Television: Doctor Who, "The Caretaker"

Really just an excuse to set up a situation in which Clara is forced to tell Danny the truth about her time travels with the Doctor.

Which isn't to say it's a bad episode or anything. It was fine. Good, even, despite the weak plot involving . . . The Doctor trying to snare a deadly alien hiding near Coal Hill School? Not sure why he needed to masquerade as a caretaker for that, given he can go anywhere and anywhen and shouldn't need to hang around for days at a time, but whatever.

The important bits in this episode were all relative. Clara trying to juggle real life and a boyfriend against going on adventures with the Doctor. And then the Doctor brings the adventure to her doorstep, more or less, and her worlds collide. It's actually a great premise and provides fodder for all the emotional turmoil each character must feel under the circumstances.

In his new incarnation the Doctor has necessarily become more father figure than dashing hero, so the hero mantel is now taken up by Danny Pink whose soldier skills give him the tools to do the job. He's also handsome and has a strong (in a good way) personality. And so "The Caretaker" necessarily shows the Doctor more or less relinquishing Clara to Danny in the way a father might give away his daughter. Oh, no, it's nothing that formal, but that's the underlying theme. Clara is walking down that aisle, away from the Doctor and toward Danny and a new life.


There's always the chance she and/or Danny might die.

The episode even saw the Doctor auditioning a potential new companion in the form of one of the Coal Hill students, but the girl got, er, spacesick? Just as well, since it's impossible to imagine this Doctor enjoying the company of schoolchildren. He needs a companion just as sturdy as he is.

And we see the Promised Land again, too, as a police officer killed by the alien turns up there for an . . . exit interview? Or entrance exam? Just so we're all aware that's still going on.

On the whole, probably one of the more amusing and entertaining episodes of the season thus far. Capaldi has hit his stride here, and he and Clara are starting to have better interaction. And bringing Danny into the mix boosted things quite nicely.

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