“Secrets keep us safe!” – The Doctor
“Rule Number One: The Doctor Lies!” – River Song, quoting The Doctor
As I was watching “Journey To The Center of The TARDIS,” I was reminded of these two quotes. If there has been one underlying theme of Series 7 in particular (and of the Stephen Moffat run on Doctor Who as a whole), it is the fact that The Doctor often is not as forthcoming with people as he should be; itself a debate between whether or not he lies to people or just withholds as much information as he possibly can. While one could be charitable and say that The Doctor is trying to protect those closest to him from damaging information, the case could also be made that by withholding all pertinent facts he’s at best manipulating people into doing his will and at worst preventing them from knowing what danger they are truly in. It’s that notion of withholding information / lying that informed both of the main plots of this episode.
Like last episode, The Doctor’s ulterior motives peeked through. His desire to find out exactly why the TARDIS doesn’t like Clara led to an unforeseen rift in time that destroyed the engines and caused all sorts of problems with the run in of the Van Baalen brothers. Likewise his plan to blackmail the Van Baalens into helping him find Clara lost in the TARDIS would lead them right into the “zombies” (and force The Doctor to reveal their secret). Also, Clara’s confrontation forced The Doctor to reveal his long-simmering questions about the true nature of Clara’s origin and she asking him about his real name, all of which ended up getting erased as the time lines healed themselves in the deus ex machina denouement.
While The Doctor and Clara solve the issue of the TARDIS leaking time energy and saved themselves, she forgot everything that had happened. But did The Doctor? I am not so sure.
* The poor Van Baalen brothers plot felt a bit redundant especially as it was a riff on the main plot proper. That said the acting was pretty solid all the way around.
* I loved the idea of the echoes that everyone sees of each other. And I really loved the audio cues that were used when Clara heard the time echoes which were audio clips pulled from various points in Who history.
* All that said, it was cool to finally see some places and things mentioned in the TARDIS come to life (the swimming pool!) as well as some old props (the Doctor’s cot). And then of course there’s that slim little chapbook in the library called The History of The Time War which supposedly has The Doctor’s real name!
NEXT TIME: The return of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. An unusual work commune. And Diana Rigg!