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REVIEW: Doctor Who 8×06 “The Caretaker”


Clara and Danny’s relationship continues to intrigue and delight in last night’s Doctor Who episode “The Caretaker”, to the point where it’s far more engaging than the Doctor’s own exploits. That’s no put down to Peter Capaldi however, whose performances as the legendary Time Lord have become the highlight of every episode we’ve had so far this series.

“The Caretaker” sees Clara’s struggling duties as a companion and girlfriend clash as a deadly robotic alien terrorizes Coal Hill School, right under hers and Danny’s feet. The obvious climax we all wanted to see was the confrontation between Danny and the Doctor – after their encounter with his great-grandson (or was it just plain grandson?) a couple of weeks ago in “Listen”, such an encounter was inevitable.

And yet the inevitable encounter, while filled with explosions, was ultimately a bit of a dud. Perhaps it’s a sign of the show’s age, but Danny’s reaction to the TARDIS, the caretaker actually being an alien called the Doctor, and the Skovox Blitzer was nothing we hadn’t seen before. In tradition of the show, he can barely keep his mouth closed when looking at the inside of the TARDIS, bumbles at that ‘space thing’, and gets a bit mad at the Doctor.

But tired character traits aside, the episode itself is full of amusement – after all, what else can one expect when the Doctor goes undercover in Clara’s place of work? The speed-tongued dialogue between Clara and the Doctor and the opening montage of various adventures they share do give a somewhat rushed feel to the episode, but the bulk of it is witty and satisfying. The Skovox Blizter is a bright and fun adversary, and also perhaps points to an unintentional source of nostalgic parody – the policeman’s death scene is rather hilarious, jaggedly cutting to the unsuspecting policeman with arms stuck in the air as he’s disintegrated.

Speaking of the policeman, we’ve finally been given another dose of Missy and The Promised Land, and this time, it’s more than a howdoyoudo with a cup of tea. But does this now mean we’ve to wait another however many episodes before we see her again, and discover how she plays a role in this story?

This might also be the only episode where we get a crossover of the 10th, 11th and 12th Doctors. Calm down, you didn’t miss them popping up for a quick cameo – rather a crossover was seen in the form of Clara’s dickie bow-wearing teacher friend and Capaldi disguising himself as David Tennant when becoming the caretaker.

Overall, there’s a sense of mounting with “The Caretaker”, a feeling that we’re beginning to get somewhere in terms of story, and hopefully that somewhere is most definitely worth getting to.

Overall grade: B

What did you think of “The Caretaker?” Let us know in the comments section below!

About the author

Fred McNamara