Last week, we went hiding with Clara and the Doctor. This week, we are heading to the center of the TARDIS. Since the last TARDIS themed episode, “The Doctor’s Wife”, is one of my favorites, I am excited to see what the episode has in store.
We open up on a spaceship traveling through the galaxies, and then see the men inside. We find out that the ship they man is a salvage ship and it alerts them to a possible incoming salvage.
Cut to Clara and the Doctor arguing about the TARDIS and how Clara said that she was “looking at her funny” and how she must have just been tired when she said it. “The TARDIS is just an appliance, it does a job.” Clara reassures herself. The Doctor rebuttals, “It’s a pretty cool appliance. We’re not talking cheese grater, here.”
Clearly, it’s important to the Doctor that Clara and the TARDIS get along, so he offers to leave the two of them alone together to which Clara tells him he’s creeping her out.
He then offers to let her pilot the TARDIS. s he does so, the TARDIS shows up on the salvage screen for the ship, and they activate the magnograb to snag what is sure to be an excellent salvage opportunity. As we rejoin Clara and the Doctor, the TARDIS begins to malfunction and the shields are down as they are sucked into the salvage area of the passing ship. Of course Clara thinks that she had something to do with it, and they begin to hear music as the Doctor scurries around to try to fix the problem. Clara says that she hopes he has a button he can push to fix this and he sarcastically says, “Oh yes, big friendly button!”
We then see the men aboard the ship trying to guess what their find may be, and they decide to try to crack it open. They stomp and pound and cut but to no avail. One of the men tells the others to stop when they decide to blast it open and proclaims that the ship is alive and she’s suffering and he can feel it.
They almost throw it back until they see that there is someone underneath the ship and realize the crew was still on board with they dragged it in. As they are coming up with a story, the Doctor springs “to action and introduces himself to the crew. They try to tell him that his ship was junked up, but the Doctor knows better. He shows them the remote that he found that they used to disable the ship and that only worked because he had turned the shields off so that Clara could pilot the TARDIS. At that moment he realizes that Clara is missing and is still on board the TARDIS and frantically begins to make a plan to rescue her. He tells the crew they have to help get her out and in exchange they get the ship, which he guarantees will be the best haul they’ve ever had. He tells them, “Right behind those doors is the salvage of a lifetime.”
In the meantime, we fix in on Clara who is covered in debris. She gets up and begins to call for the Doctor, and also notices the palm of her hand is in pain and looks at it and blows on it. As she moves down the corridor, she finds a door with a red flashing light, but decides to chance it and open it and realizes quickly that it was a bad decision and takes off running.
The crew and the Doctor are readying themselves to get on the TARDIS and the Doctor opens the door with the key. As they enter in, they are walking through and the floor is upright, even though the TARDIS is laying on her side. The Doctor explains that she is special and he’d explain if he had a chart and some board pen. And of course, we get the traditional, “it’s bigger on the inside” comments.
As the crew hems and haws over whether to help the Doctor find Clara as that wasn’t the deal, he tells them that it is the deal now. And for added motivation, he’s started the TARDIS self-destruct system. One hour til this ship blows. As the crew tries to leave, the Doctor tells them it’s no use. The TARDIS is in lock down and he’s not opening it back up until Clara is returned to his side. When they call him a lunatic, he tells them they should never get into a spaceship with a mad man. As they struggle unsuccessfully to get the TARDIS door open, the Doctor gives them some added motivation and moves the self-destruct timer to thirty minutes. “The salvage of a lifetime.” he says. “You meant the ship. I meant Clara.”
Clara is wandering around the TARDIS and finds a room that looks like a storage room. As she looks around, she begins to hear a noise. She then sees a zombie looking creature and tries to hide. The crew is walking around the ship and one asks his computer what’s on board the ship. As he hears what is there, he tells them they should all split up to find the girl, and then sends one of the crew up front to disassemble the console.
Clara is still running from the zombie type creature and passes doors and rooms, as she tries to find a place to hide. She again examines her hand which looks as if something has been burned or seared into it, and then begins to look up and sees a massive library in front of her and tells the TARDIS that’s just showing off.
As the crew member makes it to the console and begins to try to disassemble it, he begins to hear voices and talking and starts to search and see where it’s coming from. We see the other crew member with the computer walking around the TARDIS when it states, “EVERYTHING. Everything is behind that door. Everything you could possibly want.” When he asks for a value, the computer tells him it’s incalculable and that whatever machine he requires, this system would build it. The Doctor runs in and urges him to stop, and warns him that the TARDIS will not like it if he takes something and that he feels a TARDIS tantrum coming on. The crew member ignores him and takes the circuit anyway. As he does, the TARDIS removes the door, keeping him from leaving the room. But once he threatens to torch the wall, the TARDIS puts the door back.
We see Clara reading some of the books in the library, and then the creature appears again. She is hiding again and as the creature runs past one way, she runs the other. In the meantime, the TARDIS has created an infinite loop to punish the crew member for removing her circuit. As the other crew member contacts the third to tell him the ship is alive and not to bother it, he has found some sort of control room and ignores the warnings.
Clara makes it back to what she thinks is the console until she realize that something isn’t right and the TARDIS no longer has a door. The crew member falls as he is coming down in the console and sees the zombie creature and it attacks him. The Doctor and other two crew members are trying to figure out whats happening when the Doctor’s screwdriver tells him there are other life forms on board and just a few steps away. Then there are two conjoined zombie creatures that begin to chase them.
Clara is still busy trying to find the Doctor and heads into another room with a console to which she has no understanding of how it could be. The Doctor and his crew member find the console as well, but the Doctor says its an echo and that the TARDIS is trying to protect them because he gave back the circuit. As something falls to the floor, the Doctor realizes that there is more than one echo room. Then he begins to hear Clara. Her breathing and noises, and her screams. He realizes that she let the creature in and he frantically tries to save her. He manages to merge the echoes and pull her through before the creature can get to her.
Instead of feeling grateful, she punches the Doctor and demands to know why a good guy has zombie creatures because that should not be! The Doctor then tells the guys that there was really no countdown to destruction. However, the Doctor then realizes something really is wrong with the TARDIS and that the engine has to be repaired, which is in the center of the TARDIS.
As they head off to find the center, Clara again asks about the creatures and what they are, and the Doctor tells her she doesn’t want to know. She begins to see herself and the Doctor and hear their voices talking. She sees the Doctor and starts talking to him but then the real Doctor comes in and tells her not to touch him. He explains that there is a rupture in time somewhere on the ship, a small tear, and that the TARDIS is leaking the past.
They see the zombie creature again and start to run. The Doctor calls the zombie a she, and as Clara starts to question it, he tells her not to ask anymore. As they run, the ship starts to send beams flying through the walls and one impales one of the crew members. This crew member in particular believes he is an android, and tells the other to cut his arm off to free him. The Doctor makes the man tell him that he is not an android, but indeed a real live human that they put a voice box and bionic eyes as a joke and lied to him about it just to relieve the boredom from wandering in space. They cut him out and get on the move once again.
As the two crew members are talking, he admits that they are brothers and that the reason he doesn’t remember any of it is because of a salvage accident. As they move on and run through where the star of Harmony is, the zombies close in on both sides. Clara demands yet again to know what they are and declares that if they are going to die here, then there is no use for secrets. But the Doctor tells us that secrets protect us and keep us safe. The computer begins to identify the substances, and identifies one of the zombies as Clara. The Doctor tells her that he brought her along to keep her safe but that she died again. Clara responds, “what do you mean, again?”
The Doctor then realizes if they interrupt the timeline that none of this can happen, but as they try to find a way off the bridge away from the zombies, hope is waning. The brothers touch each other and time reasserts itself and makes them zombies again. The Doctor and Clara make it out and end up on a cliff. With no plan and not much hope, the Doctor tells Clara that she should just tell him who she is. He explains to her that he met her before in the Dalek Asylum, and as a governess in Victorian London, and she tells him that she has no idea what he’s talking about. As the Doctor begins to realize she really does have no idea what he’s talking about, Clara reveals that she is more scared of him right now than of anything on the TARDIS. He begins to hug her and even though she doesn’t understand why, she proclaims that the hug is really nice.
The Doctor finally realizes that the TARDIS is like a wounded animal trying to keep everyone away and is making an illusion to keep them from the engine room. He tells Clara that they need to jump and while she is very skeptical, she agrees to trust him. And GERONIMO! They jump and end up in the heart of the TARDIS, the engine room where there are pieces everywhere. The Doctor realizes that the TARDIS has frozen the explosion but that she is beyond repair and there is no way he can save her. “She’s always been there for me and taken care of me and now it’s my turn and I don’t know what to do.” As Clara runs up and grabs the Doctor’s hand, he sees the message that has imprinted itself on her skin “big friendly button” and declares that he needs to find the exact moment they crashed…he needs to find the music. They set off running and they find the time rift and the Doctor takes the “big friendly button” and is going to take it through the time rift himself to try to fix what has happened.
Before he does, Clara asks about everything that he’s told her about meeting her before and her dying and he tells her not to worry, that she’ll forget. But Clara tells the Doctor she doesn’t want to forget…not all of it. She also tells him she read books in the library, and that he was mentioned in them. She also questions him about why he calls himself the Doctor, because he has a name and she has seen it. He tells her that if he rewrites today that she won’t remember and won’t go looking for his name. They’ll still have secrets and it’s better that way. He goes through the time rift, to the point where they are discussing the “big friendly button” and tells the Doctor that there’s a reset time and throws the switch and the Doctor laughs at the “big friendly button” message on the side as he pushes the switch.
As time resets, the crew members don’t see anything on the screen, and the Doctor and Clara are safe. But then the Doctor questions Clara to see if she feels safe. When she tells him of course, he asks her to rank it on a scale of one to ten. Ten being “woo-hoo” and one being “ahhhhhhhhhhh!” on if she feels safe because he needs to know that she’s not afraid. When she asks of, he replies of anything. Running away with a spaceman in a box, anything could happen to her…Clara replies, “That’s what I’m counting on.”