|“||I'm so stupid I didn't know I wasn't an android.||”|
— BRAVO THOMPSON
Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS is a DOC-TOR... WHO?! story written by Stephen "All my episodes are shit!" Thompson about several black people robbing the TARDIS, and Eleven being all around useless despite beefing himself up at the beginning of the episode. Best summed up by Philip Sandifer as being about the time when "the TARDIS was hijacked by a bunch of black men because the Doctor let a woman drive."
Series 7 was the best!
Watching it again, there were some neat bits. The rooms of random stuff around the TARDIS are the best part. It suffers quite badly from the sonic screwdriver being a magic wand though. Seeing the Eye of Harmony was a bit underwhelming, but the monsters being future versions of everyone was cool in my book.
But all in all it doesn't matter because the Doctor literally presses a reset button at the end of the episode; this has been mentioned as being done as an inside joke, a way of "lampshading" the use of such, but as with such claims, this is hard to verify 100%. Admittedly, this is significantly better and at least more tongue in cheek than Thompson's other deus ex machinas. He's learning!
Cowboy Bebop Edit
As this episode is literal cancer, it should be said that there are far superior works of science fiction featuring black people, such as the Cowboy Bebop episode, Mushroom Samba, which is about the Bebop crew crashing on a space colony run by african americans, after poisoning her entire crew with some trippy mushrooms Ed stole from a drug dealer, hilarity ensues once she realizes there is a bounty on the dealers head. Ed, a rival bounty hunter and a man out for revenge pursue the crook in one of the most hilarious chase scenes on TV .
It's a lot better than a twist about a man so stupid he doesn't know that he's not organic, even though he thinks he can talk to the TARDIS. After the Train is stopped by a cow, incapacitating the 2 other bounty hunters, the dealer offers Ed his mushrooms in an attempt to let him go, telling her they are much more valuable than his bounty, Ed agrees, however they turn out to be regular shitake mushrooms. This is a much more hilarious and satisfying resolution than the Doctor sending a reset button into the past to undo everything and make the episode pointless. The episode also features some pretty funny hallucinogenic scenes, in one Spike talks to an imaginary frog and climbs the stairway to heaven, there are no scenes in which Ed discovers the Doctor's real name, conveniently written in the English language and says the most cringe inducing line that 45000 redditors tipped their fedoras to it in r/cringe, "So that's who". What? was the Doctor intending to publish the book? What is the point of archiving history when all combatants of that war are dead?
Cowboy Bebop is bretty good.
It's clear, from the terrible presentation, that this is as much a problem of directing as it is writing. As written, the brothers are clearly meant to be working class comic stereotypes, the likes of which the Stooges made fortunes playing, yet the direction has the actors playing it completely, and alienatingly, straight.
When you've done a reset ending worse than Last of the Time Lords, you done fucked up.
Marc Platt wrote a story back in the mid-80s where the TARDIS crashes and the Doctor and his companion get stuck with some other people in the interior of his dying TARDIS, everyone is menaced by their own pain-maddened future selves, one of the guest characters isn't who he thinks he is, and we learn a lot about Time Lords and TARDISes. It kept getting rejected, so Platt got the show canceled so he could write it as a VNA.
A massive sprawling work packed with great ideas, complicated plot twists that rewarded thinking about, interesting set pieces, and revelations of deep lore some of which were actually cool, Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible was only hampered by the fact that the actual story wasn't very good.
Decades later, this story was finally made for TV as intended, but by another writer. Thompson solved the problems with the original by stripping all the complicated stuff down to its bare bones, removing the deep-lore subplots (replacing them with namechecking every TARDIS subsystem ever mentioned like some trivia contest between Ian Levine and Gary Russell), and focusing on the actual story. Which still wasn't very good. It still lacked focus, revolved around unlikable guest characters, and had a crap ending that ensured that nothing that had happened actually mattered.
(There are rumors that Thompson's script was so bad that Moffat had Gatiss rewrite him without credit, as with that Sherlock episode, so maybe it was Gatiss who turned it into a watered-down retread of Marc Platt's novel. But I'm still going to blame Thompson here, because if your work is so bad that a Gatiss rewrite will help, you need to go back to being a maths teacher.)
Clara reading The Book of the War and learning that the Doctor is actually Grandfather Paradox was the least successful trolling yet of Mad Larry, because he'd already had a nerdeurysm and stopped watching long before that point to write, post, and delete an angry blog about the first five minutes.