Doctor Who – Series 8, Episode 6: “The Caretaker”

(Warning: spoilers)

* Was this approach of having the companion properly juggle real life with travelling with the Doctor ever done in the classic series? I’m not sure how I feel about it. In some ways, I preferred the more straightforward approach – but at the same time, it provides more opportunity for conflict, as this episode uses to full effect.

* I really liked the Doctor and Clara’s scene in the TARDIS before the opening credits – it demonstrates what good chemistry Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman have together.

* Peter Capaldi may not do the whole “Doctor trying to fit in with humans” thing quite as well as Matt Smith did, but that’s setting the standard very high: he’s still very good and very funny. I particularly liked how he randomly tells the staff to call him the Doctor instead of John Smith, without any explanation that we see, as if to say “Yeah, I really don’t want to bother.” (Which does seem like the way the Twelfth Doctor would see it.) It’s certainly more interesting to watch him here than the last time he was pretending to work in a school, though the Tenth Doctor seemed a bit better at human integration in general.

* The Doctor assuming that Clara’s going out with the guy who resembles his last incarnation – wonderful. (Would have been less so if it actually was the case.)

* The Twelfth Doctor is still not that “user-friendly”, and still no less enjoyable for it.

* “No, it says ‘Go away, humans.'” – first time I can recall laughing out loud at Doctor Who in a while.

* There was nothing special about the Skovox Blitzer, though I did like its design and its way of speaking.

* I liked both Clara and Danny’s reactions after the first encounter with the Blitzer. Clara’s excuse about the play shows how she feels about Danny: she’s a smart girl, she knows it’s a terrible excuse that’s never going to work, but she’s just so desperate not to drive him off. Then there’s Danny believing that Clara herself is an alien – potentially a quite understandable conclusion from the available evidence – and the Doctor is her dad: well, maybe if he’d been around in 1963…

* The relationship between Clara and Danny is developing really well; I’ve definitely reached the point where I’d like to see Danny travelling in the TARDIS. I like how he’s being handled more than previous companions’ boyfriends: Mickey clearly didn’t stand a chance in Rose’s eyes compared to the Doctor, and although Rory was great overall, I still didn’t like how Amy treated him a lot of the time. Compared to them, Danny seems in a good position right now. It’s pretty clear, especially from the conversation towards the end, that Clara and Danny are on an equal footing and he’s confident enough in their relationship and himself to lay rules down.

* Then there’s how the Doctor and Danny interact. In the scene where Danny sneaks into the TARDIS, he stands up for himself well and demonstrates an understanding of the Doctor enough to get the latter pretty riled up. And by the end, he seems a bit more at peace with the Doctor than other boyfriends were at this stage. As for the Doctor wanting to make sure he’s good enough for her – we haven’t seen that side of a Doctor-companion relationship before, and I like it. It’s certainly easy to make that work with a more mature Doctor.

Didn’t bother with a ‘Good – Not So Good’ as there really wasn’t much to complain about in this episode. Yes, the baddie wasn’t exceptional, but that wasn’t important: it was really more about the characters than the adventure, and it handled that side brilliantly. I said last week Time Heist was the best episode so far this season – well, it’s just been beaten. Rating: 4.5/5.


About velociraptor256

Hi, my name's Richard. I created this blog to talk about my interests - and I have quite a few of those. I love zoology in general, herpetology in particular (especially snakes!), writing (have won National Novel Writing Month nine times so far), reading, astronomy, palaeontology, and travel. Thank you for coming to my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you here!
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