As always, DO NOT READ unless you're caught up on Series 8 of Doctor Who! As River would say: *spoilers*
This week's episode started off strong with a hurried montage of the fast paced and hectic life Clara is leading by juggling her adventures with The Doctor with a fulltime teaching job and budding relationship at home. Clearly, she's been spreading herself too thin. Considering the montage's point was to show how much time Clara has been splitting between The Doctor and Danny, it's more than a little strange that The Doctor would suddenly decide to try and exclude Clara from this week's adventure; especially since it takes place where she works. Generally, some of the most endearing and amusing episodes are the ones in which The Doctor must slow down and try to live like a human for a bit. 'The Lodger' and 'Closing Time' (which gave us Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All, and for that I am eternally grateful) were both brilliant episodes. There was just the right mix of funny moments with the awkward alien trying to fit in, and, you know, plot. 'The Caretaker', however, felt forced and over the top (which seem to be the over-arching themes of this series).
|This bloke? Completely pointless.|
So, The Doctor just randomly decided to try and kick Clara to the curb for a mysterious mission only to show up moments later at her place of employment refusing to tell her about the danger she and her students are in and throwing more of his constant insults her way, and she just accepts it and moves on. Then, he sees a bloke who looks like his previous regeneration and assumes that's Clara's boyfriend. Knowing nothing about the guy except that he bears a physical resemblance to his previous face, The Doctor immediately approves of the assumed relationship with a coy smile and a knowing, "of course." Now, we're beaten over the head some more with The Doctor's apparent hatred of soldiers when he continuously insults Danny by refusing to believe he's intelligent enough to be a math teacher. This only worsens when he discovers that Danny is actually Clara's boyfriend while fighting off this episode's completely superfluous monster. Best part? Clara blurts out that she's in love with Danny, and no one gives a shit. Seriously, that's not even remotely hinted at for the rest of the episode, because that's totally not something that two people in a relationship would discuss or anything. No, her feelings towards Danny are completely irrelevant in the face of the tension between The Doctor and Danny.
|Shush, honey, the men are talking.|
Now that the cat is out of the bag, the most important message is that The Doctor hates Danny. For the rest of the episode, both Danny and The Doctor act like complete jerks to each other as well as Clara (who pretty much just stands around and whines). There is more pointless bickering, the monster returns and is dealt with so that Danny could be the hero type, The Doctor and Danny share a bizarre and off putting moment of pseudo understanding, and Clara continues to stand around acting less like a complete character and more like a plot device. The episode ends with Danny explaining to Clara how dangerous The Doctor is for her, and making her promise to tell him if he goes too far so he could help her, because she clearly needs a big, strong man to save her. This episode, perhaps more than any of the others in this series, serves as a shining example of how Clara is an exceptionally weak character (despite her occasional I'm-so-clever moments) that is completely co-dependent.
We were also teased with Missy and the Promised Land/Nethersphere plotline again. I'm still convinced that Missy is The Rani, and this little glimpse of the Nethersphere with its clinically sterile hallway and intake desk has only strengthened my belief.