Doctor Who Recap and Review – “The Caretaker”

“The Caretaker” was co-written by Gareth Roberts and Steven Moffat. This was probably the campiest and rom/com-iest episode since Capaldi took over as The Doctor. I’ve watched this episode a few times now and I can’t find any glaring reasons to dislike it, but, I can’t find any reasons to really like it either. The Doctor’s hatred of soldiers seems more pronounced in this episode and that’s done mainly to build tension between The Doctor and Danny Pink finally meeting. We see more of a father/daughter relationship with The Doctor and Clara than we’ve seen before and it plays out once Danny and The Doctor realize who each other are. The bad guy in this one is scary but under used and there’s this new character that I’m rather nonplussed about.

Almost every episode has had a great opening and this was no exception. It’s a quick montage of Clara trying to juggle life with The Doctor with life outside the Tardis. At one point she questions whether or not she can do it anymore, but, quickly decides she can make it all work out. The Doctor arrives back at the school but this time he doesn’t need Clara’s help. He’s on his own mysterious mission. Clara returns to work and during the morning teacher’s meeting a new caretaker, John Smith, is introduced. It’s The Doctor! The meeting ends and Clara rushes back into the room to find out what The Doctor is doing, they argue for a while, and The Doctor makes a nice River Song reference. I hope we get to see more callbacks to previous Doctors. We then cut to a couple of boys from the school playing video games outside of an abandoned building when a police officer approaches and tells them to go back to school. He then hears some noises from inside the building and, thinking it’s more kids, goes in to investigate. However, it quickly becomes apparent that it is no kid, it’s the Skovox Blitzer, a terrifying war machine that is capable of taking out an entire planet on its own. The Blitzer quickly proceeds to kill the police officer, burning him to a crisp.


Doctor Who "The Caretaker"

Meanwhile, The Doctor interrupts Clara’s class by climbing up the wall and peeking in the window. They argue a bit about when Pride and Prejudice was written before he leaves and the class ends and Clara runs after him. She finds him messing around with the electrics and speaking to Danny and another teacher Adrian (Edward Harrison) who looks an awful lot like Matt Smith, bow tie and all. The Doctor finds out the Danny was a soldier and therefore cannot get it straight that he’s a math teacher and not a P.E. teacher. I did enjoy that little bit, it was very reminiscent of the Micky/Ricky issue he had in the first series. Clara does her best to try and keep The Doctor from embarrassing her and gets Danny out of there with no issues, but, the Matt Smith lookalike English teacher approaches her to talk about Shakespeare and The Doctor notices the resemblance and we get to see Capaldi play his Doctor as flattered for the first time. It was weird.


Doctor Who - "The Caretaker"

What The Doctor has been doing is placing these small, but conspicuous, devices all around the school. He finally gets them all placed and heads back to the Tardis where he is interrupted by Courtney Woods played by Ellis George, Courtney is a student at the school and introduces herself to The Doctor as “Disruptive Influence”. She’s just that and definitely get on The Doctor’s nerves. I don’t blame him one bit. She badgers him about his sign, his police box, the green light in that box to which The Doctor gives some great one liners in response.

Doctor Who - "The Caretaker"

Clara comes in as Courtney is leaving to confront The Doctor about putting the school in danger by being there. He shows her he’s been working on a scanner and shows her that it’s the Skovox Blitzer that he’s been looking for. He then tells Clara his plan which involves and invisibility watch to help him lure the Blitzer to the school where he can send it through a temporal rift where it will never get back to Earth. Clara wants to help The Doctor, but, he claims not to need her help and tells her to go kanoodle with her boyfriend, who he thinks is that Matt Smith lookalike. Clara happily obliges, but, when she meets up with Danny they both seem to be alright with rescheduling their date. Clara then heads back to help out The Doctor while Danny decides to investigate the “caretaker” after having found the devices he was leaving around the school. Danny inevitably ends up walking right into The Doctor’s trap for the Blitzer after it has arrived. The Blitzer fires at Danny before The Doctor opens up the rift and it slowly sucks the Blitzer through. During all the action, Clara enters the room and now has to try to explain to Danny what is going on. This leads to one of the worst moments I’ve seen on the show in which Clara tries to convince Danny that The Doctor and her were rehearsing a play. It’s the most ludicrous excuse which no intelligent adult would ever believe, luckily, Danny seems equally as insulted. Sorry Clara, a rare miss. The scene does get better when it’s revealed that Danny is actually Clara’s boyfriend and due to The Doctor’s insistence, she admits that she’s in love with him. The Doctor seems to cool down a bit at this point and allows Clara to explain who he is, he even lets Danny see the inside of the Tardis. The Doctor is not happy though and explains to Clara that her job is not finished; “You’ve explained me to him, but you haven’t explained him to me.”

Doctor Who - "The Caretaker"

Clara and Danny go home to talk more about what’s going on with everything…another rom-com scene that had me rolling my eyes. Danny keeps asking her all these questions about why she does it and he keeps accusing her of lying to him. He wants to see what she’s like with The Doctor, so, Clara comes up with another brilliant idea to give Danny the invisibility watch so he can sneak into the Tardis with her while she talks to The Doctor. This leads to a very awkward scene where The Doctor obviously knows Danny is there while Clara lies a couple times to The Doctor. The Doctor, who is obviously upset at Danny’s presence decides to take them for a trip, awkwardly insulting Danny until he turns the watch off. Danny and The Doctor have a very heated argument over each other’s character. The Doctor dislikes Danny because he is a soldier, but, Danny can see right through The Doctor for who he really is, an officer. Danny mocks The Doctor quite a bit in this scene and The Doctor’s reactions are actually very childish. The scene made me pretty uncomfortable and I loved it, by far the best scene in the episode. Danny and Clara storm off and Courtney mysteriously appears again. Okay, side note, this Courtney girl keeps showing up at the strangest times and this isn’t the first episode in which she’s done this. Her appearances are so strange, that it almost makes you wonder if she has some larger role to play, maybe as a villain. We know that she will actually be going on a trip to the moon with The Doctor and Clara in next week’s “Kill the Moon”. I don’t have any problems of the episodes that involve children in the plot, it is supposed to be a kids show after all, but, I can’t stand it when the kids travel with The Doctor. Hopefully it’s just a one shot and I’m just overreacting.

Doctor Who - "The Caretaker"

Danny and Clara are at parent’s night when the Blitzer makes his return earlier than The Doctor predicted and he finally needs her help. She ends up leaving parent’s night and Danny inevitably follows her out. They find out that The Doctor has a plan to lure the Blitzer to the caretaker’s shed using Clara as bait. All he needs from Danny is to leave them alone. As Danny heads back to parent’s night he sees Clara being chased by the Blitzer and decides to turn on the invisibility watch and follow them. Clara gets back to the shed and The Doctor has made this machine that makes the Blitzer think he’s its superior officer. The Doctor tries to get it to shut itself off but gives it the incorrect code so the Blitzer initiates self destruct mode. The Doctor needs the Blitzer distracted while he can fix his machine; that’s when Danny makes his heroic entrance, leaping over the Blitzer and giving the Doctor enough time to give the Blitzer the correct codes and the Blitzer shuts itself off. It’s at this point that Danny realizes why The Doctor is so angry at him. He needs to be good enough for Clara and The Doctor isn’t sure he is. Clara points out that he just saved the world and The Doctor says “Good start.”

Doctor Who - "The Caretaker"

We next see The Doctor dumping the Blitzer into space and he’s taken Courtney with him. Although, she is more sick than initially impressed and actually ends up vomiting inside the Tardis. Meanwhile, Danny and Clara are relaxing at home when Danny asks Clara to promise him one thing: that if The Doctor ever pushes her too hard, to tell him, and if she doesn’t it’s over between them.  Clara agrees. I find his constant obsession with her lying, even when she’s not, to be a bit off putting and I’m not sure why they decided to go in that direction, I’m also not sure why Clara puts up with it.

I didn’t love this episode or hate this episode. It had some great scenes and dialogue, and the monster was scary, but it played too much like a rom-com for me to have any real lasting interest. No other grade than a C makes sense for this one. I personally know some people who are going to love it and others who will hate it, but, what did you think about it? Let us know below!

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Doctor Who Recap and Review – “Deep Breath”

FINALLY!!!! (Spoilers ahead!)

Hasn’t it felt like forever since we’ve seen a new episode of Doctor Who?! Well, it’s only been 8 months, but it feels like forever. We’ve not only had to wait for a new episode, but for a highly divisive new Doctor. Many were concerned about Peter Capaldi’s age, which turned out to be a non-issue, in his debut episode. But before Capaldi’s entrance, we got a glimpse at some old favorites. The episode opens with a Tyrannosaurus Rex walking around Victorian London. The police summon the Paternoster Gang, better known to us as Silurian Madame Vastra, her human wife and partner Jenny, and their butler Strax the Sontaran warrior.

Doctor Who - "Deep Breath"

The T-Rex then chokes up a familiar looking blue box that the gang immediately investigates. They notice that the T-Rex seems to have something stuck in its throat and out pops the TARDIS and our first glance at Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. It’s quick, it’s harsh, and it’s brilliant. The Doctor emerges and we realize that he has no true memory of anything. He seems to remember who everyone is, but, not what face goes with what individual. He confuses Clara and Strax, even when they’re standing right next to each other. This is one of my favorite scenes and it’s a great introduction to our new hero.

Doctor Who - "Deep Breath"

The Doctor then goes in to his typical post-regeneration “illness” so Clara and the gang take him back to their home so they can figure things out. Once the Doctor wakes up, he is utterly confused as to why a bedroom exists, not understanding that we have a room that’s meant for not being awake in. He eventually calms down and goes back to sleep, during this time he has a very touching moment where it’s just him and Clara in the room together. The Doctor is asleep and Clara is watching the T-Rex when the Doctor starts translating for the dino in his sleep. We realize that this poor creature is just as lost as confused as the Doctor is; he is truly a creature out of time.

Doctor Who - "Deep Breath"

In the meantime, Vastra once again interrogates Clara, as she doesn’t believe that Clara is worthy to be with the Doctor anymore, claiming she was only with him because she had a crush on the Doctor. Clara is absolutely furious at this assumption and makes one of the better speeches by a companion that I’ve seen. Vastra has a change of heart and accepts Clara. The scene itself is weird and out of place, but I loved it because it showed us how dedicated Clara is to the Doctor regardless of his outward appearance.

Later, when alone, the Doctor awakens and goes to help the confused dinosaur. He first goes to the door but claims that’s too boring for him and goes out through the window, a great moment that adds some of the humor of the past. He rushes to the roof and promises the mother T-Rex that he will get her home. Unfortunately, as is all too common in Doctor Who, the T-Rex bursts into flames and dies. The Doctor is soon joined on the scene by the rest of the gang where he berates their questions and asks the only real question, “Are there any other murders like this?” to which the answer is, of course, “Yes”. The Doctor then notices a strange individual and asks why someone would seemingly not care when a dinosaur is burning in front of them. This is our villain, a reverse Cyberman in that it’s a robot that uses organic parts for its upgrades. To avoid any further spoilers, I’ll end my synopsis here. (WARNING: I LIED, MORE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!)

Doctor Who - "Deep Breath"

Peter Capaldi has made a tremendous debut as the Doctor. He is fresh, familiar, funny, and dark. 12 does things to Clara that Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith never would do. I mean, he literally locks her in a room with an evil robot who likes to harvest human parts in order to stay alive. (Sound familiar at all, my fellow Whovians? It should. It did to the Doctor.) Of course, he has a plan and doesn’t let Clara die. In fact, this is a great moment for Clara who has to stand up to something absolutely terrifying and she does a damn good job of it. (Watch out Rose, Clara is turning out to be my favorite companion if she isn’t already.)

My absolute favorite scene is when the Doctor is in his pajamas after the T-Rex has died and is searching through the trash for stuff when he encounters a drunkard. The Doctor proceeds to rant on to him about his face and how it’s familiar (Fires of Pompeii anyone?) and how his eyebrows could open bottles. It’s a great moment of personal discovery for the Doctor seeing how much his physical appearance has aged and not fully understanding why.

Doctor Who - "Deep Breath"

I could go on forever about this, so to keep it relatively short I will summarize my favorite and least favorite parts here.

Let’s start with the bad:

– Vastra & Jenny’s relationship – Don’t get me wrong, I got no problem with bispecies homosexual relationships, but I think they went a little overboard with making that point. Every scene they were in had a reminder it seemed.

– Length – I feel like they substituted some quality in order to make it feature length. There was more than one scene I felt should have been cut.

– Clara Oswald – I really wish she could remember that the Doctor regenerates into different ages. Not Clara’s fault as much as the writers.

– Matt Smith’s cameo – Was it really needed? We’ve never needed it before. AS touching as it was, I felt it was only for the fangirls who have issues with an “old, non-hot” Doctor.

Doctor Who - "Deep Breath"

And now for my favorite stuff:

– The Doctor – He’s so dark! Did he throw that guy from the skin balloon? Did he steal the coat of that poor, cold drunkard? He could very well end up being my favorite Doctor if he keeps this up.

– Clara Oswald – A wonderfully strong companion. She has a few moments of weakness in this episode but she makes it up with gusto.

– The Doctor’s entrance, bedroom scene, Clara’s interrogation, the alley scene, the restaurant scene, Clara vs Robot, the skin balloon scene, etc…

– The lines – This episode is chock-full of great jokes, wonderful speeches, heartfelt moments, and many more.

– The TARDIS – Full of bookshelves and round things. The new TARDIS is super classy.

– The ending – Mysterious Missy…the Master, the Rani, River, someone else? Can’t wait to find out!

– Chalk – Looks like #12 is going to be writing things out a lot. That mixed with the books makes me very excited.

– Accent – Loving the Scottish dialect.

– Villains – Great call back to an older but recent villain. And, that woman at the end, she’s definitely up to no good…(probably not River).

– Matt Smith’s cameo – It was great to see him again of course. It was also a very well written piece and it made me cry.

– 12’s look to the camera! Terrifying and exhilarating!!

This episode gets a solid B+ in my book. I loved it, but, it wasn’t without its problems; a shorter episode would have been ideal. Capaldi and Clara may turn out to be my favorite combo yet and I cannot wait for next Saturday when we get to see Capaldi take on the Daleks! Either way, I’m just so happy that the Doctor is back on my television!

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