27th Sep2014

‘Doctor Who: 8×06 – The Caretaker’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


I am a Doctor Who fan, I want to like every episode I watch but sometimes this just isn’t the case.  Last week when I watched the teaser for The Caretaker I was worried, and having now watched it I was right to be, but also wrong because in truth it wasn’t that bad.  My problem with Doctor Who right now is the fact that I’m still trying to get used to the Danny Pink character and the dating storyline which is being laid on pretty thick right now, especially in this episode.  On a plus point though at least progress is made to bring things to some level of normalcy.

Clara (Jenna Coleman) is juggling her life between The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Danny (Samuel Anderson) and finally thinks she has it under control.  That is until The Doctor tells her he’s going undercover and doesn’t need her.  Returning to the school where she works alongside Danny it’s not long before she finds out just where The Doctor has gone undercover, and that is at her school as the new temporary caretaker.

In many ways this episode is another throw away story, but it won’t go forgotten because it does something important, and that is to lay the foundations for Danny to actually be more active with The Doctor.  I don’t like the fact that there is an obvious attempt to make the relationship feel a little like a love triangle, and the whole storyline between Clara and Danny at this point feels a little forced into the plot but it is understandable as they try to establish him into the Doctor Who world.  I’m sure this feeling of being forced will ease in time, especially with the dynamic between the two men in Clara’s life.  The tension between Danny the Soldier and The Doctor the “Lord” is an interesting one that I’m sure will be brought up in the future, but as we know The Doctor always has his issues with soldiers.  The alien in this episode though? Totally forgettable and was only used to further the Danny Pink story line.

A positive element of this episode is the return of Missy (Michelle Gomez) and a new character connected to her Seb, played by Chris Addison (from The Thick of It, will this lead up to a reunion with Capaldi if they ever meet?).  The scenes in this episode further extend the idea of the afterlife, though not much more is really shown other than the fact that people who die are still being collected there (wherever it may be).  It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, especially as we get closer to the end of the season, it’s a nice tease though showing that even if we don’t see any Missy scenes each week, she is still there collecting people/aliens who suffered due to The Doctor’s actions.

The Caretaker was an episode that touched more on comedy than anything serious.  It’s a shame that the alien was wasted, but to be fair we do need episodes that finally get characters moving in the right direction.  I’m still not invested in Danny Pink as a character, but this is something that will hopefully change in time as it does look like he is sticking around.  Peter Capaldi takes on the comedy this week with ease, I think this version of The Doctor is finally in place and even if some elements don’t work at times, for the most part Capaldi has found that edge that was required to make him the Timelord we know and love.

***½  3.5/5

The Caretaker feels like another throw away episode at times but it does have its moments and does an important job. Pulling Danny Pink into The Doctor’s world may finally make him feel more a part of the show.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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