While letting Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) fly the TARDIS something goes terribly wrong when the Time Lord’s craft is caught in a Magno-Grab by a salvage ship looking for scrap. With Clara still trapped onboard, lost in the maze-like bowels of the ship, The Doctor (Matt Smith) convinces the two brothers (Mark Oliver, Ashley Walters) and their android (Jahvel Hall) to help save Clara by offering them “the salvage of a lifetime” in exchange. After boarding with the salvagers, The Doctor activates the TARDIS self-destruct and locks them all aboard, giving them a half-hour to rescue Clara before they all die.
While exploring the TARDIS, she even finds the pool and the Seventh Doctor’s umbrella, Clara is pursued by a mysterious creature. Meanwhile, the two brothers take time out from the search to try and strip the ship of its valuable technology. Refusing to listen to The Doctor’s warnings one of the brothers removes a piece of living technology from the TARDIS forcing the ship to begin fighting back. Finally reunited with Clara, The Doctor, the android, and the remaining brother head for the center of the TARDIS before the rupture in time destroys them, but not all of them will survive the trip.
“Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” is full of interesting ideas, not all of which seem particularly well-thought out or developed. The Doctor is able to save himself and Clara by creating a paradox by using the crack in time. How exactly he creates the big friendly button (or what it actually does) is unclear. Although it’s foreshadowed early on, the concept feels more like a cheat to save time than anything else.
I enjoyed Clara’s discoveries, except for the book on the Time War. Its existence makes no sense as only the survivor could have written the book. We know it’s unlikely that The Doctor wrote the book, and even if he had certainly wouldn’t have used his “real name” (a concept I will fight all the way to the season finale). During the day which was rewritten The Doctor discovers Clara has no memories of her other selves who have met him before. We’ll have to see if that changes with The Doctor and Clara heading back to Victorian England next week.