12 Great Moments From The Caretaker
29 September 2014
As the shockwaves settle following the introduction of the Doctor to Danny Pink, join me to discuss twelve memorable moments from the Doctor’s undercover stint as The Caretaker.
12. Two Lives
The opening sequence of the episode jumps straight into the action, however the reason for Clara and the Doctor being trapped in a life threatening situation is left to the imagination. In truth it doesn’t matter as the purpose of the scene was to illustrate Clara’s double life and was also utilised for humorous effect. The Twelfth Doctor’s failure to grasp the finer aspects of human nature is once again a source of much of this comedy, as is Clara and Danny’s relationship. It’s still funny, but I can’t help but feel much of the jokes in the opening sequence feel a bit samey.
11. The Skovox Blitzer Reappears
The Skovox Blitzer was well utilised as the threat of the episode and the narrative structure allowed it to remain present whilst not being the active threat. It was the Blitzer which facilitated many of the character moments within the episodes, either by bringing characters together of offering them a chance to show their worth. The reappearance of the Blitzer was the injection of threat which the episode needed to move from the character conflict to a satisfactory conclusion to the episode. The Blitzer was an aesthetically pleasing and functional villain which served its purpose well.
10. Courtney meets the Doctor
This scene was a little strange in that the logic behind it from the Doctor’s point of view was questionable to say the least. Most of his encounters with Courtney seem to occur after a falling out with Clara. Given that Clara was worried about the safety of the children in the school it would appear this originated as an attempt to get back at Clara. The reason we are given is that the Doctor sees a lot of himself in Courtney, however for me that doesn’t sit right at the moment as I don’t feel we have seen enough of her yet to make that judgement. What was refreshing however was to have a more realistic child actor who portrayed her character very well.
9. Boyfriend Error
The Doctor likes to think he knows everything and can read situations well. We can tell what he is thinking as soon as he sees Clara and Adrian together, of course knowing the truth we are in a position to laugh at the Doctor’s misjudgement. It is quite heart-warming to see that he assumed that Clara picked her boyfriend because he reminded her of him, albeit if a little arrogant on his behalf. It turns out he was actually right, however where the Doctor was thinking on a more superficial level, it transpire that Clara chose someone who shares a few personality traits with the Doctor. The scene where the Doctor realises his error is quite funny too.
8. Danny and the Doctor Meet
I’ve chosen this scene not because of the content of the conversation between Danny and the Doctor, because that was perhaps a bit too much. Some of the content was actually quite funny and the dynamic had shades of the Ninth Doctor and Mickey, however it felt a little more aggressive. The reason I’ve picked this moment is Clara’s reaction to it. Upon seeing the pair together, she makes a beeline towards them only to be interrupted along the way. Whilst not paying full attention she allows a student to do whatever they want, makes a wholly inappropriate comment about an ill colleague and volunteers for the school fete. The when she reaches the Doctor and Danny she uses a water can and tries to listen in unseen, this ends rather poorly. The scene is funny and had me in stitches.
7. Doctor Undercover
The undercover aspect of the episode is so laughably bad. However that is the point as it shows how non-human the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor is. The concept is similar in dynamic to that of The Lodger, another episode by the same writer. Arguably it works better with the less human Doctor who makes a number of funny blunders. Using his favourite cover name John Smith, he lasts only a few seconds before asking to be called the Doctor. As if this isn’t suspicious enough, his obvious wink at Clara leaves others in the room suspicious.
6. Being Nice
Another segment of the wonderful opening sequence (which have been consistently high quality; they’ve made it onto the list each week). This one is included because I thought it was really funny. The timing, the jokes used and the reactions of Clara’s character were just perfect. I love the fact that one of the best compliments Twelve can think of is that Clara has washed herself. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Clara was astute enough to pick up that there had to be a reason for the Doctor being nice. The scene has tragic element to it though as I get the impression that Twelve’s childish nature stems from the fact he is unhappy with the ‘age’ of his regeneration.
5. The Invisible Man
Invisibility is a niche concept and one which most probably expected to be associated with humour, however in this instance it is utilised for some serious character moments. Clara is unable to persuade Danny that she is the exact same person when she is with Doctor as when she is with him. As it transpired the Doctor was aware that his alien technology was being used and played along with it. The scene allowed both Danny and the Doctor to showcase their intelligence and ability to read situations. The scene unfortunately results in a confrontation between the two, which perhaps pushes it a little too far with the Doctor’s hatred of soldiers. It is somewhat ironic that invisibility is involved as Danny was always invisible to the Doctor who only seen a soldier.
4. Danny Finds out the Truth
As teased in the official synopsis, both aspects of Clara’s life were about to collide. That meant a few things had to occur for Danny: he had to learn about Clara’s secret journeys, he had to see the TARDIS, and most frighteningly of all he had to face the Doctor. The scene in which this happens was executed very well, however some moments stuck out as being not up to the standard of the rest of the scene. What was done well was: Danny being involved in the action, his reaction to the information overload, and his assumptions based on the snippets of information he had. What wasn’t done so well was Clara’s attempt at explaining it as a play, it felt a little derisory and patronising towards Danny. If it was done for humour it wasn’t very funny as there were much better jokes within the scene such as Danny think the Doctor was Clara’s dad.
3. The Promised Land
After a few weeks of silence on the Missy front, this week’s episode concludes with an extended insight into her world. There are a few things we learn from the scene which are sure to fuel the fires of speculation on what it all means. The first is that Missy is not alone, we see the police officer who fell victim to the Blitzer at the start of the episode being interviewed by a young man credited as Seb (Capaldi’s Thick of It co-star Chris Addison) in a large white room. The second piece of information is that the name of the place can be one of many variations: Heaven, the Promised Land, or the preferred ‘Nethersphere’. In typical Moffat fashion, we are left with more questions than answers. What was behind the window? What was so big that it required Missy’s attention? (I honestly dread to think on that last one.)
2. I’ve know men like him
Once the truth is fully out in the open and Danny has had time to process what he has learnt, we are treated to a particularly touching moment between Danny and Clara. Clara is keen to press Danny for his opinion of the Doctor. The answer she gets teases a little into Danny’s past suggesting he didn’t get on well with his superiors. His sentiments echo those expressed by Davros in Journey’s End in that he suggests that the Doctor brings out a side to people that they wouldn’t normally show. I also can’t quite shake the feeling that this scene exhibits some ominous foreshadowing towards the Doctor going too far in a later episode.
1. Good start
Throughout the duration of the narrative, Danny had been the brunt of the Doctor’s anger (and rather unfairly too). As such it was inevitable that there would have been some sort of redemption for the damaged relationship by the end of the episode. This came in the shape of Danny being the one who saved the world by providing the distraction necessary to allow the Doctor to complete his plan. The scene shows Danny’s character in a much better light than what it does the Doctor’s, Danny is ready to accept that the Doctor’s prejudice towards him comes from the fact he is worried that Danny isn’t good enough for Clara. In reality it is glaringly obvious that the root of the ‘problem’ is Danny’s soldier past as we see the verbal insults long before the Doctor knows who Danny is. Does the scene make up for the anti-soldier narrative aspect? “It’s a start”