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12 May 2013 @ 05:28 pm
Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS  
Hmmm, yes, I'll chalk this one up as an interesting failure though, in all fairness, I think it is the resolution that particularly lets it down. But the ending is always a bad place to make a mis-step.

There were a number of things I really liked about this, particularly the early scenes of Clara exploring the interior of the TARDIS styled as some kind of steam-punk wonderland fantasy. As the story developed I also formed a half-theory that the monsters were a TARDIS defence mechanism, and I was enjoying the idea of the TARDIS itself as an independent and not entirely safe place. This seemed to tie in pretty well with the antagonism between Clara and the TARDIS that the show had been stressing for several episodes. It also harked back to things like The Edge of Destruction (NB. which I've never seen) where the TARDIS is responsible for invoking strange behaviour in its passengers as a defence mechanism.

In short I thought some really interesting stuff was going on. In which, as it turns out, I was wrong.

I was rather disappointed with the direction/acting of Jenna-Louise Coleman, for the first time this season. In the scenes immediately after the crash she really doesn't look like she is under rubble that weighs anything. I was also very confused about what was going on with her hand. She wasn't treating it at all like you would expect someone with a burn severe enough to imprint letters on flesh. I spent a lot of time thinking maybe she was revealing her true nature and all the blowing was some kind of magical healing ability, the beeline she made for the history of the time war book also heavily suggested to me that she knew more than she was letting on. However the final scenes, and hints and trailers since, rather suggest this isn't the case.

The three brothers were basically surplus to requirements. The whole not-an-android sub-plot seemed to come from nowhere, go nowhere, and have no real connection to the rest of the episode - unless Clara turns out to be an android but that seems a disappointingly mundane explanation.

And then time reset itself. Moffat's love of the Timey-Wimey is beginning to get a little old. I'll continue to have time for it, when it's being interesting and original, but here it just felt like the writer (Stephen Thompson) had written himself into a corner and needed a reset button to get out.

I was really looking forward to a fantasy-style adventure with the Tardis environment featuring as some kind of protagonist. This was almost, but not quite it.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/98090.html.
parrot_knight: Pertwee_TVActionparrot_knight on May 12th, 2013 04:35 pm (UTC)
While I suspected early on that one of the monsters was in some form Clara, the other possibility which crossed my mind was that the Doctor would greet them as "Antibodies! I picked the technology up from the City of the Exxilons!"
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on May 12th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
I'd forgotten about the City of the Exxilons, but I must have been channelling it, because I did think antibodies!
reggietate: daleksreggietate on May 12th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC)
I think I was expecting antibodies, too :-)
daniel_saunders: Eleventh Doctordaniel_saunders on May 12th, 2013 05:21 pm (UTC)
I do like the idea that Doctor Who is actually about time travel, which was rarely seen in the original series (Dennis Spooner being its main advocate, as I hope to argue in a post tomorrow). Time travel interests me a lot more than base-under-siege or invasion of contemporary Earth, for example. So Moffat doing time travel stories, first under Davies (where we also got stories like Father's Day and The Waters of Mars) and then by himself is good. But the problem is it does seem increasingly to be the same kind of time travel stories - ontological paradoxes being a favourite Moffat-era get out of jail free card.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on May 12th, 2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how many stories there actually are to tell about time travel - most of them revert to paradoxes of some kind, I think. Though there are clearly a wider range that can make use of time travel integral to the story, without necessarily being about it, if you see what I mean. This story is the first that has really felt that the outline started out as "wierd stuff and then reset" with the reset excusing the wierd stuff. I felt distinctly cheated.

I hope the explanation of Clara doesn't involve paradoxes and resets, I think that would try my patience.
daniel_saunders: Eleventh Doctordaniel_saunders on May 12th, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
I think that, even as someone who likes time travel stories generally, a time paradox explanation for Clara would simply not interest me any more unless it was particularly clever or unusual. It does seem likely though, especially with the return of River and hopefully the resolution of the hanging threads from the last few years, many of which involve time travel (why the TARDIS exploded, what the Silence are planning and why they want a time machine etc.).
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on May 12th, 2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
The latest trailers rather suggest that Clara is a trap. A trap along the lines of Fenric and Ace would be a refreshing change and could be done, even with all the surrounding timey-wimey ness - though, of course, it has also been done before.
bookwormsarahbookwormsarah on May 12th, 2013 11:10 pm (UTC)
I'm still convinced Clara is a dalek -one of the humanoid daleks from Asylum. I thought the episode had so much potential, and I also thought as you did. I would have been interested to see what Neil Gaiman would have made of it - a sequel of sorts to the Doctor's Wife.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on May 13th, 2013 08:19 am (UTC)
There's been a lot of smoke and mirrors about Clara's appearance in Asylum, with some interviews suggesting it was a last minute decision which rather plays against the idea that she's a Dalek. However, your reasoning makes a lot of sense, if she's been a dalek all along that would be cool!
a_cubed: Peacea_cubed on May 13th, 2013 04:48 am (UTC)
Not apropos of this episode specifically, but has anyone else noticed the deep 60s visual look that's going through this half-season so far? The new credits are very 60s hippy and a radical departure from the style since "Rose". Somewhat reminiscent of the shift in last season Baker, plus McCoy, but definitely sixties lava lamp and original Hartnell credits, too, I think.\. Plus Clara's costumes, particularly the mini-dress in this one, seem to be harking on sixties themes, too. Perhaps the reflection of "Edge of Destruction" with the costume is deliberate, though more reminiscent of Dodo than Susan, perhaps.
Plus of course the bow tie which is clearly meant to be an "original" though very different to the bow ties that Hartnell actually used to wear.
louisedennislouisedennis on May 13th, 2013 08:28 am (UTC)
Hmm, I'd not noticed a sixties vibe particularly, I thought Clara's dress was more about the current fashion for these sorts of short, slightly childish-looking dresses (which I think are hideously unflattering on most people - if you aren't tall and/or thin you risk looking like a little girl in a dress you've grown out of). Of course, I've no idea how to Google this, but I'm conscious of noticing them around - e.g.

wellinghallwellinghall on May 13th, 2013 11:10 am (UTC)
That is completely how I had seen the dress (although speaking for myself, despite being tall, I don't really think one would look good on me ... )
louisedennislouisedennis on May 13th, 2013 11:12 am (UTC)
TBH, a bit of cultural suprise aside, I suspect they would look better on you than on me!
a_cubeda_cubed on May 14th, 2013 12:39 am (UTC)
OK, maybe sixties revival is currently a thing in the UK and because I'm in Japan I'm not seeing it.
louisedennislouisedennis on May 14th, 2013 09:22 am (UTC)
I generally don't notice fashion much, I think this particular style has stood out because it looks so horrible on anyone actually shaped like a real woman.