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29 September 2014 at 10:40 #32671
the comments on the Guardian and I must say it’s a real slog.
Monday and only three pages. Says a lot about how far the Gruan blogs have fallen.29 September 2014 at 10:56 #32672
@fivefaces – yes, it’s by the door in the teacher’s lounge. there’s a pic of it in the very first post of this thread, courtesy of our emperor, craig… 🙂
a couple of other things i’ve been thinking…
should we believe the doctor when he tells clara that the droid monster has enough firepower to ravage the earth? is it possible that he was playing up the danger, just to get attention, or some unspecified reaction from her? i tend not to believe so… but then, i trust the doctor implicitly, just like clara!
also, i’ve figured out why i love capaldi’s take on the doctor. he reminds me a great deal of hugh laurie, as ‘house!’ (i remember that my roommate even thought laurie was the new doctor, and i had to prove to her that they are, indeed, two different actors.) i would love to see capaldi stick around for as long as ‘house’ was with us (7, or so, seasons?), though i doubt he’ll stay that long. there was some brilliant writing in that series, as well, and it was quite dark and brooding, a lot of the time (which is something i love)…29 September 2014 at 10:59 #32673
he’s a sergeant when he shouldn’t be a sergeant,
There is certainly something odd about Danny (that comes from the files marked “Duh!”(1), but I think you are over-reading this: for one thing, TV writers are not exactly renowned for their accuracy on matters military (even in drama’s about the military), but more to the point, promotions get accelerated when an army is at war, and the British army is at war – the casualty rates are horrific (we hear about the deaths, not the life-altering injuries).
#Trufact – returning army reservists and service personnel discharged after return are not permitted to work for at least 4 months after getting home. It is called “decompressing”.
(1) Of course, it is quite possible that Moffat is blindsiding us and that he is in fact normal, if damaged by experience.29 September 2014 at 11:25 #32674FiveFaces @fivefaces
@geoffers Thanks for pointing that out: feel a bit of a fool for missing it now! I wonder if this is the same poster that appears in Let’s Kill Hitler, during the early scenes where Mels keeps getting into trouble at the school? (I don’t have that episode on video to check.)29 September 2014 at 12:30 #32675
Whew. Only half the day to catch up up all the comments. By the time we had rewatched last night I was too tired to comment. I would give this episode and 8/10 but then, I am a harsh marker. I really enjoyed it as did the family who demanded an immediate rewatch. I have lots of comments but I think most of what I wanted to say has been covered. (I made notes while reading through so here goes.)
I found the duality of Clara’s reflection interesting, one light, one dark. I thought the Teacher the Doctor referred to might be Barbara.
@pedant DR as Tony Benn, nice.
I heard Otter which immediately evoked images of the Doctor swimming about in a dam for a month. He does seem to like water.
I wondered if the withered hand was the pc’s or a mannequins. I suspect it was the later.
@bluesqueakpip I agree re’ Danny. He is definitely bit of a mystery man which for some reason reminds me of Our Mutual Friend. (Need some time to develop a OMF theory now.) I still harbour the idea that Orson and Danny are clones or twins scattered in time, hence the orphanage. As as to DAnny’s reference to “family business”, I think our Danny has some secrets of his own.
@scaryb I agree ‘re that the “nethersphere” is not religious. I still think that Missy is not motivated by “good”.
I like the suggestion, (and I forgot to note the author so apologies) that she is a Time Lord, a renegade time lady trying to steal “souls” to somehow bring Gallifrey back through the crack maybe.
I do hope that Danny does become a Tardis traveller. I think however he has “red shirt” in big flashing letters written all over him.
Janette29 September 2014 at 12:33 #32676
@pedant – oh, it probably is because the writers (Moffat or Roberts) thought ‘sergeant’ is a cooler rank than ‘corporal’. 🙂
But – the rank is wrong. The salute is wrong. The time in service is wrong considering that he probably signed up before 2008. Or rather, it implies he resigned early or was invalided out.
What’s pricking my ‘bonkers theorist antenna’ is that they’ve got pretty well all of it wrong and yet they must have a couple of army advisers on tap for the UNIT episodes.
And if your character is an ex-soldier, wouldn’t you ask them?29 September 2014 at 12:40 #32677FlirtingDinosaur @flirtingdinosaur
@bluesqueakpip I agree. If you have a character whos (yet known) main history is being an ex-soldier, you would at least try to get your facts straight..
(but since I have absolutely no clue about military what so ever I really can’t tell)29 September 2014 at 12:49 #32678
My impression of Moffat is that he is very attentive to detail so I would expect he would get someone to do their homework on the military detail. Nothing about Danny seems to quite add up.
Janette29 September 2014 at 13:21 #32679
@janetteb – wasn’t it you who pointed out that ‘Orson’ can be split into ‘Or son’?29 September 2014 at 13:27 #32680
No. I was not so clever. I put up the medieval story about Orson and Valentine which I thought might have some relevance. Orson is a name with many possible meanings and I suspect that Moffat is aware of them all.
Janette29 September 2014 at 13:37 #32681PhileasF @phileasf
It occurs to me that my posts tend to consist mostly of trivial bullet points and improbable theories. So here, for once, is something more like an actual review, with opinions and everything.
My initial reaction to this episode was that I mostly enjoyed the Doctor/Clara/Danny sequences, but found the ‘monster subplot’ pretty poor.
Even the ‘relationship arc’ had elements I wasn’t sure of. The Doctor’s unpleasantness to Clara seems increasingly over the top. I keep having to tell myself I’m watching a complexly irony-rich relationship, where every time the Doctor says Clara needs a wash he really means: ‘Remember, as if your life depends on it, I’m not human’; and every time she puts up with his insults she’s saying, ‘I know you’re just being complexly ironic at me and I’m sort of OK with that as it is offset by the amazingness.’
His insults aren’t random noise: they seem intentionally hurtful — only someone with a good understanding of human social mores could transgress them so thoroughly. If we discount the idea that the Doctor’s social blindness is designed by scriptwriters to be humorous to a human audience, we’d have to assume he knows exactly what he’s doing and is intentionally pushing Clara away.
I’m reminded of Susan’s departure in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, where the Doctor locks Susan out of the TARDIS, seemingly because he thinks she should be having an adult human relationship rather than hanging out with her grandfather all the time. She is 16-ish after all and, OK, civilisation has collapsed and all that, but David seems like a nice boy who’d be easily led by a strong woman.
Anyway, my gut feel is that the best explanation for the Doctor’s bullying behaviour is that he wants Clara to grow out of him and have a life of her own. Clara is the Susan-analogue in this series. She’s the Unearthly Girl, passing herself off as a normal human at Coal Hill school, while a number of teachers and students take an interest in her. But instead of being flung from that situation into adventures in time and space, she’s going to be flung into the adventure of ordinary life. Possibly.
Another element that stuck in my craw on first viewing is the seriousness of Danny and Clara’s relationship, the realism.
I fully understand the people who react against this aspect of The Caretaker. At an emotional level I agree; rationally I have managed to talk myself around. Danny does seem controlling, and bordering on aggressive in his insistence that Clara promise to do what he wants. But this seems perfectly real, and consistent with Danny being a good guy who cares about Clara but isn’t very good at expressing himself. We’re used to treating the Doctor’s death-defying adventures as a bit of a laugh, so someone who treats them realistically, who treats serious risks as serious risks, sticks out in the series as a spoiler of fun. When Danny suggests they evacuate the school, that seems sensible, easily achieved using a fire alarm, and easily explained away afterwards.
If you think of the episode from Danny’s point of view, it’s the Doctor and Clara who’s behaviour seems bizarrely and offensively wrong, needlessly risking the lives of the students and teachers for whom they’re responsible. The series on the whole has a cavalier attitude to death and risk, and it’s easy for the audience to adopt a mindset of ignoring the death in Doctor Who because it’s all part of the fun. Danny brings to the series a more real-world attitude, which might be a refreshing and revitalising change. But right now it sticks out as a note of deadly seriousness in our fun show.
I’ve enjoyed Gareth Roberts’s work since way back. I own hundreds (really? yes!) of original Doctor Who novels, but back when I was buying them all, his were among the few I’d actually read. I really dug his enjoyment of season 17 of the original series, when Doctor Who was a comedy science fiction show, which at its best (City of Death, Shada) was great comedy science fiction, and one of the best versions of Doctor Who — and at its worst (most of the rest of season 17) was pretty bad. There’s a case to be made that that version of Doctor Who — let’s say, to be precise, the City of Death version of Doctor Who — is one of the best things Doctor Who can be, but only if it’s being written by a genius like Douglas Adams.
Over the past ten years I haven’t watched much original series Doctor Who. For a few months in 2013 I watched some classics as part of my observance of the 50th anniversary. But in the past ten years I must’ve watched City of Death three times. I’d watch it again tonight, except I’m going to watch the last four episodes of Elementary season 2 instead. Tomorrow, then.
After writing his original Doctor Who novels, Gareth became a TV pro, and so with his Doctor Who love and pro-TV smarts I have pretty high expectations of him. His previous Doctor Who episodes met those expectations for me. But the Skovox Blitzer didn’t. Yes, this episode is all about relationships and there’s only room for a few minutes of monster. But the few minutes of monster should have been better. The Skovox Blitzer feels too postmodern, too self-consciously ‘I’m intended to be a very silly Doctor Who monster, so don’t pay too much attention to me, there’s more interesting things happening elsewhere in this episode.’ The episode would have been stronger if the alien threat was less absurd-looking and absurd-sounding, but still able to be realised in five minutes or less of screen time, and still able to fulfil its thematic role as a thoughtless order-following soldier who the Doctor could command, ‘officer’ style. No, I can’t think of a better alternative off-hand, but I think Gareth Roberts could.
So all things considered, this was one of the weaker episodes for me this year: funny, which makes up for almost everything, not great as a story in itself, but making good contributions to the ongoing storyline.29 September 2014 at 13:54 #32682
Of the AG Doctor’s regular companions we have: Rose – exiled into an alternate universe. Where, okay, she ended up pretty happy. But still – exile.
Martha – had her family captured and tortured by the Master.
Donna – memory wiped.
At this point the Doctor (unsurprisingly) gave up on regular companions for a while, but found it really wasn’t safe for him.
Then we had Amy and Rory: he tried to leave them; Amy got kidnapped, her child was kidnapped and they were eventually exiled in the past.
So it’s entirely understandable if the Doctor is trying very hard to persuade Clara to leave him. And yet, he needs her. He needs her to care, because right now, he doesn’t want to.
And that scares him.
[Danny’s being set up as if he’s the ‘Rory’ – the One Sane Man in Team TARDIS, the one who points out that what they’re doing IS dangerous. ]29 September 2014 at 14:51 #32683
Anyway, moving away from Danny for a moment:
Things we know about Clara:
- She’s a liar. She lies to Danny, she lies to the Doctor.
- She’s the ‘guilty’ person that the Teller locks onto, twice.
- The TARDIS dislikes her.
- Missy’s ‘heaven’ rescues dead people. Clara’s idolised mother is dead.
I wonder if the obvious inconsistencies for Danny are a case of ‘Ooh, look! Kittens!’ 😉29 September 2014 at 15:07 #32684
That is a good point @bluesqueakpip re’ Clara being a liar. There were times in the episode where I wanted to shake her and really wondered why Danny was still about at the end. He is very forgiving. Maybe too forgiving. I don’t think it requires any particulary mind reading ability on Danny’s part to tell when she is lying however. It is usually very transparent.
The reflection in the mirror was very dark, a light and dark Clara? Did Clara bring something of the G.I. out of the time stream with her? Perhaps that is what is lurking within her, like a sleeper personality.
Janette29 September 2014 at 15:14 #32685
Enjoyed the ep ok, but have to agree it is not the best of the season. Lots of wonderful ideas and sharp eyes out there, too!
There is only one question I had that I didn’t see asked elsewhere:
Why was the Doctor so keen to keep Clara out of this adventure? Surely it was no more dangerous that many others they’d been on, including whatever was going on at the very beginning. So why did he not want her involved this time?29 September 2014 at 15:25 #32686
Oh! And the Doctor whistling “Another Brick in the Wall”! 😛29 September 2014 at 15:43 #3268729 September 2014 at 15:46 #32688
Why was the Doctor so keen to keep Clara out of this adventure?
Good spot. Last time he was this keen, it was the Ganger adventure. He was keen to keep Amy and Rory out of it because Amy-in-the-TARDIS was (unknowingly) a ganger.29 September 2014 at 15:47 #32689blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
Having re-watched A Matter of Life and Death this has now become Blenkinsop’s idee fixe in relation to what is happening. @phileasf – excellent call on The Red Shoes, btw, as the relationship between Clara, Danny and the Doctor does seem to replicate the relationship between Moira Shearer’s Vicky, Marius Goring’s Julian and Anton Walbrook’s Lermontov. Although I hope that it does not follow through on that, given the rather unfortunate fate of Vicky in The Red Shoes.
No, I go back to A Matter of Life and Death (and, @phileasf, I actually think the idea of heaven in the film isn’t ambiguous–it only exists in David Niven’s character’s mind. It only appears to be ambiguous on first viewing because of the film-making genius of Powell and Pressburger).
If there is one idea that defines Moffat’s approach to the relationships between the Doctor and his companions under his tenure, it has to be the redemptive power of love. In fact, love is so powerful it can change physical reality. Rory and the Doctor can disappear but be remembered back into existence by the power of love. I fully expect that the power of love will play out in this season as well. There is a fabulous moment in A Matter of Life and Death, where the characters in “heaven” go down to earth to find evidence to save David Niven’s Peter in his trial. And they find it in a tear drop on Kim Hunter’s June, who is desperately in love with David Niven’s character, and they capture the tear drop on an English rose, and it is the evidence they present to the “heavenly” court to save his life.
Now, I am not saying that Moffat will replicate this, but it is precisely the type of thing Moffat could emulate.
In other words, I think that we should not over-emphasis the possible darkness of the Doctor, or Danny, or Clara. Rather, this is all leading to to a tear-jerking, but ultimately happy resolution in the finale, resolved by the redemptive power of love.
Of course, I could always be shot down by devastating logic (hello, out there, @bluesqueakpip…)
Now it is time for more coffee to ruminate on “the promised land”.29 September 2014 at 16:07 #32690
Good spot. Last time he was this keen, it was the Ganger adventure. He was keen to keep Amy and Rory out of it because Amy-in-the-TARDIS was (unknowingly) a ganger.
Ooh! Good spot back at ya! I do think he is playing a deeper game here than we are seeing. Can he really be so oblivious to the whole Danny/Rupert/Orson thing? Maybe he already suspects (or knows) something about Danny that we (and Clara) don’t.29 September 2014 at 16:10 #32691
Nice spot on Floyd
“Hey, teacher! Leave them kids alone!”
Too funny. 😀 I wonder if Courtney would have appreciated that.
ETA: OMG!!! “Pink” Floyd!!29 September 2014 at 16:25 #32692Juniperfish @juniperfish
Ha ha @blenkinsopthebrave – I agree the redemptive power of love is absolutely going to be in the mix 🙂
@phileasf I liked your distaste for/ discussion of the way the Doctor and Danny speak to Clara. I agree that Moff focuses on commenting on the physicality of women in a way he does not focus on when it comes to men.
Frankly, in other parts of the interwebs, Moffat is derided as a very sexist writer and I do have sympathy with this perspective. I think he’s a very good writer, but I do also think he observes and stereotypes socially prevalent women’s insecurities in his scripts. I hated Mels, when regenerating into River, saying that she was “focussing on a dress size”. Yes, many women are overly concerned about their weight due to social pressures to look a certain way, but why reflect and reinforce that concern in Dr Who, totally unnecessarily? I really wince at that line. It’s not funny, it’s painful. I also hated that Osgood the scientist was (again totally unnecessarily) apparently jealous of her “pretty sister”. Urgh, yuk… I don’t want these messages for girls in Doctor Who because they’re already out there in the world enough (i.e. that women are most valued not for their brains but for their looks).
Twelve does constantly jab at Clara’s appearance – she thinks she looks good from behind, he says “Really?”. He says she’s already taken off her make-up so a reconciliation on her date with Danny is off, when in fact she hasn’t… etc. Clara does hold her own, and she does refer to the Doctor as a “grey-haired stick insect”. However, thus far her appearance is commented on far more in “script quips” than the Doctor’s.
So yes, I would say Moffat is an excellent writer, but he is also rather old fashioned in his approach to femaleness in some respects. These kinds of details are where I really think Doctor Who falls down by having an all male writing team.
@bluesqueakpip I do hope Clara doesn’t turn out to be yet more of a mystery. Because, while I’m on a roll 🙂 The other thing Moff does which I dislike is make women into mysteries as standard – mysterious River, “mad impossible Amy Pond”, Clara “the Impossible Girl”. Freud thought women were “the dark continent” and that was in the 19thC.29 September 2014 at 16:30 #32693
@geoffers You know, I hadn’t made the connection to House, but you’re right, Capaldi brings a very similar feel. I like dark as well; dark, as opposed to evil. Years ago there was an American TV show starring the very talented and funny John Larroquette, in which he played a recovering alcoholic in charge of the night shift at an inner city bus depot. It was brilliant and very very funny, but the ratings were so bad that after one season, the network “cleaned it up”, making it less dark but much less funny. It lasted a couple more years but I don’t think I watched it much anymore as it had lost all its bite. I think it must have been ahead of its time in the nineties, because of course House was hugely successful. Or maybe just that people didn’t mind “dark” in their dramas, but couldn’t handle it in comedy? Not sure.
But you’ve put your finger on exactly what I am loving about the new Doctor: he’s intense, he’s clever, he’s egotistic, he’s funny. I keep reading that people feel he has no charm, but I think he has tons of it. And I believe he is still a good man. But a darker shade of grey than we have been used to lately.29 September 2014 at 16:31 #32694
Oh! And the Doctor whistling “Another Brick in the Wall”!
It’s only a matter of time before we hear Roger Waters whining about it (there’s a bit missing from the CDs of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because of failure to secure Pink Floyd rights and he gets in a right arse about being able to buy individual tracks from iTunes). Twat.
I wonder if the obvious inconsistencies for Danny are a case of ‘Ooh, look! Kittens!’29 September 2014 at 17:47 #32697Rob @rob
A PC in the PC
A for real ghost in the machine 😉
Also the reason that Clara was so furtive looking during Danny’s “you must tell me spiel” was she already has/will/is saved/saving the Doctor through his entire life stream from 1 to 9999 etc etc the loop of all loops
His warning is a tad early or late29 September 2014 at 18:22 #32698
This is rather late in the day to be arriving at the party, so my reactions and observations are unlikely to add much of substance to what has been said already, but here goes, anyway.
Granted that the monster-of-the week was a bit rubbish, I agree that this was another good episode with a lot in it to savour. To my mind the comic potential of the Doctor trying to pass for human has never been better realised and, operating under his idea of ‘deep cover’, he is about as inconspicuous as a neon sign in a dark alley. For all the time that he has spent in the company of humans, it has almost always been on his terms (other than when he was chameleon arched, of course), and I doubt whether he has ever had the patience to make a study of their behaviour in normal circumstances. On the other hand, his frequent remarks on Clara’s appearance and his apparent failure to make the connection between child Rupert, Danny and Orson, while suggesting Strax levels of obtuseness, are almost certainly a deliberate ploy as @phileasf suggests. In this way he is reminding Clara that he is an alien and keeping a certain distance between them, but not, I think, trying to push her away entirely because, as @bluesqueakpip says, he needs her.
Despite his somewhat flippant remark that ‘she cares so that I don’t have to’, in this episode it is he who is the caretaker, and not just in the sense of janitor. He is trying single-handedly to take care of a potentially very dangerous threat to the school and possibly the earth – albeit a threat for which he may be indirectly responsible, since the artron energy which has attracted the Skovox Blitzer could be residual from his previous visits. And of course his concern for Clara, little as she appreciates it in this instance, is shown in his reaction to Danny. It isn’t just the fact that Danny has been a soldier, his attitude from the beginning suggests that he senses something about him does not add up.
Danny’s reaction to the Doctor is also interesting. Obviously there is the shock of discovering that Clara has secretly been leading this double life, and a natural suspicion, if not jealousy of the other person involved, but it is the Doctor’s referring to himself as a Time Lord which provokes the passive-aggressive outburst (and when you think of it, there is enormous arrogance implicit in that title). Danny makes the link lord=aristocrat; aristocrat who takes charge with an air of superiority= army officer, and for all that his later conversation with Clara on the sofa suggests respect for the kind of officer who pushes his subordinates to achieve more than they thought possible, it looks as if his history with officers has been problematic. His reaction in Listen, when Clara mentioned his original name, Rupert, could also be seen as evidence of this; I certainly took it that his immediate assumption that she was making fun of him was because of its connotations in the army.
The Doctor’s dislike of soldiers was heavily emphasised in this episode, from ‘I hate soldiers’ in the opening montage onwards, but whereas @phileasf saw this as both sudden and hypocritical, I think it entirely consistent with his past history. Certainly he spent quite a long time working with UNIT but, unless my memory is at fault, he was often impatient with the military mindset and tended to get tetchy when the Brigadier went too readily into ‘five rounds rapid’ mode. It took the time war to turn him into a soldier, but when he decided in The Night of the Doctor to regenerate as a warrior, it was because it seemed to be the only option left. He had tried to stay aloof from the conflict, as @pedant has already pointed out, and had just had it brought home to him forcibly that it had been for nothing, and that to those caught up in the fighting there was no longer any difference between Time Lord and Dalek. Granted that as a Time Lord he would have been expected to assume leadership in whatever capacity he fought and that he was and is not the kind of person to take orders readily, if he was an officer it would have been on the T E Lawrence model; he could never have been a ‘rupert’ . We can only guess at his experiences between the events of The Night of the Doctor and The Day of the Doctor, but it is hardly surprising that he might emerge with a heightened dislike of soldiering and a distrust of soldiers.
Finally, as regards the status of Time Lords, is it known whether a person had to be born into a patrician class to be eligible, or could anyone with the necessary ability be a candidate, in the way that mandarins were selected in Imperial China?29 September 2014 at 18:26 #32699
@pedant @brewski – i’m so embarrassed that i didn’t “hear” the floyd quote! thanks for pointing that out. in my defense, though, ‘the wall’ is my least-played floyd album, since the acrimonious split of the ’80’s. i’m firmly on david gilmour’s “side,” and still love the “spacier” early ’70’s stuff, and the post-waters efforts. ‘the wall’ really should have been roger’s first solo album…
also (apologies if this has been pointed out on the music thread, which i haven’t visited in a long time), in the ’87-’88 live versions of “one of these days,” gilmour quotes the doctor who theme (and it fits the mood of the tune perfectly!). he is a fan of the show (at least the classic show), and he was a longtime friend of douglas adams (who later appeared on stage with the band on the ’94 tour, if i’m recalling correctly)…
@arbutus – exactly what I am loving about the new Doctor: he’s intense, he’s clever, he’s egotistic, he’s funny. I keep reading that people feel he has no charm, but I think he has tons of it.
i agree! but the “funny” is the key, for me. without that, to take the edge off of the intensity and the ego, it would be harder to root for him, or to accept his alien-ness. which applies to house’s character, as well, for who could otherwise sympathize with such a person in real life? (i admit, also, that i didn’t give john larroquette’s show a watch, as i had been a huge fan of ‘night court,’ and i thought the premises were too similar. or maybe i had just had enough of that brand of sitcom, at that point? idk…)
😉29 September 2014 at 18:30 #32700
@phileasf Anyway, my gut feel is that the best explanation for the Doctor’s bullying behaviour is that he wants Clara to grow out of him and have a life of her own. This is a very good thought. In a way, it’s the exclamation point and bold type added to the statement “I’m not your boyfriend.” He’s reminding her that she may feel that she can be close to him, but not really, deep down.
I agree with @bluesqueakpip and @janetteb regarding the lying. When Clara started trying to cover up the truth in that moment of discovery, I actually sighed and thought, “What are you doing now? Are you actually that stupid?” I believe we were meant to see it as the “I panic and talk too much” thing that she admitted about herself earlier in the series, but it’s just so frustrating when people keep making the same mistakes. Hence my belief that at some point, she is not going take Danny’s line in the sand about truthfulness seriously enough.
@blenkinsopthebrave Your teardrop analogy actually reminds me a bit of Clara’s leaf. So you’re right, it’s very much the kind of thing that Moffat would do!29 September 2014 at 18:36 #32701
@geoffers I completely agree that the humour is necessary, it’s what makes him likeable much of the time. This was true of the Larroquette show as well, his character was not always likeable, but was incisively funny. I too liked Night Court, and there were similarities, but the Larroquette show was much darker, less quirky. I do actually think that it might have done better twenty years on, in our post-Sopranos landscape, where people seem more ready to take on less likeable characters and enjoy them. (Except, apparently, for the Doctor, if you read some of the comments elsewhere!)29 September 2014 at 18:42 #32702
@fivefaces – I wonder if this is the same poster that appears in Let’s Kill Hitler, during the early scenes where Mels keeps getting into trouble at the school? (I don’t have that episode on video to check.)
neither do i. and a quick youtube check didn’t turn up anything, either. perhaps some other kind soul here can do the legwork for us? 🙂
i bet it is, though. i seem to remember back then, that it led to more speculation about the silents continuing to hang about, in the “background” (which they sort of did, all through smith’s remaining episodes)…29 September 2014 at 18:48 #32703
@arbutus – i do NOT read the comments elsewhere! lol…
nor do i engage the few trolls who pop in here, from time to time. i prefer to (in full dalek mode): AC-CEN-TU-ATE… the positive!29 September 2014 at 18:49 #32704
@mudlark One of the things I loved about Matt Smith’s Doctor was the difficulty he had in “fitting in” with humans. I really enjoyed Ten, but he often felt too “human” to me. Eleven, even when he thought he was getting it, clearly didn’t all of the time. I loved The Lodger, and was reminded of it in last week’s episode, when the Doctor failed to recognize that Clara was dressed up for a date. It recalled for me Eleven’s response to his roommate’s suggestion that if he needed a little “privacy” (nudge, wink) to just shout. The Doctor, after a moment’s confusion, said that he would indeed shout, something like “I had not expected THIS!” The Lodger was loaded with great bits like that, and overall, Eleven’s tenure was full of them (right to the last, when he showed up for Clara’s Christmas dinner having failed to ensure that the other guests would see him clothed!).
Twelve seems to be extending this from an inability to fit in to a lack of attempt at fitting in. In this, he reminds me of Tom Baker’s Doctor, who used to say things that would have been ridiculous if you had thought for a moment that he actually wanted to fool anybody! I don’t think that Twelve was trying very hard to make his “deep cover” work, because he assumed that the “pudding brain” humans simply wouldn’t think very hard about him.29 September 2014 at 18:51 #3270529 September 2014 at 19:05 #32706
@juniperfish You must have posted your comment concerning the Doctor’s remarks to Clara about her appearance around the time I started writing my post #32698 (which took a long time, owing to interruptions), otherwise I would have referenced it. As I said, I think it is deliberate, if rather clumsy. After all, he cannot really think that she looks the same age as he does, can he? He has just been taking lessons from Strax 🙂
I forgot to add that I am amongst those for whom Capaldi is now 100% The Doctor, regardless of the fact that he says he is still working his way into the part. I keep seeing flashes of different earlier incarnations and he has so many of the best qualities of each, but in a way that is uniquely his.29 September 2014 at 20:45 #32707
@arbutus Yes, it was Matt Smith in The Lodger that I was thinking of in particular. Matt’s Doctor in such situations seemed to have a puppyish desire to please, constantly undermined by his failure to understand human thinking and human customs and by an almost complete blindness to social cues. Tom Baker’s Doctor was, as you say, just oblivious: he bumbled around being himself without a thought for how it might appear to others.
Capaldi’s Doctor’s failure to fit in seems to stem, not only from a failure to understand but from a childlike egotism, so that even when he should be keeping a low profile he cannot refrain from, figuratively speaking, jumping up and down and shouting ‘Look, over here, look at me!’
It occurs to me that there might be another explanation for why the Doctor, despite his long acquaintance with the human race, still shows little sign of having learned much about their social behaviour. Following on from the discussion of his memory, perhaps he simply does not retain information which his mind does not recognise as important; or alternatively, when he regenerates there is a general reorganisation of memory in which such ‘irrelevant’ information is discarded.29 September 2014 at 20:48 #32708BadWulf @badwulf
@mudlark I forgot to add that I am amongst those for whom Capaldi is now 100% The Doctor
I would like to add my name to that list, too! It doesn’t take me long to accept the new guy as the Doctor, usually. In fact, it was probably Sylvester McCoy whom I took longest to warm to. It wasn’t until Remembrance of the Daleks that I felt he was the Doctor proper. All of the others had me convinced by the end of their first story (bearing in mind that the first Who I can remember being broadcast is the Keeper of Traken, and therefore the first regeneration was in Logopolis).
concerning the Doctor’s remarks to Clara about her appearance … I think it is deliberate, if rather clumsy. After all, he cannot really think that she looks the same age as he does, can he?
I agree that it is deliberate. I’m just not sure why. It seems like the kind of thing that a bloke would say to another bloke in a teasing manner, but for a man addressing a woman, it seems like the sort of thing an insensitive (but not malicious) father would say to a daughter, again as a tease.29 September 2014 at 20:57 #32709wcasey5 @wcasey5
I’m a Capaldi doctor fan! About the doctors remarks to Clara, could be that this doctor has even less of a social filter than the others, BUT he could be seeing something that none of us are seeing yet! da da daaaaaa!29 September 2014 at 21:38 #32710Cath Annabel @cathannabel
@scaryb thanks for the Alice clip – I remember watching that on TotP!
@arbutus totally agree that the Doc should not fit in too well. I adored Tennant, but with hindsight and without the distraction of his considerable charms, I think he was too human, and Smith set things back on track from that point of view.29 September 2014 at 23:18 #32711Anonymous @
I have been thinking about the title Caretaker now and it has elevated my appreciation for this episode more. Who is the real caretaker? Doctor, Clara, or Danny.
The Doctor proclaims that he is the caretaker, but it is just a title for him. He is the least appropriate caretaker of them all, which he proves many times in the episode by not evacuating the building, having a terrible disguise, and taking Courtney on a ride for fun.
Danny thinks he is the responsible one. He wants to evacuate the building and wants to protect Clara from the Doctor. He is better than the Doctor, but I don’t think that makes him the caretaker, because he doesn’t care about taking care of the Doctor.
Clara has always been the real caretaker, even her Claricles. She won’t leave the Doctor because she knows he needs her. She doesn’t disagree with Danny wanting to protect her (even though she knows she really doesn’t need protecting), because she doesn’t want to hurt Danny’s ego. So the episode is great at showing that Clara is still the caretaker.
Maybe the Doctor knows that Clara is having a very hard time leaving him, even if she wants to. Clara has never been able to resist being the caretaker, so does she even know how to stop being the caretaker?
I have to disagree that the Doctor’s jokes about Clara are harmful, although I can understand why people can think that. But if you only think about the jokes in the context of Clara (and not women in general), they are not even remotely close to the truth, and her reactions make them so funny and make Clara’s character even more lovable. My biggest complaint about Clara before this season has been her impossible girl perfection. So to me the Doctor is just making fun of her being too perfect. Calling someone too perfect might be hurtful, especially to Clara since she can’t help that, but it is a compliment too. I love to see Clara’s reactions to Doctor’s jokes, because if they make her mad then she doesn’t know how perfect she is and I like that she can take a joke.
@geoffers – It is very similar to the way House and Cuddy would joke. But House was flirting with Cuddy. I think the Doctor has a different reason for the jokes, along the lines of making Clara see her caretakerness which she can’t see in herself (just like she doesn’t see her perfection).29 September 2014 at 23:28 #32713lisa @lisa
@barnable I wonder if Missy will turn out to be a kind of Care taker ? but I think most don’t at this point- I will be keeping an open mind – I still strangely get a River vibe about Missy- and River certainly was a kind of caretaker – I still get a CAL vibe about the Nethersphere- but its of course still to soon to tell29 September 2014 at 23:32 #3271429 September 2014 at 23:39 #3271529 September 2014 at 23:57 #32718Oblique @oblique
So, Ian and Barbara get a revamp for the 21st Century and the line-up is complete. Very nice.
‘The Caretaker,’ a story in which we get to see the developing romance between Clara and her new man. Yes, the Doctor’s feelings for Miss Oswald are in here too, because in order for him to work, we have to believe in him, and by sharing our conditions, we relate… and its populist, which is good for a broad-stroke audience appreciation.
I’m nonplussed why the episode is titled ‘The Caretaker’? It’s a title that side-steps the crux of this story which is about a love triangle – nicely worked, I admit, but I would have preferred an intelligent story about the Skovox Blaster, instead it plays like a side show to the main event.
There’s such a dependency on romance in the show, and the personal relationships of the Doctor’s human companions and (see previously) their extended families, appears relentless.
Oblique x30 September 2014 at 00:28 #32719Ringleader @ringleader
Out of curiosity, I wonder if there will ever be a reference to the Doctor’s first companion, Ian Chesterton, currently Chairman of the Governors, and whether his review of the peculiar actions of the “Caretaker” in his school would ring a bell when he reviews the employee list?
In addition, the Headmaster isn’t Wendy Coburn anymore, but a male.
Another interesting point: The aliens in a school setting is very similar to that of Deffry Vale School in the episode that signified the return of Sarah Jane Smith and K-9, the second season episode “School Reunion.”30 September 2014 at 00:41 #32720
If I’m honest, anything set in a school is bound to annoy me a bit, because I can’t help nitpicking. (A London secondary school with a tiny staffroom and only one caretaker for example? I’m not so sure…)
However, I absolutely loved the humour of this episode. Most laughs for me this series by far. The dialogue was excellent. Would agree that it was possibly a bit of a rubbish monster compared with last week. Having said that, thematically a good choice (a killing machine whose actions are dictated solely and completely by orders from its superiors – the ultimate soldier perhaps?)
@lisa – I noticed a different belief angle this week (more “belief” in the sense of trust), in that a) Danny doesn’t believe Clara’s lies, no matter how much she would like him to and perhaps b) Clara is able to act so fearlessly because of her faith/belief in the Doctor.
For all the emphasis on Clara’s lying, I suspect Danny has been telling a few lies, or at least keeping some secrets, of his own… He certainly had no intention of telling Clara that he was planning on spying on the Doctor. (Clara: “A thing?” Danny: (hesitates) “Tomorrow instead?”) Bit Bonkers but – is he spying on Clara too?? Manipulating the truth out of her while keeping his own “other life” well-hidden? Is that how he knows she’s lying – because he knows more about her than he lets on? (I very much doubt it, because he’s too likeable as a character. But still – a thought to play with.)
I think Jenna Coleman does a brilliant and hilarious line in panick-lying, by the way. In particular “I think it was just a general wink you know, just a general welcoming wink” – really tickled me.
I thought Danny’s showdown with the Doctor was reminiscent of bad behaviour in a classroom : He figures out what buttons to press and presses them relentlessly (“Sir, yes Sir!”) until he finally gets sent out of the class (I mean Tardis 🙂 )
There is certainly a lot of prejudice informing the first impressions that the Doctor and Danny have of each other. Is there perhaps a bit of pride as well? (Pride & Prejudice is the book Clara’s class were studying…)
Finally – the suppression of human instincts/senses crops up again, if only in passing: “You weren’t even scared.. But you should have been”
x30 September 2014 at 00:45 #32721
Oooh and Chris Addison : “Now then. Annny questions?” – if that’s not teasing the audience, I don’t know what is! 🙂
x30 September 2014 at 00:54 #32722Serahni @serahni
Okay, so upon second watching, I have some fondness for this episode. Even after the first watching, I wasn’t unhappy I’d seen it, I was just missing the sense of adventure and any real science fiction element because, frankly, that robot wasn’t scary. (To me.) Maybe if it had gone on a mass rampage or there had been just a little more to its story, it would have satisfied me but, whilst I am all for simpler storylines that leave room for the greater narrative, (I loved Deep Breath for this), this episode really did feel as if The Doctor had concocted the most lame-ass reason to spy on Clara. *lol* Maybe that was the point. At any rate, there was some great character development here, which I loved, it just didn’t quite feel like I was watching a science-fiction show.
That being said, I suspect it will have a strong place in the final line-up when the arc is resolved, (as much as Moffat ever allows), and the pieces of the jigsaw are slotted together. The humour and chemistry between the triangle was a pleasure to watch, I am definitely sold on Danny being allowed to go adventuring with them now. There were a couple of moments where I laughed, sitting alone in bed, and it was nice to have yet another episode where it really feels like The Doctor is stepping into his own. I realise the story premise was still very Clara-centric but The Doctor is calling his own shots a lot more and seems to be less of a bystander in his own life. I guess the regeneration is finally settling down.
Clara’s age/the timeline of this episode comments have interested me because I hadn’t thought about it. This does feel like it takes place some considerable time after Clara and Danny first met, their relationship seems to be fairly established. Enough that he can get away with playing the wounded second-choice and she doesn’t find it weird or possessive at least. I guess that would easily mean she’s been travelling with The Doctor for a couple of years, if not longer. I mean, at what point did she go to university and end up with a teaching degree? >.> I think I missed all that…
Anyway, I just woke up from a dream that culminated in Clara dying somehow and Missy teleporting her up to ‘Heaven’ in which there is a grand hall full of other Claricles. Needless to say, I was very annoyed that I woke up then! I could have had all the answers at my fingertips, if only I hadn’t needed the bathroom. XD30 September 2014 at 01:10 #32723Serahni @serahni
Just reading through the comments about The Doctor ‘bullying’ Clara and I thought I’d throw a random thought I had whilst skimming into the mix. What if The Doctor is trying to influence her into leaving and leading a normal life, as much as he seems to be having separation issues of his own, (he keeps turning up and snatching her away at inconvenient times. So much for every Wednesday…), but it’s because he has a sense of foreboding about what the future holds for her. Clara knows that other versions of herself have existed but it’s never been established what, if anything, she remembers from being inside The Doctor’s time-stream or if she has any residual memories of her other selves. The Doctor, on the other hand, has lost two of her already that we’ve seen and know that he has registered and reacted emotionally to, and he has an awareness that there have been many, many other versions trailing him through time and space. It is entirely feasible, and just a bit precursor-ish, that some of this endless speculation we have about Clara’s continued significance, (is she Missy? Is she Susan? Is she related to The Doctor? etc, etc), is actually true and The Doctor is getting a sense of it the closer they move towards the final resolution. Maybe he’s being spiky and rude because he lacks the social graces to know how else to handle impending panic.
Also, I have a new theory for Clara! I have never read any of the books that existed and kept the series alive whilst it was off-air, but I know that the Eighth Doctor’s travels are where the Time War takes place and that a lot of it was canonised by RTD when the series rebooted. I also know a bit of general stuff because my ex-boyfriend was an intense Whovian. So, I present to you, exhibit A:
Clara is Compassion. Or, at least, a Type 102.30 September 2014 at 01:11 #32724ScaryB @scaryb
Had a rewatch of this and like it very much. It’s a lovely character study of the 3 main leads (which doesn’t mean I think they’re all necessarily likeable, although a lot of it’s very funny!) As @bluesqueakpip pointed out – they’re all lying to/hiding stuff from each other to some degree, especially Clara – “play rehearsals indeed”!)
The Doctor hides the true reason for his trip to Clara, presumably for exactly the reason she suggests – that he knows she won’t approve, but also because he thinks it’s a simple job. I suspect the caretaker guise has elements of him being a bit nosey about the boyfriend! (Love the scene when he’s on the ladder, with the pull-back to reveal it’s several floors up!)
Re bantering – between Clara and the Doctor – given the number of adventures to referred to at the beginning, it looks to me that Clara’s been going on trips with this Doctor for quite a while. They are very relaxed with each other hence the teasing. It could put the Doctor’s remark about her age in a slightly different light – remember Amy’s remark to Rory that they were ageing faster than their friends ie a year passing in RL could be the equivalent of several years if you add in the time spent time-travelling. It would also account for the Doctor not recognising the resemblance between Danny and Orson.
Also re time passing – Clara and Danny have moved on too – they are obviously well past the second date (in the pub, she says – “the usual”?). (See also the remark from Courtney’s parents to Danny about “you said last year…” which could be a generic reference to “the school said”, or it could imply that at least a year has passed) And yet she’s still leading a double life and not telling him anything about it. No wonder he’s suspicious – he’s on the back foot throughout this episode, trying to catch up. Lots of mirroring with the Doctor and Danny eg both “bump” Clara with her own phrase – “I’ve got a thing” – (The Doctor to go sneaking about the school, albeit setting up traps, Danny so he can spy on the Doctor).
The Doctor is justifiably angry when he realises that Clara has sneaked Danny on to the TARDIS with the invisibility watch. Wonder if Clara is going to fess up to Danny and the Doctor that she was dabbling in both their timelines. Not sure that would play out well at all.
Callout to Ian Chesterton? The Doctor keeps getting Danny’s name wrong – calls him Dave. As Hartnell used to mis-call Ian. 🙂
@blenkinsopthebrave Love your Powell/Pressburger comparisons. I think there’s definitely a stylistic ref in the white-corridored neversphere and the formality of the staff… and yes, I’ll give you Red Shoes as well. So long as they don’t go all Black Narcissus!30 September 2014 at 01:14 #32725
maybe what they are collecting in the Nethersphere is not souls but stories
I really, really like this as an explanation of why the PC didn’t cut the mustard 🙂
Also, we’re told in The Rings of Akhaten that souls ARE stories:
CLARA: She didn’t say stories. She said souls.
DOCTOR: Same thing. The soul’s made of stories, not atoms. Everything that ever happened to us. People we love, people we lost. People we found again against all the odds.
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