It’s time for the Doctor to go incognito on Doctor Who this week when an intergalactic threat brings him back down to earth. Discovering an ancient alien droid of sorts, lurking amongst the shadows, the Doctor is forced to up sticks and try to fit in amongst the humans… and it all goes down in Clara’s school – Coal Hill.
After managing to get rid of the old caretaker for a short while (hypnosis does wonders, you know) it looks as though the Doctor has wangled a job in Coal Hill. Of course, Clara’s face when the new caretaker is introduced is absolutely priceless… and despite promising to leave her alone for a while, she’s soon dragged into his madcap plan to capture and defeat the Skovox Blitzer.
There have been plenty of genuinely scary moments in the series so far, but despite a rather gruesome disembodied, smouldering hand, there’s little reason to hide behind the sofa in this episode.
I have to admit, I thought the design of the Skovox Blitzer – a military robot that should strike fear into the heart of men – was rather cool. It looked suitably menacing lurking in the shadows and sported a grim, deathly-cold stare that suits your average robotic killing machine. But with its lumbering appearance and rather ungainly scuttle, the monster-of-the-week quickly lost its stage presence… and descended into farcical territory.
It’s a real shame too – the opening few scenes laid out a rather impressive–looking menace. But in the end, ‘The Caretaker’ was a rather bland episode. There were a few great comedic moments – the Doctor’s damning indictment of Clara’s appearance was a highlight.
“You look nice,” he said. “Have you washed?”
It’s this sort of awkward banter that really works in Clara and The Doctor’s new relationship. But with some crossed wires and a potential boyfriend who looks like Capaldi’s predecessor, it becomes rather more awkward again.
It’s clear that The Doctor has a bit of a thing against soldiers… and to that end, he obviously doesn’t get along with Danny Pink. Completely ignoring the chemistry between Danny and Clara, it looks as though the Doctor has a weird tendency to want to run Clara’s life. But that soon backfires when the truth eventually outs.
Obviously, the growing tensions between Clara, Danny and the Doctor are framed within the story of an imminent alien threat… and let’s be honest – it was obvious from the outset that it would all be resolved by putting their differences aside and getting on with the job at hand.
But will the Doctor grow to like Danny?
It’s clear that there are some deep-seeded issues here for the Doctor, even if they have come out of nowhere over the last few episodes. But when the Doctor claims to not know anything about Danny Pink (despite having met his relative just two episodes before) it’s clear that the Doctor could well be up to something.
He’s hiding things from Clara and that might just make the juiciest story of all – would you trust someone who repeatedly lies to you? Even if it is for your own good?
Again, the Doctor is forced to re-examine himself in what’s becoming a recurring theme throughout the series. Danny’s antagonistic jibes referring to the Doctor as an officer are clearly meant to hit where it hurts… and the Doctor soon rises to the bait. Ordering Danny away from the TARDIS, it gives Capaldi reason to take a long, hard look at himself. And once again, the Doctor isn’t quite sure who he is.
It’s an interesting idea – that the long-established Doctor has lost his sense of who he really is… but is that really such a good theme for the debut series of a Doctor who already received mixed reaction from the fans?
Frankly, I think Capaldi has been an excellent Doctor from start to finish, and I get the feeling he’ll continue to surprise us. But let’s not scare people off before they really know him.
What did you think of The Caretaker? Are Danny and Clara a good match? Let us know what you think in the comments below…