Spoilers are about…
Doctor Who 8×06: The Caretaker sets the scene with several of many dates between Danny and Clara and what befell to Clara and the Doctor right before. Eventually we get to an adventure the Doctor will not involve Clara in, which almost always means it concerns Clara more than before. To do this, the Doctor goes undercover.
Precisely he goes undercover at Coal Hill, the school were Clara teaches, as the new caretaker. Yes, there’s a monster – or rather a killing machine – on the loose. The Skovox Blitzer is the baddie of the week, but not quite the central theme. This time it’s all about Danny Pink and the Impossible Girl herself, Clara Oswald.
What we get is the big reveal for Danny. As the Doctor, or I should say caretaker John Smith, sets a trap for the robot, Danny discovers him and Clara. She’s not the only one involved. Resident disruptive influence, Courtney Woods, the same young girl that Clara saw in a few visions, befriends the Doctor.
Things don’t go as smoothly for Danny. The Doctor first mistakes another teacher for Clara’s boyfriend. By the time he gets acquainted with Mr. Pink, the former soldier has tripped a couple of the Doctor’s devices, meaning the Skovox Blitzer will be able to come back. To top it off, the Doctor is not a particular fan of soldiers and Danny already judges him as an aristocrat based on his “Timelord” title.
We get some decent light comedy, specially at the start and by the end the day is saved, Danny will make peace with the Doctor and Courtney gets seasick on the TARDIS. Of course, I’m shortening the whole thing quite a bit, since the whole point of this episode was the usual comedy bit of the first half as Clara attempts to cover the obviousness of the Doctor’s social awkwardness and the second half was Danny’s reaction to Clara’s actual real half. It did make for an entertaining show, although the actual threat was rather lame.
By the time the Skov- the mecha thing returns, the Doctor’s loose plan puts Clara in danger and Danny has to provide the distraction to give the Doctor time to score. The odd thing was the robot’s first victim, showing up in the Promised Land. The victim, a policeman, gets handled by a new character, another inhabitant of paradise. Missy does make an appearance, but for some reason she’s in a bad mood. Since the Doctor never met this policeman, I’d expect there was no reason to do this bit this week. Or perhaps we’re being shown that Missy only intervenes with victims related directly to the Doctor’s intervention.
Overall, I enjoyed the episode but for a few flaws.
- Clara being Clara throughout the episode.
- Danny’s better as explaining why Clara continues to follow the Doctor when he mentions that he knows people like thim, people who push you to be more than what you are.
- Courtney Woods, the disruptive influence student. I thought I’d found her annoying but she’s somehow fitting as a possible regular, or at least recurring occasional companion.
- The enemy, which I will not name again, is just an excuse for bringing the Doctor on the grounds. Ok, I’ll say it: the Skovox Blitzer looks more like a toy than a killer mechanical droid.
- I’m not sure why Danny Pink’s summersault flip annoys me. I like Danny’s soldier past, but he’s not superhuman.
- I understand the Doctor’s initial disliking of Danny as a soldier. Although it’s a bit of thinly threaded, I do get it. I don’t get Danny’s distaste for the Doctor just based on the Timelord mention. He immediately jumps into a tirade against aristocracy. It’s like classes are at war even across races.
- Didn’t see a need for the promised land bit at the end.
- The other teacher that talks to Clara about Shakespeare, Adrian, is supposed to appeal to the Doctor’s ego as resembles Matt Smith a little (haircut and bowtie). I guess this is the ego of the Doctor that makes him believe that’s Clara’s significant over. I wish that Peter Capaldi’s Doctor would not play the jealous card this often.
That will do for now.