Violet recaps Season 8 Episode 6 of Doctor Who, titled The Caretaker, where the Doctor goes under “deep cover” at Clara’s school! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts on the episode.
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Episode Recap of Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 6: The Caretaker
The episode begins with the Doctor and Clara on a desert planet, both tied up to poles, in danger of being eaten by sand piranhas. Then we see a series of adventures that Clara has had with the Doctor, after each of which she spends time with Danny, and has to keep making up excuses. Then one morning, when Clara enters the TARDIS, the Doctor tells her they’re not going anywhere that day, because he’s going undercover.
At school, Danny is suspicious of why Clara always seems distracted, but she reassures him that she’s all his for the next few days. At the morning faculty meeting, a replacement caretaker is announced – it’s the Doctor working undercover as John Smith. After the meeting, Clara confronts the Doctor about why he is there, but he doesn’t reveal anything, and says he’ll explain later.
Meanwhile, a police officer catches some kids outside of an abandoned building and tells them to get back to school. He hears noises inside and goes to search for what he thinks are kids hiding inside. However, it’s a robot that kills him with laser beams.
Later, the Doctor interrupts Clara’s class through the window and points out that Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice in 1796, not 1797, as Clara has written on the board – which he knows from reading the bio in the book. After class, she desperately tries to avoid interruptions to get to the Doctor, who is working on some electrical equipment outside, while Danny and another teacher, Adrian, watch and talk to him. Clara eavesdrops nearby. The Doctor, who has learned that Danny is a soldier, cannot believe that he is a math teacher, not a P.E. teacher. After the two teachers walk away, Clara asks if Danny looks familiar, and brings up Orson Pink, but the Doctor doesn’t think they look alike. The Doctor inquires whether the guy she’s been going on serious dates with is there, then when he sees Clara talking to Adrian (who wear a bowtie and has floppy hair – sound familiar??) he assumes that is her boyfriend, and seems pleased, though Clara doesn’t realize it.
The Doctor goes around the school placing objects, though pretending to do caretaker type work. When he returns to the caretaker’s building, where he is hiding the TARDIS, Courtney Woods wanders in and talks to the Doctor. But he tells her to get lost just as Clara comes in. Clara accuses the Doctor of endangering the school with his presence. The Doctor shows Clara a holographic image of the robot he is after, then demonstrates his plan: an invisibility watch. He explains that he has set up time mines around the school, which will suck the robot into a time vortex once the robot goes into the field and the Doctor activates the time mines. He assures Clara that he doesn’t need her and encourages her to go canoodle with her boyfriend. Clara jumps to the conclusion that the Doctor recognized Danny, and the Doctor thinking her boyfriend is Adrian, tells her that he likes him. Upon exiting the building, she runs into Danny, who reschedules their plans to the next evening, saying that he has a “thing.”
Clara goes back later to find the Doctor to tell him she is available to help him, but he isn’t in the caretaker’s building, he is off luring the robot. Meanwhile, it seems Danny’s “thing” was to follow the Caretaker around. While the Doctor gets the robot to follow him into the auditorium, Danny finds and deactivates some of the time mines, so when the Doctor tries to send the robot through the time vortex, it doesn’t work, and the Doctor begs the robot to spare his life. Just then, Danny walks into the auditorium, and the robot shoots at him, but misses. The Doctor is able to get the time mines to work, and sends the robot through the time vortex. Clara comes in and holds onto Danny to keep him from slipping into the vortex. The Doctor is upset with Danny for messing up his plan, and explains that now instead of opening in a billion years, it will open again in 3 days. Clara tries to explain it away as a play to Danny, but he’s not buying it. The truth comes out about Danny being Clara’s boyfriend, and that she loves him, to the Doctor’s disapproval, and Clara explains who the Doctor is, with the Doctor even letting him take a peek inside the TARDIS.
Clara takes Danny home to explain further. He tells her that he wants to know who she is when she’s with the Doctor. So the next day, Clara swipes the invisibility watch and has Danny wear it and follow her when she goes inside the TARDIS and talks to the Doctor. However, the Doctor can sense that Danny is there, and Danny knows it, so he reveals himself. The Doctor and Danny get into a fight, and the Doctor orders him out of the TARDIS. As Clara chases after Danny, Courtney Woods wanders into the Caretaker’s building, and the Doctor lets her see inside the TARDIS, and says he might have an opening.
While Clara and Danny go deal with Parents’ Evening, the Doctor goes about his preparations for the robot to come back in 2 days. Unfortunately, the vortex decides to open early. The Doctor comes and fetches Clara from Parents’ Evening, and instructs her to act as a decoy. Danny follows close behind, though the Doctor tells him to leave them alone. Clara gets the robot to come into the Caretaker’s building, and the Doctor uses a device to try to make the robot thinks he’s its superior. However, when he starts the countdown to self-destruct, the Doctor realizes he doesn’t have the final code. Danny runs in and does a somersault over the robot, distracting it from its countdown as it tries to shoot at him. This gives the Doctor the few seconds that he needs for the final code, which he inputs, and the robot shuts down instead of initiating self-destruct.
The next scene we see is the Doctor taking Courtney in the TARDIS and showing her the sights of the universe. But she feels sick and pukes in the TARDIS.
Danny and Clara canoodle on the couch, and Danny compares the Doctor to men he’s served under, who push you and make you stronger. Danny makes Clara promise to tell him if the Doctor pushes her too far, and that if she breaks that promise, they’re finished.
In the final scene, we see the police officer that the robot killed at the beginning of the episode, sitting at a table in a white room, talking to a man. The police officer then realizes he is dead. He looks out the blinds and exclaims, “My God!” Missy walks down the hallway, and the man says, “She’s a bit busy today.”
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 8 Episode 6 of Doctor Who: The Caretaker
I’ve heard that this was a very controversial episode, but I actually liked it. I liked seeing “a day in the life of Clara Oswald” – well, plus the Doctor. There were so many funny, literally laugh out loud moments with the Doctor posing as the Caretaker. In fact, I think this was it – this was the episode that nudged me into finally accepting Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. If I must point to a specific moment, I would say it was when the Doctor whistled the “We don’t need no education” part to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” I feel like this episode gave us more of a chance to get to know the Doctor better, as well as Clara and Danny.
However, I don’t know why the Doctor couldn’t get it through his head that Danny was in fact a math teacher, and not a P.E. teacher, after being told so many times! That part was a little annoying, yet still funny. I suppose it was just to emphasize the Doctor’s poor opinion of soldiers and their capabilities. It was also funny how the Doctor mistook Adrian as Clara’s boyfriend! I didn’t catch it at first, but then when the Doctor mentioned that he reminded him of another time traveler, I realized that Adrian reminded him of his Matt Smith incarnation! So that explains why he jumped to that conclusion, he thought, “Well of course this is Clara’s boyfriend, he looks just like me in my previous form!”
Apparently a significant amount of time has passed between this episode and the last, judging by Danny and Clara’s relationship, and the routine that the Doctor and Clara have established. However, if they’re so serious, then why are they still telling each other that they have a “thing” and not telling each other what that thing is? Seems kind of weird to be so secretive toward someone that you’re in a serious relationship with. Although, I guess it wasn’t quite so serious yet, as it was apparent that when Clara told the Doctor that she loves Danny, that was the first time either one of them had used the “L” word toward each other. You’ll notice that Danny didn’t say it back, though. Or at any point during the rest of the episode. Hmmm… Yeah, I’m just not that into the Danny/Clara relationship. They don’t seem that great together. I wonder if that promise Clara made to Danny, that she will tell him if the Doctor ever pushes her too far, otherwise they’re through, will come into play by the end of the season? I did like Danny’s flip over the robot at the end, that was pretty cool. Not sure that that’ll soften the Doctor towards him very much though. I think Clara needs to tell the Doctor who Danny is, and his relationship to Orson Pink and that he is Rupert Pink. Maybe that’ll bring the Doctor around, at least a little.
So finally we get the Missy storyline again! I’m still not really sure what’s going on there. At first, I had thought that Missy was somehow teleporting people to a certain location, which she refers to as “The Promised Land,” at the last possible second before their death. However, we saw the body parts of the police officer after the robot shot him, so that theory is out. Apparently she likes to think of herself as “God” though, because when the police officer says “My God!” Missy’s helper appears to refer to Missy as God. So, what did the police officer see when he looked through the blinds? What is in fact going on here? As much as Missy is trying to make it seem like Heaven, I’m not inclined to believe that. I’m looking forward to finding out more about this storyline – preferably before we reach the end of the season!
Josh’s Thoughts: Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 6: The Caretaker
Scenes from Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 7: Kill the Moon
Here are scenes from the next episode of Doctor Who, titled Kill the Moon: