We reach the half-way point for Doctor Who Series Eight with ‘The Caretaker’, and this is where we are. Half of our episodes have featured robots, we had the Daleks too, a non-monster episode and then there was ‘Time Heist’! What we lack in a worthy villain in this episode, we more than make up for by learning more about the relationship of Clara and Danny (though some disagree and see this as very anti-who! It is probably working up to something rather surprising) and have fun while doing so. Also, Gareth Roberts (The man who got The Doctor to share a flat with James Corden) returns to write a story as he get The Doctor to become the caretaker for Coal Hill School. The episode starts off with Clara going between traveling with The Doctor and spending time with Danny. The worlds finally collide when The Doctor goes undercover to save the world from the metallic menace Skovox Blitzer (you won’t remember that name next week). The robot is said to be very dangerous and could destroy the entire planet, though he does vaporize one Police Officer.
Back at Coal Hill, The Doctor begins to plan a way to catch the robot, while Clara looks to keep her two worlds separate and runs to divide Danny and The Doctor at any opportunity that is given. Eventually, the truth is out and the disapproving father (The Doctor) meets the boyfriend (Danny), though The Doctor thought Clara was smitten with a Matt Smith ganger (hah! Series Six reference). The Skovox Blitzer then comes to the school and is ready to attack at one of the darkest times for our heroes, parents evening! The Doctor, settling in and having made Clara look foolish in her class by correcting her on a fact about Jane Austin, seems now to be having more care for humans, even if he still insults them with every line that he passes. Dan The Soldier Man then joins The Doctor and Clara in the end to help save the school and the world from destruction, The Doctor also keeps a promise by taking a student of Coal Hill into space to see the stars. In which he fulfils his caretaker duties on board the TARDIS after a queasy Courtney gets sick on the ship “Ah, yes. There has been a spillage”.
First thing, Skovox Blitzer did practically nothing for the episode. Apart from shooting wildly, hiding in shadows and being blasted into the future, the robot was pointless. On the plus side, the laughs are still strong and Gareth Roberts knows his humour really well. Steven Moffat’s contribution is clearly seen as the series ark for the “Promised Land” is back into full effect and we get to meet Seb (played by a rather dapper but slightly sinister Chris Addison). He seems a bit too informed of things and a very clever man with a link to Missy (Michelle Gomez). Seb is seen talking to the policeman stating that he is in “The Promised Land, the After Life…I’m partial to The Nethersphere” after the “death” of the man earlier in the episode. When the Policeman starts to wonder how he is away from the robot and alive, Chris Addison’s Seb delivers the brilliant line “I was coming to that. I’m afraid you really, rather didn’t”. This is something never really seen before on Doctor Who, what is this idea of heaven working towards? Also, Peter Capaldi once again shines as The Doctor and Jenna Coleman still provides some laughs and knows how to stand up to the Time Lord. The stand out is definitely Samuel Anderson in this episode as we see him unable to accept Clara lying to him anymore and actually makes a point of saying they have no future if she can’t be honest. This feels like a great shift is about to happen, Clara is in a new position and it’s different to see a relationship develop with a companion who has been by herself and independent for a lot of the time. Finally, top marks must go to that casting director who got Chris Addison in. I look forward to seeing more of Seb. Ok, so The Caretaker was good fun. Next week, we head for the moon!
Final Rating: 8/10
Review by Jonjo Cosgrove.