TARDIS is sentient and it can override the console's commands.

That being the case, why did it obey The Master during season 3 finale (given that she is apparently in love with The Doctor)?


2 Answers 2


The Master is a Gallifreyan and a Timelord. He has vast experience of TARDIS design, maintenance and ownership having owned several of his own for centuries. There's no reason to assume that with this knowledge he couldn't trick or just outright block off the TARDIS's consciousness if it decided not to obey him. His later actions (stripping the TARDIS for parts down to create a paradox machine) would strongly suggest that it isn't in any fit state to resist him.

Also, although the TARDIS has itself appears as a conscious entity in "The Doctor's Wife", it's made abundantly clear that this is an oddity. Under normal circumstance, the TARDIS can't communicate (or even think) on anything like a human level.

DOCTOR: You did. Look at us talking. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could always talk, even when you're stuck inside the box?

IDRIS: You know I'm not constructed that way. I exist across all space and time, and you talk and run around and bring home strays.

  • 2
    While I tend to agree with you on your first point, I don't think that dialogue really proves anything with regards to your second: being conscious and being able to talk are not equivalent. Indeed, the final scene of that same episode suggests quite strongly that the TARDIS still has some level of conscious independence even after re-integration, the discovery of which has Eleven jumping for joy. Nov 30, 2014 at 19:50
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit - I agree that the TARDIS in later seasons seems to show a great deal more intelligence (youtube.com/watch?v=-8I9z6Y4mBY) but it's not necessarily a human-style intelligence.
    – Valorum
    Nov 30, 2014 at 20:14

Additionally, The Master has repeatedly demonstrated a special ability to dominate and take over the will of other sentient beings, even other Timelords. Your question is, "Why did the TARDIS obey The Master?" - simply put, obey is what The Master is able to make others do.

The Master: I am The Master and you will obey.

From The Deadly Assassin:

Chancellor Goth: Can't fight his mental dominance...did everything he asked.

It's not difficult to imagine that if the TARDIS has any sentience, The Master would have little trouble dominating it.

  • "Additionally" to what? If you're referencing Valorum's answer you should explicitly say so. If no, let us know what you're continuing on from.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 21, 2016 at 19:45

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