Warning: This blog post contains both personal opinions and especially SPOILERS about the Series 8 episode of Doctor Who “The Caretaker”. Reading beyond this point guarantees that you will encounter information regarding the episode that will ruin any and all of its surprises for you. Spoilers…
Wow. This was a really interesting episode. Is it just me or is The Doctor borderline… really, really mean? I think he’s doing it with the best intentions at heart but I almost feel like he would have gotten better results if he were just open and honest about what was going on in this episode.
We see Clara popping in and out of the TARDIS, leading a double life even more crazy than The Ponds managed in the end. She’s eating two meals sometimes, running with The Doctor followed by going for runs with Danny (who is now apparently her boyfriend, according to the story line). She’s having a really hard time keeping up and always seems rushed. Just as she’s ready to go on another adventure with The Doctor, he cuts her off. No, not today… he’s got a “thing” to do. He gets defensive and mysterious. Clara being the clever girl she is, knows something is up but she allows him to run off and do whatever this “thing” is he needs to do.
The Doctor is going into “deep, deep undercover”… at Coal Hill Elementary where Clara and Danny are teachers (Danny is a Math teacher… not a P.E. teacher). He disguises himself as the school’s temporary Caretaker in effort to set up a plan to capture and remove some big, metal-head monster thing This is where the episode gets a bit muddled for me. I feel like this new creature was nothing but episode fodder to help push along a much more important story. I’m going to basically ignore this Star Wars-esque laser beam shooting thing to talk about the big issues.
We all know that The Doctor cares about Clara in his own way. This episode shows how he really feels about her – beneath all of the sarcastic jabs about her face being colored in, how she looks like she may have even washed today, etc. When he finds out that Danny is the one Clara has been dating (not the other English teacher who is rocking a fabulous bow tie), The Doctor is angry. How could Clara… his Clara… be dating someone who is a soldier!?
In this episode, Clara must face Danny and show him who she truly is – a young girl swept up by the adventures of Time Travel. She has to tell Danny the truth about who she is when she isn’t with him, where she’s been, where she’s going and why she knows an older man who talks in a strange way who is dressed up as a school caretaker. Danny is angry – understandably. He doesn’t like having been lied to. Furthermore, he doesn’t like that she repeatedly puts herself in harms way and listens to the commands of The Doctor without hesitation or much thought at all. He compares The Doctor to that of a military Commander – which frankly, makes The Doctor extremely angry.
In typical, very human fashion, the men have it out in a bit of squabble. Danny shows a very arrogant side and pushes The Doctor’s buttons in attempt to show Clara who he believes he really is. The Doctor gives him hell right back and kicks Danny out of the TARDIS. Devastated, like a little girl who’s Father just sent away the love of her life in disapproval, Clara runs after Danny. After Danny really has a talk with Clara, it’s understood that he really loves her. He’s worried about her and hates the idea that he cannot protect her if he doesn’t even know that he is in danger. He makes Clara promise that should The Doctor ever push her too far, that she will let him know.
They of course defeat the monster thing – specifically with Danny’s last second help. This scene brings to attention that Danny isn’t good enough for Clara by The Doctor’s standards. Danny calls him out on this and suggests that no one is good enough for her and that is why The Doctor is giving him such a hard time. Clara reminds The Doctor that he just helped save the planet. That’s a start…
I liked this episode if for nothing more than to see more develop between characters. The plot had really nothing to do with the monster at all. I don’t even remember what it was called, nor do I really care to look it up. I thought the monster was kind of stupid and ill created story wise anyways. They probably did that intentionally so that you didn’t get too caught up on him and cared more about the actual problem.
P.S. There was a VERY brief mention from The Doctor about River in this episode, which suggests that this Doctor knows her! *squee*
What did or didn’t you like about this episode?