Sunday, September 28, 2014

Doctor Who 8.06: "The Caretaker"

“I have to be good enough for you. That’s why he’s angry. In case I’m not.”
- Danny Pink

I have to say this series has had a lot of nostalgic moments and emotional callbacks to prior series and characters. As the Doctor and Clara run off on various adventures, we see that she is aging a little and is always affected by wherever they go (fish people planet, desert) and Danny is starting to notice. She’s basically leading a double life like Amy and Rory did. She is determined to keep it up though and to keep the two parts of her life separate. I’d think it would be less stressful on her if she told Danny about her travels. It has a very early Mickey feeling with her running off to be with the Doctor. Anyway, things get wonky when the Doctor tells Clara he has to go under deep cover for something and she can’t come along. She’s miffed but she gets even more annoyed when it turns out that the deep cover is as the new caretaker (that would Custodian for all you non-Brits) at her school. I was so happy he was using the John Smith alias again. Nice call back to Tennant’s era.

Clara confronts the Doctor and asks why he’s there and if there are aliens afoot (besides him). He won’t say what it is but the kids are definitely not safe. We also get a River Song reference when he says that he can act like a normal person (he lived among otters quite successfully after a big row with the wife). I’m pretty sure that’s not the same thing. Anyway, he also meets Danny and doesn’t take to him very kindly. The Doctor doesn’t believe that Danny isn’t a PE teacher and is just generally rude to him. Clara tries to make the Doctor see the link between Danny and Orson from the future but the Doctor’s just being ornery and ignoring her. He gets kind of goofy and smiles a lot when the other English teacher starts talking to Clara about Shakespeare. He thinks that’s the fellow Clara’s been seeing on “serious dates” lately. Yeah, I don’t think he’s going to be too pleased when he finds out that Danny is in fact his companion’s new beau.

He’s also fiddling around in a fuse box and puts some kind of device in it. As it turns out, he’s putting them all over the school to set up a scanning network. It would seem that he has need of a scanning network. A police gets shot by a hostile alien robot thing that his scanner picks up. It’s a very dangerous alien that could blow up the entire planet. The Doctor also had a sort of awkward conversation with this student who keeps saying unintelligible things to Clara. She sees the Doctor come out of the TARDIS and starts asking him questions. Luckily the bell rings and he manages to shoo her away.

The Doctor’s plan is to lure the alien to the school at night when no one is there and to send the alien through a time vortex to the far future where it can’t hurt anyone. The Doctor’s also got a new watch that makes him invisible. For a second I thought it was going to be an updated version of the fob watch but that wouldn’t make any sense. The plan starts to go off just fine but Danny, being suspicious of the Doctor is at the school and finds two of the devices that operate the time vortex. The alien tracks the Doctor to the school and is about to blow him up when the Doctor sonics the time vortex. It only sends the alien three days into the future so now he’s got to come up with a new plan. That’s going to have to wait until Clara explains things to Danny.

To say that Danny finding out Clara’s secret doesn’t go well is an understatement. He’s freaking out that Clara’s an alien (and the Doctor is her father) and he’s a bit glazed over after seeing the TARDIS. He demands to know the truth about who Clara really is and why she travels with the Doctor. She admits that the traveling is amazing and she’s seen wonders. The Doctor is also rather cross with Clara because he doesn’t understand why she’d be dating Danny, a soldier and he also can’t wrap his head around the fact that she loves him either. The next day, Clara tells Danny that she will show him what she’s like when she’s with the Doctor. Somehow she’s nabbed his invisibility watch and lets Danny borrow it. Clara thinks she’s awfully clever in doing this but it turns out the Doctor’s not impressed. In the middle of trying to avert the crisis, he tells Clara they should go off on an adventure. When Clara says no, Danny becomes visible again and the Doctor admits he knew he was there the whole time.

Danny goes all mocking military on the Doctor and then the Doctor kicks him out of the TARDIS. Again, this really isn’t going well. As the Doctor crossly fiddles with whatever his new plan is, Clara and Danny have parents’ evening (something like open house here in the US). The Doctor also has to shoo the annoying girl away. Unfortunately, the alien returns earlier than anticipated and it’s a race to stop it. The Doctor doesn’t want Danny involved and he sends Clara off to be the bait. Things look dire as Clara dodges fire from the alien. The Doctor impersonates the alien’s commanding officer but realizes that he’s missing an authorization code. The alien is set to self-destruct but Danny distracts it long enough for the Doctor to shut down the alien. Danny also figures out that the Doctor’s been so angry and annoyed because he thinks Danny won’t be good enough for Clara. That’s kind of sweet in a way. It seems that maybe they will be able to get along or at least tolerate each other after all.

The Doctor takes the annoying girl out to space to send off the alien and it’s just too much for her. Maybe it will scare her straight. Who knows? Clara and Danny have a little heart to heart as well. He tells Clara that if the Doctor ever pushes her too far to do something she can’t handle, she needs to tell him so he can help. Seems like a decent enough promise. And of course, we end with a brief visit from Missy. Well she walks by as another guy is introducing a policeman who got killed by the alien to the Promised Land.

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