Monday, September 29, 2014

My Review of Doctor Who's 8x06: "The Caretaker"

Written by Gareth Roberts And Steven Moffat
Directed by Paul Murphy

The Doctor (to Clara, re Danny): “Well, you’ve explained me to him. You haven’t explained him to me.”

Okay, let’s get this thorny issue out of the way – since when does the Doctor hate soldiers? The answer – always I think. He might have been friends with the Brigadier and worked for UNIT in his third incarnation, but it’s not entirely out of character that the Doctor hasn’t always been fond of regimental types, which might be a tad hypocritical on his part but with this episode, it somewhat went to a whole new level.

I honestly do think the Doctor was more than a little harsh towards Danny Pink when he realised that the maths teacher (not PE) was Clara’s boyfriend but at the same time, there was also a mutual distrust between him and Danny. It wasn’t one sided and both were somewhat as harsh as each other with the officer/sir scene in the TARDIS being one of the most antagonistic scenes we’ve had to date in the series.

I don’t know if the Doctor’s more harsher standpoint on soldiers will lead to something dramatically (I hope it does) or if it’s just there as part of a triangle of sorts between him, Clara and Danny but I do know that Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson all played off each other extremely well in this episode.

Danny probably wasn’t right to give Clara that ultimatum at the end of the episode either but I didn’t get the impression he was trying to be a controlling boyfriend (sorry social media) as such, just more that some of his past experiences with dealing with authority figures was somewhat clouding his own judgement. Clara can certainly more than take care of herself as we’ve seen for long enough.

As for Clara and Danny’s relationship – it might be a little early to throw out the ‘I love you’ and perhaps they don’t have the same spark that Amy and Rory did in previous series, but either way, I do like them well enough as a couple and given time, I’m sure both Danny and the Doctor will probably find some way of actually getting along with each other too.

Keeping with Danny for a bit longer though – I can understand the Doctor’s annoyance at him blundering in and wrecking his plan to stop the Skovox Blitzer but even that was an accident and Danny did manage to actually help both the Doctor and Clara send that killing machine on it’s very way in the end.

As for the Skovox – it just killed a random police officer, waddled about the place, shot a few chairs and generally was sent on it’s way. Design wise, it looked neat enough but it didn’t really do much and was more a prop to have the Doctor try and pass himself off as a caretaker at Coal Hill (where this episode was predominantly set) and learn about Clara and Danny being an item.

In a lot of ways this episode wasn’t that dissimilar to Roberts last two efforts where the domestics were more the focus than the actual monster itself. It’s not strictly a bad thing as the Doctor at Coal Hill produced some great scenes and even the dreaded Courtney from earlier in the series was actually a lot more likeable to watch. She even earned herself a trip in the TARDIS as a result.

Also in “The Caretaker”

The opening sequence with Clara hopping between dates with Danny and adventures with the Doctor is now one of my favourites.

Danny (to Clara, re the Doctor): “Bit intense looking. Did you see the eyebrows? Did he wink at you?”

Another point of this episode was that the last few minutes were set during Parents Evening. Courtney’s folks didn’t seem that concerned that she was a disruptive influence.

Clara: “Human beings are not otters.”
The Doctor: “Exactly. It’ll be even easier.”

Clara (to a student): “Who asks for homework? Amateurs!”

The in-joke with Adrian dressed as the 11th Doctor and having the current Doctor mistake him for Clara’s boyfriend was amusing enough.

Courtney: “You’re weird.”
The Doctor: “Yes I am and how about you?”

The Doctor: “I used to have a teacher exactly like you.”
Clara: “Well, you still do, pay attention.”

Ozzie Loves The Squaddie – juvenile but believable enough. I also want my own invisible watch too.

Danny (to Clara): “Oh my God, you’re from space. You’re a spacewoman. You said you were from Blackpool.”

Danny: “Why do you do it? Why do you go off in the box with him? The truth, please just this once.”
Clara: “Because it’s amazing. Because I see wonders.”

The police officer that was killed by Skovox ended up consulting with Seb (Chris Addison) in the Nethersphere. He seems to be Missy’s right hand man – the latter who appeared but said nothing this time.

Danny: “Is there anything I can do?”
The Doctor: “Yes, yes and this is very, very important – leave us alone.”

Seb (to police officer, re Missy): “Sorry, she’s a bit busy today. So any questions?”

Chronology: Mostly present day Coal Hill.

A fortnight ago, a certain episode provoked a certain amount of discussion over what could and couldn’t be done/shown with the Doctor’s past and “The Caretaker” seemed to generate similar heat over the current dynamic with the Doctor, his companion and her boyfriend. Overall, I found this episode pretty meaty in some parts, funny in others, a mash up of some past hits but at the same time, also one that I really enjoyed for good measure.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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