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7.11 - Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

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10
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6
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Average Rating
6.2
Votes
96
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User Rating:
8
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Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 2/20/19 11:49 am
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

I shared some of the misgivings voiced by critics of this episode because there are certainly flaws in this story. However, it has grown on me and the strengths within it far outweigh the negatives for me. I do not agree with criticisms that this disappoints in terms of showing the contents of the TARDIS. The Eye of Harmony is shown which is a nice link to the 8th Doctor movie. It is impossible to depict a star on the point of collapse into a black hole but given the dimensional capabilities which can alter apparent size, the heart of the TARDIS is depicted well enough. A depiction of a sort of workshop where items can be built by the TARDIS is good and interesting. The library is excellent and Clara looking into a book and seeing the name of the Doctor was dramatic at the time. The potions and medicines and other quirky things shown are cool. The swimming pool being shown, albeit fleetingly, for the first time in many years was a nice touch. Of course there are lots of corridors but it all seems pretty satisfactory as the TARDIS interior to me.

The 'monsters' chasing them around are in the end a little hard to understand in terms of why they try to attack them but if it is the influence of time trying to heal a paradox it kind of makes sense even though it is yet more 'timey wimey' slightly over the top stuff. The strength of this idea though is it does add a creepiness, a menace and an exciting threat which are more enthralling than them just being lost in the TARDIS.

I do think when it comes to the TARDIS freezing as it starts to explode, another crack in time appearing and the Doctor climbing through it to present a reset button which makes all the events not happen is a cheap trick ending that is also repetitive of all the cheap trick resets of the Moffatt era. It is here that I agree with those who attack this episode BUT it does at least make sense in terms of internal logic I think. Therefore, I think it is a better version of earlier uses of this type of reset trick in Moffatt stories.

The elements of building the Clara storyline with the Doctor confronting her etc are good and there is lots of nice dialogue and character touches. Matt Smith and Jenna Louise Coleman are strong and the scavengers trying to find salvage from the TARDIS are reasonable in terms of providing something for the Doctor and Clara to react against. I am glad one of the three guest characters is a positive and engaging character while the others give some drive to the story with their selfish, greedy and uncaring actions.

Overall this falls short of a higher level Who adventure due to the repeat of the overblown, timey wimey reset idea but it is at least used better than other occasions and there is lots of entertainment along the way so I rate this 7.5/10.
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/18/17 5:38 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Given how similar the fantastical worlds of Jules Verne are to the universe of Doctor Who, it is a wonder it took so long for a Jules Verne-inspired episode of the show. Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS is obviously inspired by Jules' 'Journey To The Centre of the Earth'. The episode doesn't manage to reach the same heights as Jules Verne's most iconic story however.

When the TARDIS is captured by a salvage company in space, Clara (Jenna Coleman) finds herself lost inside and the Doctor (Matt Smith) enlists the help of salvagers Tricky (Jahvel Hall), Bram (Mark Oliver) and Gregor (Ashley Walters) to find her. He promises they can have the TARDIS in exchange for their assistance.

There are some nice references to Doctor Who mythology - the Eye of Harmony for instance returns from the 1996 TV Movie - but overall there just isn't enough meat to the story. A lot of it is just characters running around TARDIS corridors and the time zombies introduced later into the narrative just feel forced in order to provide a 'monster of the week' of sorts. It never feels like there's a compelling reason for the story to be told entirely in the TARDIS, like it was simply an excuse to have a TARDIS-centric episode rather than because writer Stephen Thompson had a story to tell.

That's not the main problem with the story however. The main issue I have is that Steven Moffat and Stephen Thompson promised beforehand we would get to see more of the TARDIS, yet we are hardly shown anything other than corridors. We are shown quite a bit of the TARDIS library but other rooms like the TARDIS swimming pool are only glimpsed. It was a big disappointment to not have seen more of the TARDIS's swimming pool and this story would have at least had more of a reason for existing if we'd have seen more TARDIS rooms.

The resolution is a little weak too. It's a literal reset button, meaning the events of the episode never actually happened. This unfortunately renders it a pointless episode of the show. Essentially by watching this episode you waste forty five minutes on something that means nothing to the characters by the time it ends. A better solution would have been to have developed the salvagers to a point where they realise they don't want to salvage a sentient machine and decide to leave after they find Clara. Get rid of the whole time rift and make it an entire exploration of the cruelty behind trying to salvage a machine that is basically alive and the whole episode would have been substantially improved.

I did like the cinematography of this episode though. There were some beautifully shot moments, such as this one in the The Architectural Reconfiguration System:



Absolutely stunning production design by Production Designer Michael Pickwoad and a beautiful extreme wide shot by Camera Operator Joe Russell. It has that very distinctive Jules Verne feel, which I had hoped the episode's writing would have evoked too. Michael Pickwoad and Joe Russell worked wonders on this episode and should be applauded for it, even if the episode itself is lackluster.

The show's stars (in this case, Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman) are always applauded for their work on the show but people tend to forget the production crew who help produce the show. Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman were great but it is those who work behind the camera who deserve more recognition for what they do. It's easy to forget them, which is a shame because they do a stunning job and the show would not be the same without them.

Overall, Journey To The Centre of the TARDIS was a great concept for the show but unfortunately Steve Thompson doesn't quite pull it off. It just feels like an excuse to have an episode set entirely in the TARDIS and there's no compelling narrative reason behind it. The Edge of Destruction was a more effective take on a TARDIS-centric Doctor Who story. It doesn't try to force in a monster-of-the-week for a start. Journey needed bigger emphasis on TARDIS exploration (show us more rooms, not just glimpses of rooms) and a stronger resolution. The cinematography was brilliant though and the production design by Michael Pickwoad was incredible.
From the Reviewer:
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Reviewed By: doctorwhomoffReview Date: 12/17/15 5:08 pm
1 out of 3 found this review helpful.

And it was going so very well...

The first half of the second half of series 7 was a brilliant run of episodes but this where they dropped the ball. The concept is great and there is the odd good scene or two including one this is a bit important to truly understand Clara's arc but you could do with skipping the rest of it.

So watch it once but that really should be it, only watch again if your doing a marathon.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 5/1/15 2:12 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The story was the biggest disappointment of Series 7. While it showed us more of the interior of the TARDIS than usual, what we saw was far less interesting than in the far better story from Series 6, "The Doctor's Wife." The guest acting was poor, and little of interest happens during the story is essentially wiped out at the end. Overall, a disappointing and pointless tale that can easily be skipped.