Published on September 29th, 2014 | by Brad


Doctor Who – The Caretaker review

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A frequently recurring facet of NuWho has been the more domestic storylines for the companions. Where the classic series companions would leave their old lives behind and go off in the TARDIS full-time, the new series has generally required that the companions have loved ones that they must return to periodically, leading to them meeting the Doctor, and shenanigans ensuing. After the Eleventh Doctor appeared naked in front of her entire family at Christmas dinner last year, now it’s time for the Clara/Danny shenanigans episode, in the form of The Caretaker.


After a brief montage of Clara balancing her adventures with the Doctor and her relationship with Danny, the episode proper begins with the Doctor going undercover as the caretaker at Coal Hill School. As back-referencing bits of fan-service go, I love that Clara and Danny work at Coal Hill School (the school the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan went to back in the 60s). The Doctor has to pretend to be human for a few days while he finds an ancient alien weapon and disposes of it in a safe fashion. This brings him into contact with Danny for the first time, and sparks fly, as the Twelfth Doctor’s open disdain for soldiers brings the two into conflict. If I have a criticism, it’s that the soldier thing really has been laid on a bit thick. It also raises the question of what he thinks of the Brigadier.

After a very funny bit of mistaken identity where the Doctor thinks Clara’s boyfriend is a slightly geeky teacher with a large chin and bowtie, because of course he does, the truth comes out when Danny accidentally disrupts the Doctor’s plan to get rid of the weapon (the Skovox Blitzer, kind of a cross between a mechanical spider and a Turian from Mass Effect). Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson get probably their best scenes yet as Clara and Danny, and their relationship is proving to be one of the stronger elements for this year – I’m not as invested in them as I was in Amy and Rory just yet, but given how little development Clara had had prior to this series, it’s been a big improvement. Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor is just proving to be a delight every week.


The Caretaker is an absolute blast. Very funny, really smart, some lovely emotional moments and Peter Capaldi gets to be rude to people on the BBC, which is the closest I’m going to get to seeing Malcolm Tucker again. I await next week’s episode with baited breath.


Stray Observations (or, Hey, the myth-arc’s back!)

  • Missy doesn’t greet everyone into… wherever it is that they are. She’s occasionally busy, it transpires.
  • That job is passed to Chris Addison, on very slimey form. I can’t imagine his character’s meeting with the Doctor being anything like the last time he and Peter Capaldi acted opposite each other.
  • I imagine that word Nethersphere is going to prove rather important in the scheme of things.
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