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27 April 2013 @ 10:30 pm
Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS  
So mainly, I want someone to get around to transcribing all the voices that were spilling out from the TARDIS control room, because the only things I really clearly made out (as opposed to guessing; did I hear Susan?) were Amy exclaiming, "We are in space!" from "The Beast Below," and Nine declaring that the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn't get through the TARDIS door. (And ridiculously, I know I can hear Martha, because I know her voice so well, but haven't the slightest idea of what she's saying.) Like many of the details of the episode, I found that simultaneously haunting and lovely - all the secrets tucked away inside that blue box, all that time. (Also - just out of curiosity - what happens to a liquid encyclopedia when you spill it?)

Also, if I think about what the creatures actually turn out to be, I might make myself slightly sick, because it's the wonder of time travel turned inside out and made horrible - seeing your terrible death in front of your own eyes, and having to come to terms with that - but then, there's also the possibility of rewriting it.

Which is where the episode goes all thinky and weird for me - with rewriting. We have Clara asking not to forget the Doctor's name, or the puzzle of her other selves, and the Doctor having to rewrite the day anyway, to keep them from dying. It reminded me uncomfortably not just of Donna, but of that moment in "The Snowmen" where the Doctor threatens to use the memory worm on Clara. (Although here, it's true, he has little choice, and he does rewrite his own past and memory as well.) But then, too, we have the brother being commanded not to forget the tiny bit of human decency he had in him, and remembering that even without the day's events. (So...does Tricky still think he's an android? That sucks! Or does he remember?*) And as the Doctor told Amy in season 5, nothing is ever completely forgotten, not really... How much does Clara remember about what she read of the Time War, or what the Doctor told her about the other Claras, and how much does the Doctor remember of his long-delayed acceptance of Clara as a real (Lancashire) girl?

Also, paging sadcypress, because we definitely had hand-holding in this one! I'm still trying to think through that, but I loved that it's the moment where Clara steps up to comfort him - not to be afraid of him, as she said earlier: more afraid of him than of anything inside the TARDIS - and take his hand in hers, that saves the day, through the message marked on her skin.

("Good guys do NOT have zombie creatures! Rule one story-telling!" So far, this story isn't turning out like Clara's beloved book from childhood, Summer Falls - written by our own Amelia Williams, who knows a few things about madmen with boxes. Instead, Clara's been told not to trust the hero, in "Hide," and so she doesn't: what if he's not a good guy? [After all, he warns our trio of brothers that they should never do exactly what he depends on his companions to do - get into a spaceship with a madman.] How many secrets is he keeping from her? [No wonder she needs so fiercely to know what the creatures are; everything, whether he's a good guy or a bad one, hinges on that answer.] Nor does he trust her, not entirely: "What are you, eh? A trick, or a trap?" So even if she and the Doctor don't remember what happened between them, we can still see the ripples in that last scene: "I need to know if you feel safe"; "Running away with a spaceman in a box - anything could happen to you." And her reply: "That's what I'm counting on.")

Also - since we're talking about touching - it seems that if Amy and Eleven's thing was forehead kissing, Clara and Eleven's thing is more likely to be face touching. Which I greatly enjoy, I must say.

And finally: "Time mends us. It can mend anything." I feel like I've been saying that, in various ways, for the last two and a half seasons. That's what time travel does: it fixes things, it provides solace and - that overused word, at least by me - grace. In spite of all the hurt it does, too.

*Or does that bit of decency go back far farther than just that one day? Because we get a shot of that family photograph at the end, all three brothers present and accounted for, alongside their father - which suggests that Tricky never thought he was an android in the first place. I don't remember what the photo looked like at the beginning of the episode, or - to be honest - if we even saw it, but its significant placement at the end of the episode suggests that even if Tricky lost his memory, he was never told that he was an android in order to fill in the gaps. Which, I guess, means that things echo back in time as well as forward, which ties in to the general structure of the episode, with the future leaking out as well as the past.
stoplookingupstoplookingup on April 28th, 2013 10:38 am (UTC)
I did notice the photo at the beginning and I'm pretty sure there were only three people in it, so yes, that seems to have been rewritten.

I have a feeling that the message written in Clara's skin is thematically important - that somehow she herself is a message, and that's why she keeps popping up in different places and times.
tempestsarekind: eleven and amytempestsarekind on April 28th, 2013 02:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, good! I thought that was probably the case, but I just couldn't recall.

I'm wondering if the contained TARDIS explosion didn't do something to Clara, even after it got rewritten: if little bits of that day wind up getting thrown back into the past (like the bit of human decency), or if the past and future are both leaking out of the explosion, then is this the moment where parts of Clara get thrown into other bits of time? Is that what happened to create Victorian Clara and Oswin?

Eh, I'm probably wrong - I almost never guess the plot of anything - but it's interesting to think about. And I like your idea that Clara is a message of some sort...

Edited at 2013-04-28 02:54 pm (UTC)
teliesin: TCteliesin on April 29th, 2013 09:43 am (UTC)
I just rewatched part of it this morning, the picture at start of the brother's and father is ripped on left side to remove Tricky(?) and full picture of four of them later in show. So things do seem mended.
I'm just pretty clueless about the Clara(s). I can't figure her out or where se came from. So your idea seems quite plausible to me. The Doctor is thinking she is a trap but his actions may have created her former and future self. I don't know if it's significant but she always seems to have a prop or be carrying something. The tea cup, the 101 places book, the umbrella, the uniform jacket, candelabra, and now the message on her hand.

litlover12 on April 29th, 2013 03:39 pm (UTC)
That's true, now you mention it. I chuckled over how she refused to put down that teacup no matter what -- I thought it was just a sign of Britishness. But it may mean something more . . .
tempestsarekind: come along pondstempestsarekind on April 29th, 2013 06:47 pm (UTC)
Interesting! I hadn't thought about that.
teliesin: TCteliesin on April 30th, 2013 12:20 am (UTC)
I found reference to the voices spilling out of the TARDIS console:

As the TARDIS leaks the past, several voices can be heard. They are, in respective order:
◾ The voice of Susan Foreman says, "I made up the name 'TARDIS' from the initials: Time and Relative Dimension In Space." (TV: An Unearthly Child)
◾ The Third Doctor saying, "The TARDIS is dimensionally transcendental" and his companion, Jo, asking "What does that mean?"
◾ The Eleventh Doctor saying, "You sexy thing!" then Idris (the TARDIS in human form) replying, "See, you do call me that! Is it my name?" followed by the Doctor's exclamation of "You bet it's your name!" (TV: The Doctor's Wife)
◾ The Fourth Doctor saying, "That's trans-dimensional engineering. A key Time Lord discovery." (TV: The Robots of Death)
◾ The Ninth Doctor saying, "The assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn't get through that door, and believe me they've tried." (TV: Rose)
◾Martha Jones saying, "It's just a box with that room crammed in!". (TV: Smith and Jones)
◾Amy Pond saying, "We're in space!". (TV: The Beast Below)
◾Ian Chesterton asking, "A thing that looks like a police box, standing in a junkyard, it can move anywhere in time and space?" (TV: An Unearthly Child)
◾ The Fifth Doctor asking, "You've changed the desktop theme, haven't you?" (TV: Time Crash)
tempestsarekind: TARDIS plus angelstempestsarekind on April 30th, 2013 01:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm still surprised by how few of those I could make out - even though I listened several times. :) I suppose it's not especially odd that I had trouble with things from episodes I haven't seen, but I didn't hear that Eleven/Idris exchange at *all*.
Emily-- Toppington von Monocle: eleven wall [doctor who]sadcypress on May 1st, 2013 12:36 pm (UTC)
I did not love this episode while watching, but at the same time, I knew I needed to put it on my queue for rewatching soon. There's a lot to puzzle through here and ponder, more than there was for me to outright enjoy. But yes! As soon as I saw how much handholding there was, I thought to myself 'tempestsarekind MUST SPEAK OF THIS.' ;)
tempestsarekind: come along pondstempestsarekind on May 1st, 2013 01:02 pm (UTC)

Yeah - I said in someone else's comments that I thought the episode was really a thinky character piece, but was dressed up like an action-filled adventure (with the result that the action part came off a bit weirdly). But the Eleven-and-Clara bits felt *so* significant that I had a lot of fun thinking about it. :)