The Caretaker

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    BadWulf @badwulf

    @mudlark What is the name of that Ian McDonald short story? It sounds very similar in world-premise to Tad Williams’ Otherland quartet of novels (which I thought were excellent.)

    Unfortunately, my only experience of reading Ian McDonald novels was The Dervish House, which was atrociously dull. Set in Istanbul of the near future, it separately followed six or more different sets of unlikeable protagonists, whose stories for the first 3/5 of the novel failed to intersect at all. Not only that, but there were plot points that hinged on the sex of a character being identified from the pronoun used to refer to them, despite Turkish being a genderless language.

    Worst of all, it was written in the Present Tense. I hate that. It makes a story sound like fanfic, or like YA fiction. (or a internet forum post!).

    After slogging 2/3 of the way through it, there was finally an exciting action scene. Which immediately afterwards was revealed to be a simulation, thus robbing it of any dramatic impact it might have had. I rarely give up on a book after starting it (the only other one I can remember abandoning is Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged when John Galt goes monologuing on for page after page of his economically fallacious drivel), but it was at this point that I decided to give at away to a charity shop.

    Present Tense isn’t always a dealbreaker, but I’ve never read a book that I felt wouldn’t have worked better if written in the past tense. I include the Hunger Games YA novels, Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, and Kim Stanley-Robinson’s The Gold Coast, despite really enjoying all those stories. When I picked up Wolf Hall to give it a try, I had to put it down because I saw that it was written in Present Tense. After just having plodded through The End of Mr Y, I just couldn’t face more of it.

    Does anyone else have a problem with novels written in the Present Tense?

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @whisht Yes of course, the time war book – I’d forgotten all about that

    Won’t be able to watch tonight’s episode for a while (as a friend has somewhat annoyingly decided to get married today).

    But to sum up – things I’ll be watching out for this week:
    Suppression of human instinct/emotion/thought
    Chess references
    Theme of slavery/captivity
    References to books/fiction/illusion
    References to Hypnotism

    I think that’s everything 🙂

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @badwulf   The title of the story is ‘The Discovered Country’, and it is included in the latest ‘Years Best’ anthology (Gardner Dozois ed.).  According to the acknowledgements it was published first in Asimov’s Science Fiction in September last year.  It is, though, another one of McDonald’s narrated in the historic present. For my part I don’t usually  have a problem with this, though it does rather depend on how it is used.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @badwulf   Yes, yes, me! I know it’s supposed to immerse you in the action, but for me it has the opposite effect, of reminding me continually that I’m reading a book. I struggled with the otherwise excellent Wolf Hall for exactly that reason. I love a well done historical novel, and it was great in so many ways, but I couldn’t stay engaged.

    @purofilion   I love the definition of the Whoniverse as “metaphoric reality”!  (Hope by the time you are reading this, you’re feeling better!)

    @idiotsavon    He wanted them to remain alert to the fact that the play was a fiction.    Brecht would have been on board with present tense, then… see above!  🙂

    @mudlark   Oh, yes, “cathartic” is a great term.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @spider   tv and films have a LOT to answer for about what my management think is actually possible to do with image processing!   I have a hilarious image of management demanding something, you saying, “Sorry, not technically possible,” and them replying, “But… but… they did it on Doctor Who!”

    And very good point by the way about Clara’s response to the “distract it” order. It didn’t jump out at me while watching, but as you say, she would normally respond by doing something, even if the something was inadequate or lame. An inelegant setup, I agree.

    And your suggestion that Missy is taking lots of people that we don’t see hadn’t occurred to me, but clearly you’re right that the scope of her “heaven” is much greater than we had realized. This made me wonder again about her initial remarks about the Doctor. Could the “my boyfriend” label suggest that she likes him because death follows him so closely, and he and death could be said to have an intimate relationship? This sort of idea, of death as a lover, has been used before in literary imagery; I’m sure some of the literary-minded folk around here could be more specific about that.

    Spider @spider

    Lol @arbutus not ever quite happened like that…yet! But that is indeed a funny image.

    Intriguing idea about Missy being interested in the Doctor and calling him ‘boyfriend’ because death follows him closely, and if that’s the case is which is why she takes a personal interest in him and perhaps more specifically a personal interest in people who have died sacrificing themselves for him  (because I think that still stands, we’ve only seen her take an actual interest in 2 people so far?). Perhaps she want to know why they died for him…hmmm, maybe not.  Her line in the first episode “I do like his new accent though, I think I might keep it”  continues to intrigue me!


    Anonymous @

    @spider @arbutus  ah ha we have the Greek literary reference (again sorry!) or inference as Death follows closely: The Agamemnon presented that idea with death as lover (though not in those exact words). The mention above of Klytemestra murdering her husband and being ecstatically “spattered with the blood red and violent driven rains of bitter savoured blood to leave me glad as gardens stand among the showers of God in glory at the birthtime of the buds” is a good example. Obviously, I can’t get that out of my mind. Good thing it’s morning for me! 🙂

    There’s a certain cruelty, a strange, cool breath of violence which turns death into something glorious (we can sense a parallel with Danny or some soldiers in general -now and throughout time; the funeral pyres of ancient warriors and even the Doctor’s  by Lake Silencio-though not a piece of him could remain as River firmly commented), that Death follows Missy or vice versa, and this turns her into a girlfriend (of sorts) is a concept followed in the Ancient European stories of ‘death followers’ or correctly translated ‘death lovers’ in Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and parts of Poland and Romania.

    @mudlark the cathartic -wonderful! As were your last posts; thoughtful and detailed. I learn an awful lot when you add your tremendous knowledge to threads.

    @badwulf same with me! Is it too late (must be quite late where you live?) to put my hand up about tense? Indeed, there’s a classical set of novels (a quartet) by A.S. Byatt where, particularly in the second and fourth, Babel Tower, the main character, struggling with true writing techniques, discusses with friends and colleagues the problems not only with present tense but also writing in the first person. Her belief (and I guess the authorial voice, too) was that present tense and first person removes not only the possibility of elegance from the text (and yes, Byatt like Brookner, write in a detailed and meticulous manner that comes across with ease) but doesn’t allow for keeping things (language) “safe in their places”. She liked past tense as even the most “banal” idea can have “mythic force” when written a certain way whereas present tense can cause the narrative to soak up a kind of energy: more complicated ways of writing can “say things, deep, funny, difficult things”.

    One issue with first person and present tense is the oppressive need it has to ‘teach’, to be didactic; this lessens its enjoyment and removes the aesthetic. That’s a problem to me. If I want the pedagogic, I’ll read something other than a novel or a drama.

    Wordsworth said something along the lines of “the rhythms of language are the rhythms of the human body and the grand principle of pleasure in which we live and have our being.” I think present tense causes us to be one step behind that rhythm or perhaps once step ahead -either way, it’s all out of sync, a blunder.

    And yet, to ruin everything, I adored Wolf Hall and couldn’t stop reading. I was saying aloud, “no, how can I like this?” I put it down to firstly, Mantel’s previous writing (which I love) and the extraordinarily satirical dialogue in Wolf Hall-and its sequel, that occasionally found me struggling to keep up, and I enjoyed the confusion! She was a whirling dervish with acerbic, chilling back and forths. But then I always enjoy novels about en masse religious frenzy and the extremism between social and political classes. 🙂

    @spider the technology of the ‘impossible’, yes if you work in that arena it must be beyond annoying to have people urging you that something is possible -and nit picking when it’s not!

    Well, sorry for the lecturing (again: as holidays end tomorrow and I have a group of six chatty conducting post-grads on Tuesday, my lectures here will be reduced. God I hope so….)

    But I do love all your ideas. How totally marvellous. Problem is/was I wasn’t awake when y’ll were debating these. Now, I guess we’ll move onto something else 🙁    🙂

    Kindest, purobangingon


    BadWulf @badwulf

    @purofilion  Is it too late (must be quite late where you live?) to put my hand up about tense?

    It’s never too late to talk about tenses! Especially when the talk is from someone who is as knowledgeable about literature as you are!

    When it comes to literature, I only know what I tend to like, and what I tend to dislike. And I have found out (to my more edumacated wife’s chagrin) that what I tend to like does have a preponderence of exploding spaceships.

    I really think that I must give Wolf Hall another chance – my immediate dislike was a visceral reaction to the present tense, which was probably due to my most recent negative experiences with it. I’m certainly intrigued by Tudor history.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @purofilion   It’s not too late here to talk about tense- only around 6:30, and I don’t get my next episode until Sunday morning.  🙁  I must restate that I thought Wolf Hall was brilliant in many ways, fabulous characterization and believable dialogue. As a history geek, it annoys me when the conversation is either anachronistic or too preciously “historic”. There’s a balance to be found and Mantel did so beautifully. And the period is a fascinating one that gets less attention than it should. But for me the problem was that whenever the story moved away from dialogue, that tense thing kept jumping out at me and taking me out of the moment, as it were. I realize that this is my problem rather than the writer’s; but there it is.

    @badwulf     And I have found out (to my more edumacated wife’s chagrin) that what I tend to like does have a preponderence of exploding spaceships.   This is a charming statement. Nothing wrong with exploding spaceships. Or, for that matter, novels written in the present tense. Or the fine balance of classical music, 60’s and 70’s rock, and contemporary pop that is heard daily by the three sets of ears in the Arbutus household. As Mr. Arbutus likes to say, “It’s all good.”

    I must say, this has now got me thinking about Missy with more interest than I have for awhile. I still think that she is a person, but how is she “saving” all these dead people, and what does she want with them? We have seen people “saved” to the hard drive of the Library, and people “kidnapped” by the wifi, so I think it must be something similar. But who is her helper, and does she have more of them, and what is being done to/with the “saved”?

    Anonymous @

    @arbutus “it kept taking me out of the moment”. Well, Brecht would want you to do that!  The illusion must never be fully maintained. No, I agree, you want ‘in the plot’ but strangely, some readers/writers would feel that the choice of tense might highlight the unpredictable nature of the story as well as the sense of walking on egg shells given that any comment could assure you immediate transfer to a suite in the Tower. This could be achieved with past tense equally well, considering Mantel’s platinum talent.

    Have you read any others? Mmm, this could now be a conversation for The Sofa? 🙂

    Whatcha cooking for tea, or as we say “dinna”? Kindest, puro 😉

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @badwulf    I realised on first waking this morning that through some mental aberration I had misnamed the author of ‘The Discovered Country’.  It is Ian R McCleod,  (of ‘The Light Ages’ and ‘The House of Storms’), not Ian McDonald (‘River of Gods’ etc.).  But the story is written in the historic present.  As I said, I have no problem with this type of narrative if it is handled skilfully, as I think it is in this instance and in ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’;  I find it can bring an immediacy to the narrative, allowing me a more completely immersive experience in reading, but I can see how for others it might be an irritating affectation.

    thommck @thommck

    Haven’t seen Kill The Moon yet (hopefully tonight) so I’ll keep the conversation on here for now!

    I had a new(?) idea about Missy. I think we are focusing a lot on who she is rather than her motives. I think the Doctor may have trapped her in the Nethersphere. She is the only living being in the Promised Land which gives her a level of authority. She only talks to people who have met the Doctor so she can gather clues as to his whereabouts. Missy is looking for a way out!

    @spider, @arbutus, You talk of Clara not knowing what to do isn’t an isolated case. Remember in “Into the Dalek” the Doctor told her to go to the “memory” banks and do something and she didn’t have a clue what. Also, I think I remember in Deep Breath she was fairly happy to wait for the Doctor to come back and tell her what to do when he disappeared.

    I don’t think it’s anything in particular but just a common human panic mode! Amy was very assertive and would do whatever the heck she’d like whereas Clara seems more cautious and lacking in self-belief a bit. Only when she is pushed to the very edge does she seem to act.

    @badwulf In regards to the present tense thoughts; I don’t mind it. It gives you a sense that anything could happen. With past tense you know it’s going to be alright in the end because someone lived to tell the tale!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Well, Brecht would want you to do that! The illusion must never be fully maintained.

    One of my several profound disagreements with Brecht’s theory (as opposed to my opinion of his plays, which are excellent) derives from the following:

    If I’m sitting in a seat, in a theatre, with actors in front of me – I’ve already noticed that I’m watching a representation of reality. Similarly, if I’m trying to read symbols on a hunk of dead tree, I’ve probably figured out already that this isn’t ‘real’. 😉

    He was reacting against the hyper-naturalism of the previous era, of course, which was in turn reacting against …

    Whisht @whisht

    aww – I did have a small bonker (bonkerette?) but its now silly as @spider has reminded me of the (rather delicious) line:
    “I do like his new accent though, I think I might keep it”.

    Hey ho.

    The bonkette?

    Well, it wasn’t who Missy was, but what she is doing.

    Basically she inhabits the Promised Land/ Heaven and what happens when you go to heaven – you get judged.
    “Am I a good man?” – well, you’ll need to be judged. Perhaps by your actions (yee might know him and all that).
    Anyway, to make a judgement upon someone, you often call witnesses.
    Missy’s interested in the Doctor (perhaps if he’s cheated her by avoiding death), and is judging him by talking to those who died for him or around him. Though not the PC who can offer no ‘evidence’. He’s merely meeting a functionary in the Courts (perhaps who will judge his deeds).

    Now how that all fitted with the Papal Mainframe (let it lie Whisht, let it lie!) or Missy-as-Matrix annoyed that the Doctor has avoided being uploaded by avoiding death… I don’t know.

    And why a judge would want to keep his accent…? nah. Bonkers theory aborted before it could (ah hold on – wrong thread)


    Spider @spider

    @whisht  Ah sorry to accidentally burst your bubble. But don’t give up on your bonkette (lol)

    You are assuming the ‘judge’ is unbiased. Perhaps she is going to judge, but lets say is going to skew the evidence in the outcome she wants. Which is guilty as charged. Death by *whatever* and means she gets his lovely new life and new set of regenerations to herself because she is EVIL judge who set up it all in the first place 😉

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @scaryb <waves> Yes I’m not bothered by the accuracy of moon gravitational science etc. either.

    @whisht So there are three candidates for Missy’s “Heaven”

    1. The Time Lord Matrix

    2. The Library (in which River is entombed)

    3. The Papal Mainframe

    I think Moffat, who is a bit of a sarcastic bugger, is messing with those of his critics who complain that nobody actually really dies in his Whoniverse 🙂

    Previous theories about Missy have included:

    1.  She’s River

    2. She’s Clara

    3. She’s the Master

    4. She’s the Rani

    5. She’s Madame Kovarian or part of Team Kovarian

    I’d love it if she was a regenerated Lord Borusa on a mission in the bubble universe where Gallifrey currently resides to engineer a trial of the Doctor, in order to get him to, finally, forgive himself for the War Doctor’s choices

    Whisht @whisht

    he he @juniperfish – I thought you’d be hoping that Missy gets to weigh the Doctors hearts against a feather…


    and @spider – that’s 😈 – I like!!

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @whisht You’re right I would like that 🙂

    Annoyingly, the Egyptology seems to have disappeared.

    Missy as Anubis would be awesome.


    ScaryB @scaryb


    Re Missy’s world – there’s a 4th option – that it actually exists, rather than being somewhere digital.  It could be in a bubble universe, it could be where the lost Time Lords are.  IF people are being teleported there, it suggests something timelordy to me. But I love the idea that it’s a Moffat tease to folk who say he never kills anyone off. Missy doesn’t save/kidnap everyone though and the policeman seems like an anomaly.

    Missy as Anubis would be awesome

    Wouldn’t it just! Though we seem to have gone a bit Roman this series, so maybe looking a the wrong mythology. Egypt was SO last year!!

    Trial of a Timelord revisited?

    @blenkinsopthebrave has noted the stylistic similarities with A Matter of Life and Death, which could very well fit in with a Moffat tease. Or it’s a clue. We’ve also seen outdoor and old fashioned sitting room  interior, which may or not be artificial. So frustrating we couldn’t see what the policeman saw out the window.

    (And thanks for the glitter Jfish, I feel all 70s glamrock again!)

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Egypt was SO last year!!

    Don’t speak too soon on that one, sweetie. 😉 Are you my mummy?

    ScaryB @scaryb


    Don’t speak too soon on that one, sweetie. ;-) Are you my mummy?

    haha, true. (spoilers!)

    So are we back to pregnancies again…? 😈

    *little sigh* I miss River

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Oh, and I nearly forgot.

    In the Caretaker – the Doctor mentions that he spent a month hanging out with otters after a fight with River. Could that be when he met @jimthefish (building his dam to keep the dam’ otters out)?

    thommck @thommck

    @brewski, shouldn’t you be posting this on the Kill The Moon thread?

    Brewski @brewski

    @thommck yes, I sure should!  Sorry. And thanks! 😮


    thommck @thommck

    I thought Danny’s somersault was a bit unnatural but then I saw this on tumblr …

    What’s wrong with scared, scared is a superpower

    I wonder if we’ll see anymore super powers from Danny?

    vilecanards @vilecanards

    Does anybody have an idea about the short tune that the Doctor whistles during this episode?  I have my own idea, but I don’t want to “poison the well” for other people’s thoughts!

    Anonymous @

    @vilecanards – Welcome awesome avatar.

    Don’t worry about poisoning the well on past episodes, they are not spoilers anymore after the episode has been showed (if you post them on the right episode thread like you did). Posting your ideas that is what this forum is for.  😉

    @pedant said on this thread that it was Another Brick in the Wall.

    I’m guessing he was first?

    Post your song if you disagree.  There is even a music thread (under blogs on the home page), where you can link your songs video.

    vilecanards @vilecanards

    “Another Brick In The Wall” is what I thought, also. It made sense in too many ways… Pink Floyd/Danny Pink, the song lyrics e.g. “we don’t need no education…”, British band/British show, and is too clever for it to be anything else.  I , too, wondered if you would have to get permission, but I think you can use a few notes of a song without securing the rights… don’t know for certain.  I do think the band would get a chuckle out of this!

    @barnable …. thanks for the reply!

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 8 months ago by  vilecanards.
    Timeloop @timeloop

    @idiotsavon Sorry the answer is so late. I did a bit of reading (it’s been a few years since school time German lessons) and the idea of Brecht is to have theatre do more than just entertain. Brecht wanted to show social differences to further social and political change. This is especially true for the proletariat.

    Davros @davros

    Looks as though “It’s a rollercoaster with you” might be 12’s catch phrase as he said it in The Caretaker and also in Into The Dalek.


    Mind you, 11 said something similar in “The Time Of The Doctor”.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Nice pic of “Fear is a superpower” @thommck. Thanks for posting

    nerys @nerys

    @badwulf Does anyone else have a problem with novels written in the Present Tense?

    For me it really depends on the novel. I agree with @thommck – If the atmosphere an author intends to create is that in which anything can happen, and that events are not following some “already happened” pre-known narrative, then present tense works very well.

    One of my favourite contemporary authors is Miriam Toews. Her “A Complicated Kindness” would not have worked, IMO, if told in past tense. Its immediacy keeps us on our toes, much the way real life does. Present tense also offers the hope that, when things are going badly, they can get better. The author doesn’t always deliver on that promise, but the hope of it is part of what sustains the reader to the end.

    Cyberlord @cyberlord

    CYBER-REPORT: My personal choice of ‘best episode’ for series 8. The Skovox Blitzer is one of the greatest foes for the Doctor in my opinion! Although it looks like a tiny, tiny crab.

    Danny in this episode was only used as a love story, but I enjoyed the humorous exchange between him and Clara when he finds out the Doctor is not human.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    I really enjoyed this the first time around, and did again. Lots of great moments here: the Doctor undercover, just trying to get on with saving the world; the whole Adrian thing; the Doctor and Courtney “Disruptive Influence” Woods (ah yes, there’s been a spillage). It was brought down just a bit by my feeling a little bit irritated by Clara and Danny. The moment when Clara, faced with Danny’s discovery, launched into a really stupid lie, was so irritating (although Jenna Coleman did a great job of portraying that shift into panic, “fight or flight”, thing). Danny’s continued hurt that she hadn’t told him about the Doctor might have carried more weight if it had been made specific that they had now been involved for a long time. This was a mistake in the writing, because although I could think it through afterward and find evidence that some time might have passed, it felt intuitively as if this episode would followed pretty closely upon the last one, since we were given no overt sign at the outset.

    I liked the moments when Danny demonstrated for the Doctor that he was actually both capable and smart, and the climactic “I have to be good enough for you” scene was touching. The final scene on the couch irritated me, it felt a little too alpha dog. But those were small tics on the whole. Most of this brought a smile and kept me reasonably close to the edge of my seat.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @arbutus I watched this again last week and really enjoyed it. It is a fairly lightweight story with deeper layers of meaning. The Blitzer is simply a plot device, which might well have sneaked out of a Sarah Jane Adventures episode. The real drama is the developing relationship between the Doctor, Clara and Danny. The Doctor’s dislike of soldiers is a theme running through this series which plays out in the final episode when Danny proves that a soldier does not only kill and the Doctor shows why he has no use for soldiers. Throughout Moffat’s run he had been steadily deconstructing the themes set up or explored by RTD.

    Clara’s attempt to lie to Danny when he stumbles upon them and the blitzer is indeed cringe-worthy. I cannot watch it without wincing. The Doctor swings from wisdom to naivete. From “it’s a roller-coaster ride with you today” to realising that Danny is in the Tardis wearing the watch. As with Smith Doc nothing brings out the eccentricity of the Doctor better than trying to be human. Tennant was maybe a little too good at it.

    Those moments with Danny and Clara are even more touching in hindsight.

    My only real gripe about the episode is that we did not meet up with Ian. It is more than time that Ian made an appearance, at least before Clara bows out ending the current association with Coal Hill.



    DoctorRiverSong @doctorriversong

    Well I’m not sure how this works, this is my first time on one of these sites but I’d just like to add a comment about the meeting of The Doctor and Danny Pink. I honestly thought it was brilliantly done. The way the Doctor and him bicker reminded me of how Christopher E. and Mickey got along at first. I’m really bummed when Danny goes Cyberman but I did love their bickering.

    Anonymous @


    Welcome to the Forum!  Yes, I agree the Doctor loves to bicker and, despite his observations to the contrary, also likes to banter (which he did in spades with Danny).

    @arbutus @janetteb

    I’ve been going to the top of this page and I think this episode encouraged less comments than many of the others? Whilst Kill the Moon and The Forest were considered by many to be the poorest of the bunch, I wonder if elements of this episode (on later re-watch) leave me dissatisfied and unhappy.

    I did like Clara’s ridiculous attempt to convince Danny that this was a school play -she certainly acted her pants off here but the whole thing was, as you say, “cringe worthy,” Janette.

    And the alpha dog concept at the end, Arbutus, I didn’t notice so much until this latest re-watch. I hadn’t seen a few of these episodes since they’d come out -I’d watch them 3 or 4 times within the week they’d aired and then didn’t bother with some when I purchased the DVD -but I’m following your example now: a watch before Sunday, hoping to get my head around some bonkers possibilities and the many questions which require an answer.

    In reading the above comments, I was struck by @juniperfish ‘ mention of how Moffat might be mucking about with those critics who think no-one ever dies in the Whoniverse of late. Interestingly, there was a new member who recently brought that idea up. I think I discussed the notion of ‘loss’ as death – in sci-fi and fantasy the veritable banquet of options associated with loss and death are doubled.

    Characters might die or are sent to some Nethersphere instead, where, with action, we can retrieve them, or speak with them one final time before they truly die (after making their peace with an issue that has troubled them – such as Danny’s and the boy during the war).

    Sci-Fi/Fantasy (or perhaps we can call this the Doctor Who Genre!) provides for the temporary return of Danny, The Part-Cyberman, saving the Earth and protecting his Clara with love. A concept Missy often fails to grasp.

    In The Caretaker, it seems to me that Clara and Danny’s personalities are very different, indeed. Whilst we see this at the end of the Forest episode, it’s equally clear that unlike Rory and Amy, who are so similar, Dan and Clara have many obstacles to their relationship. Not to say these cannot be overcome: but I think it was Pip who agreed with you, Arbutus, that this latest couple don’t have the easy similarity of Rory and Amy. I wonder, despite their evident love and loyalty, whether theirs would have been a long term and successful relationship? 🙁

    Not that we’ll ever know now. And perhaps that’s as it should be.

    Missy @missy

    I never liked Danny Pink, he had a real chip on his shoulder.

    He hadn’t a clue about emotions, only his own.


    D. Do you love him?

    C.  No.

    D. Really had enough of the lies.

    C.  Not in that way.

    D. What other way is there?

    Obviously he’d never loved his parents, or friends.



    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @missy I never liked Danny very much. His first introduction military-drilling the kids counted against him (first impressions and all that) albeit it was quickly made clear that he was a maths teacher. He was starting to get very prickly in Listen, and I actively disliked him by The Caretaker, I felt he was being altogether too possessive and demanding on Clara and slandering the Doctor. He really should have either accepted Clara on her own terms or backed off. He did seem a lot more accepting (and acceptable) at the end of Kill the Moon. And shortly after that he rehabilitated himself by getting killed, and it’s hard to really dislike dead people. He was a lot more likeable dead, I felt.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @missy   Of course, the Doctor was equally prejudiced about Danny.   But I personally was inclined to give the Doctor a pass on that, he tended to be equally rude about almost everybody – in a quirky alien way that helped make his character intriguing.   Call it a double standard on my part, I don’t really care.   Show’s called Doctor Who, after all.

    Missy @missy


    Very definitely more likeable dead. As you say, the Doctor was rude to everyone – which if anyone noticed – none of the others were. This was one of his failings which made him my favourite.


    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    Well, The Caretaker certainly started off in promising fashion. “There’s no way out of this, we’re going to die here.”
    I respectfully submit that cutting to Danny in the restaurant querying Clara’s tan is cheating, I WANT TO KNOW HOW THEY ESCAPED.

    But the opening sequence is just establishing that Clara is getting quite addicted to her daily trips with the Doctor. And the Tardis is getting used to her – as when the Doctor snaps his fingers to open the doors, and Clara closes them again with a snap of her fingers.

    “Undercover. Deep cover.” “Can you do deep cover?” “What do you mean?” “Have you seen you?” And I have to say, I found the caretaker unconvincing. I kept expecting someone to expose him as a fraud. ‘John Smith’ indeed.

    I think this is the first sight of Courtney. A seriously annoying brat with no charm at all, I’m afraid.

    Not really surprising that Danny was suspicious, but that didn’t endear him to me. He comes across as too controlling.

    The Blitzer is a gneuinely nasty monster, but episodes in schools generally don’t inspire me. On the whole I liked School Reunion better, with the carnivorous Krilitanes, or Human Nature/Family of Blood.

    There is some comedy value in Clara trying to cope with the Doctor’s weirdness, but he seems far too weird in this episode. Having trouble accepting that Danny is a maths teacher, for example. I do like the Doctor’s idea of a ‘Keep Out’ sign though – Go Away Humans.

    I have to admit some of the Doctor’s exchanges with Clara are quite witty. “Why do I keep you around?” “Because the alternative would be developing a conscience of your own.”
    “I used to have a teacher exactly like you once.” “You still do.” – Clara isn’t unduly modest about her importance.

    Why the Doctor’s time beacons have to beep and blink I have no idea. If you want some device to remain unobtrusive you don’t put a flashing light and a beeper on it. But Danny messing about with devices he doesn’t understand is unforgiveable (in my book, but then I’m biassed. And obviously in the Doctor’s, too.) I think Danny deserved the rude awakening he got when he burst into the hall to encounter the Blitzer. I did like the way he contemplated the burning hole in the wall behind him.

    No points to Clara for trying to explain away the Doctor and the Blitzer to Danny. “It’s a play” – just not going to wash, is it?
    But absolutely zero points to Danny for not being suitably impressed by the Tardis.

    And Danny scores minus infinity for being so judgemental and snotty about the whole thing. He makes Rose’s Mickey look like a paragon of wisdom by comparison. And I hate that Clara feels obliged to put up with that. She should be, “That’s the way it is, that’s the way I am, and you can accept it or not.”

    Then Danny gets thoroughly obnoxious about the Doctor, he’s got a chip on his shoulder a mile wide. And then the Doctor has been unsettled enough by Danny to let the annoying Courtney into the secret of the Tardis. This episode is going downhill rapidly.

    Okay, so Danny came good at the very end, and he and the Doctor acquired a modicum of mutual respect.

    And the Doctor dumped the inert Blitzer in deep space, accompanied by (ugh) Courtney, who has the soul of a cabbage.

    DANNY: I know men like him. They push you and make you stronger, till you’re doing things you never thought you could. I saw you tonight. You did exactly what he told you. You weren’t even scared. And you should have been. – Wrong, Danny. That wasn’t down to the Doctor, that was all Clara.

    Overall, I enjoyed some bits more than I expected this time around (mostly Doctor-Clara exchanges), but the Clara-Danny relationship was tedious. I just can’t see the attraction.

    And as a final minor irritation, on the DVD set, Listen and Time Heist didn’t get DVD commentaries, The Undertaker and Kill The Moon did.

    winston @winston

    @dentarthurdent  I have not watched this one in awhile but I remember it pretty well mostly because of Danny (not a fan ) and the poor policeman killed by the monster. That was sad. I have never forgiven Danny for not being in awe of the Doctor, the Tardis and Clara the time traveller. I also find him controlling and as an independent person I never like ultimatums of any kind. Of course there is the trouble child, Courtney who was at least impressed enough  by being in space that she vomited.

    It has lots of good banter and I like banter so I liked it.

    stay safe

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @winston   Yes I felt bad for the policeman.   The reception desk in the Nethersphere was intriguing, I thought Seb was perfectly cast, by the way.   (Lots of foreshadowing for Dark Water).

    I agree entirely about Danny.    Aside from my natural bias for the Doctor and Clara (and therefore Danny should have been more impressed) – well, he *should* have been more impressed by the Tardis.   Instead he let his dislike of the Doctor blind him to it.   And he should have accepted Clara on her own terms.   Or just broken it off.   He really managed to make questions sound like accusations.   I agree with you about ultimatums – my natural reaction to ‘are you with us or against us?’ is ‘against, automatically.’    Actually, he comes across as a rather weak and insecure character (to me at least), I guess his controlling streak comes from that.

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