Doctor Who recap: The Salvage of a Lifetime

The Doctor searches for Clara in the dark corners of the TARDIS. Meanwhile, Clara makes a stunning discovery
Ep. 09 | Aired Apr 27, 2013

DEAD AGAIN Clara discovered the Doctor's edition of the Complete Encyclopedia Gallifrey, which appeared to be printed on vapor.

Adrian Rogers/BBC Worldwide

But then he saw the burn on Clara's hand, from early in the episode. There was a message there. This gave the Doctor an idea. He could go through the time rift, back to where this whole adventure began -- the moment that started this Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS. (The time rift looked identical to the rift in the universe from a couple seasons ago -- apparently, all rifts look the same when the space-time continuum is rupturing.) As he prepared to go, Clara asked him a universe-imploding question. "You were mentioned in a book," she said. "You have a name. Why do you call yourself Doctor?"

The Doctor assured her that she wouldn't remember anything after he reset time: Not the mystery of her own existence, not the Doctor's name, nothing. They would still have secrets -- necessary secrets. The Doctor went through the time rift -- and appeared back at the start of the episode. He tossed the grenade-ish thing. This time, the Past Doctor managed to get ahold of it. The message on the side read "Big Friendly Button" -- a reference to a joke the Doctor had just made. The Doctor mashed down the button -- and time was reset.

Confused? Me too! I think I understand the bare outline of what happened, but the timey-wimey plot mechanics were extra abstract this week, although they vaguely resembled Donnie Darko. Regardless, the universe acted as if the TARDIS had never been ruptured. Things appeared to be better onboard the Van Baalen Brothers' salvage ship: The Brainy Brother was being nice to the Not-Android, and it even seemed like the Not-Android had his memory back. (Or anyhow, he looked longingly at a picture of his old father and the brothers together. He still had a barcode tattooed on his neck, but maybe that's just the fashion in whatever future they're from?)

Meanwhile, onboard the TARDIS, the Doctor made a joke about living two days crammed into the space of one. He asked Clara if she felt safe, if she was afraid of the future, of crazy things happening on her journey with the Doctor. "That's what I'm counting on," she said…and she walked away, carrying a towel, her hair a bit wet. Was she walking from the swimming pool? Did she remember her journey through the TARDIS? Does she remember the Doctor's name? Will we ever get any deeper insight into the Mystery of Clara?

More importantly: Fellow viewers, what did you think of this week's episode? Were you fascinated by the intriguing peeks into the TARDIS? Were you moved by the sorrowful tale of the Brothers Van Baalen? What do you think the Doctor's real name is? (I'm betting on Evelyn. It's a man's name!)

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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