The Caretaker: Notes

I’m finding that I have little to say about “The Caretaker” too, but this time it’s because I loved it and feel it speaks for itself eloquently. In its way I think it’s on par with “Listen” in its ability to change the way we see our protagonists, but it does so without red herrings or questionable science or bootstrapped psychology. Instead it’s a straightforward, unpretentious, solidly entertaining comedy piece that moves into mature and measured drama exactly when required. The acting is nuanced and intelligent. I’ve loved Gareth Roberts’s work on Doctor who (with the possible exception of “The Shakespeare Code”), and he really delivered this time.

  • I’m still finding this Doctor’s prejudice against soldiers difficult to account for; there are plenty of reasonable explanations, but nothing explicit in the text that fully adds up yet.
  • I like Danny a lot — it’s striking how different he manages to be from previous third wheels (Mickey, Rory) while coping with more or less the same role in the story. He was just a little off-putting toward the end of the episode, insisting on always needing to help Clara — something we always want to do for our lovers, but which sounded just a touch condescending and patriarchal in the words he used. But then no one in this episode comes off as perfect — the Doctor, Clara, and Danny each have some growing to do and some assumptions to shrug off.
  • The rapid shuffling through glimpsed adventures at the beginning reminded me a lot of Sherlock, where supposedly “boring” routine cases montage past so that the episode can focus on the interpersonal lives of the protagonists.
  • I’ve seen Clara and Danny compared to Barbara (headstrong and compassionate) and Ian (intelligent, physically capable, distrustful of the Doctor). Is Courtney going to assume the Susan role? Perhaps once her stomach gets the hang of time travel.