Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Review: Doctor Who 8.6: The Caretaker

I moved into Uni three weeks ago, and since watching The Caretaker I've stopped watching Doctor Who regularly. However, since I don't want to leave the show forever, I've decided to catch-up on these episodes in the vain hope that they get any better. The Caretaker review was mostly written after broadcast.

Because this isn't forced or laboured at all.
Doctor Who - Season 34, Episode Six - The Caretaker

Do excuse the lateness of this thing, I spent last night moving into University. Very hectic. Somewhat like this week's episode, which took the boring present-day segments from the past few episodes and stretched them out to 42 minutes. It's abundantly clear to me that at this point it's probably easier to stomach Doctor Who if you ignore the years of history behind it, because this era of the show has no intention of keeping the same tone or base characters. Add in an excuse sci-fi plot hiding some fairly dull character beats, and it starts to become obvious that this season's arc isn't as clever as it thinks it is.
     The episode felt a strong familiarity to The Sarah Jane Adventures, no doubt due to writer Gareth Roberts connection to that series. Like the last two Roberts episodes, this week shifted action to the present day and had a sharply comedic bent, but unlike his last episode I wasn't left frothing from the mouth. The main conflict was the first interaction between The Doctor and Danny Pink, and both of their characterisations clashing against one another. Which would have been fine, if there weren't problems inherent in those characterisations. The Doctor was presented as occupying an officer class in comparison to Danny's soldier, and in conjunction he reprised his hatred of soldiers, both of which seem against The Doctor's characterisation. Previous incarnations tended not to agree with military methods, but respected experience and personality over the stigma of that occupation. On the other side, Clara and Danny are said to be in love with each other. That would be easier to believe if their relationship wasn't shown to mainly consist of deep personality clashes.
Who to side with when I hate everyone?
     The rest of the episode was "comedic" attempts by The Doctor, posing as a caretaker at Clara's school. The problem for me with Capaldi's characterisation is that he seems neither fit for comedy or drama, hanging as his predecessor did on an edge whose proximity makes both a very distant possibility. I can't get to like Twelve at all, because I don't see The Doctor any more. And while it's certainly possible to watch the show like it's a 90s BBV series, I shouldn't have to. The Caretaker was a bad sci-fi story which thought it was being a lot cleverer and a lot deeper with its characters than it actually was. No change here then.

Thanks.

NEXT TIME: Anti-abortion politics and bad science make for an uncomfortable and infuriating time in Kill The Moon.

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