Doctor Who – The Caretaker

While I’m not planning to go into a lot of plot details, it’s likely that the random mutterings that follow will reveal some things you might prefer not to know if you haven’t seen the episode yet, so in my usual way, I’ll include this warning:

Here be spoilers!

We’ve reached the halfway point in this year’s series – only twelve episodes this time rather than the more usual thirteen for reasons that probably have something to do with budgets[1] and things are settling down nicely. Which means it’s a good time to shake them up a bit. Clara’s been leading a double life (nicely shown here in a sequence of dates with Danny which involve her popping out to save the universe with the Doctor before returning to the time she started from), and it’s getting a bit tricky. Danny’s asking awkward questions, and she’s getting a wee bit worn out.

So it should come as no surprise that when the Doctor goes undercover to catch an alien killer death robot thing that’s a bit far from home, he does it in Coal Hill School, where Clara and Danny teach. And he’s as inconspicuous as ever[2] in his role as the temporary caretaker, John Smith[3].

Dealing with alien killer death robot things is a minor matter compared to the fun and games that we get when the Doctor meets Danny. In his current form, the Doctor has developed a deep dislike for soldiers (odd, he hasn’t been quite that hostile before), and Danny used to be a soldier (with some mystery in his past, of course, need to keep things complicated). Of course, the Doctor, with his usual ability to not quite get how humans work, doesn’t realise that Danny is Clara’s boyfriend. Seeing a teacher with a serious does of the Matt Smiths (bow tie, hair, chin…) the Doctor, not being a monster of vanity at all, naturally assumes that he must be the boyfriend.

And there’s lots of fun all round, including a larger role for one of the more entertaining kids form the school, who I think we may be seeing more of…

There’s some good stuff in this week’s Doctor Who Extra, which is definitely not spoiler-free, and should not be watched before the episode:

[1] Not that I have access to the numbers, but given that Doctor Who makes lots of money for the BBC from overseas sales and merchandise, I’d have thought investing more money in its production would be viewed as a sound investment. I suspect there may be sinister forces at work…
[2] That’s not at all, of course
[3] An alias he’s used once or twice before…