers)

It was average, marred by huge gaps in logic and forgettable, blank guest stars. The fact one of them was NOT an android was flagged way ahead and the reason for it fumbled. Was it a "joke" or did they save a dying brother? What difference did it make to the story aside from homaging ALIEN?

Time zombies made no sense because anything THAT burned wouldn't be wandering round the Tardis for 45 seconds let alone 45 VERY LONG minutes. What would have been better would have been that the crash had released The Doctor's blank regeneration forms a la the transition figure from 4th to 5th Doctor (Tom Baker to Peter Davison) that followed Tom around for the whole of his last story. A lot of drama and comedy could have extracted from that!

I'm also getting tired of the lazy plotting this season in finding ways to disable the TARDIS. We've had the mightiest(and now biggest) ship in the Universe run away from an atomic submarine because Doc was fiddling with the run-away controls and this time he disabled the safeties so Clara could fly the TARDIS. You take the safeties OFF when an amateur flies? What dumbass would do that? Well, a lazy writer would.

Then we had the ultimate lazy writer's get-out, the reset button. The Doctor and Clara woke up and it was "all a dream" or was it? Yuck. Safe, boring, amateur.

Don't even get me started on how wasted the opportunity to see more of the TARDIS and all we saw was what we know is there ie the swimming pool and a library. The rest was just generic spaceship corridors which gave me the impression that The Doctor and co use them for practice on their down-time as they're so good at running around similar corridors on spaceships, space stations, underground bunkers etc.

Very VERY disappointing!
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Ashley Walter plays the same rôle regardless of the character he's assigned. When I see him in any program I know the character's going to be rude, demanding and angry.
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Even more annoying is that he admits he'd never seen DR.WHO before he got the job. What idiot calls himself a professional actor in the UK and never sees the most famous Brit TV series ever?
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OMG I thought I was the only one who is so disappointed! Thius episode was boring. I was looking at the clock counting minutes til it ends because one boring thing was following by the other boring thing. This could be something special, something great and we had bunch of mumbo jumboes and some stupidity (tots agree abot Doc taking off the safety sheld. What and actual idiot he is!) And I am kinda bored bout the whole "Who the hell Clara is". The second half of this season is, well, not really good. There are some moments but not enough.
And who the hell opens up the book in the middle of it especially with "time war" written on it?
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People on TV. Always bugs me, but people on TV always go to the middle of a tome on a stand.
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EXACTLY what I thought! LOL! I was like "why did she go straight to the middle??" It just made NO sense to me. I let it go when she said "that's who" but still...
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It was written by Stephen Thompson, responsible for one of the worst EVER episodes, the pirate story aka "Don't look, it's a car-crash accident black spot". Well, no surprise there then. Only marginally better than this season's worst episode "Dr.Who - Gallifrey's Got Talent".
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I think I can address part of your issues with the episode. Apart from in the promo, we were never meant to think The Doctor was giving up the tardis. The Doctor isn't human. More to the point, he's a sociopath. He uses and manipulates people to his own ends. He told the salvage crew it was a great salvage because he quickly assessed that those were the right words to motivate them. They had no clue what it was, so it deserved no gravitas for them. He had no intention of giving it up and we were supposed to immediately recall that The Doctor lies, so it deserved no gravitas for us or The Doctor. That moment wasn't about the Tardis, it was about The Doctor getting some company for the rest of the episode, because he's an attention seeker and Clara wasn't by his side. Sometimes the people he uses end up being helpful, and sometimes not, but he always collects them just in case, and to have someone to talk to while he basks in his own brilliance. Think of The Doctor as a mad alien supervillian, or a 7 year old prodigy (same thing, basically) and The Doctor's interactions with the salvagers suddenly make sense.
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LOL, I had exactly the same line of thinking this morning, it makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Especially considering why the Doctor wiped memory of himself from history books
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great episode! very funny but also pretty intense and we got too see how much the doctor cares for clara! on of the best of the season!
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